Monday, October 26, 2009

Massively Attacked

After a long absence from the blog, and witnessing one of the finer concerts we have seen, it seemed appropriate to make a return appearance to the www.

We have significantly reduced the frequency of live concerts in the last 2 years, but weren't going to miss Massive Attack when discovering in April they were going to play in the lotto arena in Antwerp in October. It was a wretched day on Saturday, and driving to Antwerp seemed such a task, and both of us were quite happy to sit in with a cup of warm fruity infusion and watch Midsomer murders, but eventually plucked our roots out of the sofa and drove through the rain to Sportpaleis/Lotto arena. We were also not looking forward to finding a parking place (the two big concert/sport arenas in antwerp are smack bang next to eachother) as Night of the Proms was also on Saturday (featuring Roxette!) but there was no way in hell that Tom was going to let me drag him there!

So we arrived in the Lotto arena, were guided to our chairs (in the middle area - normally designated standing room...) and enjoyed the supporting artist (probably the best supporting artist I have seen, behind Basement Jaxx) - Martina Totley - Bird. Then we were asked to stand (strangely after being designated seats etc.) and were just blown away by the army of Massive Attack. Whilst I was under the impression that it was just 2 guys mixing incredible, dark music, there was at least 10 different musicians, including:
  • of course Daddy G and 3D, but also,
  • Deborah Miller lending her vocals for Unfinished Sympathy and Safe from Harm
  • Horace Dean for my personal favourite Angel and a heap of others
  • Martina Totley-Bird for Teardrop and at least 3 others
I think Tom's happiest moment was when they finished with Karma Coma, but I can truly say that I was blown away by the ongoing enthusiasm. Perhaps this was drug induced, but I would like to remain naïve and think that it was just adrenaline!

Thanks the the awesome light show as well!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One night to speed up truth

One of our post-wedding shots. We had an amazing time in oz and are now more and more convinced that we should move back sometime soon. A dip is inevitable, but thankfully the weather is fantastic and there are festivals by the bucket load to keep our minds busy...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What have I become, my sweetest friend

Gotto love public holidays after submitting assignments! Time to catch up on all the exciting chores and procrastinate on the computer...

The sun has been shining a lot more lately, being reason to do more outdoorsy things!

We had a visit from Emme and Kit, entailing a bike-ride into Antwerp, under the Schelde to linkeroever for an icecream, followed by a wine in the city. The evening before was Maarten's birthday barbecue on the kattendijk, and here is Emme with Jenthe...

Tom and I took a drive to Herentaals (only to get seriously lost on the way) in the Kempen, winding up in Geel first. By mid afternoon, we found the only nice piece of nature Flanders has to offer, and had a lovely walk.

Yet another work function... am lucky I have a boss who enjoys putting on a do every now and then!

Some more shots from the 10 miles... couldnt believe these guys ran 16km in a rubber ducky! There were so many amazing different costumes and contraptions! Some old dude retiring from the fire service ran the entire race in his fire-fighting costume! CRAZY!

A shot of whitey showing off lack of muscle - clearly before the race (no sweat marks just yet!!)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A little bit of bragging

Antwerpen: End April 2009:

Tom - ran 10 miles (approx 16km) in 1hr 26mins
Ingrid - ran 5km (approx not that far) in 31mins and 9 seconds.

Thoroughly enjoyed the day - 25 000 people ran (including a bunch a kids in the 1km run!) and the atmosphere was amazing. Especially when the boss is a health-nut and sponsored a VIP tent on the finish line - a good incentive if you ask me!

My video is crowded with heaps of women, but if you  look carefully, there is a countdown (around a minute) and I am wearing pink on the far right of the screen.

Tom's video is with a huge amount of people - his has a 15 second countdown, and is easy to pick as he crosses the line, he stops his watch (also on the left of the screen).

Official Photo of Tom (copywritten...) looking completely buggered! You need to click on the link for Antwerpen 10 miles and marathon (in April) and his number is 4951.

Can you tell how proud I am?! Next year, we both aim to do better (can I manage the full 16km - through two tunnels, with an uphill tunnel at the end of the race?! I have heard one too many stories of people collapsing in the 'konijnenpijp' tunnel and am slightly put off...).

Monday, April 06, 2009

Gaan we wenen?

