Tuesday, July 21, 2009


There, I’m ready. After three hours of trying on, selecting, putting in the suitcase, taking back out of the suitcase, and searching for that one T-shirt I had in mind, but that seems no longer to be on this planet. Packing for
a) A city trip
b) A beach holiday
c) maybe some hiking
d) and ...meeting the entire future in-law family for the first time
is simply hell. Trust me.
The panic started already yesterday when I realised that my little red trolley would never do. So now I have a bigger, screaming green, and Hawaii-style-flowery one. Plus a bag just for the shoes. That a quarter of my suitcase-space is taken by chocolates and a huge champagne bottle isn’t helping either. Nor is the fact that I’m dragging an entire pharmacy along. But, like I said : it’s done. I think I have everything in my suitcase to make a nice first impression, to walk endlessly through Mexico-city, to climb some pyramid in a jungle, to enjoy the beach, and to go out in the evening. Mission impossible achieved.

Other random things that happened today:
- It’s the Belgian national holiday
- I got hit by hailstones the size of golf balls
- And I wondered: What’s better? Wanting to achieve a dream so badly that it’s killing you softly? Or giving up on the dream, and surviving, sort of? I don’t know.

Monday, July 20, 2009

36 years

Speaking of marriages, I almost forgot: it’s my parents’ wedding anniversary today. They’ve been married for 36 years! Wow... I’m so proud of them because they always managed to make it work. Even when money was tight, even when my dad lost his job, even when they argued...They always made our family a safe haven for me (maybe too safe).
When I left the “nest”, I was really afraid that things would go wrong. But it was the opposite. Year after year, I see my parents getting closer – enjoying every day together. Sure, they still argue. I guess the day they stop doing that, I really have to start worrying.
They walk hand in hand, my dad does romantic stuff like buying a surprise treatment in a beauty farm for my mom, and my mom gets up at 6.00AM every day to have breakfast with my dad. I hope they can still be together for a very very long time...

Dear amigos,

Today, P and I checked out yet another wedding venue. I have a very good feeling about this one, even if it’s not really the most beautiful one we saw the past few weeks. But it has so many plusses, it’s hard to say “no” to.

- It’s still available on the date we want.
- It’s in one of the most renowned hotels of Brussels. So everybody can go straight to bed after the party, and we can all have breakfast together.
- It would be in less than walking distance from the place where we (hopefully) get married.
- We stick to our plan of getting married IN Brussels, and not in the middle of nowhere.
- So no logistical nightmares to get everybody to the party and back again.
- The chef has a Michelin-star; and the menu looks very very mjumie
- It’s right near one of the most beautiful spots in Brussels.
- The service appears to be great. I got a phone call the day after I sent a request for information. (this might sound normal, but believe me – it isn’t; with all the others, I had to make an average of three phone calls and send numerous emails to get some sort of reply)
- The event manager made it clear there’s room for negotiation concerning the price.
- Because, yes, right, ....it’s *expensive* - to say the least. (This is the only minus-point I’ve found so far, but then again : it seems that getting married just is expensive. Period.)
- Getting married in a hotel has this touch of American Glamour to it – which I kind of like, I must admit.

If it was up to me, this would be it. The total package looks ideal, and we can offer our guests the very best. Not to mention that we get to stay in the Bridal Suite, and our bed will be strewn with fresh rose petals (clich̩, I know Рbut girls really do dream of these things).
Now, all that is left to do, is hope that P will become as convinced as I am. And then, dear ladies and gentlemen, believe it or not, but then......we have a date!!! And with that cliff-hanger I leave you, until the next episode...


With thanks to http://cuteoverload.com

Things to be grateful for

About a month ago I made this list of “things to be grateful for”.
Looking at that list today, I can only laugh at myself. In a cynical way.
Let’s go through the list again.

- Friends who are concerned about me.
Yes, they are. But I tend to shut myself off when I’m in pain. So what’s the use?
- Healthy parents, who are always there for me.
One week after writing this, we found out my mom had to be operated again.
- P who loves me, protects me, and gives me security.
And who shows as much interest into our whole wedding planning as I did in algebra.
- A cute little hamster to hug whenever I feel a bit down.
Yes, sure. Like half an hour ago – and then I accidentally drop her, get all the blame for it, feel guilty as hell, and feel even worse.
- A nice, big apartment.
True. How much longer I’ll be able to pay my share of the rent without burning my savings account completely is another issue
- A job I really love
And that is not paying the bills.
- A doctor who listens to me
And happens to be on holiday, and then I’m on holiday, and does it help anyway?
- A marriage to look forward to
If I manage to find the courage to keep on planning it.
- A closet full of nice clothes.
Way too many clothes, that is. Shopaholic, anyone?
- A subscription to a gym to have a good workout
A subscription that is giving me nightmares, as the gym-people keep messing up my account.
- Meditation exercises that help me relax and unwind
OK, that one still stands. (for now)
- A nice park in the neighbourhood, giving me the green space I need.
And which also happens to be invaded by moms + babies all the time. Sensitive spot.

Did you notice I’m in a bit of a bad mood?
Make that bad mood, angry, sad and disappointed – all at the same time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One year ago...

...we arrived back in Brussels, with two overloaded cars. I felt completely and utterly lost. We had just left our Barbizon-home, Fonty and all of our INSEAD-friends. I had lost the safety and security of healthy parents. I was about to loose my own little apartment as P and I were looking for a place big enough for both of us. All my belongings were or in boxes, or at my parents, or at P’s home, or simply lost. And I was still stuck with a job I didn’t want to go back to. It was hell. It was the beginning of the end. I fought for a few more months, but then it was over&out.
Looking back on last year’s summer, I can only be happy that it’s somewhere in the past. It can’t be undone, it’s still very present in my memory and the scars are still there. But life is much nicer to me now. And I’m much nicer to life as well.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Moving movies

I know, I know : I haven’t written a lot lately. Well, as a matter of fact, I’ve written loads. Entire textbooks. Literally. But I guess this blog would become a little bit boring if I started posting, let’s say, grammar exercises. (Hmm, maybe I could make a blog like that...Food for thought)

Anyway, this week was, beside a lot of teaching, all about movies.
I saw two movies in one week, which, for me, is an absolute record. The other exceptional thing is that I saw these movies not a) in you standard giant theatre or b) at home, in front of the TV.

Movie-experience nr. 1 was “Pirates of the Caribbean”. And we saw this one at what you could call “a home cinema”. One of our friends has an enormous projector screen, a high definition projector, a sound system that makes the entire building tremble, and lots of other geeky stuff of which I don’t even know the name. So with a pancake-induced food coma, we let ourselves sink away in the couch, armed with popcorn, and watched the pirates. I must admit I fell asleep a few times – it was just too comfy.

Movie-experience nr.2 was “Gran Torino”. For this we went to the Movy Club in Vorst (part of Brussels). The Movy Club has to be one of the best kept secrets of Brussels. It’s a very old cinema: stepping inside is like time travelling back to the Fifties (including flowered wall paper, and curtain in front of the screen). The theatre is kept by one old guy, who does the ticketing, the bar, the movie,...well: everything. A ticket costs 4,80 Euro, so it also has to be one of the cheapest theatres in town. And yet : there’s never a crowd. There’s also no heating. So remember, if you go in winter, to bring a blanket.

In our very own movie “The impossible quest for a wedding venue” we are still stuck at that point in the story line where you think there will never be a happy ending.
To be continued...