Monday, December 27, 2010

And the light returned

We made it through the darkest days, which were lightened up by snow, and more snow. Even Brussels got its fair share. I spent this white Christmas in the Ardens, far away from internet connection or cell phone reception. Buried in one meter snow. Wrapped in layers of thermic clothing. Thoroughly testing the new camera, enjoying some very precious Q-time with the parents, and receiving lots of Christmas presents. Santa threw some very nice gifts through the chimney this year, some more surprising than others. So although it was -10°C, it was a very warm holy night.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The bad birthday karma

Me and birthday parties, we have a thing. And it’s not a good thing. Actually, it’s so bad, that 10 years ago, I decided to never ever organize another birthday party again, for as long as I lived. Somehow, something always happens to all my guests. They forget. Or they become sick. Or they suddenly have an increased workload. Or they are stuck in traffic. Or they get lost. Or they are too scared to drive. Or whatever.

The last year I still lived at my parents, I waited more than 3 hours for the first guests. The food was cold. P and I had started eating. Finally, 2 people showed up. The rest came when we were clearing the table, and I was on the verge of tears. I said: “Never again”.

The first year I had my own apartment, I thought: let’s try it again. Very bad idea. I sat alone, on my birthday, in my flat, until 22.30pm. Then one guest arrived. P arrived half an hour later. 20 minutes later, the party was over, as my one guest went home. I swore: never ever again.

Until this year. I know. Stupid idea. Yesterday, I had 16 confirmed guests. I couldn’t believe my luck. I thought the bad birthday karma was finally broken. I ordered food, and more food. My mom made a huge birthday cake for my party (the same she always made when I was a kid, and people still showed up at my parties). At 3 PM today everything was ready. Then the phone started ringing. One after the other, they cancelled. Because it snowed. Well hey, it happens to be winter, you know. I wonder if people in let’s say Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, or Canada never go to parties because they have snowy winters.

In the end, 5 people showed up (and no, they didn’t live right next door, and yes, they took their car and drove through the snow, and yes, they *miraculously* survived.) I’m very, very grateful to those few friends who didn’t let me down, who tried to fill the room, and did their best to conquer the mountains of food.

However, we are left with 19 cupcakes, 3 bottles of champagne, numerous bottles of wine and soft drinks, bags of crisps, boxes of olives, at least 5 different cheeses, three baguettes, etc, etc. And 3/4th of the huge birthday cake my mom lovingly made all by herself, and brought to me this morning (yes, 37 km through the snow).

So, you can already guess what I’m going to say now, right? Right. Never again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The party season

Last weekend : our wedding anniversary
This morning : Christmas brunch for all P’s colleagues
This evening : Santa Lucia dinner at our downstairs’ neighbours
Next Friday : concert in Brussels with P
Next Saturday : Big Consulting Company’s Christmas party
Next Sunday : my birthday party for friends
Next Monday : my birthday dinner for family

After that, things will become too blurry, due to too much food and alcohol. But I’m sure there are other things following (Christmas and New Year’s, to name a few)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Say cheese!

Exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, … My head is buzzing with new camera-related vocabulary. God, I have so much to learn. And as usual, I’m a very impatient learner. That’s why I watched over 10 tutorial Youtube-video’s, read an online manual, and tried out every single button on the camera… in one afternoon. Result: I took some great pics (if I say so myself),….but I honestly can’t remember any more how I took them (in what mode, program, or whatever).

P is desperate to have 5 minutes without a lens poking into his face, hamster Lucy wishes she could open her eyes for a minute without being blinded by a flash, and if the Christmas tree had feet…he would run right back into the forest.

So, as you’ve guessed by now: I’m quite happy with my first real dSLR-camera!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

One year ago

One year ago, I had a great night with some very special friends. K, all the way from London, and K and C, my two maids of honour. It was the eve of my wedding, and I felt great. Not nervous, just happy. Happy to get married, happy to have all those precious friends around me. It was such a wonderful time, that all through last week, I was afraid. Afraid to feel sad and nostalgic. And hey, guess what? I had a fantastic day today.

Outside, a snowstorm was raging. I put up the Christmas tree, while P put Frank Sinatra’s Christmas songs in the CD player (an open fire would’ve made the scene perfect). P faced the storm to come back home and surprise me with the camera I've been saving for the past months. I re-read the last post before my wedding , and laughed out loud. Now,while writing this, P is having dinner with his family, and I’m home alone.

Preparations for tomorrow’s surprise: check
Great dinner from Italian deli : check
Rented movie : check
Married for one year : check :-) !

Friday, November 26, 2010

The first jingle of bells

Yesterday, the first snowflakes hit Belgian soil. The Brussels’ Christmas Market is ready to open. My Christmas decoration is impatiently waiting in our garage. Temperatures have dropped below zero, and the hilly Ardennes got a beautiful white carpet. Winter has arrived. Meaning:
- P & I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary
- It will be “Sinterklaas” very soon
- my birthday is in a few weeks
- and so are Christmas and New Year.

In other words: I never know whether to feel happy or sad this time of year. As a result, I always get stuck in some kind of nostalgic twilight zone. But I’ll do my very best to stay focused on all the twinkly Christmas lights, and forget that’s it already dark at 4.30 pm. I’ll also try to forget my age, and refrain from the habit of making an analysis of the past year. I’ll try to lower my expectations concerning parties, gifts, surprises, etc. And there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that I’ll be celebrating New Year (ever) again in an airplane. I won’t cry on my birthday (another bad habit), and I’ll try to control myself when it comes to Christmas decoration (but can’t make any promises on that one...).

So there, these are my “Old Year resolutions”.
Should be entirely do-able :-) (I know it should be "feasible", but do-able is just a funnier word)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

FYI : it's PTO

This conversation took place yesterday evening

N : I have a job interview tomorrow evening
P : Well, you better be home on time, ‘cause I have…P – T – O !!!
N : huh?
P : PTO!! It’s this really cool new thing we have at work!!!
N : (questioning look, & noticing that this PTO thing must be far more interesting than her job interview)
P : “Protected Time Off” !!! Everyone on the team now has one PTO-evening, so we can do stuff like sports, or meeting friends, or going home on time,…!!!
N : Wow – careful, you guys might end up having a normal life…

So ,for the past 7 years that P has been working at the Big Consulting Company, I’ve been asking for one free evening a week. You know, just one evening were we could have dinner together around 8, just like normal people. Needless to say, this never happened. Up until this three-letter word appeared. Now it’s suddenly “a really cool new thing”.

And that’s why, dear readers, from now on, I will put all my wishes and demands in three-letter words. Because apparently, a little marketing-trick is all it takes.
These are some of the projects in the pipeline:

WTP : wish to procreate
CAN : communicative action needed
PTT : planned time together

Damn, this is so easy! Now a little power point presentation to sell the whole idea, act as if it’s a totally new concept, and BINGO!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Life path

My parents.
Does this picture need more words? I guess not.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Three-dimensional experience

Tonight I took my godchild A and his mom to the movies. For me, it was going to be a “first one”, namely my first 3D-experience. After 5 minutes, I felt as if my eyes were going to pop out of my head, cartoon-style. I was squinting so hard that, by the end of the movie, all the carefully applied anti-wrinkle serums of the past 5 years were a wasted effort. Teary eyes followed. A headache was building up. I was even getting dizzy.

A quick search on the net learned me that I’m not the only one suffering from these side-effects. While typing this, my eyes are still acting weird – as if my left eye is focusing on a point further away than my right eye.

So, sorry to say this, but I hate 3D. A screen is flat – I like to keep it that way.

Other than that, the film was great. A. wet his pants after a bucket of coke, and not reaching the toilets in time during the break. He walked out of the theatre in his undies, covered up by my long winter coat. He told me and his mom to stop laughing (which we tried, but failed). We introduced the new term “poop” instead of “shit”( maybe now you know which movie we saw). We took goofy pictures with our 3D-glasses on. We stole a parking spot from someone else. And we ended the night at McDo. Not a “despicable” night out at all :-) !

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The yearly visit

Waiting room full of new moms and newborns. And soon-to-be-moms. And me.

Finally, my turn.

(skip details)

Doc : So you want to have children? I see here you said so last year. And plans yet?

Me: well, yes. And no.

Doc : (in a very sweet voice) You know that as of 30 your fertility seriously decreases, and it takes another plunge downwards around 35, which is..(checks my file) ah, within one year. In my own experience, couples over 30 take about a year or more to get pregnant – if it all works out allright. So I’ll be honest with you: if you want children, and especially more than one, no, there is not that much time left.

Me: (nodding, smiling) Mhmh. Right. (as if I didn’t know all that already).

Outside again. On my bike, going very fast downhill. Sometimes the ice cold wind is a welcome excuse for watery eyes. And thank god for the Dutch goodies waiting for me at home.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dutch delicacies

P and I just got back from a little get-away in the Netherlands. Arnhem, Nijmegen, the Veluwe, and lots of rain. But it was great to pay another visit to our neighbours in the north. The friendliness of the people, the cleanliness of simply everything, the car-free city centres, the cheap grocery shopping, the cool clothes shops, the coziness of the pubs and restaurants…It all adds up to a place I love visiting.

