Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I am listening to Beethoven's fifth symphony.

Contrary to popular listening patterns, I have actually rarely listened to it, though I am deeply devoted to Ludwig*. From a very young age I have been indoctrinated to like baroque music, and the less...loud** music. I mean, perhaps, less large. As a consequence I know Beethoven's concertos better, his sonatas.

We have now moved on to number six, the "Pastoral", which is a bit less violent.

You know what? I like loud music, especially brilliant, passionate, all-out music and the fifth certainly is all that.

I don't , on the other hand, like Colin Firth anymore. I wonder why that is.

*In spite of the muchness of classical music pervading my youth, I actually have to admit that my love of Ludwig was kickstarted by Gary Oldman in Immortal Beloved. Not a very good movie but obviously wonderful music and oooh Gary Oldman.
**My father mostly plays the harpsichord. Harpsichords are many things, but loud they are not.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The home country

I am back in Belgium. This is somewhat odd, but in a good way. I wonder where I should leave my stuff.

I am at my dad's house for the next couple of days. This too is odd. I can hear the church bells in the morning, and it's really quiet at night and my bed is a proper four poster bed. I have allergies because for some reason Belgium does that to me.

My dad is doing pilates (at this moment, in a corner). I didn't even know this. Which reminds me that I need a yoga class, don't I.

Oooh sleepy though...

There is soup in the fridge, homemade of course. I am going to warm some up, work, and enjoy the goodness of life.

Friday, February 24, 2006

More fun with shredders

This afternoon I have been shredding all of my corporate papers. My new starter training. My own notes from giving training. I have long gotten over my melancholy when leaving like this - my experience is that there is always plenty of time to be melancholy afterwards.

So this is goodbye to my job as I know it.

Is there anything I will miss, about work, about Hungary? Of course, there are many things, but I won't list them now. I'll tell you when I get back to Belgium and am missing them. The past is past and the present is also kind of past at the moment. I am just finishing up.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Big mouths and rollercoasters

Some of you may remember I had some dental issues. Well, have. My root canal pain, is, for now, not there. This is good, very very good. There has been far too much of that. The root canal is still a problem, but if it doesn't hurt I only need a checkup in a few months.


I just went for lunch and noticed that it hurts when I try to open my jaw too far. This is entirely new, and originated when I went to the specialist (ontodontist). Maybe it is unreasonable of me to blame, but I suspect his unwisely placed injections are causing this trouble. Need I say that dentisticide is imminent? The only thing stopping my from doing silly things is the fact that I really, really don't want to see ANY DENTISTS OR DOCTORS EVER AGAIN. Sorry for shouting but I do feel quite strongly about the matter.

There is a certain irony to my being unable to open my mouth properly.

Other than the jaw thing (and it is not, at the moment, a major problem), however, today is a pretty decent day. You know, it is really silly, but sometimes I wake up and get all happy just thinking about how exciting it is, and how I am going to see my family soon, and then I am moving in the autumn and the Fiancé and I (second time using the Title without shuddering! woo-hoo!) will escape to somewhere and have a civil wedding that doesn't involve ANY planning and then I'll have time to work on new adventures and go to Florida and learn to drive - no, I really can't - and find a job when they let me. I love a good adventure, and this one is certainly the biggest yet.

You know what I also really want to do? I want to go on a rollercoaster. Last time I went on one was at Universal Studios, with the Boyfriend, courtesy of his sister, and it was absolutely wonderful. It's a shame that my niece and nephew are too little to go on these things, otherwise I'd take them. My rebel goddaughter especially would love it. Oh, I know, I'll take them to the Efteling, the coolest theme park of all times. And I can sneak off to the rollercoaster when they are occupied with something else.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Today is not the day for a nice, coherent post - there are too many things going on in my head.

1. Shredders: there is a symbol on our shredders indicating that you must not shred ties or jewellery. Apparently some people conduct their personal vendettas by shredder. A strange and mystifying thought.
Related thought: I hate my job at the moment. It has gone from quite interesting to mind-bogglingly boring. Was I stupid to offer to stay on the extra time?

2. Last night I hardly slept, not sure why. My potential reasons are a bit of a mixed bag: anger at Hungarian telephone company (don't even ask), anger at landlord (no, you can't ask about that either), lingering and, it now seems, unfixable toothache; anger about said toothache, as well as with dentist(s). Called fiancé, which helped. Late night calls are one of the few perks of this transatlantic romance.

3. This article . A hundred people. One hundred people. 8 to 12 tortured to death. Why are people not more upset about this? Is this being reported on?

