Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring cold sensitivity

The French viruses still haven't left me, and my head feels like it's about to explode. So don't count on me today to do some nice writing. Instead, I'm offering you this beautiful description of the creative mind, which I discovered last year.

"The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.

To him...

a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create —— so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating."

(by Pearl S. Buck, (1892-1973), recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 and of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Loving Lucy

Time to introduce someone new: please give a warm welcome to LUCY! P and I adopted Lucy a week ago, on the 22nd of March. She’s a white dwarf hamster, more sophisticatedly called a “Pearl”. And she was by far the smallest hamster we had ever seen. So that’s why I decided to wait a little bit before announcing her arrival in our household. I was just afraid that she wouldn’t make it, or that something would go wrong. She would hide away in her igloo every time she caught a glance of someone nearing her cage, and it took her half a week to figure out how her running wheel works.
But P and I didn’t give up – we continued the “we give you food-training” which made her overcome her initial shyness. By now, she’s also running nightly marathons in her little wheel, and she likes to explore our hands, arms, sweaters, etc. She seems to be cute and cheeky at the same time, and I wonder what she’ll become when she grows up (a doctor? a lawyer? a consultant? Phoebe already did an MBA, and sorry – we can’t afford to sponsor a second one).
Anyway: after barely one week, Lucy has conquered our hearts – and my laptop, as she likes to run over my keyboard….Maybe she wants to be a writer?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Paris notes

OK, let’s be honest here : I planned to write in Paris, hell: I even bought notebooks and a nice pen…But it just didn’t work. I missed my laptop. So instead I kept on writing, piece after piece, in my head. I hope enough is still in there, so I can neatly type it out now that I’ve come home.
Sorry if this is going to get a rather long (very long) posting, but please indulge me: I haven’t written a single word in four days!

I arrived in Paris Thursday around noon. My hotel room wasn’t ready yet…so it really wasn’t my fault if I found myself in the Galleries Lafayette barely one hour after my arrival. I suffered an attack of temporary amnesia concerning my bank account, and I bought some nice Camper shoes, and some clothes. All right, and a matching necklace as well. After two hours of shopping-madness, I started feeling dizzy and sweaty : was I on a shopping-high? Was it the realisation that I had just maxed-out my credit card? Or was I just getting tired?
I decided enough was enough, and I took the metro back to the hotel. Where…my room wasn’t only “not ready yet”, but also “sorry, not available”. I forgot to tell you that this was actually the very first time that I was going to spend some nights alone in a hotel room (really!), so I had decided to spoil myself and had booked a “chambre superieure”. Which now seemed to be out of my reach, because some guy refused to leave the room, and had decided to stay a few nights longer. I tried to keep my cool, and was offered a tiny room for a lesser price for one night – and the promise to be in a “chambre de luxe” the very next morning.
So there I was, alone in Paris, in a crappy room, with by now a pounding headache, swollen glands, and a sore throat. Forget shopping-high: these were the same French viruses that attacked me non-stop last year. I went to the Monoprix on the Champs Elysées to buy some food, and I got back to my room – where I sat eating breakfast cereals and chocolate cookies on my bed, watching some French talk show. For a moment I was convinced that this whole “coming to Paris on my own-thing” had been a very bad idea.

I woke up, packed my bags (as I was going to change rooms), and went to the first pharmacy I saw. Loaded with medicine, going from sea-water to clean my nose to good old paracetamol, I went for breakfast in a place full of memories. It’s this tiny coffee bar on Avenue Wagram. Across the street is the building where P had an apartment for a few months while he was working in Paris, 4 years ago. I’ll keep it short : for me, this is “home” in Paris.
The medicine and the pain au chocolat did what they were supposed to do, and I felt strong enough to continue with the planning of the day : go to the W.H. Smith bookstore. After buying some books and magazines, it was once again time to go back to the hotel, and give in to the viruses. I was looking forward to dive into the queen-size bed of my chambre de luxe, with the brand new American Cosmopolitan, and have a nice afternoon nap…
Yes, you’ve guessed it (or not) : my new room was not ready / available yet. My old room was no longer available. So back out I went, and did the next pathetic thing to eating breakfast cereals in your room for dinner: I went to Mac Donalds for a hamburger and some fries.
In the end, I got my deluxe- room, with huge windows, a balcony with view on the Arc de Triomphe, and bingo : a water cooker to make me some nice hot tea! I decided to do the sensible thing: skip the INSEAD party that night, and go to bed early.