And then I haven’t mentioned the food yet. For years Belgians have looked down upon the “Dutch cuisine” – don’t ask me why. All I can say, is that every time I go North, I spoil myself endlessly with
- saté saus (a sauce made of peanuts),
- stroopwafels (fresh waffles filled with sugar syrup),
- apple pie (it’s their staple food),
- pancakes (there’s a “pannenkoekenhuis” with at least 30 varieties in even the smallest town),
- snert ( a thick pea soup with pieces of smoked sausage),
- Fries suikerbrood ( bread with loads of sugar and cinnamon in it),
- vla ( a kind of light pudding),
- hagelslag (very small pieces of chocolate or coloured sugar that you can sprinkle on anything you like), - and last but not least : poffertjes (best described as tiny, puffy pancakes, served with butter and sugar).

The list of jummy foods gets significantly longer at this time of year, because then the Dutch celebrate “Sinterklaas” (the original version of Santa Claus). So think: pepernoten, kruidnoten, gevulde speculaas, taai-taai (all different kinds of biscuits full of winter spices such as cinnamon,) , letters van banket (flaky letter-shaped pastry filled with allmond paste), etcetera, etcetera.

So it should be no surprise the P and I came back with as much food as our tiny fridge and kitchen can contain. We imported a bit of Holland into Brussels – and I think that it’s safe to say that, by the end of this week, nothing will be left of it. Eet smakelijk!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Brain zaps

Twinge, snap, zap goes the brain
Making me even more insane
Don’t worry, just a side effect
Go on and try to neglect
Feeling like you’re coming down with flu?
Ah, side effect too
Being nauseous and dizzy
Also part of this cold turkey
This is the reward for feeling better again
Blowing up your last smile and “zen”
Checking if you’re really up to it
Want to stop? Here, another crying fit
Think you can do without?
Fine, here’s some anger – feel free to shout
Aah, what a shame – you forgot
You’re too weak, are you not?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Move over, Ladurée

So you thought you had to go to Paris for the best macarons, hm? Wrong! THE Best Ever, without any doubt, are to be found five minutes from my doorstep (as if having the best cupcakes just around the corner wasn’t enough).

Fabrice Collignon is the man who does all the magic. He has worked as a “patissier” in several multiple-Michelin-star restaurants in Paris, New York, etc., before settling down right here in Brussels. The macarons are homemade on a daily basis, and they melt in your mouth before you can say “whoa, what was THAT?!” Seriously, Ladurée tastes like rubber compared to these. Like an angle peeing on your tongue – or so the Dutch saying goes.

And then I haven’t told you anything yet about his heavenly, and very beautiful, cakes. Or the biscuits. Or the pralines. Just go check it out for yourselves. And don’t shoot the messenger for that extra pound you gained after just one visit.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Friends, cupcakes, hamburgers, baby-cuddling, and a working computer. Can't complain. Time to go to bed. A good night's sleep would be nice to complete the list.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

There goes the neighbourhood (or not)

Big-city life is always surprising. One minute you're enjoying a lazy evening in front of the TV, next minute you realize that all the screaming you hear is actually not on TV, but in your street.

Our street is quiet. Okay, we have the homeless shelter right around the corner - but honestly, those guys are quite alright. Apart from the dozens of empty beer cans they leave behind. So this evening, when I heard a woman scream her lungs out (and after I realized it was not the background noice of the TV), I opened the window to see what was going on. Early Halloween celebrations? Not likely, but you never know with all the expats around here.
The commotion was right in front of the fanciest building of the whole block - huge lofts, and a galery for fashion photos. A screaming woman was being dragged out by two men. She was putting up quite a fight as well. She re-entered the building. Same scenario a few seconds later. Screaming on the top of her voice, and being dragged out by two men, pushing and shoving going on in all directions.

After watching this a couple of minutes, I decided I had enough of this little drama. I pulled my boots on, and went outside, ready to confront the bunch of trouble makers. Or this had to stop, or I would call the police. (yes, I know, maybe a bit reckless - but spectator sports have never been my thing).

So there I went, tough little N in boots, straight into the action.

Ah, what else but a love affair could've caused all this havoc? A woman disturbed the fancy vernisage because a man she loves was there with another woman. Apparently, she also slapped him in the face, and threw a few wine glasses around.

Anyway - something in all of this made me very happy (besides the fact that the bastard got slapped in the face :-). I was not the only neighbour who decided to not just stand by and watch. 2 others showed up (ok, granted, they were guys twice my size), and 2 more made it into their doorway. The 2 guys were daddies and had sleeping babies at home. The neighbour with the cute doggie was alarmed by foresaid doggie, and also came to have a look. Neighbour number four was, of course, our old next door lady who simply needs to know everything that's going on in our street.

So ha, our tiny neighbourhood just gave a good kick in the butt of some prejudices about city-life.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A bit of nothing

Since I'm not writing that regularly, this is what you've missed:

- my brand new blue laptop refuses to go online. So it's back to good old snail-speed laptop.

- summer is gone, autumn is here (well, you actually might have noticed that without the help of my blog). And with that, the warm water bottle has made a re-entry.

- P and I were in Belgium last weekend! An we enjoyed a great evening at the fanciest sports club in town thanks to our friends M & V. Think "chateau", heated outdoor swimming pool, huge jacuzzi, steam bath, sauna, etc.

- I have two baby-visits planned. And I keep postponing them until...Well, probably until the kids are about 5.

- My hair is shorter again.

- I'm in need of a real holiday. No partying, no socialising, no family visits, no 2day-getaway, no jetlags. But a REAL one (books, pool, sun, nature,...)

- Belgium still doesn't have a new government.

- Completely in Halloween spirit, I made delicious pumpkin soup.

- Three more days until the long weekend...

- I have to go to work now. And guess what. Right, I don't feel like it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Driving down memory lane

Last weekend P and I decided last minute to jump in the car and drive to Paris. The reason was simple: plenty of friends happened to be in town at the same time – some of them we hadn’t seen in a very long time, others would soon be moving to further-away places, and still others were so kind to offer us a free place to sleep!
Trying to keep things a bit low-budget, we opted for car instead of Thalys. The last time we did that exact same trip was more than two years ago, with two overloaded cars – moving back from Barbizon to Brussels.

I can’t remember how many times I did that stretch of highway – driving back and forth during P’s INSEAD year. Suffice it to say that last Saturday I realized I still knew the road signs by heart. And of course we made the obligatory stop in “Assevillers”. Yesterday, while dozing off a few times on the way back, I wondered how in the hell I did it those 4 first months: driving for more than 4 hours on a Friday evening after a heavy work week, party all weekend, and drive 450 km back on Sunday night. Ah, the things we do for love :-) …

Anyway, we had a great time in Paris. My last visit was more than a year ago – and once again it felt a bit like coming home. The crispy autumn leaves reminded me of the romantic weekends I had there with P, many years ago, when he and a colleague had their own little flat near the Champs Elysées. The fact that I don’t need a city map anymore on every single street corner took me back to the lonely days I wandered through the city, whenever I needed to escape from Fontainebleau. The many friends we saw again this weekend made me realize that, however tough it was from time to time, it was worth it.

Paris was – and still is – the comforting city of Love.

Octobre (Francis Cabrel)

Le vent fera craquer les branches
La brume viendra dans sa robe blanche
Y'aura des feuilles partout
Couchées sur les cailloux
Octobre tiendra sa revanche
Le soleil sortira à peine
Nos corps se cacheront sous des bouts de laine

Perdue dans tes foulards
Tu croiseras le soir
Octobre endormi aux fontaines
Il y aura certainement,
Sur les tables en fer blanc
Quelques vases vides et qui traînent
Et des nuages pris aux antennes

Je t'offrirai des fleurs
Et des nappes en couleurs
Pour ne pas qu'Octobre nous prenne
On ira tout en haut des collines
Regarder tout ce qu'Octobre illumine
Mes mains sur tes cheveux
Des écharpes pour deux

Devant le monde qui s'incline
Certainement appuyés sur des bancs
Il y aura quelques hommes qui se souviennent
Et des nuages pris aux antennes
Je t'offrirai des fleurs
Et des nappes en couleurs
Pour ne pas qu'Octobre nous prenne

Et sans doute on verra apparaître
Quelques dessins sur la buée des fenêtres
Vous, vous jouerez dehors
Comme les enfants du nord
Octobre restera peut-être.
Vous, vous jouerez dehors
Comme les enfants du nord
Octobre restera peut-être.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

One click away

Yesterday evening I came home completely exhausted and emotionally drained. My mom had been to hospital for another chemo-treatment, and was, as usual, very sick. So all afternoon and evening I tried to comfort her, and ease her pain a bit, or simply pick her up when she’d fainted again. Seeing someone you love suffer so much is, well, there are just no words for it. Gutted, heart ripped out,…I guess those come closest.

So when I entered our flat, and slumped on the couch, I was in desperate need of some comforting company. While hamster Lucy was running around on my lap, arms and shoulders (her way of cuddling :-) , I went online. Just to check the TV program. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by friends! A friend from London, making plans to meet up in Paris this weekend. Another friend from closer to home, making me laugh as usual. A musician from Colombia I met last weekend, letting my listen to his songs. And an old student from Germany, visiting Brussels next week and looking forward to seeing me again.

