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

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

11 September 2007

  • 6 years since the attacks in the US
  • 4 years since our then Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh died after being stabbed when shopping in Stockholm

Is the world getting harsher? I guess everyone would agree that is it. What can we do about it? Well, I think there are so many lovely, warm, fun, intelligent and beautiful people out there! Hug eachother, don't get upset with small things and appreciate people for who they are - even if you don't love all parts of them! The world is full with pretty things, it's just up to yourself to see and enjoy them! Try to make the good win over the evil. Peace and love!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

7 September 2007

Everyone I know here in Brussels has a kind of love-hate relationship with the city. We love it because it is such an interesting place to work: Fab jobs, an exotic & exciting mixture of people from all over Europe and beyond, delicious food and drinks and a handy proximity to other countries when you want to go travelling. All this in a non-hectic environment where two hour lunches are OK.

Brussels is also great because it is a hub. People actually come here, either for the destination itself, or just passing through. (You see, I have lived in far more remote places where noone came just 'becasue they happened to pass by'!) In the last two weeks I have either randomly or planned, met 4 old friends - who all just happened to live here (without us knowing about eachother), or who are going to move here soon. It's absolutely LOVELY to have old friends just re-appearing like that, out of thin air! This is definitely a great advantage of BXL.

The flipside of this is the huge turnover of people. Just as quick as we came here, we may leave and disappear... You make new friends, get attached to them and then... then they decide to move somewhere else. Many young professionals are on short-term contracts and you are considered lucky to get a long contract - in BXL-terms this means about 1 year or longer. One of the Commission's favourite issues at the moment is 'flexicurity'- however most people working here (apart from in the EU institutions) is without any real job security whatsoever.

People come and people leave. If there was one sound of this city it would be the sound of suitcases rolling on the streets at night: We are arriving or departing from our long weekends somewhere else with our partners or families. London is just 2 hours by Eurostar and if you take the Friday afternoon train to London Waterloo, faces are full of expectations. The Brussels double lives are on the road.

We are here because we love it. We leave because we can't stand it. And then we come back because we realise we have our lives here. Time is moving on and it turns out that, in reality, our 'old lives' are not how we remembered (and sometimes glorified) them.

We are internationalists and have to learn living with the sound of the rolling suitcases. It's not as luxurious it might seem from the outside. But it's usually very exciting.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

4 September

Everyone I know thinks that the weather has been really sad and bad this summer in Brussels.
When I say thay I think the summer has been lovely (with the odd rainy day) they wonder where I have been. Brussels?
In my world I am very happy with the summer. Basically I think we have had sun and blue skies all the way since April. Howcome is everyone else so unhappy? I have had countless lunchbreaks in the park, have worn sandals and have been sweating. I've been on the beach and also got a tan.
How can perceptions be so different? Well, I guess it's all socially and culturally (and geographically, for that matter) constructed. My Italian, Portuguese and Greek friends feel that they haven't had any summer at all. Bless. You have far too high weather standards when you are from southern Europe! Not healthy.
It's probably all explained by the fact that I have lived in Scotland - where when the weather presenter says 'sunny spells' is considered to be good weather - for quite a while. I am actually quite looking forward to crisp autumn days now! Finally time for some fresh air and some warming cup of teas after a walk out in the cold...

Monday, September 03, 2007

3 September 2007

Today I heard a really weird comment. This man, an IT Consultancy guy, came to fix some computer problems at my office today. He was in a very cheerful mood because he is getting married pretty soon. His hands were full with invitations to everyone in the office (although I didn't really grasp why he would invite everyone in the office to his wedding - he must be responsible for IT in hundreds of offices)...

We asked where he will go on his honeymoon and he said:
- To South Africa, back to our roots.
- Oh, I didn't know you were from South Africa, my colleague said.
- I'm not. But it's where the monkey comes from, so yes, that's were I am from.

What did he try to say? I got a very awkward feeling by the the way he said it and how he laughed. Don't think I'll go to his wedding.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

September 1 2007

Today the Brits came a wee bit closer to Europe by organising the very first Eurovision Dance Contest. Dancers of 17 countries compteted with 2 numbers each - one modern (like salsa, jive, tango...) and one more traditional. Broadcasted from London and the BBC, the show was full with the usual Bristish sarcasm (and humour).

Also with their usual sense of surprise, the British commentators could not understand how the UK didn't get as many points as expected and why they ended up not as winners, but rather at the very end of the list... For as much as I do like the UK, some things like 'Britain being the centre of the world and noone really understands our greatness', will always remain the same!

Poor polite 'Continental Europeans' calling in to give their votes. Thanking for a great programme, or simply wishing the hosts a nice evening, the presenter Graham Norton rushed to get the points and was like 'Yeah, yeah, we don't have much time now so could you please be quick?!'. Of course with a sense of humour, but with that British subtle undertone of 'I'm death serious!'

I am one of those Eurovision Song Contest enthusiasts and am very happy about this sister contest. I actually believe that the Eurovision Song Contest stimulated my interest in Europe when I was a child - I loved watching when points were given from the participating European Capitals and when they said 'Good Evening from x' in different languages! Then it is, of course, a completely different issue if the music is good or not. But that (quality) is not what the Song Contest is about at all!