Sleeping and the bag full of medicine worked: I felt better! Looking back on the two previous days, I realized that in fact I did have a good time, in spite of being a bit ill, and minus my little down-moment on Thursday evening.
None the less : I was a very happy girl when P arrived. We went out for breakfast (yes, of course: again on Avenue Wagram), and had a beautiful walk through a sunny Paris. This was our much needed alone-time, before diving back into “the Bubble”, and we enjoyed every minute of it.
We met the INSEAD-crowd around 2.00PM for the Andy Warhol exhibition. Seeing everybody again felt kind of strange (in a funny way): what do you say to people you haven’t spoken to in months, but still you know almost everything that’s going on in their lives through blogs, Facebook, and good old INSEAD-gossip?
The rest of the afternoon was spent in typical INSEAD-randomness: going for petanque in a hailstorm, catching the first bus that comes along without really knowing where it goes, and ending up eating crêpes and drinking cider.
More eating and drinking in the evening: the Paris people had made some really good arrangements by booking half of a restaurant, and by negotiating a fixed entrance&drinks fee in a nice club. Very soon some Mika-song was blasting through the speakers, the dance floor (and stage) were taken over by familiar faces, and the alcohol flowed freely in all directions.
At 3 AM winter time - 4 AM summer time, we were the first ones to leave the ongoing party (which lasted until 6 AM winter time – 7 AM summer time, and where some notorious individual set his girl of the evening on fire. Literally, that is, by kissing her too close to a candle and burning like 10 cm of her hair...

But we managed to go for a nice walk, and we made it to the “afternoon-brunch” (yes, more food). Before we knew it, it was time for goodbyes again. (However, if promises are kept, the next reunion will be in London, somewhere in June!)
It was also time for goodbye for P and me: I jumped on the train to Brussels, P on the plane to Ireland. This long-distance madness will still be going on for the next two months, and right now that seems like an eternity. Ah, what can I say? I love him, I miss him, I want to be with him! (sorry if this is getting too corny for my regular readers, but I just spent 4 days in the City of Love, so I feel it’s totally allowed…)
Right now, I feel that, besides the romantic vibes, I also brought home the French viruses. So I guess it’s time for some sea-water and paracetamol again. And then I’m off to my very own “chambre de luxe”, which I know for sure will be available.
Nigh-night everyone, and thanks for an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Occupational therapy

I just finished packing my bags for Paris after two hectic days of occupational therapy – I had to keep my mind of my mom’s first scan after the chemo. Yesterday I had planned a creative workshop for her and me, and we ended up being very very proud of our spring-flower creation. Today I cleaned the house from floor to ceiling, I did all the washing and ironing, I dropped my laptop once, and my cell phone three times. By five PM the long awaited phone call came : everything was ok, no cancer cells to be seen on the scan. Pfew…At least I got a very clean house and a beautiful centre piece on my table out of it…

Anyway, I’m leaving tomorrow morning, and will be back on Sunday evening.
On the programme:
Reunion with lots of INSEAD friends
Lots of partying
Lots of shopping
Lots of Andy Warhol-art (in the Grand Palais)
And without a doubt : lots of eating (and uhm, yes…some drinking maybe as well)

Monday, March 23, 2009

The interview

Today was The Day. My first job interview in more than 6 years. I didn’t think about it during the weekend, I didn’t dream about it, and I hadn’t told anyone but P (and the blog).
First thing on my mind this morning : what am I going to wear? I almost fell into the same old trap by choosing black trousers, black high heels, and white shirt. Standing in front of the mirror I knew : this is not me. This is “business N” whom I tried to be for x years. And I almost begged myself not to make the same mistake again. If an employer wants to work with me, it has to be really ME. So I just went for my favourite outfit : the gorgeous jeans skirt I bought in France last year, my blue knitted sweater – matching the colour of my eyes perfectly, and my blue leather boots. Looking in the mirror again, I was more than satisfied : this was me, nicely dressed in what I’d like to call “fashionable & cool teacher-style” :-).