In less than 5 minutes, 4 people were knocking on my virtual door, giving me the so needed company and diversion. It would’ve been cool to have them all in my living room in real life (they would’ve made a fun bunch, with life music on top of it) but this was a very, very good second best.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Last weekend

Amazingly beautiful Mallorca.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hello again

Yes. It’s there. Looming in the dark. Waiting behind the corner, ready to attack. Impatient. Lashing out to let me know it’s there. To give me a feel of the pain it can cause. As if I don’t know that already.
I can’t run from it, there’s no way to go. I just have to face it, sooner or later, and either take the fall, or (miraculously) conquer it.

Monday, October 4, 2010's Monday again.

- I almost didn’t get any sleep because my alarm clock refused to change the wake-up time from 9 AM to 7 AM (I think it’s psychic). The few hours I slept I had nightmares, waking up P with my screams (same stupid dream over and over again- boy, Mr Shrink will have loads of work tomorrow).

- P left very early on a business trip, leaving me with what I first thought to be a sweet bye-bye note on the kitchen counter. Nope, it was just a note reprimanding me for not plugging his laptop back in after I’d used the socket for the water boiler to make tea. Good morning to you too, honey. Yes, I miss you too.

- I decided to turn things around in a positive way. Get a grip, get active, take the Villo-bike to work. Yes, good idea, only all the stations in a 1 kilometer radius of the school were full, so I ended up arriving late (and very sweaty) at work.

- The friend whose hen night I missed because I felt emotionally drained after saying goodbye to my grandmother’s house, and after I couldn’t bring up the energy at 10.30 PM to get on my bike and drive to some bar through the rain, is obviously still angry at me for not coming.

- All the job offers for Dutch trainers in Brussels are for “free-lance”. Damn, is it really too much to ask to get a bloody fixed contract, even for only 20 hours? *sigh*

- On a positive note: my lovely students (yes, even the ones “from Hell”) noticed my obvious distress and lack of sleep, and were very easy on me.

If by now you have the impression I’m wallowing in self-pity: yes, I am. Allow me. Give me a pat on the shoulder and say “ yes, poor N, your life is tough. You deserve a hug, a homemade dinner and a back rub. Then I’ll make you some tea and I’ll tuck you in”



(God, even Lucy the Hamster is ignoring me.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cut down

There, it’s done. Yesterday, I went for the very last time to my grandparents’ house. To see it one last time, before the new owners start breaking down the walls. To see if I wanted any furniture or other stuff. I do, I want all of it…I just haven’t got one square meter of free space to put anything.

I feel like I have to say goodbye to a very large piece of my life. My roots are being cut away, and there’s nothing else replacing it. No new branches or no new leaves full of hope and future. I look back: there’s nothing left but memories. I look at the here and now: one of my parents very ill, and me – not getting anywhere with my life. I look at the future: no clues, no certainties, only unfulfilled dreams. This little twig on the family tree is not growing, although, God knows, I’ve been trying for years.

Anyway, the house where my grandfather and my mother were born, and where three generations lived and loved, is gone. More than a century of my family; a place where I always felt very safe and protected, and where I was always loved. The people are gone, the place is gone.

People who have never known such a home fail to understand how I feel. They say “it’s just a house, you still have the memories”. Like calling a picture of a loved one “just a piece of paper”. I gave up trying to explain. Sometimes feelings cannot be put into words, sometimes feelings can’t just be understood by others. So sometimes it’s just you, and a box of Kleenex.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today's P's birthday. So for a bit more than two months he has the privilege of having a younger wife. More birthdays are on the way, as two very good friends of ours are about to become parents any minute now.
September is also the birthday-month of this blog, which was started in 2007.
So happy birthday to husband, to baby on the way, and to my own blog. Hope it's going to be a great year!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The students from Hell

This morning I dragged myself out of bed after a horrible night – almost no sleep, bad dreams,…the usual suspects. The day ahead looked anything but promising: 4 hours with “the students from hell”, followed by 2,5 hours of challenging language teaching to a bunch of electricians.

The students from hell have managed to spoil my last three weekends. I have them on Friday afternoon and on Monday morning. 2 groups of 12 adults following a one-year program to become “administrative employees”. And behaving like the worst 16-year olds I’ve encountered in my teaching career.

So this morning, when I found myself way too early in Midi station sipping coffee, I almost ran to the Thalys platform to jump on the next train to Paris – kind of a “let’s do a wild escape”. Of course, instead, I meekly went to school. My bag stuffed with lessons I once again spent hours on, in an attempt to get them motivated.

Right before the lesson however, I decided to throw all teaching methods and lesson plans overboard. I put the advanced ones into groups of three and made them write an essay.. I made the beginners write a Dutch dictionary with all the words they already know. So no fancy “communicative approach” but “bite your biro and sweat it out until you have at least two pages”.
It worked. I’ve never seen them work so hard. They were quiet and concentrated. They really wanted to do a good job. For next lesson, I’ve planned a test. I’ll have them sweat and work again. No more mercy.

And in the meantime, I have my set of 7 private “students from Heaven” – who deserve a mentioning here as well :-).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A little gem in Chatelain

Last night we went out for dinner at La table à Caro, a tiny restaurant in our neighbourhood. It has no “concept” (like theme-inspired menus in lightened tubes), the interior is not pretentiously modern or stylish, the staff is not selected on their bra-size.

No, Table à Caro is about food. From starter to dessert: everything was simply delicious. Smack in the middle of Chatelain, it has to compete with all the overprized big names, such as La Quincallerie. I want it to survive. So please, do me a favour, and go there. I promise you won’t regret it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hello hospital?

Last week, for the first time since getting fired 1,5 year ago, I sent my cv for a job with a fixed contract. Yes, I broke out in a sweat, and my heart rate went into the red zone. But, it was a job as a language trainer – so I considered this a save leap.
The only thing I “missed”, was that it was to be a language trainer in a Brussels’ hospital. And N and Brussels hospitals have quite a history of not getting along very well, to put it mildly. Let’s just say that I have some 2 year-old bills I refuse to pay. Don’t ask.
Anyway – this was a different hospital –so I acted against better judgment.

This week, after not receiving any reaction whatsoever, I decided it was time to give them a call. So I rang up Mr. X, HR director of the biggest hospital group of the Brussels’ region. Here follows the telephone conversation. No, I didn’t leave out any words. No, I haven’t made up anything.

X : Yes? (no name, no nothing)
N : Uhm, hello sir. My name is N. Am I speaking to Mr. X, please?
X : Yes.
N : Good morning Mr. X. I’m calling concerning your vacancy for a language trainer
X : Can you keep it short? I have another line.
N : (gasping for breath, and thinking "what the F***?")I’ve sent my cv last week. I just wanted to check if you received it well, and what the next steps in the procedure are.
X : I’ve sent all cv’s to the “Huis van het Nederlands” (= main Dutch language organization in Brussels). They choose, and if they find someone, they’ll let me know. Okay?
N : Okay – thank you for the information sir. Have a good day.
X : (just hung up)

I think it’s safe to say that Mr. X is rather impolite and rude. I think we can assume that he’s not a nice guy. I think I’m pretty sure I never want to work for him.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A tricky question

From time to time people ask me if my wedding day was, as people say, “the most beautiful day of my life”. To which I diplomatically respond that my life is not over yet, say I can’t possibly say :-).

Was my wedding day an amazing day? Of course. It was so special, so intense, so overwhelming,… It was a day I had been dreaming about for years and years, and suddenly it was there. I enjoyed every single minute of it. And yes, I did feel like a princess :-).

Then why do I not simply say that “yes, it was the most beautiful day of my life?” For the simple reason that there are so many other fantastic moments I’ve shared with P; moments in which I felt as special as on my wedding day.

The first one that comes to mind is the INSEAD Summer ball. I remember thinking that night, while watching the fireworks in P’s arms “this is it, it can’t get any more romantic than this”. I came from weeks of terrible news and hospital rooms – and all of a sudden I stood there, In France, in my first real gala-dress. I will never forget that night – the hugs from friends, and P letting me feel that I could let go of everything, and he would take care of me.

Our first New Year’s night together, although almost ten years ago, is another one I will never forget. Or the week we spent in a tiny B&B in Florence one spring. The fall weekends in Paris when P shared a flat with a colleague near the Arc de Triomphe. The Valentine evening when he surprised me by taking me to a reading of beautiful romantic prose by famous authors. The night he took care of me when I lay flat out on a bathroom floor in Cuba. Or the morning he postponed a business trip to Germany because my hamster was dying (don’t laugh).

What was unique about our wedding day, is the fact that we spoke out our love for eachother, and celebrated it with all our friends and family. And the “yes” that made it all official, made me the happiest girl in the world.
But as I’ve said – P has made me the happiest girl of the world on many other days as well :-).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Münich

Last weekend we went to the city that caused me sleepless nights and nightmares for several months. (the exact reasons are, sorry, classified). So while I was extremely happy to be part of what was to be a great wedding, I wasn’t exactly “over the moon” to go back to Münich.

Stepping out of the “bahnhof” I couldn’t help thinking “oh God, I still don’t like it”. So while P was having a lengthy conf call in our hotel room, I spent the better part of an entire hour reading in the lobby. I managed to cross the street for a quick visit to the Accesorize-shop, but ended up buying nothing. In my opinion the ultimate proof that Münich and I just weren’t made for eachother.

Still, I was hopefull. What better way to start liking a place than sharing great moments with loads of friends? (hell, we even liked Fonty in the end, didn’t we?). So with renewed courage I went to the Biergarten-party on Friday night. And yes, we had great fun. Until we were on our way back to the hotel, and P mentioned that yes, he could live in a place like this. Which sent me right back to hating the goddamned town.