4. It's spring in Budapest. Really quite lovely. Blue skies and temperature well above freezing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


This time next week I will be sitting behind the desk at my dad's house, listening to Bach and drinking coffee. It's a real bugger that according to my nutrition beliefs coffee is the devil, because I love coffee, I adore it, that one cup a day. Just the one cup. Hm. It makes me so much more well-equipped to face my day of corporate drudgery and personal hassle (both of those are temporary states caused by my move).

When I give up on my temporary bad habits (bad food, erratic sleeping, no exercise), I will not give up coffee. To hell with the Optimum Nutrition Bible. There is only so much I will sacrifice. I'll just go swimming instead, ok?

Monday, February 20, 2006


Short post today as I have lots to do. The countdown, as of my colleagues pointed out, has begun:

Friday, February 17, 2006


I have realised that I have taken to explaining my departure from Hungary with the sentence "I am joining my boyfriend in the US". This is of course true, but inevitably necessitated a later comment to the effect of "oh, I left out an important point. We're getting married."

Why am I so queasy about telling people that this is why I am leaving? It is simple: "I am leaving Hungary because my boyfriend has asked me to marry him and we are moving to the US." There. Easy. I feel like such a cynic beside the Fiancé. To whom I never refer as my fiancé, though that is exactly what he is. Why am I so weird?

You know what, I think it is an American thing. The whole fiancé/big diamonds/big wedding thing is much more American than Belgian. I have yet to hear anyone refer to their partner as their fiancé (well, "verloofde") in this same circumstance. Big weddings happen quite often, yes, but the fuss about bridal showers, engagement parties and bachelor parties is just skipped.

Hah! So it's cultural. That's a bit of a relief. See, these American traditions make me feel like I am not properly romantic for not wanting to do things by the book, and make me feel uncommitted for not believing in marriage as a guarantee for living happily ever after.
Stupid thing is, I get all these disapproving looks (for expressing the above opinions, or admiration for filmstars) from people who hardly know me just as I am going through one of my roughest patches for missing the Boy. Still at least two and a half months until I see him. Two and a half months. And it's been a month and a half since he left. *sigh* I know it's for a good cause and I know we need to save money but sometimes it just makes me nauseous to even think about it. Sometimes all I can think is why, why, why do I have to go through this.

To pompously quote myself, if you are this far apart, you have to remember every day why this person is worth it.

*the shirt on the picture says "Ik ben verkocht" which means "I am sold (on)"


>> This one is from Cute Overload.
Goodmorning to you all.

I had planned to write something proper and interesting for you today, but well, it'll have to wait. Have a great weekend and if anyone feels like calling me, hey, I'm going to be packing up and not enjoying it. I am antibiotics, so none of that boozy packing either.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fit and happy (or something like it)

My feeding patterns are erratic lately, and having read all the right nutrition books I know this is not helping me manage stress.

Today's lunch:

- a cream cheese bagel*
- an organic ginger bar
- organic vegetable juice

I have also started taking iron pills again. This should have occured to me earlier, prone as I am to anemia. One day you wake up and you realise that for days now you have been tired and grumpy, ready to cry. I was starting to wonder if this was depression sneaking in when I realised that last time this happened it turned out that in fact I had less than a third of the minimal iron requirement, and was feeling all chirpy within two days of starting the pills. Pity about the two preceding months. At least this time I am moving a bit faster.

I am counting on Belgium for putting my life in order, I guess. Regular balanced meals, family, a bit more relaxation.

On the way to the organic foodshop (you might have guess that is where I went over lunch) I walked into a second hand bookshop and bought Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. Elvis's favourite book. I am curious, especially considering that I am now without a doubt hitting the ethical/spiritual dilemmas with a vengeance. Ethics and spirituality are my bad conscience; much like with the food and exercise, I know I should, but never actually accomplish much.

*It looks like a Starbucks, it smells like a Starbucks, the food and drinks are the the same but the service, ah, the service is all Hungarian

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A good cause

My corporate employer has had a good 2,5 years out of me. I have been a dutiful employee to a not-too-bad company. It has the moral flaws of all giants, but it's not Exxon. It has no sweatshops, no record of massive pollution. When I joined I felt like I was selling my soul (I am always dramatic); now that I am leaving I am reconsidering the ethics of an employer. I'm not too black and white, and very few employers are truly and fully ethical as far as my view of the world is concerned. Neither am I. It would be good, though, to work in somewhere that is a bit more socially aware, a bit more environmentally sound. Like Oxfam. I would love to work for Oxfam. Moreover, I have just found a job I would be qualified for in the Belgian branch. The question is, again, an ethical one - can I really apply for a job that will only be able to do for a limited amount of time? I couldn't possibly tell them beforehand, and yes, as I mentioned, I would love to work there and as it would be a temporary thing the salary would be no issue at all.