As the language school is only two blocks away from our apartment, forget the stress of roadmaps, traffic jams, and finding a parking spot that usually goes with job interviews. I walked out of the door 15 minutes before my appointment, and arrived 10 minutes too early.
What happened next was a strange inversion of the roles. The interviewer, a teacher and “pedagogic advisor” was clearly a bit nervous. I on the other hand, felt completely at ease in this situation : a job interview? So what – I did nothing else for six years! So even if I was sitting at the other end of the table, I just couldn’t help it : before I knew it, I was more or less leading the whole conversation – which didn’t seem to bother the nervous interviewer. I happily provided all the answers to the questions I knew he wanted to ask , but didn’t dare to.
The gutsy side of me which started this whole process continued when I told him that I didn’t want to work full-time, I didn’t want to work on Saturdays, and evenings were ok, but only one or two a week. I guess this was the first interview ever where I so clearly stated what I want, instead of telling them what they want.

Miraculously, it worked! I’m invited to sit in on a few lessons next week to see if their didactic approach suites me. If that’s ok, I can give a “test-lesson”.
We’ll see how all of this continues, but I’m on a slippery slope towards becoming a teacher again! And I can’t stop smiling…

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oops, I did it again!

Right, just as I wrote a post about “not working” this morning, this evening I have my first job interview noted down in my dairy. My own fault.
I walked past the language school where I’d applied for a job yesterday, which is just around the corner of our apartment. And suddenly, I felt brave. I thought : let’s just walk in, and ask if they need teachers, instead of sending boring emails and waiting passively for a reply. So I walked in, and was greeted by a nice receptionist. Yes, sure they were still looking for teachers. Did I have my cv with my? No, but I had sent it yesterday. “Oh, it’s you: N! Now I remember, beautiful cv!”. So we talked a bit more, about my experiences as a language teacher, and five minutes later I walked out with an appointment with 1) the director of the English department and 2) the director of the Dutch department, scheduled next Monday.
I feel really happy, proud of having been gutsy for once, and at the same time I’m very very scared. I only recently found some peace and quiet again in my life, and all that is still brittle. I’m just really worried about the effect that going back to work might have on my emotional health. Only two days ago I told my therapist I would not push myself over my limits again, that I would take it easy, and here I go, barging in on a receptionist, walking out with an interview. *Sigh*, guess I just can’t help it. There’s something wrong with my brake-system.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to drink some camomile tea and do some meditation exercises. And hopefully calm down.

Not working

Two months have passed since I got fired – unbelievable. I’m still paid until the end of July, and hopefully, by then I’ve figured out what I want to do with my life. Right now, this still goes in all directions.
Open the bookshop I’ve been dreaming about for the last 10 years. Although it might just as well be a jewellery or accessory shop. Go into teaching again. Try to find a job as a career counsellor (so I can be my own first customer ;-). Go back into HR . Do something “valuable”, like working for a charity organisation. And the list goes on…

In the mean time, I’ve sent two applications letters. Not really because I desperately wanted those jobs, but more as part of my therapy to see if I was up for it already. The first one was for a part-time job as an assistant in a career counselling company. It caused a sleepless night, panic attacks and nightmares. The second one was for a job as a language teacher, and it caused…nothing, just a slight irritation because I haven’t heard anything from them yet.