Clearly due to lack of any sort of blog activity in the past 2 months, I have been short of time (not to mention any interesting European activity!)

What has happened since 6 February? The first wedding from Tom's group of friends - an extremely elaborate affair (involving top hats, suits with tails', 200+ guests, a new dress for me, a new waistcoat for Tom), but a lot of fun. Plenty of dancing until 4am, a power-spew from Tom (making the night extra special).

In line with our wedding... my dress is being adjusted to fit, so no more stressing - no more losing any weight - bring on the calorie bombs! We have also ordered our rings from Wim Meeussen which went rather quickly. Two huge costs, but exciting!

The invitations are ALMOST ready to send to oz. Hopefully noone will be too upset receiving them this late in the game! 

We are off to Vienna (Wenen) for a few days on Wednesday - finally I will visit my classical and romantic dream where Beethoven, Mozart, Hayden, Strauss etc. spent much of their lives, while Tom will be able to visit the beginning of psychology. We have booked ourselves something fancy (for the first time ever!) so are looking forward to some luxury!

Pics to follow

Friday, February 06, 2009

Lay where you're laying, don't make a sound

Triple J's hottest 100 has once again zoomed by, reminding me of what I am missing: barbecue in scorching heat, radio blasting, time with aussie friends somewhere. BUT, this year wasnt too bad for Australia day.

We stayed with Kym and Benj for their last weekend in London (for the time being), partied a night away with a lot of aussies, and caught up with Evan on Australia day itself.

I was slightly disappointed to hear that Kings of Leon 'sex on fire' was the winner: While I dont mind the song, I don't particularly believe that it blew the rest away. But, being so far away, I have no idea what the radio plays at home (although, was quite nicely surprised to see that some great aussie stuff was up there in the top 10, along with my personal faves, MGMT).

This week has brought some agitated anticipation, along with the dreaded influenza (or one of his nasty cousins). Whilst tom is not-so-patiently waiting for his exam results (he has 2 of the 5), he became bed-ridden on Sunday, only to rise yesterday (when I started to experience some dizziness and interesting rattling noises).

So, in my jarmies, I decided to watch Michael Moore's 'Sicko'. Although I am not a real fan of his extremist, black and white documentary style, it once again made me appreciate where I live! I hope Australia isn't still turning into America, and have my fingers crossed that Ruddy is at least attempting to socialise Oz, just a wee bit more. It is fantastic to live in a country where you can go into the emergency department, have a broken arm, require surgery, and numerous visits - all for free - no matter how rich or poor! I am looking forward to the top notch medical care, free gynae appointments and ultrasounds, free physio and 6 months off paid when I get around to having a child. Free dentist too. Oh, and the government want to give me 3 extra days for our wedding. Thank god/allah/buddah that I am not an American. BUT, admittedly, it is very easy to be caught up in Michael Moore. Need to watch it with a huge amount of salt...

Have had a pretty good winter here. Not as bad as last year, but am thinking that the snow, plus the presence of family had a great deal to do with that. Both Tom and myself are already anticipating the summer here. I must sound like a broken record, but there really is nothing as magical as it (probably due to the stark contrast with the winter months, plus the presence of my work bonus, enabling us to live life a little more indulgently!).

Those of you who actually read our little blog, be sure to keep the 12th of September free - if you are in Belgium, my parents in law will be throwing our wedding for those of you who cannot make it to oz. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I don't care about clever, I don't care about funny

Sometimes, I am sure all of us do it, I wake up and just think that life can be great. 

Today Emme left, leaving our apartment somewhat a little emptier and quieter, but I know she is moving on to bigger and better things, and now she is only a 2 hour train ride away as opposed to a 24 hour flight away.! I will miss her dearly, however, since our friendships seems to have blossomed a great deal over the past 3 months.

Mum left on Sunday, taking with her a heap of experiences through Belgium, Scotland, Ireland and Prague. While I can't post anything on here of her trips with Em, I will show some of the highlights of Prague...

This first one was quite eery and kinda summed up our entire experience of Prague: macabre (as mum so eloquently put it). Currently, the czech republic has been in the news with a great deal of focus on their sculptor/artist David Czerny. While he wasn't permitted to present his work during the communistic regime, he certainally has flourished since. If you look carefully, this first one looks like a man hanging from a window, and apparently hundreds of tourists notify 'authorities' every year about this guy. Wierd, but made us laugh!