Saturday. The Big Day for C&E. A train took us out of the city, to lake Starnberg. Okay, this was more like it. This was great. We spent the entire afternoon on a boat, soaking up sunshine and champagne. 1 – 0 for Münich for having such a beautiful spot just 40 minutes outside of the city. The evening party took us straight back to the 1920ies, with ladies in beautiful dresses, and gents in suits and hats.

Sunday – the day after. This stubborn German city just wouldn’t give up. As if it had to convince me that it wasn’t all that bad, the sun was out again. Blue skies, and a nice 24°C. What was not to like? P And I, by now quite familiar with Münich, took some friends on a walk to show them the most beautiful spots. The surfer boys showing off on the river Istar, the beautiful English Gardens where people are sunbathing naked, and the Biergarten in the middle of this huge park. We sat down on a very sunny terrace for (once more) beer and bretzels, and by then I was defeated.

Okay Münich, you win. I guess you’re not all that bad ;-) .

Monday, September 6, 2010

Must be Monday

Can I rant & ramble for a bit?

- Morning: 2 new groups of 12 pupils. First impressions: important. I prepare very good lessons with audio material and everything. One small detail: no radio to be found in the school.
- Parking meter outside foresaid school is out of order. (Do I have to continue?). Right: parking ticket when I get back.
- Lunch: the spiciest thai soup on the menu to clear my nose (and every other tube in my head that seems to be blocked). My lips are burned, my stomach is suffering, and my nose is, right, still not really working.
- Evening: first lesson with good friend. With video-material and everything. Video is still online 15 minutes before the lesson. Video has completely disappeared from the internet during the lesson.

Now I’m going to prepare myself a nice spaghetti carbonara. Please let the pig already be dead and the eggs still fresh

Sunday, September 5, 2010

To hamster

P likes to compare me to a hamster. In Dutch “to hamster” is actually a real verb, meaning to gather and collect stuff (see the great ad from a Dutch supermarket about their "hamsterweeks"). Which is exactly what I do. Movie tickets, boarding cards, restaurant receipts, … If they have the slightest whiff of a memory, they’ll end up in one of my drawers.
I’ve improved over the last few years. I really have. I’ve learned to throw stuff away. That is…until I started teaching again. Over the last 18 months, I’ve been gathering everything that seemed only remotely interesting to use in one or the other lesson, I’ve created tons of material myself, and I’ve bought an entire library of course- and exercise books.

Yesterday morning, I decided this can’t go on. I started throwing out all the old, and by now irrelevant, newspaper articles (regardless of the time I’ve spent making vocabulary exercises about them), I got rid of stuff I’ve kept for months, thinking “it might be useful someday”, and I tried to get some order in the chaos. When I was finally done, after several hours, I looked at my closet. All the loose papers had gone. Everything was neatly piled or put into maps. But, I still didn’t have a clear overview ( I still haven’t found a perfect system to classify all the material (levels? subjects? competences?). And there’s simply still too much stuff.

So, the next step is to go through the entire closet once again, folder by folder, and make yet another selection. This hamster is going to get organized, even if it takes days!
(of course, I could have done this over the summer holidays, and not one day before my new school year starts…, in a panic-induced, last-minute attempt to get prepared…)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

When in Brussels...

..forget about chocolate for once. Or don’t. But try to go to Lilicup as well. Yep, I’m sharing another Brussels-secret with you all!
Lilicup started on the web, but now has its “real life” shop. Unfortunately for me: just around the corner. Let’s list the pro’s and cons.

- The cupcakes are simply delicious
- So are the scones, cookies, cheesecakes, etc.
- Cupcakes are made right in front of you. Just the smell of the place is foodcoma-inducing
- They have a few small tables inside. It’s the perfect place to read the weekend papers on a Saturday morning.

- If you want to be sure to have enough choice, go early or command in advance
- Sometimes the line can be very long, and you have to be very patient
- From time to time, the place is invaded by young mothers + kids / babies. Horror. Even with a cupcake.
- Staff is young, and sometimes lacks a bit of respect and friendliness, esp. towards older customers, as I have noticed a few times while going there with my parents.*

Go early – enjoy the quietness of the shop and the activity of the baking atelier behind the counter. Let your mind wander between vanilla, chocolate, rose, lavender, peanut, toffee, … And then spoil yourself before the others arrive!

* P asked me what this was all about. So let me elaborate. Starting to scream out loud, run around in the shop, and go hide behind the counter while serving people (because you happen to see some boy on the street) - it's just not my idea of customer-friendliness. But maybe I'm being too harsh. And I haven't seen that obnoxious girl there lately...

Friday, September 3, 2010

INSEAD weddings

If you think the INSEAD money-drain is over 3 years after starting that overly expensive year – think again. Sure, chances are you can save big time on hotel rooms. Maybe you’ll gain a bit more than before (although this doesn’t count for a lot of resident partners – they’ve put their career on hold, and have to start all over again). But the loan is not fully paid back yet, and…. people are getting married. In Sri-Lanka, Mallorca, Mumbai, Munich, etc. Think: gift, outfit, plane tickets, hotel room. A money drain time and again.

“Okay, don’t go then” you might say. Not an option. ‘cause you see: these weddings are very often the perfect opportunity to finally get back together with some of your most precious friends, whom you haven’t seen in months. And do you really want to feel left-out while watching the pics of another great party on Facebook? Nope. So – once more – you dig into your (already empty) savings’ account. You buy the gorgeous dress you saw that perfectly fits into the “Twenties-theme” of the next wedding, you get a haircut you can’t afford right now, you spend hours online looking for the cheapest plane tickets (no, they’re all expensive), you sleep in the very fancy designated hotel (while a youth hostel would be more fitting for your current financial status). And of course, you give a generous gift (because you got married too, and you know how appreciated these gifts are).

And then I’m not even talking about the weird looks your boss gives you every time you say “uhm, I need a few days off to go to a wedding in X-Y-Z”. Even my hairdresser chuckles and asks “and where is this wedding taking place?”.

Yes, I DO still have friends in Belgium. But most of them are already far beyond the marrying-phase (let’s face it: INSEADers are not exactly early bloomers). About some new friends in Belgium : you’ll never believe it – but they happen to be INSEADers too…and they’re getting married in Bali next April!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Create your own video slideshow at

Instead of lengthy descriptions, I decided to show you just a few of our most beautiful pictures. Best enjoyed with a nice tequila :-)!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

N is going to M

Et voilà. The suitcases are packed, the iPod is fully charged, the hamster is to her “grandparents”, the new passport is ready, and the fridge is (nearly) empty. Tomorrow it’s off to Atlanta, and from there to Mexico City. Two weeks of long awaited holiday.
I’m not taking my laptop – so no blog updates until I’m back. It’s an e-holiday as well (so 2010!). Unless something so amazing should happen that I absolutely have to write about it – then I’m sure I’ll find a way to let you all know :-) .
Hasta la vista dear readers, N is on her way to the other side of the Atlantic!

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's gone

The house where my great-grandparents lived. The house where my grandfather was born. The house where my grandparents lived. And where my mother was born and raised. The house where I spent every single day playing in the garden when I was a kid. Climbing in the cherry tree, cuddling rabbits, or spending hours in the attic reading old love letters from my dad to my mom. Where my grandfather engraved, in a piece of concrete floor, my name and the date on which I made my first steps. It’s gone. Three generations of family-history sold to strangers, who have no idea of the sentimental value it holds.

Sure, I’ve dreamed many many times of living in that house myself. I thought about how I would renovate it. How I would hold all the animals I ever wanted in the huge garden. But then my life took a different direction and the country-girl ended up in the city. Yes, I still wanted the house. But what about living in the middle of nowhere? Or what about a daily commute to work of at least two hours every single day? And finally: what about a husband who wants to live in a (big) city, period?
So when my grandmother died end of last year, I knew it would happen. The house had to be sold. Over the last few months, my mom has been trying to empty it (whenever she felt fit enough). Not an easy job. Three generations of pictures, lettres, books, clothes, furniture, etc. I went along once. We spent 4 hours in the house, and when we left, we had made no progress whatsoever. We had looked at pictures, and my mom told me everything she remembered about them. We had read old letters. And so on.

I should’ve helped my mom more. But instead I fled away from the whole “we have to empty the house”. It was just too painful, and I couldn’t be confronted anymore with my own decision of not living there – and keeping the house and all its memories in the family.
Yesterday my mom called me to tell me it was sold. To a young couple. Who are not afraid of living in the countryside. And I’ve been feeling awful. My chance of living there is now forever gone. There’s no use anymore of dreaming about how I would make the attic where I read all the love lettres into one big bedroom with a view on the garden and its cherry trees.

I have to go back one last time. I want to take pictures. Of my name in concrete. Of the cherry tree. But how am I going to keep the feeling that I always had there? The warmth of history, the feeling that my roots are there, the presence of family, even if they’re no longer with us?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

For mom

I guess when you’re too close to someone you fail to see what’s going on. It’s only when you take a step back, or when you try to look through the eyes of an outsider, that things become clear.

The people who are closest to me wonder what’s wrong when I have a silent or sad day (yes, even my parents). The people who look at my life from a distance, don’t even have to think twice. “But, your mom has been very ill for two years now! I wouldn’t know how I would cope.”