The way I feel right now towards working again, has made me realise how much in fact I was/am traumatized by my former job. I continued working for three years in an environment where I felt very unhappy. I was the youngest of the entire department, I constantly had to prove myself twice as hard, there was no room for friendliness or personal contacts, my boss was the harshest, coldest person I’ve ever met, and backstabbing was a daily activity amongst colleagues. And yet, I never left. For all the wrong reasons. Because I wanted to be able to take a leave of absence to go to France with P. Because I already had 6 years of seniority in this company. Because I felt grateful and in debt as they had given me this opportunity. Because I always thought I would be pregnant soon. Because I didn’t want to disappoint my boss. Because my mom got ill, and I didn’t have the strength to look for anything else.And, last but not least: because change terrifies me.

Don’t worry: I’ve learned my lesson. The price I’ve paid the last few months was simply too high. I’ll never push myself to those limits again. Nor will I stay in a situation where I’m unhappy just out of fear of change. The moment I can trust myself for 100% on those two, I’ll be ready to work again.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Old habits

With P out of the country, I find myself effortlessly slipping back into “bachelorette-behaviour”.

I eat standing in the kitchen (I hate sitting alone at the table), while reading or surfing on the net. No cooking whatsoever is done. I scrunch breakfast cereals straight out of the box while watching tv. I leave my shoes trailing around, all through the house. The bathroom is looking rather messy (my weak point, on which I work very hard when P’s home). I only drink Coke. I call my mom several times a day. I forget to do some decent grocery shopping (as there’s no cooking going on…). My clothes are simply everywhere. I don't miss a single episode of my favourite soap.I read for far too long after going to bed. I walk around the house after my morning shower (not dressed yet), still not used to the fact that in a city people can actually see you. I check at least three times if the door is locked before going to bed. And yes, occasionally, I dance in the living room.

And that’s why, on most Thursdays or Fridays, you’ll find me in a cleaning frenzy, with the bathroom on top of my list, rushing to the supermarket, putting my clothes and shoes back where they belong, doing all the laundry and the ironing,…In short: preparing myself to get back into “living-together-mode” for the weekend. Including not drinking out of the bottles in the fridge ;-).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The other side

This morning, while I was reading the blog of a friend who also went to the Indian wedding, I realised I hadn’t given the full picture. I didn’t say or write a word about the poverty I saw. I was prepared for it, I knew what to expect. So when I saw people lying on the streets in rags, I wasn’t really shocked. I knew I was going to see this. I knew I was going to be pursued by begging children. And I knew that, as always in these situations, I had to shut down all emotions of compassion and empathy in order to emotionally survive this trip.

A 4 year old carrying her tiny baby brother – I first thought it was a doll
A little kitten lying in a dark corner, more dead than alive
A girl begging me for money at the open window of our cab, while scratching her head.
Another girl, maybe 8 years old, running after me for money, dragging along a toddler, who was crying because he couldn’t keep up with her.
Those are some images that managed to get beyond my eyes, straight to my heart.

However, I can’t shake of the feeling that the poverty I’ve seen seems like an accepted part of society in India, almost institutionalised. I didn’t feel the will to “move upwards” or change – also reflected in the city of Mumbai itself. No where there were renovation works to be seen, no where I saw proof of something, someone, trying to make life better in this city. Only big billboards with “Lets make Mumbai clean”, as if they want to keep up appearances somehow.
I don’t want to judge, I want to know more.
What do Indians themselves define as “poor”?
How do they see their society?
What do they feel towards begging children?

The Indian fortune teller

Ah...You are Queen of Hearts! You want people to be happy. If people are happy, you are happy. You have very, very big heart
You’ll live very long life. Until 94. You are travelling, so you are in very good health. Travelling at 94 – very long life madam. You will also be very very rich. You have rich life. You give money to charity.
You have very good husband
Me : I’m not married
Ah, but you will have very good husband. You want to be married?
Me: yes, soon.
How old you now?
Me: 32
You will be married at 33. You will have verrry good husband. Very very good marriage
You are in jewelry (me: no), business (me:no), arts (me: not really), IT (me: no)?
Than what you do?
Me: I’m in HR
Ah, you see: Queen of hearts, big heart, work with people
Any more questions madam?
Me: will I have children?
Ah, cannot tell you, you are not married
Me: Pleaaaase tell me, I will be married soon
Turn hand. You’ll be pregnant 2 times. First time: one child. Second time : twins. No doubt. You will have twins. Total of three children.
More questions madam?
Me: no, that’s all. Thank you very much

