Monday, February 22, 2010

With friends like these....

One has a fantastic time!
So London is the new Sydney (and by extension, Brussels is my new Canberra in all senses of the word). A weekend away in London was had for a second time and once again, thanks to my awesome friends, I come away feeling great (and a little sad at having to leave).
Comedy store, huge Indian lunch, Tayyabs for dinner, moroccan tea, mulled wine and bag shopping along with great conversation and good friends - I can't think of a better recipe for a relaxing weekend. It is brilliant having friends who, so willingly, open up their homes to you and free their schedules. Thanks Pinks and My3 and I hope to return the hospitality.
Its strange how life gives you exactly what you want - not what you think you want at that point in time, but what you really would like deep down. No more, no less.
When I was but a wide-eyed teenager, it was my dream to hop trains across Europe, 'If its Tuesday, this must be Belgium' - type of life. And now I have it.
Here's to making the most of it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

So blogger has finally switched to English from Flemish (Dutch?) - I realise I confuse it at the best of times with my moving across continents at the drop of a hat (or a job). Thanks for your patience blogger and thanks for keeping up!

I discovered Phillippa Gregory over the summer and what a delightful writer she is. I read 'The Other Boleyn Girl' and even though it has taken me five tries to correctly spell 'Boleyn' (and again!) it is well worth a read! Prior to reading this book all I knew about aforementioned Boleyn girl was that her first name was Anne and that Natalie Portman acted in the movie (did she not?). The book is delightfully dark and poignant and transports one back effortlessly to the courts of Henry the Eighth and in fact, introduces one to the first Boleyn girl - Mary.
So this book was a find when I was browsing a second hand bookstore in Royal Oak, Auckland after my dentist's appointment. Incidentally, I had raved about my dentist and turns out she remembered me like my appointment was just yesterday. She also said that she is moving to outback Australia (everyone seems to!) and will miss me because 'cummon everyone loves a challenge' (her words not mine!).
It was a day of good finds - 'Stories to stay awake by - Alfred Hitchcock' and 'Confessions of a Shopoholic' were found and duly consumed. The former spine chilling short stories and the latter a ticklish account of well, a shopoholic complete with letters from the bank and creditors!
The Twilight series was also read and, much to the disappointment of my 'better read' friends who do not consider Twilight even a work, let alone a published work, I didn't mind it. In fact - I daresay - I liked it!
As my sister said, maybe it was just a case of me not having read the work of Anne Rice or other 'vampire writers' and therefore my lack of exposure to better written works on the topic. Or maybe, as I said, if one can so easily accept witches and wizards then why not vampires and werewolves?
Or maybe it has to do with the fact that I think Robert whatshisname is pretty good looking - no, it is definitely the witches and wizards argument.
Either ways I think I prefer vampires to werewolves - the air of silent mystery and the cold hard interior is appealing. Although, the movie itself does no justice to the books. Plainly, the books are romantic, the movie is - frustrating and the dialogues sound like someone stood around with a clipboard and asked random people to say things - random things and these became the dialogues.
So current bookshelf material includes 'Eat, Pray, Love' and one Alexander McCall Smith along with 'The Old Curiosity Shop' by Dickens and 'Gods Behaving Badly'. So reviews are due soon.
Incidentally, I was speaking to a friend about Kindle and I'm wondering if it feels the same as curling up with a good book, the smell of the pages and the beauty of the colourful spines covering your bookshelf. Do tell if you own one and what your experience has been.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Observations from the new land

So it has been a week in Brussels. A cold week. A relatively good week.
And already I feel qualified to talk about Brussels in passing - 'Oh! that's Brussels for you'
So from my vantage point this is what I feel obliged to tell you.

- The Belgians are not used to the snow!
- There is a Belgian Standard Time like Indian Standard Time (and it ranges from a few hours to never!)
- If it's broke, don't fix it
- If you call someone about it, they won't know what you are talking about
- If they do, they will say that they'll call you back - and they won't!

- Belgian humour takes getting used to.
- Inappropriate websites are not blocked at work (as was unwittingly demonstrated by a guy who shares my office)
- People function without drinking water!
- The average response time for email queries is 1 week (and this for something simple like "What is your phone number")
- EVERYTHING available to eat outside of lunch and dinner hours is sweet!

- Random things happen here, like naked people at perfectly respectable clubs and orange throwing at carnivals.

At the end of every day though, as I walk the 5 mins from my workplace to 'home', which is actually a double room with attached bath and kitchenette, wondering if the elevator has fixed itself , I feel strangely 'in place' in this quaint city. Maybe it is because I was born in the wrong era, or maybe it's because of my love for all things cobblestoned.
Either ways - it could be home!

Monday, February 15, 2010

This post had several opening lines. Ranging from pitiful excuses to profound proclamations. Then I thought it best just to write.

I must recap - if only to preserve memories for my own. After wrapping up things in Canberra, wrapping up my 4.5 years of life there literally and figuratively I went home. For the first time in four and a half years, we were a family of four. Eating, talking, laughing, crying, fighting and finally it was home again. The New Zealand summer went by much too fast for my liking, but it was packed full of excitement.
The engagement happened and even though I don't feel 'engaged' as it were, a great time was had by all. Then the summer happened, the summer of 2009! And what a brilliant summer it was. The weather more than held up the whole time and as a consequence one did what one longs to do in a perfect summer holiday - relax, unwind, eat, sleep, read, party and frolic on the beach.

So time, keeping true to its nature, flew by and before I knew it, I was packing to move to Brussels. The arrival into Brussels was eventful, complete with snowfall, flight delays and more snowfall.
So now I am in my very own 'cookies n cream' city, a room with a view and daring to look forward to each day.
Wish me luck, keep in touch and will update soon!