Sunday, June 29, 2008

No no, no no no no, no no no no, no no there's no limit

The weekend is not quite over, but here are some shots of our long awaited trip up to visit the Vellinga-Chan mixed-race household in Oegstgeest (Leiden), Holland. We had recently discovered that their eldest son (Kaemon) had a fascination with the word tractor, so didn't have to think too hard for a gift he would like. However, considering that everything is tractor (including his baby brother, Nelson), I am not sure if it was the tractor or the gift which made him happy...!
We were treated to some delicious indian (made by the hostess) and then took a drive to Noordwijk (the beach - much nicer than the belgian variety!). Since Nelson is only a month old, he had the special treatment of coming with us (while Kaemon was safely tucked in bed). Here is a nice shot of Kelly and Nelson while waiting to meet up with Douwe.

Douwe with Kaemon (and tractors)

Saturday lunch brought us to Den Haag to enjoy some very authentic Dim Sum (equipped with very kitch interior and tacky karaoke - the only way to eat your Dim Sum). VERY tasty!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Turkey Vs Croatia, 20 June 2008

While I sat at home last night, making up on some much needed quiet time, Tom visitted Philippe and Jan (who incidentally live in the Turkish quarter of Antwerp). This proved to provide some awesome live entertainment due to the European Cup quarter final match between Turkey and Croatia.

As far as I know: The 90minutes ended with 0-0, so they were required to go into extra time. 

Quite amateur videography, but I can imagine you get the gist of what went on in a normally private neighbourhood of Antwerp.

Despite looking quite violent, it was apparently an incredibly joyous occasion (with fire?!).

Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the time of my life

This week brought my colleagues and I further together... after a very succesful audit from CAP (college of American Pathologists), my bosses decided that it was time to order bucket loads of wine, buy a huge house and celebrate the occasion with not only histogenex, but also the rest of the first floor from the Laboratory building in Middelheim Hospital, Antwerp (Histology staff). This brought a combined total to approx 40 happy, drunken staff enjoying eachothers company and very many below the belt type conversations.

Many photos of people's rear ends and blurry pieces of nothing were taken, but amongst these, I have selected a few of myself and other colleages. NB: the huge mauve stain on the table I am sitting at was not due to myself. I was just stupid enough to sit there (and on the wet chair) and have my picky taken there! Not a particularly flattering one of yours truly, but an honest conclusion to the night that was.

I have included my absolute favourite photo of the evening of Alexia (and Tim and myself) taken in the basement of the new house purchased by our bosses... the expression on her face says it all!

Tom has one exam remaining, so tonight he has joined Phillippe and Jan in witnessing one of the european cup matches (with Turkey vs something): P and J live in the turkish neighbourhood of Antwerp, so Tom is hoping for a victory and take as many photos as he can!

Next week we are heading north to Leiden and bombarding another mixed-race household (Aussie/malaysian and Hollander/Japanese). Will be sure for some interesting conversation, and fantastic food!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

dEUS this week

With the onset of the "alleged" summer months, the social calender seems to have gained a bit of momentem, but to the possible detriment of the studies...

This week has seen a long awaited catchup with Anna and Sabien - Anna was a classmate of mine in the last level of language school (who is incidently far and away more advanced than I am in dutch - I use the excuse that she is actually South African) and with her girlfriend, Sabien, they are preparing for their 'round the world trip starting in September/October. I dearly hope they can make it back to Australia next year, but will probably be hitching their way through Bolivia or something wild and exotic...

This appointment started out badly - I had already scheduled to meet Anna at a certain time on Thursday, but somehow it slipped my mind, and I turned up an hour late to the café. Thank god she was still waiting there.

Friday saw me visiting Ternat again, with fantastic hostess, Stefanie and her family. Spent a lot of time playing with her 1.5 year old. Friends' kids are just so much fun! Refreshingly happy when stress seems to build up!