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Indian impressions

The last 2 days people have repeatedly asked me “Well, how was India?? How was the wedding??” …and each time I’ve found myself speechless. Not knowing what to tell, or how to describe my total immersion in another culture for three days. Unfortunately, I have the same issue when it comes to writing about it. But, I’ll try.

We arrived in our hill top hotel in Udaipur on Friday morning, after a day and night of travelling (and no sleep). We got out of the car, and were greeted by six Indian ladies in sarees, singing, putting flowers around our neck, and putting a red dot on our forehead. Wedding festivities that day were Mehendi (all the ladies get henna tattoos on their hands), and Sangeet (family and close friends of the bride and groom sing and dance, lots of food, and lots of partying till very late at night). Saturday was the day of the actual marriage ceremony, with the Baraat (the groom travelling to the bride on top of a decorated horse, surrounded by a procession of male friends and family, and two bands) and the Hast Melap (a multitude of rituals, going on for 2 hours). Again partying till very late at night, and again lots of food. Sunday we got up very early, travelling back to Mumbai, where we spent the rest of the day discovering the city. We flew back to Brussels on Monday morning, 3 AM.

I remember our trip not as the above schedule though. For me India was bright colours, the constant smell of roses in the air, the taste of unknown spices, balmy nights in gardens full of candles and colourful lampions, non-stop dancing on Bollywood hits, the pride of strong traditions, surprise after surprise, the sun on my skin, dust everywhere, deafening rhythmic music, the crazy beehive-buzz of Mumbai, with the ongoing noise of honking taxis, the sea breeze on top of the Intercontinental Hotel, watching the sunset. And being able to share all this with P and with friends.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Back home

Just a quick post to let you all know that I’m still alive. Barely. After a total of 14 hours of sleep from last Thursday until now, after endless Indian wedding festivities, after culture shock, after non-stop eating and drinking, after jetlag, and after living on Coke, dry bread and immodium for the last 24 hours. Back to bed now – more on India later, I promise. It was an unforgettable experience…

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The last couple of weeks I felt so happy most of the time it was getting a bit scary. I wondered : who is this perky, upbeat person who has taken possession of my body? Rain, sunshine, P home, P abroad,…: I always managed a smile. Until today. I can safely say I really feel like sh** . And where else to spill it all out than here on my blog?

I woke up with a smashing headache. Next I got aware of the fact that every single muscle in my body hurt like hell – no doubt due to my motivation outburst in the gym yesterday. And to complete the list: my stomach has been acting really weird for the last three day (and this even *before* going to India). So after crawling out of bed this morning, looking every bit like a 90-year old – and yet another rush to the bathroom, I was not really looking on the bright side of life. Sure enough, my mailbox offered me once again an overload of baby-news, and before I knew it, tears were making a mess of my keyboard.
I managed to get through the rest of the day, dealing with practical stuff such as packing for the trip. Right now I’m just waiting for P to come home, walking aimlessly round the apartment, feeling like a 2 year old who urgently needs a feeding and a nap. And a big hug.