Of course I could apply and face the dilemma if they call me up.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Not intensely private


Oh, and of course, it's Valentine's. Appropriately I dreamt about my lover last night; only was also Sam West. Talk about the best of both worlds eh.

Nonetheless, I am sad and lonely today, with nothing but a dentist appointment planned. I miss you pumpkin*.

*yes that is ironic. The pumpkin part, not the missing. The missing is poignantly unironic.
I was reading Drek's blog, and thinking that he is, I suppose, one of those people who are described as "intensely private". One of the reasons why his blog is as compelling as it is is because it does not consist of emotional exhibitionism.

The same is very obviously not true of mine. Although I started it for very practical reasons I have become addicted and one of my friends has commented on how voyeuristic it feels to read it. She has a point, although I do censor and do actively seek out other topics. Mind you, the serious stuff (or what passes for) tends to end up on Total Drek.

I like sharing. Part of that means I can't keep my mouth shut unless it concerns other people's issues. It also means that what I enjoy most in life is the things I get to do with other people (although I need lots of personal space). Late dinners outside on a summer evening. Fun trips. Yes.

PS: Hey, I am still waiting for those Alter Ego suggestions.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Alter ego

I need an alter ego. I am contemplating Xena Warrior Princess but suggestions are welcome.

Maybe I should be Miss Piggy. But the best alter ego of all is perhaps the Cheshire Cat-

'“All right,” said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.'

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Once upon a time I was driving back (or rather, being chauffeured back) from a trip to the east coast of Florida to see manatees. Manatees are great. It was getting close to dusk and all of the surrounding greenery was starting to creep and creak with animals. At one point my friend stopped the car for a small creature half-hidden in the verge of the road. It was an armadillo, and I got a pretty good look at it before it indignantly scuttled off into the shubbery*.

Armadilloes, dear people, are the cutest, most touching and endearing animals ever. To my friend's dismay, I do actually like them ever better than manatees. They're so small and contrary to what you would expect they look quite soft, and they have these tiny ears....

I am going all soggy at the thought alone.

The human mind is a strange thing.

*The word shrubbery always and inevitably reminds my of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the scene where the Knights who say Ni.
"Arthur: Well what is it you want?
Knight of Ni: We want.....
(pregnant pause)
If you don't know what I am talking about then, eh, never mind

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


In conversation, I am rather a shy person. I mean I usually don't ask personal questions unless I know someone quite well or feel like they really want to talk about it. Being engaged has, in that sense, been something of a revelation. People have started volunteering all sorts of interesting information. Obviously there are lots of people who tell you about When They Got Married. Here are some of the less predictable things to come out of recent oh-congratulations-conversations.

- Yesterday I found out that my dentist had spent seven years living in smalltown Florida and is an American citizen. Also that she hates Florida.
- Last weekend, a colleague's girlfriend randomly told me that she was divorced. She is about my age so I was a bit surprised. Eeehm. What do you say when people tell you things like that?
- Two of my power women role models have revealed surprising romanticism and an affection for white weddings. Odd.
- Several people have told me that I needed to stop expressing my (esthetic) admiration for male filmstars
- Two of my friends have offered to be bridesmaids and wear dresses with puff sleeves

I have also discovered that about 35% of all women enjoy talking about my impending marriage more than I do, and have more stamina.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Oh sod it

Poxy frustrating and frustrated administration/dentist/flat viewing/very bloody cold day. Don't ask.

Monday, February 06, 2006


You Are Not Scary
Everyone loves you. Isn't that sweet?

The best thing ever

I've been doing push-ups and sit-ups. It's all vanity as the Bible says but I do want to at least feel a bit more trim for the engagement reception and what with my back injury and general stiffness since I have not been doing much for a while now.

I've been dancing to Johnny Cash and cleaning my windows. It's a good combination and does change your outlook. I don't want too much last-minute mess when I move out of my flat, and besides, it clears the head and keeps the hips supple.

I've been giggling on the phone and planning my time, going to the post office and faxing paperwork. Things are starting to move, and it feels good.

I've been skating and going to movies, I've been catching up on dinners and drinks with friends. I've been enjoying the last of this Hungarian year (and a bit), and loving it, but looking forward to leaving. It will be great to be home with my family, to go to my parents' for the weekend, to play with my sister's kids, to see my friends. Most of al though, I am looking forward to the great adventure. It looks like the paperwork is not worrying me so much and now I just can't wait to go over, to stand in Brussels airport trembling, carrying some gigantic suitcase. I can't wait to be bored out of my wits on the plane over, to be nervous through immigration and to collapse in my lover's arms.

