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. VoilĂ .

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!