Ready for India

- get a tan, including getting sunbed on head : done
- walk through the pouring rain for 4 hours, in search of the perfect wedding gift : done
- enter the Cool Consulting Company to get P’s Indian outfit at the reception desk : done
- spend half a fortune on my Indian outfit : done
- go to the pharmacy to get a load of “just-in-case”-medicine : done
- upload the iPod, the camera, and the cell phone : done
- wait at the embassy for a total of three hours to get the visa : done
- get legs waxed, including getting overheated wax on thighs : done
- sit still for one hour until nail polish has finally dried : done
- pack way too much for just 3-4 days : done
- buy energy bars to survive this trip : done

So ladies & gentlemen, seems like I’m ready for our marathon-weekend in India! We’re leaving tomorrow morning, to Mumbai, followed by a flight to Udaipur. Next : two days of partying in Udaipur. Sunday : flying back to Mumbai for another part of the wedding, and on Sunday night : back to Brussels. I’ll better go buy some more energy bars…

Monday, March 9, 2009

Don't let the sun go down on me

I had an early start this morning, as I wanted to go the “centre bronzage” to get a bit of colour on my milky skin before going to India. It had to be a quickie, because I had promised my mom I would take her out to lunch and do some shopping. So the plan was to run to the centre, which is just around the corner, run back home, and jump in the car.
I stumbled down the stairs, through our frontdoor, and bingo : once again there was a white van blocking our garage. Luckily, there was also a police van, parked just 5 metres away. So I walked up to them and explained my little problem. As usual, the moment they realised I was Dutch-speaking, I got the VIP-treatment (as most cops in Brussels are Dutch-speaking, and it simply feels the same as meeting someone from your hometown when you’re abroad).
The van was moved under exaggerated police-supervision, and although my plan was to run to the centre around the corner, I didn’t dare anything else than take the car out of the garage, and drive away with it. Only to park it just behind the corner.

Arriving at the “centre bronzage”, I was already sweating even before hitting the sunbed. But I thought : ok, nice, let’s relax now for 10 minutes. All was going well, until the moment my tan-session ended, and I opened the sunbed. The thick plastic plate, covering the lamps of the upper part, came loose, and fell BOOM-BANG on me! Apparently, it was all causing a lot of noise (yes, I screamed as well), and the girl came rushing to the cabin. “Madame, are you ok???!!” Well, no. The plate had fallen with its sharp edge right on the side of my head, leaving me with a terrible headache. But what could I do, as I was standing there…stark naked? So I put on the bare essentials, and opened the door. The girl was simply in shock to find the sunbed partly disassembled, and started a torrent of excuses. “This had never happened during the five years she worked at the center “ (right, and I had to be the first), “and she would immediately give me my money back” (this was the very least I’d expected).

So I stumbled to my car, my head throbbing harder and harder, driving to my mom. By the time I arrived, two nice big bumps were forming where the plastic plate had hit me. “You immediately have to put something cold against it!” went my mom, and placed the frozen minced meat for tonight’s spaghetti saus against my head. After two hours of minced meat induced cold, the bumps were slowly disappearing. Right now, it still hurts, but at least it’s not that visible anymore. And the spaghetti tasted just fine. Don’t ask me if I have a nice tan.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Taking a UFO to heaven

It was a beautiful sunny morning: clear blue sky, dotted with a few white fluffy clouds. Birds were singing, saying “hello” to spring, while we were saying “goodbye” to Phoebe The Hamster. P and I were there for her until the very end. She went peacefully, and is now resting under a rose bush in the garden.
I’m happy she had such a fun little life, and grateful for all the laughs she gave us. If we were sad, or having a fight, Phoebe was always there to distract us.
She was really tiny – but the emptiness she leaves behind is big.

The picture you see here is my absolute favourite one. She was sitting in a blue plastic bowl, in the empty bath tub in Barbizon. While I was cleaning her cage, P was once again taking tons of pictures of her. This one made us laugh out loud, as it seems if she's flying a UFO. Together with the post I wrote almost a year ago Fabulous Phoebe, I think it's the perfect tribute to her. I’m glad she doesn’t have to suffer anymore, and I hope she’s running one of her marathons in a hamster wheel right now, somewhere in hamster heaven.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The little things

One of my friends put this "questionnaire" on Facebook, causing quite a few laughs. So by lack of anything worthwhile to tell you today, here are my answers.

1. Put your music player on "shuffle".
2. For each question, press the “next” button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments after the song's name, on a new line.
5. Tag at least 10 friends. (that's you dearest reader)
6. Anyone tagged has to do the same, because fun pointlessness spreads like a virus.

