This spot is dedicated to the world and how I see it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

28 July 2007

It is Saturday night. Beautiful summer in Continental Europe. If I'd go outside I would get gorgeous chocolate, world famous Belgian beer, maybe some mussels in wine sauce, and lots of interesting people from everywhere.

But tonight I am like Ferdinand, the bull who doesn't want to play with his friends and prefers to smell the flowers under the tree... And I am loooving it! My new flat among the Brussels rooftops is just SO loveable. Well worth every minute spent in it.

Friday, July 27, 2007


27 July 2007

Belgium's national day was celebrated last weekend, on the 21 July. The day commemorates when Leopold the I took the constitutional oath as the very first King of Belgium.

However, on this day when the new Prime Minister Yves Laterme (who was elected in June but who is not yet the PM due to long negitiations about the formation of the new government) was asked to sing the Belgian national anthemn, he sang The Marseillaise. It must have been an embarrasing moment for Mr Laterme. While he did loose much confidence singing this French anthem, it can probably also be interpreted a thought through strategic move: Mr Laterme is of Wallone origin, but known as 'Mr Flanders' whose political goal is to give more devolved powers to Belgian regions. This would be good news to the prosperous Flanders and less good news to the poorer Wallonia. So singing the Marseillaise could well have been his way of showing that he doesn't want a united Belgium, so put simply, he couldn't care less about the country's anthem either.
Laterme's little mishap goes bizarrly well hand in hand with some aspects of how the Belgian National day is celebrated in Brussels: The day's centre of attention is a military parade on Rue de la Loi, trough Parc de Bruxelles, to the Royal Palace. First the Air Force impressively flew across the city sky, showing their different planes. They were then followed by the army and their tanks, trucks, busses... and then military lawn mawers and all other interesting and rather let's say, low profile, vehicles. These were then joined by: ambulances, fire engines, police cars and vehicles from the Red Cross - all neatly together two and two - one from a Walloon city and the other from Flemish city, Liege and Antwerp for example, hand in hand!
I was amazed by the how the country was joined togther by, literally speaking, military force. Especially given that the theme of this year's celebrations was '50 years together', marking the last 50 years of peace in Europe since the Treaties of Rome were signed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

24 July 2007

She stands outside the Metro Troon every morning selling the magazine The Tower. Every morning regardless the weather. A colleague of mine told me that this old woman stood at exactly the same spot already 4 years ago-that was when my colleague left Brussels. And the woman still stands there, selling her copies.

The striking thing with her is not her work ethic or punctuality. It is the amazing sparkle in her eyes, the genuine smile on her lips and the happiness in her eyes. The entire woman seems to be so naturally genuine so that everyone else on the street seems being bland and in an eternal rush forwards, towards something they don't even know. Because they don't know what they want.

This lady has obviously found what she was looking for. Bless her.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

21 July 2007

This is my life. Or should it be:
This is my life!!
I prefer the second.

God, life is so easy when you are in a relationship. Of course relationships can, undeniably, be difficult too, but usually not on an individual or existential level. When you are with someone, you are not alone. Obvious, but it can have significant implications on your life: For example, not having to worry about feeling alone or not having anyone to do things together with. Someone is always there for you. When you have eachother, there are always nice things to do.

Life as a single is just so different. Not only in the Sex and the City type of way. After having been in a relationship you totally have to re-adjust your routines and how you spend your time. It's important to be pro-active and make plans to meet people and socialise. Especially if you live alone and/or work in a small office.

I have always enjoyed my own company, but I have never had my own flat before and it was a long time ago I was single. I love my new 'nest' and I start realising what a healthy experience it is to live on my own: It's not only related to how nice it is not having to see other peoples' mess or, when in a relationship, always taking your other half into the calculation. It's more that that.

It's existential. It's about not being able to escape yourself. It's about coming to terms with yourself. When being single and living alone, those less positive things that 'clogged up' your life before are gone! It's me and me = I am free do what ever I want and feel like. It almost feels like holding a baby in your hands, being able to raise it to what you want it to become. And the baby is me.

Of course I'd prefer to be with the person I love because sharing lives, experiences and everyday thoughts is beautiful. But at this point of my life I feel it's very healthy for me to be on my own. I am trying to take full charge of my time and make the most out of it. Sooner or later, I'll be in a relationship again and then it will be difficult to find the time to do certain things for myself.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

18 July 2007

Some days everything just seems crap: the news, documentaries about the end of the world, rain, dodgy people, poverty, illnesses ... There is no absence of things that can put a weight on ones heart these days.

But then again, there are lovely things too. Simple things which can make me so happy, filling my body with sparks, making me full of hopes for humanity. Two very simple, but yet great things came my way today:

The first part of the first thing was annoying though: I have just moved into my new flat in Brussels and have been trying to get Internet. These things may take a while in Belgium (despite me living right next to the European Commission). I signed up for Clear W're, this new company which offers 3rd generation Internet, connected through a modem which sends radio signals rather than using the phone line. With Clear W’re I had Internet for one day. Now that's annoying - just when you think you got a good deal and are sorted! Gone! Apparently due to 'saturation', too many Eurocrats have signed up with Clear W're in my area.

Anyway, the technician guy came within one hour after I called him to sort out the problem. He was so sweet, bless him. He diagnosed the problem quickly and called up his boss begging to find a way to give me the holy Internet "'s very important for me client, she's from Sweden and really needs Internet..." But I guess when something is "saturated", that's it, it’s full and there is not space for one more drop. (Unless they would set up a new antenna, seulement pour moi, today.) The technician expressed how sorry he was at least 5 times and there was no way I could be upset - despite having to face the jungle of Belgian Internet providers (and sky-high fees) again.

If it wasn't for my neighbour, the Danish national expert Paol, from my native neighbour city Copenhagen. He lives one floor down. I met him for the first time yesterday in the stairwell when we were both trying to find out why the entire house had an electricity-black out. We ventured down with his torch to the basement and, eventually, found the god-blessed switch.

I kept Paol in mind and since he seemed nice I thought I might as well ask him about his Internet connection/provider. Maybe we could share and I pay him half the fee, like 20 Euros/month? I knocked on his door and after not even one minute he offered me the password for his connection! And he said that since he would pay anyway, I could use his connection for free. Now that makes me so happy. I’ll definitely buy him a nice bottle of wine or something.

Monday, July 16, 2007

16 July 2007

Ok. I did it. I'm in!
From being very anti cyber friendships I signed up. I am now on Facebook.

And it's great. For people like me who never stay in one place and have friends scattered across the globe, Facebook is a fab invention. Facebook encounters actually do leave cyberspace and turn into real encounters: People you met years and years ago, may now live in the city you live in, whithout any of you knowing it. How sad would it be to find out that a good friend of yours - who you unfortunately lost touch with - lives in the same city as you but is just about to move away?
The alternative is really to be pro-active and invite all the people in your addressbook to Facebook - that way you won't miss out! Thanks to Facebook I just had a great dinner with an old university friend of mine who I last met in 2004. But that was just by chance on Praia do Guincho in Portugal. The last time we 'really' met was in the UK in 2000. Quite a long time ago, that is. He now works for NATO's Secretary General and we're both in Brussles. Lovely. O mundo é tão lindo e pequeno...