Saturday, June 30, 2007


Since we are leaving in just a little over a week, and Tom will be spending his birthday with my family in Australia, today was the perfect excuse for his mother to take him shopping for his birthday presents. Although, I have no doubt that more will follow...

So since the 'sales' officially began today (a concept which does not exist in australia - all shops are obliged to have sales only in July and January - for the rest of the year, it's illegal, we joined another 45 trillion belgians in Antwerp. But we happily emptied our bank account before our holiday (smart move...) and helped Tom's mother do the same!

Have enclosed a photo from last night - catching Jan aware... we spent the evening at sinksefoor (Antwerp's version of the carnival/ekka/show) and only did one attraction (the crazy house), and a photo from today: some sort of strange and tacky Hare Krishna shrine. Apparently, Antwerp is celebrating India at the moment by carrying a throne with a fake Krishna god through the main streets and ringing little bells. A little odd, but I suppose it isn't hurting anybody (although the confusion factor is rating quite high!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Haruki Murakami

You may or may not be aware that the latest book craze in this household is the works of Haruki Murakami... Tom has already polished off 3 of his novels, while I am currently on my third - Norwegian Wood.

Without being too caught up in the world of fantasy, Murakami manages to touch on a variety of subject matters, somehow adding a surrealism to them. For example, the idea that one of the main characters was able to speak fluently to cats in 'Kafka on the Shore' did not at all seem to surprise me, nor make me believe I was off with the witches and warlocks. I have become emotionally addicted to each of the novels I have read, which has never happened to me before. I am lead to believe that 'Norwegian Wood' is one of his only novels which doesn't touch in the 'supernatural' (for want of a better word) and once again, I am captivated. Tom has even proposed that our next big holiday (after Australia) to be Japan - which of course, I will always say yes. Although much of his books are set in Tokyo, he also encompasses the scenery in and around Kobe, Osaka and the island of Shikoku.

So in this day of terrible reality TV/copshows/teen dramas (TV in general), if you like a light, yet spellbinding read, you know where to look!

Friday, June 22, 2007


Will do my best to translate the song... the lyrics are great (if you can understand...!)

May I come in? May I come in? To begin a song over the things that I can remember from the good old days, a life without worrying, ambition or regrets. Kicking a ball around all day, coming home at dark, just mucking around, and no concentrating at school. If we were dared 3 times, then it had to be done. Teasing girls and asking girls out and 'I know you are, you said you are, so what am I?'. Life was so simple everyone, so simple everyone, so simple as asking someone out.

There were no mobile phones, no channel ten and nobody who wanted to be Hannibal or Murdock. Only Playschool, The Bill, It's a Knockout were our only worries. We weren't allowed to do anything but did everything, Donald Bradman was a hero, our dad's still had hair, and we counted all of our coins for 'the show/ekka', showing off in the dodgems. The chipmunk ride taking precedence over our commodore 64s. There were no CDs, no MP3s, only cassettes, and thanks to National Lampoons, we have seen our first boobies. Life was so simple everyone, so simple everyone, so simple as asking someone out.

Third verse, pot, pot, pot, fat (cannot translate - some scout song here...!), the one hundred metres freestyle was our first certificate. Going to a festival - yay- we get to go to bed late, the refl-fl-fl-fl-flex on our tennis racquets. Yeah guys, we were big: we were either a professional footballer or a pilot. And hating wasn't yet a national sport, except for maybe the pork chop on our plate. It was cool to have patches sewn on the knees of our pants. Time to stop, can i have the bill? It was so simple everyone, so simple everyone, so simple as asking someone out.

WOW - my first ever translation (and not knicked from the web!) - AND from dialect! shocking tho!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Change everything you are, everything you were, your number has been called

Great news today...

A certain wonderfully beautiful dear friend of mine is making a special visit to see us while we are in Australia. She will remain nameless due to the trip being a secret surprise for her partner... Not that he will be reading my modest little blog!

You know who you are and will not believe how happy I am that you can come!

On another note... if you haven't already noticed it, please take a look at the following...
Make Some Noise

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Why-y-y-y don't you use it?

Studying: To be continued for another 10 days.
Exams: 2 down, 3 to go
Currently: Watching Jimmy Neutron on the Nickelodeon Channel (some stress relief for lunch!)

We have also had some great company this weekend - visits from Tom, Nita and Natalie (who has taken a liking to chocolate biscuits - clever little thing has learnt how to grab tom's finger and drag him to the cupboard where the stock of bikkies is...

and Philippe and Jan (who we didn't take a cutey picture of). Lots of great conversation over the football/elections/arguing/chocolate fondue playing risk (while Tom and I lost in stunning fashion and Jan won (much to Philippes disapproval!