If someone says, "Is this okay?" You say?
Desire (U2)
Wohow! There goes my reputation!
What do you like in a guy/girl?
Lilac wine (Katie Melua)
How do you feel today?
When I fall in Love (Miles Davis)
What is your life's purpose?
Born to run (Bruce Springsteen)
Ok, I missed that one. From now on, I’ll train harder.
What is your motto?
My shining hour (Ella Fitzgerald)
What do your friends think of you?
I’ll string along with you (Diana Krall)
"You may not be an angel
Cause angels are so few
But until the day that one comes along
I'll string along with you"
I PROMISE I didn’t cheat!!!
What do you think of your parents?
In my arms (Kylie Minogue)
Couldn’t be more right.
What do you think about very often?
Runaway (The Corrs)
This is just getting too good!
What is 2+2?
Hey Hey (Eric Clapton).
And those are really the only two words in the whole song!
What do you think of your best friend?
The man that got away (Ella Fitzgerald)
Oh no, he didn’t! He’s here to stay :-) !
What do you think of the person you like?
Porgy, (I loves you Porgy) (Bill Evans)
Aaahh, how sweet!
What is your life's story?
Paradise (Vanessa Carlton)

Yeah, sure!
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Don’t Cry baby (Madeleine Peyroux)
Since I got fired last month, I consider this a fitting answer
What do you think of when you see the person you like?
All blues (Miles Davis)
Sorry P
What will you dance to at your wedding?
Funky Dunky (Harry Conninck Jr)
No comment
What will they play at your funeral?
Presque rien (Francis Cabrel)
Translated it means "Almost nothing" - so I guess not much music for me. However, this is such a beautiful song....Pure poetry:

"Je t'envoie des journées entières
Des chats posés sur les genoux
Des murs couverts de fleurs que tu préfères
Et de la lumière surtout

Rien que des musiques légères
Une source entre deux cailloux
Du linge blanc sur tes années de guerre
C'est tout ce que je sais faire c'est tout..."

What is your hobby/interest?
My prerogative (Britney spears)
What is your biggest fear?
Trapped (Bruce Springsteen)
What is your biggest secret?
One flight down (Norah Jones)...
And the chorus line of this one is “now you know, now you know”!
What do you think of your friends?
Los pajaritos (Juan luis Guerra)
How would you describe yourself?
Nice work if you can get it (Ella Fitzgerald)
I’m gonna put this one on a t-shirt!
What will you post this as?
The little things (Colbie Calliat)
How fitting!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A turkey in Turkey (in the Subway)

In French
turkey = dinde
Turkey = la Turquie

In Dutch
turkey = kalkoen
Turkey = Turkije

You probably wonder where all this is leading to. You’ll soon find out, stay with me.
Brussels is slowly becoming a real city. Last year we had the opening of our first Starbucks (granted, it’s in the airport), and a few months ago we welcomed Subway to the local sandwich-scene. Hurray!
What is becoming obvious, is that these international companies are having a bit of a hard time with Brussels’ bilingualism. Which caused me to laugh out loud today when I came across a poster of Subway, showing all their sandwiches. Of course, the names of the ingredients were in French and in Dutch. “turkey” was “dinde” in French all right, but in Dutch it became “Turkije” and not “kalkoen”. So the country instead of the bird. The mistake was repeated at least four times on one poster.
So after ordering my sandwich, I couldn’t resist the urge to tell the guy behind the counter that there was a mistake on his posters. “Really? Let’s go out and see – show me!” So we went outside together, and I explained him the translation mistake (feeling like a teacher all over again). We had a good laugh about it, the guy going “Yeah, at Subway we put entire countries on our sandwiches!”. The joke went on – as I had finished my sandwich, I of course had to answer to the question “Et, c’était bon la Turquie?” And I have to admit : it was a delicious country!


