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).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

From :-( to :-)

I dragged myself to work this morning after a very long Easter weekend. I just couldn’t wake up after three almost sleepless nights in a very beautiful, fancy hotel bed in Munich, and after a sick night back in Brussels. My students managed to cheer me up.
Student 1 spent the better part of the weekend with her husband in the Emergency Room of the hospital. Student 2 just came back from a funeral in France, only had 3 hours of sleep, and spilled his morning coffee all over the table. Student 3 was late, because she had to go to hospital for a blood test this morning. And student 4 was waiting for news from his son, who was in hospital getting ready to have surgery. I wanted to cheer them up with the lesson I had planned around songs about spring (on YouTube), but....internet was completely down. The lesson started with the five of us laughing our heads of with each others’ misery.
Sometimes all you need to smile is another grumpy face :-) .