Indeed. Yes, I can be happy. I can have fun. I can have a great time, and laugh until tears stream down my cheeks. But it’s always, always there. The week she has her chemo treatment, I feel literally sick. I feel guilty if I fail to call her one day. I cry because there are so many things I’d wish to tell her – but I can’t, ‘cause she has already more than enough on her mind. The last thing she needs are my problems to worry about. And I’m happiest when I can spend time with her, enjoying it so much – because I know that every single minute is precious. I get angry at whoever fails to realize how ill she is. And I dearly appreciate those few friends who ask me how my mom is every single time they see me.

One evening, I was going through some of my poetry books, and one of them fell open on a poem about chemotherapy. It’s in Dutch, but I’ll give it a try, and freely translate it into English. It was so real, and so to the point… As if someone had crawled into my head, and written down everything I felt.

“Chemoterapie “ (Luuk Gruwez)

The dearest I have, is connected to a strange infuse
Through which her future has to drip into her
A future that disguises itself into strange names
Such as fluroblastine and methotrexate

The dearest I have, even doesn’t have a name anymore
It’s so helpless that it forgets itself
and becomes irreparable as a human being.

Doctors, pills, hospital visits and recipes
are noted down in diaries
The only thing that’s not allowed an entry is her death
To him, she has one thing to say:
“I don’t have time, I have to love”

Grey is the new blond

(N in her car, doing a last mirror-check before getting out)
Wow, that's a really blond hair
Is it the reflection of the sun?
Hmm, and it's long and curly too
Wait? Is it really blond?
No, can't be
(N is by now 1 inch removed from the little mirror)
No's grey!
(*pluck* N pulls the grey hair out)
Oops..maybe shouldn't have done that.
Mom says if you pull one out, you get two
Ah well
(N is now studying in detail her first grey hair)
Hmm, it's actually not really ugly
It's just ..white.
I should keep this somewhere
(N puts grey hair in empty ashtray of her car)
There. Sigh.
The proof that old age has set in.

I walk into the school, I open my computer, I go to the lifestyle pages of my online newspaper. And the first thing I read is "Grey is the new blond: is Lady Gaga setting a trend?"
Damn. Really shouldn’t have pulled the hair out.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Every other day of the week is fine...

On the down-side :
- it was Monday, and I had a “great weekend hang-over”
- I had 8 hours of teaching to get through
- I had a really bad hair day
- PMS is making me super weepy
- I couldn’t find another Danny Wallace book in Brussels
- I’m utterly, completely broke

On the up-side :
- It was finally a bit sunny again
- The new student I squeezed into my schedule is nice and motivated
- My credit card is still working, so I could buy lunch and a newspaper
- I was allowed to complain to one of my best friends all night long while she fed me ice cream
- It’s evening and the day is over

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Before you get the wrong idea: no, I’m not of one those people who has read every Twilight-book at least two times. To be honest: the whole hype has just passed by me. Actually I haven’t read a single book of the series (yet). A friend who’s rather crazy about the whole vampire-saga showed me the first movie. I still didn’t get it. Sure, I could see the attraction of a story based on high-school crushes, but *why* all the gloominess? What was wrong with the shiny happy sunny Beverly Hills 90210 of our generation? So, the first movie couldn’t convince me.

Yesterday evening, I decided, in the company of the same friend, to watch the second movie (lucky she was there, ‘cause I could barely remember what happened in the first one). Any way : the whole vampire thingy continued: pale people, blood craving, weird eyes, etc. Even my 17-year old self could still not be convinced.

Until, finally, woohaaa: great looking bare chested boys. Enter: the werewolves. Okay, forget about the whole strange story. Just think: brown bodies, six packs, etc..running half naked through the woods the whole time. Quite a sight. If they had made a movie with the same amount of bare chested girls in it, it would be categorized as soft porn, and boys would have to hide their Twilight books, posters, etc under their matrasses. As it happens to be exposed male chests (with very low waistlines), nobody seems to mind, and girls all over the globe are freely allowed to drool all over them. I’m not complaining. I happily enjoyed all the eye-candy.

So am I now a Twilight –fan? Nope, I don’t think so. Will I start reading the books? Naahh. Will I go and see the third movie, now out in the cinema? Well, if it has the same amount of great-looking almost naked male bodies in it… ;-)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


After 1) walking out of a hospital room with a very sick mom and 2) walking into an ex with a very pregnant wife, I thought : that’s it, now I’m going straight to the shop, and I’m sooo buying that new camera. Only to find myself completely lost again in front of the whole photography-section at Fnac.
So I decided to turn my attention to good old books – and instead of a camera, I bought the new Stephen King and the new John Irving. And yet another Spanish course book.

Speaking of books (such a safe subject isn’t it?), if you’re still looking for a few good summer reads, I can warmly recommend these:

Starting with the slightly “girly” reads:
1. Bitter Chocolate (Lesley Lokko)
Three ambitious girls (but in very different ways), glamorous locations (Haiti, London, America), and a nice build-up tension spread out over five decades. A page-turner.
2. Beauty (Raphael Selbourne)
20-year-old Bangladeshi girl trying to find her way between her own culture and UK’s society. Funny and gripping at the same time. Winner of the 2009 Costa Award.
3. Mistress of Rome (Kate Quinn)
Betrayal, love, secrets and drama in first-century Rome. Excellent pool-side read!
4. Pope Joan (Donna Woolfolk Cross)
Another one for the history fans. A century-old enigma turned into a great book. Extremely well written.
5. The winter house (Nicci Gerrard)
Actually ,this one is more for a Christmas’ holiday. So keep it in mind.

Continuing with the ones that will keep you awake
6. The Brutal Art (Jesse Kellerman)
A brilliant thriller set in the world of art dealers. Very original story, great read.
7. Lie down with Lions (Ken Follett)
Think war in Afghanistan in the Eighties (wait! Don’t run away yet!). Think deadly romantic triangle. Now put it in your suitcase and read it on the beach.
8. The Testament (John Grisham)
Grisham takes you out of the States for once, and into the Brazilian jungle. In my opinion, one of his bests. Even if you’re not that into legal thrillers.
9. A dangerous Fortune (Ken Follett)
Another one for the history-fans. London in the 19th century. Banking. Wealth. Brothels. Passion. Murder. Revenge. It’ all there. Reads like a high speed train.

Finishing with the one that you simply have to read:
10. Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts)
An unbelievable but true story. 8 years of one man’s life in the Bombay underworld. 900 pages. Prepare yourself for a big black hole once you’ve finished it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


There, that should generate a few extra hits on this blog.
Anyway, there’s no other way to describe the way I feel. Blame my friends. Who keep digging, and asking (or just look at me) and manage to put their finger exactly on the sore spot. “Don’t give up, N” or “Noooo, never let go of your dream” or “well, ok, fine,… but I’m still convinced you’d be an excellent mom”. Thanks guys, really. I had almost fooled myself, but apparently I can’t fool any of you.

Still, trust me, I have to let it go now – even if it means cutting a few other strings (hope, patience,…) as well. It’s either that, or getting dragged down again. So please, let me fool myself just a bit more, ‘kay? Just promise me you’ll all be there when the truth hits again.

In the meantime, to fill my life with everything “but”, I’m still looking at camera’s. So, apparently, it’s not yet another “creative hobby impulse that lasts about a month”. No, it really isn’t. Thinking about it today, I realized I spend most of my time taking pictures whenever we go on holiday (I think there are places I’ve only seen through a lens), and at least twice a day I think “mm, that would be a nice picture”. Over the past two years, I’ve created a complete series on the park in our neighbourhood, catching all the different seasons (“girl taking off shorts” in one of the previous posts belongs to this series). And for more than a year now, I’m thinking about starting a picture blog.

So what’s stopping me? Only a mere 600 Euro’s, to be completely honest. To buy my first real reflex camera. With all my students gone on holidays, and with planned holidays myself, cash isn’t exactly flowing these days (well it is, but in the wrong direction!). For more than two months I’ve been doubting: savings’ account or not? Anti-cellulite treatment or camera? Cheaper camera or the one I really want? *sigh*. I guess it all comes down to Carrie’s last question :

Charlotte: So how are you?
Carrie: I'm good. How are you?
Charlotte: Great.
Carrie: I told Aidan about the affair and he broke up with me.
Charlotte: Trey and I never had sex on our honeymoon.
Carrie: You win. So. Should we get more coffee or should we get two guns and kill ourselves?

Monday, July 26, 2010

You see?!

This picture, just to prove to you the new title of my blog. (thanks to Cute Overload)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dinner in a garage

Today, while reading some “expat in Brussels”-blogs, I realized I should start to share some information about Brussels, and maybe Belgium in general. Those expat-people seem to know the best restaurants, the coolest places, the most beautiful parks, and so one. And me, the Belgian, who has lived here all her life, is either a) ignorant or b) not sharing the stuff she does know about.

So, here it goes: the first secret I want to share is "here"(and okay, admitted, I learned about it through some Brazilian expat friends!). Tonight we had a lovely dinner…above the showroom of an Audi-garage. The interior of the restaurant was cozy, and very modern and sleek at the same time. The food was simply great, the service friendly. The cool thing is that it’s in the middle of nowhere (near Wavre, 20 minutes outside Brussels). You stop at an Audi-garage. You enter the showroom. You climb some stairs – and you enter this very cool, and above all very unexpected, restaurant. Once inside, you don’t even see the garage anymore. You’re only reminded of where you are after you step outside again, and the wonderful smell of new cars hits you.