Since I was about 18, my life has always looked reasonably good to me, and always with the potential for adventure. This year I have felt a lot like I'd lost that, and I can't say how good it feels to feel like that again. It's not so simple now, not as simple as it was nine years ago, but then it is also a much bigger adventure. It's been a scary year, and I can only hope that I have learnt something from it for this Next Big Jump.

Meanwhile, I'm as enthusiastic as the above baby elephant.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Il n'y a pas de solution parce qu'il n'y pas de probleme*

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of a friend and I was saying that I expect that when I finally move in with the Fiancé I fully expect to argue with him a fair bit, you know, in the process of adjusting to eachother.
Fair point. It is not as if we are normally all that belligerent, in fact we both dislike conflict and don't fight very often. Maybe I am too anxious, too cautious. On the other hand you can hardly expect plain sailing all the way, as we are both used to living on our own and doing things just so. Expecting nothing isn't exactly an option either.

Kierkegaard says that anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.

*There is no solution because there is no problem (Marcel Duchamp)

The lost post

I just wrote quite a nice post about fear and daring but Blogger ate it. Bad, wicked, naughty Blogger.

I don't really do re-writes so, respecting the uniqueness of the post, I will have to come up with something else.

Let me think...

Meanwhile, I am quite pleased with this silly exchange. Make sure to read both.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Not as good as the last post, but worth watching

Or afternoon, or what have you. Yesterday was my Proper Post so don't expect too much ok? Actually most of you seem to have missed it, which is a shame. You know what, I am going to rip off my own idea and post something I wrote yesterday but didn't want to put up with my Serious Post:

On an unrelated sidenote, I am currently completely mesmerised by Secretary, the movie with Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader. Now I have always had something of a soft spot for James, but no, I don't like this film for the obvious reasons (if any of you have seen it you will know what I mean). It is certainly the most thoughtprovoking, bizarre, silly, disturbing, funny, subtle movies I have seen in quite a while. Shame it took me so long to discover it. It is so politically incorrect that really it isn't. I think it is one of those movies you either sympathise with or not. Sod it, I'm sorry, I can't explain. Just rent it, ok? And don't go reading up on it too much beforehand - it is one of those films that benefits from a lack of expectations.

Did any of you see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Or Sex, Lies and Videotape? Its effect on me lies somewhere in between those to. Incidentally, if you haven't, you really need to see those too. But see Secretary first.

Also I am deeply disappointed that the lyrics of the lovely Lizzie West song played at the end, Chariots Rise, seem to run "what a fool am I/to fall so in love" when I thought, and can't see how I misheard, "what grace have I/to fall so in love".
Which is infinitely better.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mon Amérique à moi

Jacques Brel, the best songwriter/performer to ever come from Belgium has a song called "Madeleine". One of the things he says in it is "elle est mon Amérique a moi" - she's my America. I always thought it was a great expression, the combination of naivety and adventure. Brel's image in his songs is of fairytale America, of the Far West and Indians, of adventure and opportunity - like in another song I love "They've got cars big as bars/They've got rivers of gold".

Speaking of songs, I once said that I could never love anyone who didn't like The Smiths' "There's a light that never goes out". Similarly, this expression "elle est mon Amérique a moi", is a shortcut to my heart, much like, say, a love of Orwell. This is slightly bizarre, as I have never been especially fond of this modern day America, especially not when I first heard this song. I was always more into Britain, land of scones and honey. I guess it was mostly the idea that appealed to me, this vision that you have, hopefully, at some stage of your life, of the big exciting world out there that you want to go to. And to say that of a person, to say that they're all of that adventure, that's wonderful, and it still is the best compliment in my eyes.

It is in many ways ironic, and appropriate, that over the last years, which have been so, er, troubled for America, I should have made friends there, and gained a special appreciation for armadilloes as well as the places I've been. And now it looks like I will be moving there, for love no less. For a lover who is, in a good many ways, my America.

I don't expect to like it all the time. US policy and I don't often agree on many things these days. Also, I hate having to drive everywhere; I love walking in cities. How much does that matter? I love adventure, and obviously I love my fiance (argh! I'm engaged!). I look forward to curling up with him on the sofa on an idle Tuesday evening, and to cooking together. I look forward to taking roadtrips with him and with my other friends. I look forward to lying on the lawn in Florida outside my friend's house. Damn it, I even look forward to going grocery shopping in some ridiculously oversized grocery story where I can't face bying toothpast because there is too much light and too much choice.