Sometimes I just don’t realize how old I am. I guess I’m just one of these women who will always be a girl. “So?” you might think “No problem in feeling young.” Well no, and yes. The thing is my girlishness also applies to clothes, shoes, jewellery,...Leading to conversations I need to have with myself from time to time, like today.

In a shoe store in Brussels:
Me girl: Woah – cool sneakers, need to try them on
Me woman: Are you sure?
Me girl: yeah there the coolest, and look – yipie, they have my size!
Me woman: Ok, recap: how old are we again?
Me girl: Oh fuck, right, thirty-something
Me woman: So?
Me girl: Ok, Ok I got it, no more pink Hello Kitty sneakers for me, I wont buy them….

Next: jewellery store:
Me girl: Oh! I ab-so-lute-ly love this ring
Me woman: Come on….
Me girl: I know what you’re going to say..Thirty bla-bla-bla, well I don’t give a damn! I like the ring, it costs next to nothing, and it’s mine. It makes me happy just looking at it.
Me woman: I rest my case….

So that’s how I ended up buying a cup cake-shaped ring today. No need to comment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Letting go

For the third time in one week, I woke up thinking it would be Phoebe The Hamster’s last day. So I staid in bed, twisting and turning, followed by a much longer shower than usual. Then I convinced myself to have breakfast first, after which I finally gathered up the courage to call the vet to give an update on her health.

“No, it’s not better”
“No, it’s not worse either”
“Yes, I gave her all the medicine”
“Yes, she eats, but only when I give her something to eat”
“Ok, I’ll call back Friday. Thanks”.

Sigh. I already took the poor thing twice to the vet, every time convinced that he would put her to sleep, but no… I can see she’s in pain, but unfortunately there’s nothing else I can do but give her the medicine, feed her, comfort her. I’m grateful for every extra day with her – but I also know that it’s one more day of suffering and pain for this cute little animal.
I don’t know how much longer I can take this – I’m just going to spoil her with all her favourite food the next few days, preparing her – and myself - for her journey to hamster-heaven….

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


What does a girl do when she’s home alone, her boyfriend away on a business trip?
Right, watch the new season of “Temptation Island”. I have to admit that looking at such a brainless programme for one hour, has left me without any writing-inspiration. I’ve seen at least 100 screen shots of tiny bikinis (enough to motivate me to go to the gym tomorrow); I’ve heard loads of crap (“I’m here for two things: sex and booze”); and I’m now brainwashed enough to picture P in a jacuzzi under a palm tree, surrounded by foresaid tiny bikinis (while the poor guy is in Ireland, where it’s snowing at this very moment, staying at an airport hotel).
I could continue my evening of TV-trash with “Newly wed, nearly dead”, but having our queen-sized bed all to myself for the first time: now that's "Temptation" :-)! Night-night everyone!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Blame it on spring

I came across a website this weekend called “Grace in small things”. It’s a social online network with the following challenge : list five positive things every day. Right. Don’t worry, this blog will not turn into sugar-coated look-how-beautiful-life-is version of things. But spring is undeniably in the air, so I’ve decided to give it a go, just for once.

Here are the five highlights of Saturday, the 28th of February
1. The beautiful bunch of white and raspberry-red tulips I bought for myself
2. The delicious pasta dish I cooked, followed by my home made tiramisu. I can cook, it has been proven once again (sorry for bragging)
3. The new shoes I was wearing for the first time : looking really nice, and comfy!
4. The nice, personal reply I got on an email I sent to a writer whose book I really liked
5. (think-think-think)….Relaxing & reading on the couch in the afternoon, resisting the urge to get in a cleaning frenzy ‘cause we were going to have visitors.

OK, I’m on a roll!
Let’s continue with today:
1. the sun is shining
2. I went to the park this morning, and spring flowers are all over the place. So beautiful!
3. I got really nice comments on my blog (what better way to start the day?)
4. The house looks clean, even if we had a dinner party last night
5. P and I have the rest of the day to ourselves, and will go out soon for a walk and some coffee.

There, I’ve done it! Now I can go on complaining again without feeling guilty about it ;-)