Today, we incidently discovered that the Aussie male hockey team were playing against Belgium - basically in our back yard - for free, so we went along and lent our support to the green and golds. Wasn't much of a competition though, with a score like 6-0, but I did meet a couple of other aussies, and have been invited to the australian society gatherings (am a little conflicted when it comes to expat clubs. But I suppose it might be nice just to have a looksee...)

Tom has his following exam tomorrow: he is now half way through, and within a 'fat' week (as the belgians put it) he will be finished his 2nd year (fingers crossed). I will be boozing myself up at a work gathering on Wednesday, and hopefully enjoying a quiet weekend next weekend (enjoying is a little presumptuous - more like studying...) while my family celebrate my mum's birthday.

Not an interesting post, but need to keep up my diary :)

Tongue in cheek

If you just happen to have a spare 8 minutes, have a look at this. Ricky Gervais at his finest (released last year, but still terribly funny). 

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Werchter Classic, 2008

Tom is still busy with swot vak (or blocking as they call it here) and being the social butterfly (erhmm) I am, like to take advantage of any sort of event, so this lead me to Werchter classic. Held in the same venue as Rock Werchter, but for the 'older' generation. This being my 4th time at Werchter, but first time as one of the younger people! 

Maarten had a free ticket from his brother, so we drove to Werchter, and bought another ticket from a scalper (costing us a whole €20 to get in!) and we faced very grim skies, so were armed with ponchos and plastic boots (well I was...!). After being smug about our cheapy tickets, we were hit with paying double price for a beer and dinner, but enjoyed the show anyway. 

Conclusion: The police played their (alleged) last performance at Werchter, and it wasn't wow. Alright, but definitely not worth the €100 some people payed to see them last year.

Iggy Pop certainly knows how to put on a show. Old fart, but has the energy of a teenager! Still just as obsene as I'm sure he was 30 years ago, but what an entertainer!

The Scabs were ok - old belgian rockers, but the atmosphere was good.

Juannes was the wildcard - played early - chapeau to him for breaking the english speaking market, but not really my music.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Sometimes have insipiration depletions, despite keeping ourselves busy, there seems to be always an assignment that needs to be written, or a toilet which is dying for a good scrubbing or the inevitable work to go to... 

Have found a couple of snaps from the last weeks. We have had some great weather (as I type this, there is a tempest of a storm screaming its way through Edegem - something you hardly see in Belgium!).

A few weeks ago, we won a couple of tickets (from the Belgian equivalent of the ABC) to see a few actors and authors read some segments from their books or chosen works. While it was interesting enough, I found the venue more mind blowing than the performance. It is a fantastic old theatre in Antwerp which we have attended once before, with little private booths and seats covered in red velvet. Truly somewhere you can imagine the people of Antwerp attending weekly for the 'show' etc.

I took a half day off work in the same week, just to get some air, and we took a drive to Knokke (otherwise known as the sea). One of the not so many seaside villages but known to be the 'exclusive' location. This pretty much means that for a drink you pay double and can't find a carpark anywhere. We went on a Monday afternoon (most Belgian's only go in the weekend) and the place was deserted, so it was quite relaxing to have a walk on the beach.

Have also made the most of the parks in our surroundings: spotted a very strange leg poking out of the water in a park in Wilrijk - right on our doorstep.

Have been running around Fort VI as well lately. I haven't mentioned it before, but Antwerp is surrounded by 8 Forts - build primarily for the protection - and are now used as office buildings / training buildings for youth groups/sports etc. But they are all situated in a forest type environment with a pond/lake in the neighbourhood so are a quite picturesque place to go for a walk/bikeride/run. We have two in our neighbourhood (Fort V and Fort VI) so enjoy taking advantage of what they have to offer!

Uni is going well for me, and fingers crossed for Tom: his first exam is in a little over a week and finish in 3 weeks. I have handed in 3 assignments so far (come friday, 4) with one assignment remaining, + a poster (to be presented in the UK) and one review article. Am thoroughly enjoying the content. Just am tired and looking forward to the opportunity to take a holiday!