I think this is the perfect place to surprise a (male) significant other. Imagine a date where you take him to a beautiful car showroom (or so he thinks), only to end up in an excellent restaurant! A perfect way to gear things up ;-).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

N-ything's possible

The new chapter – you’ve probably already seen it – has a name : N-ything’s possible. I know that sounds so positive that it’s “out of character” for N. But what I actually mean is, well…really anything’s possible in this life.
The things you thought that would never happen : they can happen. The other stuff you were so sure about that you would never do: maybe one day, you’ll do it anyway. The life you had pictured before you: maybe it’s just that – a picture, and nothing more.

The future doesn’t let itself be planned. Sure, you can have dreams, goals, plans,…whatever you want to call it. In the end, you’re not the one who decides what will happen. There’s fate, destiny, kismet, or just the fact that you can be on the wrong/right place at the wrong/right time. And there’s the fact that we share this life with other people – who have their own dreams, goals, plans,…

Anything’s possible: from the things you’d least expected, to, maybe, who knows, if you’re very lucky, the things you’ve once dreamed about.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The end of an Episode

Hi there faithful reader. I think this is the end of Episode 3.
Episode 3 was all about changing my life, about pursuing dreams and not losing hope. I can now safely say that it’s over. My life has been stripped to the bare essentials: the here and now. And even then there are no certainties left. I don’t want to think about yesterday (too painful and useless anyway), I don’t want to keep on dreaming about “tomorrow” (idle hopes time and again).

Almost three years ago, this blog was “Between Brussels and Barbizon”. Then came “ Trying to keep her head up, and her feet on the ground”. And finally “Episode 3”. I always thought Episode 3 would end if I finally saw some dreams fulfilled – now it ends because I’m officially giving up on them. So maybe one day it will happen, maybe not. I think it’s time to realize that some things are just out of my hands. The only thing left to do now, is to make sure that I cherish all the self-confidence I have left. Look in the mirror at my almost 34 year old self, and think “it’s ok – you did everything you could do”. I loved, cried, fell down, and got up again. I have no intention to fall again, even if I’m walking on a very thin line right now.

So what comes after Episode 3? To be honest: I have no clue. Everything’s possible. Maybe you’ll find me travelling on my own through the North- American national parks in a few months’ time. Maybe I’m still full of this amazing calmness, or maybe I’ll have exploded – and you can gather little pieces of N all over the western hemisphere.
Whatever happens: some things have already changed – even if not visible – and will never ever be the same again.

Monday, July 19, 2010


You know how bad something is when you think “I cannot possibly put anything about it on either Facebook or my blog”. And believe me, for someone who’s quite “in the open” with everything, that’s a pretty scary parameter.
There are 2 or 3 people I can talk to (no parents included). And that’s it. The rest of all this crap has to stay trapped in my head – which is now ready to explode.
Oh sure – I want to write about it. There’s nothing more I’d love to do right now. It’s just not possible without causing even more damage than there already is.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ubi fumus, ibi ignis

The missing piece of the puzzle fell into place tonight. And I don't like what I see.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

You know how it’s nice when you propose something, and people react enthusiastically?
Well, some people seem unable to do just that.

You want to go out for breakfast?!?...No, let’s just have cornflakes.
You want to go for a walk?? …No, don’t feel like it.
You want to do *anything* today? Let’s just see later….
You want to - insert whatever -? Maybe tomorrow / another time / …

Tired, don’t feel well, other stuff to do, ….: the list of excuses is endless.
Luckily, some friends still seem to think I have fun ideas (or that I’m a fun person to do things with), or I would seriously start to think of myself as the most unwanted girl to go out with. Maybe that’s why I spend so much time with those friends lately. At least, they react “yeah, sure, great idea! Just tell me where” when I ask them to go out for drinks. I don’t have to beg.
Of course, if you keep on getting “no” for an answer, you stop asking after a while. Or better: first you stop begging and pleading, then you stop asking altogether. Because you know that whatever you propose, whatever you ask, you’ll never ever get an affirmative (let alone enthusiastic) answer.

Also, the person who says "no" all the time, is very unlikely to propose things to you. (that would be counterproductive, wouldn't it?). So, in the end, you not only stop asking, begging and pleading, but you stop doing things together.
Fine, then I'll go alone. Or fine, then I'll ask someone else.

Seems easy, if only that little bastard called "rejection" would stop kickin' your behind whenever you turn around and walk away.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Let's talk about...

I don’t know if it’s summer, the ongoing sunny and hot weather, the holiday-spirit, or whatever. The fact is that I never had to hear so much sex talk in my life as in the past couple of weeks. Whatever reason they came up with, my students always managed to find a good excuse to start talking about xxx-topics! Take a simple, innocent lesson: the alphabet. Try to make the alphabet with all the words you already know in Dutch. Bingo: it was enough to trigger first giggles, then fits of laughter, and finally every imaginable word that has never been on my white board ever before. “Wait, I know a t-word….Wait, wait, what was “nipple” again in Dutch?”
Take another (boring) lesson: household appliances. For instance: a vacuum cleaner. In Dutch : a stofzuiger. “Oh my god! That means dust SUCKER! Sucker!” Bingo, 5 minutes of crazy laughter, and not able to teach one more word.
And then I’m not even talking about the stories I heard about role plays, about how sex is seriously the single best thing to beat stress, or about the fact that Latino’s are the horniest people in the world (oh, really?).

Sure, they had their reasons.
“I have a Dutch speaking husband! I have to know these words in Dutch!”
“I’m going to university in the Netherlands! I need that kind of vocabulary!”
They even wondered why “sex” was not a standard chapter in every single language course book.

All craziness aside, I had a great time with this very international group (Estonia, Romania, Singapore). I’m sure I made a few new friends. And they did learn a lot, in between all our hysterical fits of laughter. So when yesterday, after our last class, they confidently ordered our goodbye-drinks in Dutch, I was the proudest teacher ever!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hello / goodbye life

I think I’ve finally succeeded. In letting go. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life waiting for it to happen, and being miserable just because it’s not happening. I did everything I could do. Voilà.

I even managed to invite a pregnant friend, and be okay with looking at her big belly and caring husband all evening. I didn’t have an emotional breakdown when the second birth announcement in one week’s time arrived in the mail today. But I did read an article about the fact that you should freeze your eggs before you’re 35, “because then they’re still fine”. So, one year left to surrender my future to sub-zero temperatures. Start preparing for your polar expedition guys (or girls?).

In the meantime, instead of waiting for a miracle, I’ve decided to just enjoy life. (Rocket science, isn’t it?). In the last month, I’ve spent more quality time with friends than in the past year, and I’m still trying to burn some calories in the girly gym. I realize I have the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want. There’s no (cute) life-long responsibility holding me back. I can be deliciously selfish, without feeling guilty about it. I guess that’s just what happens when your patience is way over its expiration-date. I’m on a “me-trip”, and enjoying every minute of it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Brussels is (still) boiling

So, what does one do when it’s 35°C for days on end?
- escape to parents’ garden, and hang in the hammock
- drag friend from behind her new Mac to have drinks outside
- have a water spray on the bedside table to sprinkle oneself before going to sleep
- organize a BBQ, which includes dragging up five heavy grocery bags to the second floor.
- convince godchild that his parents should install a pool in their suburbian garden
- live on a diet of water and ice cream
- be a walking drinking fountain for all sorts of insects, and thus be covered in nasty bites
- fuck the cellulite, and put on shorts
- put a ventilator in the class room which blows away everyone’s papers
- take the hamster out on the terrace after a midnight thunderstorm for a bit of very needed fresh air
- have the great idea to buy new underwear in the summer sales, when it’s almost 40°C in the fitting rooms
- drive around in car, ‘cause it’s the only place with airconditioning
- still use the hairdryer to look good, even if more hot air is the last thing you need
- close the curtains during day time, and open them at night time
- and now: go to the park with book and water bottle!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer in the city

Isn’t it amazing what a haircut and a bit of sunny weather can do? Throw in some new Tommy Hilfiger shorts* (size 26, whoopee!), and a new bottle of the best smelling Rituals body lotion at a ridiculous discount, and N has all the ingredients to feel happy.
Also helping: great students in my morning group at school ( one of them an INSEAD partner of J ’05!), mom out of hospital, and the sweetest cleaning lady on earth who has ironed all of P’s shirts.
Yep, summer’s in the city – and in my head. Let’s see how long it will last (both of them).