One more weekend of study, then we will hit the streets again!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Remember me when you're the one who's silver screened

Amidst all of my election ruckus, I have been complacent in relation to my partner in life...

Tomorrow, he begins his end of year exams. I have absolutely all faith in him - I have witnessed him the past 16 weeks (the last 5 with serious blocking) learning, testing theories out on me, me yelling at him to quit the psycho babble and him poking his tongue out and blowing (as do all mature adults). He begins tomorrow with Onderzoek Methoden en Technieken (research methods and techniques), followed by Gezondheids (health) Psychology on Thursday. More updates in the following weeks.

Lots of pressure lies on these exams - as, unlike Australia, most exams here weigh 100% of the total mark - he does have two subjects where the exam only weighs 75%. AND - most seriously warped of all - like the Wespac Maths Competition at home, you lose marks for guessing. I still have horrible memories of partaking in the maths comp in Grade 8, answering all questions (naturally, many of which were a random 'havent-had-a-B-answer-in-a-while' guess) only learning later that we lost points for errors. BUT that wasnt part of a uni degree! Still, I know he has studied everything so much harder than I ever did. I particularly enjoy his mad professor study stance. He will kill me for writing this, but while studying, he closes himself up in the study, holds his notes in one hand, has his head tilted to one side, and paces (approx 5 steps) up and down the room while reciting his notes aloud. The sweetest part is that his other hand usually aids in diagrams/explanations/expressionism. Oh, and since he wears braces, he really looks the part!

So, before you kill me, all the best tomorrow, and for the following 2,5 weeks. I know you will be fine and I am so proud that you have almost finished your first year.

I love you

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Election results pending...

Federal Election Results

P.S. totally unrelated to the elections... I have no idea as to what is being shown on television in Australia, but a few weeks back, I stumbled across one of those teen-drama style shows (yes, embarassingly similar to Dawsons Creek) which is shown daily and a good wind-down from work.


It happens to have one of the most awesome soundtracks I have ever stumbled across... So I have become addicted to the program, just to hear what music will be playing! I heard Missy Higgins on their a few weeks ago, and last week, Jose Gonzalez and the Shins! Most groups are relatively independant and alternative but there is nothing I have heard from the 'poppy' style (except a group or two). For fear of being labelled, I have chosen not to mention the name of the show, but will keep watching, and enjoying the music!

PPS. - You will be dealing with a grumpy girl tomorrow... It looks as though the Christian Democrats will have the next prime minister in Belgium - better than the 'Flemish Importance' party, but similar to the Libs of Oz. The country I fell in love with has taken a nasty turn in the wrong direction, and the chances of an even greater division between Flanders and Wallonia have increased (despite the new guy having the most french name of all: Yves Leterme!) Why a country boasting (erhmm...) a size of 30,528 (c.f. Australia: 7,741,220) would like to be even smaller baffles me!

PPPS - Congratulations to Justine - a strong asset to Belgium (even if she is from the wrong bit!)

Friday, June 08, 2007

You were in the dark, you were in the pain

Countdown has seriously started for our flights back home... 4 weeks and 4 days and we will be making that oh-so-familiar trip home... probably downing a cocktail or two hoping to shorten the journey by a few sets of 40 winks!

Another addition to our group of friends occurred this week: Annemie and Hans (landlords/work colleague/friend of Tom's since he was in highschool) have had their first child, Lisa. So many a 'suikerboon' was eaten and enjoyed - and maybe they will even be home for the election on Sunday - probably won't be a repeat performance of the elections from last year (if you remember, ended up with me and tom drowning our hallway with our stomach contents...)

I am not sure if I ever mentioned the suikerbonen tradition yet...

Not that the mother has enough to worry about... but when a child is born, it is tradition to hand out little packages of suikerbonen (translation = sugar bean - sugar coated chocolate) to all visitors, family, work etc. BUT - the colours are very important (they must match the geboortenkaart/birthcard), along with the design of the packages they come in! It can be seen as 'stingey' if you only give white suikerbonen in a cheap-arse basket...

My first experience with the suikerbonen came when I had first started working in Belgium. When I first started, I replaced one of the girls (Inge) on maternity leave (incidently, she has already had her 2nd...) and shortly after she gave birth, a lovely little wooden box was delivered to work with the name and birth date of her son burned into it, and it was filled with black and white sugar beans. BUT - they look remarkably like pebbles (especially when they are neutral colours!) so I thought it was slightly odd, but took one and put it in my bag to take home. LUCKY nobody saw me do this, because I later found out they were to eat (after I had informed everyone that the little pebbles from Inge had arrived...)

I need to learn to write down all of the subtle cultural differences before I forget them though, otherwise they blend into day to day life and I don't want to forget them!

P.S. - Big elections this weekend - if you are at all politically minded, and at all interested in a more-than-two-party-preferred here!