This one is the astronomical clock located on the old city hall, and the little figurines on the sides dance (including one skeleton) for around 10 seconds every hour. Not sure why it is so important, but was quite nice.
Had to enclose another Czerny. Also wierd (very strong fascination with death, ghosts, myths etc). This one was just hanging in a shopping mall. Nice.
A little more less death orientated was our visit to the Dvorak hall to see the string section of Czech philharmonic playing some chamber music from Mozart and other composers, along with a concerto for Marimba with the most fascinating young Austrian performer. We paid next to nothing for our tickets, and had the most first class performance. Would highly recommend to anyone visiting (with a slight interest in classical music however!)

Mum and I went on two free walking tours through the city, and learnt more than we could have from the lonely planet. Were very content with our guide, and whilst it was FREEZING cold (-11°C), I thoroughly enjoyed what the city had to offer.

Next (after Tom has finished his exams: 2 to go...) - onto London, maybe back to the Netherlands, then Vienna, then home. Let's just hope that the histogenex bonus is healthy enough to support our indulgent habit...!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

One step closer

It's official... Tom is actually attending our wedding! 

Today, we are once again a few euros lighter after booking his ticket (with confirmation from two more friends who also booked today - yay!). 

Next steps: Tom's suit, rings, paying off my dress (grrr!) and all the stuff mum wants to talk about!

It's been quiet around here since the other two Christiansen girls have taken off trecking around kilt-country, followed by Ireland, but am looking forward to seeing them again in a week in Dublin. At least Tom will have some much needed rest!

Have once again commenced my studies. This time have taken a totally different (and dare I say it - not yet as interesting) path but am keen to get into it again, even if it means less time with the beloved TV (ha!).

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 - gone forever

It is new years day, and both Tom and myself are at home, saving the pennies and instead have chosen to richen the neurons (pun intended considering Tom is doing psych, and I have opted for a brain subject this year.)

While 2008 brought less travel and new experiences than previous years, it has taught us a few things. Not all are appropriate for this blog, but we have been tested financially constantly this past year, and are so grateful that we actually manage (sorry for constantly screaming poor, however!).

Memerable events of 2008:
- Visiting dear friends in Holland and their two gorgeous boys, while dusting the cobwebs off my old violin to experience a bit of Bach once again.

- Tom passing his 2nd year with flying colours

- My return to uni: many long study days, weekends etc. only to feel completely invigorated by the entire process. Bring on 2nd year!

- The interesting state of affairs of the Belgian government (or lack thereof!) Yves Leterme didn't seem to last too long before he screwed up.

- Not all was good however. Tom and myself lost a few friends this year including two of my colleagues and one of Tom's korfbal team mates (from a few years ago).

- Visits from some great Australian friends and family: Nicky & Liz (visiting twice!!), Mum and Emme, and one night with Benj in Ghent. AND visits to London (2 or 3 times - can't quite remember. Always great to see Kym and Benj.)

- Our road trip in Italy. Highlights not the major cities, but included a personal chianti wine-tasting in the hills of Tuscany (Rufina) and our late night drink and left-wing anti-Berlusconi political chat with the receptionist from the hotel in Bologna.

- Zomer van Antwerpen. Free movies in the hangar by the river, the summerbar with Cava, Sangria, Tapas and world cuisine. The absolute beauty antwerp has to offer is indescribable - even if for only a month or two a year! Come home Anna and Sabien!

- Buying my wedding dress

- The surprise bachelor night for Tom in the Ardennes - especially for the few of the guys who survived the trecherous mountain biking journey.

- Tom going for a last minute trip to Munich for the Oktoberfest

- Tom breaking his arm (funny that all of Tom's highlights have something to do with booze. Should this be something of concern???!)

- And last but not least. The late discovery of House MD. Have become totally addicted to the American Hugh Laurie, and still can't quite get enough!

There are probably more, but these are those which came to mind most quickly!

Have just received my new course books for my year - with focus on the Brain and its behaviour. So now I'm off to read about addiction; perhaps I should just let Tom write my assignments this year, considering he has already been down this track. More time for House MD that way!

Happy new year to all of you, my dear friends. XXX