* : no! That's not me! Just a random pic I took in the park - and right at the moment I pressed the button, the girl took off her shorts!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Girly Gym : update

Time to give you an update on the Girly Gym.
It’s so girly.
Example 1: they organize an open-door, and of course this cannot be done without a theme. So the theme is “Bretagne”. And that’s why, every day this week, I can work out, and dig into a pile of pancakes afterwards.
Example 2: five big flatscreens – no sport channels, but every imaginable daily soap (oh, and MTV)
Example 3: Dove shower gels.
Example 4: no competition going on. Except for the best smelling body lotion in the changing rooms.
Example 5: 30 girls going completely wild, dancing and singing, during some class called BodyJam
Example 6: yoga-class with music from City Owls and candles
I love it. But right now, I do need a bit of testosterone after all this girly business. So, if you’ll excuse me, Spain is playing against Portugal, and I don’t want to miss one more minute of it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Third year in a row

That my dad spends his birthday in a hospital room with my mom.
23 June 2008 : mom in hospital for chemo
23 June 2009 : mom in hospital for surgery
23 June 2010 : mom in hospital because of bad reaction to chemo + infection
It seems that the beginning of summer is not such a happy time for our little family.
Today, for the first time in months, I also had the opportunity to hear what her doctor has to say. In other words: the real facts, instead of the embellished version I always get to hear through my mom or dad. The cancer is very aggressive. The chances of completely curing it are very small. We just have to find the right chemo that keeps it under control, and that doesn’t make her life too miserable. Right.
In the meantime, hair is falling out rapidly – and the disease is making itself very visible again. 6 kilo’s less in one week, probably completely bald by next week.
Why, why, why, why, why? I know: it’s useless to ask that question. But, damn it, it’s so unfair. I have a friend who will spend part of the summer in Spain. She’s pregnant, and she’s going to relax there in the beautiful summer house her parents have bought to enjoy the rest of their lives there. My parents will spend their summer in Belgium, with regular visits to the hospital – and I think that my child (if I ever have one) might never get to know his or her grandmother.
All the “focus on the positive” sounds like such empty “blah-blah” right now. Yes, I know, there are always people who are worse off. Yes, even the smallest chance is worth fighting for. Yes, my mom is still here – she’s not dead yet. And all that is supposed to make me feel better? Well…no. It doesn’t.
Tomorrow she can go home again. No hospital for one week. Normal food. Only one nurse, twice a day. Her own bed. The cats. Seeing how happy all that makes her, that makes me feel a bit better.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's smurfing?

Hello everybody! Just to let you know that my “writing tools” have changed! That’s right, I have a new laptop. A gift from my daddy (sweet, isn’t it?). Office 2010 still confuses me, and I haven’t discovered yet what’s so awesome about Windows 7; fifty percent of my pictures seem to have disappeared, and I desperately want all my “favorites” back in place when I go online – but all in all, I’m happy! The fact that the new laptop is smurf-blue doesn’t play a small part in this. Also, I found the perfect compromise between my everlasting doubt between a 15 or a 13 inch screen : a 14 inch! When I ask P what he thinks about my new laptop, the answer I get is “it’s blue” – so as for its quality, I’m afraid I can’t say a lot. The reviews online are ok, and it does everything I ask it to do.
Of course, being N, I also miss my old laptop – even if it drove me crazy. But it was my very first one. I started this blog on it. It was the first and only computer I had in my first apartment. It went to Fonty with me. I found my new job on it. I started PC-banking on it. That’s why, as for now, the old laptop is still “in the house”. That heavy, big, boring grey, super slow thing holds so many memories, and (also important) …. ALL of my pictures.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

After the anger

Something happens when you try to control your emotions for days and days. When you don’t try to feel the pain, because it’s just too big. When you don’t try to feel anything in fact, just because you have to keep on going. When you don’t want to feel the anger that’s starting to boil up inside again, because it’s all so damn unfair. And when you feel very, very alone.
What happens is that, sooner or later, you’ll explode.
I wish I could just break down and cry – that would be so mush easier. People understand sadness. People comfort you. They say “here here”, and give you a Kleenex and a cup of tea. But when you feel really angry, people just look at you as if you’re a freak. As if you’ve done something wrong. So on top of all the shitty feelings you already have, you can feel guilty for being angry as well. Because no matter how you twist and turn it : when you’re angry, you do and say things you’ll regret.
So here I am. Angry. Angry because for more than two years, my life is being overshadowed by that illness of my mom. Angry because I don’t know how much longer this will last. Angry because I feel so useless. Because I’m so damned alone, because it’s just me. Angry because I’m fed up of being surrounded by shiny happy people, who’s life is revolving around new life and future – instead of around sickness. Angry because I’m taking care of everybody, but no one’s taking care of me.
At my parents’, I’m the strong one. I have to. I look after my dad (who’s at the end of his wits), I look after my mom (who’s both emotionally and physically exhausted). I tell my dad to eat, I bring him croissants in the morning. I keep a happy face, even when I have to wear mouth masks and god knows what else if I want to see my mom.
And then when I come home, I have to take care of myself. And that’s where it all goes wrong. I can’t anymore. I need someone who takes me out for a walk, who puts me under a hot shower, who feeds me, and who puts me in front of a happy movie, wrapped in a blanket, who tells me that yes, indeed, my life is shit at the moment, and they understand how I feel.
Tonight, instead of all the above, I ended up at Mc Donalds with my favourite six-year old. Whose happy face and kisses were as good as a blanket. Afterwards, his mom spoiled me with tea, popcorn, and icecream. And girly movies. I didn’t have to ask for any of it. She just did. She took care. Of me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The girly gym

Some people find male sweat arousing. I’m not one of them. Especially not when the smell of about 20 different men hits you at the same time. Don’t worry, I haven’t tried group sex. I’m talking about my regular (mostly male) gym. My gym without airco, or any other ventilation system. My gym that was slowly, but steadily undermining my motivation to work out (just imagine standing on a tread mill in 24°C, with “I love tons of garlic” on your left, and “no time for morning shower” on your right)
So today, I went to check out the “girly gym”. The gym where no men are allowed. The gym that has airco, a sauna, a hammam, private showers with fancy bath products, hairdryers, and tons of group courses (from Yoga to Zumba). And of course, the gym that will cost me three times more than my old one. But: I think that I’m allowed some luxury at the moment. As of tomorrow, it’s GIRLPOWER :-) !

To end, I'll give you P's reaction:
P : So this gym is full of chickies !!!??
N : Well, yes - that's the point. It's a "Ladies Only".
P : Can I join???
N : ...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The sparkle

If you’ve seen Sex and the City 2, you probably already know what I’m talking about. Carry is scared that she and Mr Big are loosing *the sparkle* in their relationship – especially when Big has declared watching TV on the couch the ultimate romantic experience, and has bought a big flatscreen as an anniversary gift (and not the hoped piece of jewellery).
Somehow (as with all the SATC episodes) all this felt alarmingly familiar. If C and I had nudged each other every time we recognised ourselves during those 120 minutes, we would have walked out with each a blue arm.
Anyhow, *the sparkle*. In an attempt to make my own marriage a bit more glittery and shiny, I invited P today on a real date. We would meet in one of our favourite little restaurants in town, where we used to go a lot when we were still really dating. After work, I even put on some more lipstick and perfume. I was waiting, and there came P. Dead tired from work, hardly able to smile; checking his last mails on his blackberry. We compared our calendars to see when we could go to Amsterdam for a weekend to see some friends. We ate our meal in less than 30 minutes. P went back to work. I came home. No, I’m not exactly swept off my feet.
Candle light dinners (even surprise barbeques!), a new haircut, an entire wardrobe of new lingerie, a little present, miniskirts (yes, I’ve gone that far!), the highest heels in my lifetime, and now a real date.....God knows I’ve tried the past few months. But whatever I do, the new Blackberry and its games always seem to win from me. Solitaire beats pink (and even black) lace. Maybe I should buy bunny ears as my next move, just to emphasize that “the hunt” is never really over – regardless of any piece of jewellery on my hand.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Everybody who’s running is either a) running away from something or b) running towards something. Yes, even if you’re standing on the boring thread mill in the gym, going nowhere. Just admit it.
Speaking for myself, I cannot deny it. Running is escaping.
The first time I ran more than 10 km in less than an hour was on my 30th birthday. I had the feeling that I had achieved nothing, absolutely nothing in my life of those things I wanted to achieve, so I thought: well if I run until I drop today, at least I’ve done that. After an hour, I sat sweating and crying in the changing rooms.
When P decided to do an MBA, again I ran – a lot. If you count all the kilometres, I must’ve run all the way to Fonty and back (and probably more).
Last year, when I lost my job, I felt so relieved, that I effortlessly ran with a smile on my face. Off course, being at home, I also had all the time of the world to run. It felt like I was running towards a new life.
Now, running is again fleeing – at high speed. From a list of things.
So you see: the best is if I don’t run. Because that means I’m perfectly happy with where I am – even if it is with a few kilo’s extra.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

5 minute-break

Mom is finally asleep. The last four days have been hell. My dad is exhausted. He has carried her around the house, up and down the stairs, he has washed, fed, dressed her; and yesterday he drove around to get medical help simply because he didn’t know what to do anymore. The nurse is coming again tonight, thank god.
In the mean time, dad is getting a bit of time off, working in the garden, while I keep an eye on her. Throwing up, sweating, cold shivers, fainting, pain, …it hasn’t stopped. Until now; she’s asleep.
She rests, I rest.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The point

I’m sorry – I just haven’t got any inspiration whatsoever. The last few weeks have been...”full”, for lack of any better word. Then finally, two weeks ago: a wonderful long weekend in London. Finally at peace with everything, finally just happy again. It didn’t last long. I got smacked in the face again. Bad news after mom’s scan, and again we’re facing months of chemo, and maybe surgery. I’ve gone from angry, to sad, to numb, to just very very tired.
I can’t help but wondering: is this really what “life” is all about? Is this what every body faces? Battle after battle? Then what the hell is the point of it all?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hoge Veluwe

For the long ascension weekend, P and I went to the Netherlands – more precisely to the province of Gelderland and the National Park "Hoge Veluwe".It’s the largest nature park in The Netherlands, with wildlife and visitors freely traversing its moors, vast forests, expanses of grassland, and sand drifts. We rented bikes (“When in Rome etc”), and enjoyed the perfect cycling tracks throughout the park and the nearby villages.

