Monthly Archives: January 2011

Scary stuff

“Do one thing every day that scares you”, is one of my favourite quotes. If we don’t try to go beyond our boundaries, we’ll never know for sure where they actually are.

Though, in my life, it turns out that I don’t do every day one thing that scares me. I somehow save the day-to-day scare and then, every once in a while, I get afraid at myself.

  • In 2002, I went to Grenoble. My knowledge of French at this time would be best described as basic.
  • In 2006 – going to South Africa. When sitting in the plane, I had this nagging feeling that I had no clue what I was actually up to. Turns out the feeling was right – one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I ever made.
  • 2010 – taking the decision of going back to school by starting a part-time MBA. And honestly, I’m scared.

Two things maybe to get out of this: 1) This startling sensation of uncertainty and having no real idea about what I’m just getting myself into; to do entirely without is boring.

2) If this blog goes a little bit quiet in the  next few months, it’s because I’m writing somewhere else about my current scary endeavour. It won’t be given up however.

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News on the dirty laundry

Not even a month after sending the email contestant les faits, i.e. contesting the fine for putting out the garbage on a non-collection day, I received another letter from the commune. What I wrote was not enough to challenge the facts, says the letter n°2. What letter n°1 did not say was that I had only one shot to get this right.

My new choice now is to pay a 40 euro fine – instead of the initial 80 – or to go to court. For this, I would have to pay 35 euro: les frais de requête auprès du Greffe du Tribunal. But never mind. What annoys me is that I will give in.

Something inside me is nagging that I should not give in by principle. But the other side very insistently makes the point that I ‘saved’ 40 euro and that I really have other things to do. Only for the nagging side to retort that this is probably what most people do and this is why the commune doesn’t even need to proof that the garbage was collected that day neither bothers telling me what the hell I’m supposed to do: Come back from work and check if the rubbish bags are gone?

**Imaginez à cette place une très forte insulte de votre choix**

Diplomatic difficulty

The problem with being nice diplomatic is that people might still get angry at you because of what you said while they will not appreciate what you did not say.

In other words: Did you ever experienced someone getting upset because you criticised him (or her) in what you considered to be rather gentle words? Only to be left wondering what would have happened if you had said what you really thought?

No need to thank me for sharing this.

“English is an easy language”

Actually, French spelling is way less arbritary than this:

I take it you already know
of tough, and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
on hiccough, through, slough and though.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead; it’s said like bed, not bead!
For goodness sake, don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat,
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt)
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there’s dose and rose and lose –
Just look them up – and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward
And font and front and word and sword.
And do and go, then thwart and cart.
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start.
A dreadful language: Why, man alive,
I’d learned to talk when I was five.
And yet to write it, the more I sigh,
I’ll not learn how ’til the day I die.

Dish of the day

Two decilitres of patience,
One cup of gentleness,
Four spoons of good will,
A pinch of hope
And a dose of good faith.

Add two handful of forbearance,
A sachet considerateness,
A few grains of compassion,
A handful of this small, rare plant
that is called humility,
And a decent amount of good mood.

Season with a lot of common sense,
Let it braise
And you will get a good day.

Recipe from the 12th century
Found by the priest Michel Extra
in the kitchen of the parsonage
in Satillieu (Ardèche, France)

For download:
French original- Menu quotidien /German translation- Tagesgericht

Mijn Voornemen

During a few hours on New Year’s Eve, I spoke more Dutch than in 4 years in Belgium together. The next day, I realised, that my Spanish and my Dutch knowledge do not get mixed up any longer.

Hence, the idea, to boost my Dutch a bit further while continuing Spanish. And because I haven’t shared this before, here the link to an excellent German/Dutch online dictionary: www.uitmuntend.de.

And always something new to learn

I don’t know much about classical music but this stuff is just cool: