Monthly Archives: December 2010

2010 was


White cold beauty

It’s some time ago since we had such a beautiful white Christmas. And such a cold one. But next to the tile stove it doesn’t matter at all.

Dangerous mix?

Sometimes, I look at my parents, my grandparents, my sister and I realise how different we are and how many things we share: Perseverance, impatience, dynamism, energy, strength of will, optimism, gentleness, enthusiasm, stubbornness, intelligence, endurance, straightforwardness, warmth, distance, agitation…

And then I come to understand that all of these character traits are within me; in different doses and not always easy to balance. Sometimes not at all.



This pleasure of finding the right word for a feeling, an ache, the unease or delight that was hard to name. That nagging impression of something.

Over the frustration of not knowing how to call it. Naming it, acknowledging it, dealing with it. En fin.

Insights in the human brain

Where does the ‘need’ come from  to dismiss, disqualify or disdain what others are interested in and passionate about? It doesn’t matter if you are into modern art, cooking, IT, history, cars, architecture, whatever – more often than not, someone will make a down-looking comment on it: that is so boring, that is so old fashioned, this is so nerdy, etc.

Why can’t we just admit that we don’t care, are not interested or have no clue of the matter at stage?

The baby is there just on time

Indeed, Iraq has finally a government. Last elections were in March and the delivery is sharp after nine month

What are the bets that the Belgian baby will be delivered late? There is still time though, elections were only in June.

A nastier person than I am might even start thinking loud about how ugly this baby is going to be and how long it will live. But as I’m not such a person…

Intellectual snobs

It is fascinating how easily people forget how it is not to know. Or how much interests, skills and capacities are different from one person to another. In the past few months, I have often heard the sentence “they just don’t see it” to complain about people who would refuse to get a certain point of view, see the benefits of a project or the bigger picture.

What struck me is that the fault was always with the person something was explained to. It never seemed to be with the person who was explaining. On the contrary, the people I have in mind were rather pleased or even proud of not being understood. They looked down on those who were not able or willing to understand the complex, complicated thinking. Though if they were all this intelligent and brilliant, why this incapacity if not resistance to show others what is meant, to break it down and to make yourself understood?

Amazing the difference a few years and a degree can make.


How does it come that if you are doing something for a group out of stupidity kindness like buying water, fixing the IT, whatever, you suddenly become responsible for it in the eyes of everybody?

Why does nobody else takes the initiative any longer? Why is everybody waiting for you to do it? And why are people annoyed if you refuse or just see that you get your stuff but not theirs?

To say “you are good at this”, or “but you have done it before, why not now”, is not encouraging at all. On the contrary, it gives the impression that you are punished for taking care. Not exactly the incentive to give…

ID yourself

For the first time ever, there was an ID control on the Thalys travelling from Brussels to Paris. As I am not registered in Germany any longer, I can’t have my German ID card extended neither get a new one. All I got is the German passport and my Belgian ID.

Only, as I kind of knew and got lectured about by the Belgian police in the train, this Belgian ID is not more than a residency card for non Belgians. It is not a valid ID proof outside of Belgium.Or so I have been told.

What I don’t understand is why I got on a plane with this card three times this year: to Vienna, to Ljubljana, to Berlin and back. Honestly, I did not even have my passport with me these three times. And what is the point of the Schengen zone and me being fully registered in Belgian, paying taxes and all the etcs included, if I can’t even travel with the only official document I got?


Dirty laundry

Actually, not laundry and not even dirty – just the yellow bag full of paper I put out on Tuesday night, got me into trouble. Le service de la police administrative of Ixelles accuses me that I left the paper bag outside for rubbish collection on a Wednesday. As the rubbish bags are really an ugly side in the city, it is forbidden to put them outside the house outside the official collection hours.

If ever you have been to Grand Place on one of the collection days, you know that it doesn’t help an awful lot. Piles and piles of white, blue and yellow bags give Brussels a dirty, creepy, poor look. But noooo, the problem is not the bag, it’s when you put it outside. Sure thing.

Anyway, I did put the bag out on Tuesday night – during the right hours – but the rubbish wasn’t collected as it should have been on Wednesday morning. Do I still have to pay the 80 euro fine? Or am I supposed to come back from work and check? That would not surprise me at all in this city and that’s something we’ll find out soon. The email contestant les faits is sent; let’s see what answer I get.