We also did some shopping in Arnhem, a very pleasant town, with a city centre that is completely car-free, and we visited the Arnhem Zoo – where our favourite animal was a little hopping kangaroo rat.
And of course, no trip to the Netherlands is complete without some grocery shopping at the AH (Albert Heyn) for such Dutch delicacies as stroopwafels, vla, ontbijtkoek, rookworst, ...

The Hoge Veluwe is only a two-hour drive from Brussels – so if you’re still looking for ideas for the next long weekend, I can highly recommend it!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Always a woman

Apparently, this ad costs 7 million Euro and is for a British chain called John Lewis (never heard of it). Anyway, Belgian newspapers found it inspiring enough to mention it on their websites, and that is how I discovered this beauty. The clip shows all the phases in a woman’s life, from being born, to becoming a grandmother.
In other words, it shows the perfect picture (apart from the nano-second where we see the family having an argument).
I had a bit of a double feeling after watching it.
Yep, it’s what most women want.
Indeed, it’s what most women do.
It is about life, about giving life, actually.
It’s a dream unfolding before my eyes.
But, a little but. It’s actually the very same thing as all those perfect, photoshopped models. When you don’t have a size 6, you can get pretty frustrated by just looking at them – get my point ?

Friday, April 23, 2010


Don’t get me wrong. I love my neighbourhood. But - you were waiting for the “but”-part, weren’t you? So: But sometimes it’s just a bit too BCBG (Brussels’ expression for Bon Chique Bon Genre, in other words: posh).

- When spring arrives, the weekly market is not just a market anymore. It becomes an event to see and be seen. There are more stands were you can sip champagne or wine, and slurp an oyster or two, than there are actual fruit&vegetable stands. You don’t go there with your shopping basket – no, you go there with a stack of business cards, and network away.
- Even when you’re wearing your biggest sunglasses, you feel they’re rather smallish to moment you step outside.
- If your handbag doesn’t contain a tiny dog, you’re not one of the crowd either.
- And I could go on, but I guess the conversation of the two ladies sitting next to me on the terrace of the local bar, says it all.
Picture them, manicured, just the right tan, spotless hairdo, most expensive brands, not older than 25, sipping cocktails at lunch hour, and smoking away.

Chickie 1 : Oh, not possible! You’ve never been to Knokke (read: poshest seaside town of Belgium)?
Chickie 2 : Well, of course, I have, but only for business (uhm, business in Knokke? Not likely, but whatever).
Chickie 1 : Oooh, let’s go this Sunday!
Chickie 2 : Wait, then I have to call my personal tennis instructor. “Monsieur François? Can we re-schedule our lesson to Saturday? It’s because I’m going to Knokke on Sunday. Oh, you are so nice, merci beaucoup!”
Chickie 1 : Wait, I have a phone call. Ah, it’s my cleaning lady. “Oui Maria? You are ready? Okay, I’ll come and pay you. Can you wait 30 minutes? I’m still having a drink with my friend. See you in half an hour.”

This was after they had been discussing all the boys that were in love with them.
And why they were obviously French, but speaking in English the whole time, is simply beyond me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Talking is overrated

I told my story to friend1, to friend2, to friend3 and to friend4. Oh, and to a colleague at work as well. I told it to Mr Shrink. And I’ve told the man himself exactly how I feel and what I think about it.
And were did it get me? Right, nowhere. There hasn’t been a so-called “break through”, forget the “aha-moment”. All that it got me, was a general feeling of “what’s the use? How many more obstacles will there be on my way to fulfil my dream?”. To put it shortly: the feeling of wanting to give up.

Friend1 said “This doesn’t look good. What about what you want?”.
Friend2 said “Oh God”.
Friend3 said “Keep an open mind”.
Friend4 said “But...That’s not what you want, right?”
Colleague said “That means you never really stood up for what you want.”
Mr Shrink said “Seems some peace & quiet are not on the agenda of your life yet.”

What can I say? Really, nothing anymore. I’m tired of talking.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring's new things

1. The new hang-out
The bar of the month (don’t go looking in previous months) is “Café Modèle”. For me, this is Brussels at its best. On one side: the terminally trendy Dansaert street. On the other side: the Brussels’ Canal zone, a run-down part of town that’s been trying to become trendy for the last 10 years (but where you still don’t want to take a walk on your own after dark). Café Modèle has large windows, from behind which you can look at this interesting encounter of different worlds. Arty-farty Flemish meets Boho-Bruxellois meets North-African no-nonsense. It also has free wifi, newspapers in different languages, a perfectly bilingual staff, and, last but not least: great food & drinks. Fresh salads, juices, great bagels & buns, home-made cakes, etc. , all very reasonably priced. So for once, forget the famous “Walvis” across the street, but try Café Modèle instead.

2. The new perfume
“Escale à Pondichery” from Dior. A cologne made from raw materials such as jasmine, black tea and sandalwood – apparently meaning to evoke the fragrant history of Pondicherry, an ex-French colony in India. Whatever. It smells very nice, sparkling and fresh – exactly what I needed.

3. The new cooking
Aha – wonder what this is all about, hm? Well, I’ve learned to make sushi today!! Together with M, a student who became a friend, I went shopping in the Asian supermarket. Afterwards, she showed me all the tips&tricks, and voilà : sushi-chef N is born!

4. The new book
Is already finished in the mean time. It was the latest from Nick Hornby, and a present from P, “Juliet, naked”. About how people can waste years and years of their life. How they come to realise that one day, and how they cope with it. Not really uplifting. But funny, nonetheless.

5. The new ....
I still want a new laptop, a new puppy, a new camera, new inspiration, new energy, a new ironing board, a new haircut, and a new carpet in the living room. Oh, and please: a new remedy against hay fever, one that doesn’t make me sleepy. That’ll be all for now, thanks.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I couldn't have said it any better. Thanks André Jordan at A Beautiful revolution.

Monday, April 12, 2010

An easy Monday-afternoon in Brussels

On the way to school :
metro-line closed due to an armed robbery of a jewellery store, one man killed
Arriving at school:
area closed down because a gang of youngsters attacked the police station
On the way home:
metro-lines closed because they found two suspicious suitcases in the station.

No people, this is not Harlem or the Bronx. This is just downtown Brussels. Our mayor calls this “things that just happen in a city”. Cheers.

Shall I compare thee....or just kill you?

Res’ post on “amore” got me thinking about love as well.
Love, in my opinion, is cruel. I mean, think about it. Romeo and Juliet: wouldn’t they’ve been far happier if they’d never known each other? Hell, they probably wouldn’t have died if they hadn’t known each other! Their lives would’ve been saved without love!

Whenever love tends to hurt/kill me, I take cover. I build a huge medieval city wall all around myself, I hire a 21st century army to defend my heart, and I cut all communication lines. It’s called “survival strategy”. Sure, I’ve tried attacking first, or simply engaging in battle. Always to find myself mortally injured and on the loosing side. ‘Cause let’s face it: the one who has your love, has your weakness – and therefore the greatest force to hurt you.

So dear readers, you are warned : if I ever write a book about love, it will be a bloody affair. Think American Psycho Killer meets Romeo& Juliet. Bound to be a bestseller.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The five stages

1.Denial – "Everything’s just fine. It’s just not happening."
I seem to love this one at the moment. In fact, I seem to love it that much that I literally do the ostrich-trick, and stick my head in the sand. You see? I’m not really here. In fact, I live on another planet in another galaxy.

2.Anger – "Why (not) me? It's not fair! Who is to blame?"
"Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy."
“Misplaced feelings”?? Ok, who are you? ‘cause I’m about to kill you right now. My feelings are anything BUT misplaced, lady.

3.Bargaining –"I will give my life savings if..."Bargaining?
No, really – not in my dictionary. I’m skipping this stage.

4.Depression – "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"
"It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage"
You hear that, dear friends? Don’t tell me everything’s going to be “just fine”. It won’t. Don’t try to be “light” about it either.

5.Acceptance – "It's going to be okay. I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
Ha. Haha. Indeed, I can't fight it. But it's not going to be okay.

So, sorry for the rather weird post, dear readers. But, if I would be open and honest about everything once more, P would probably freak out again (it's sooo time for the Secret N-files). No, it's not about wanting a baby this time, it's about something completely different - although probably as life-changing. For the moment I'm mostly stuck in denial and anger, with a twist of depression. And strangely, a lot of acceptance as well. Although I would rather call it "throwing in the towel and giving up".

Friday, April 9, 2010


Well, what can I say? It’s Friday evening after an insane week, and the sun is shining like summer is about to begin. I went to the Italian deli right after work, and came home with a delicious supply of wine, cheese and fine meat. I put on my sunglasses, opened the bottle of red, cut the cheese and the meat, broke off a piece of bread, and installed myself on the sunny deck. By now, the bottle is somehow half empty (or half full), and I’m feeling kind of tipsy. Life’s good. I’m happy. Let’s have another glass :-). Haha to all of you who are breast feeding or pregnant and can’t have it. You don’t know what you’re missing (sorry, that was just N’s little dark side making a surprise appearance).