Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Motherland

So I have really cool post about the Swedish army coming up, but not just now, because now I have about five minutes on someone else's computer, and besides, I'm in Barcelona, and much occupied with my somewhat strange family and, well, Barcelona. It's good to be back in the Motherland*. The Motherland which, I have to say, is outdoing even its usual levels of being political. I did my bit and harassed my sister's Very Political boyfriend for information, and also visited the museum of catalan history which I warmly recommend as an excellent museum of interest even to the non-catalans among you. Yes it is also in English, and it is particularly good if you want to find out (more) about the Spanish Civil War. Just a tip.

It's changed, the Motherland has, since I was last here. It is, of course, lovely and prosperous as ever. I don't get taken for a tourist quite as often, which is nice, because though I am hardly a local I have known this country too long to be an outsider. But mostly I find that that language that everyone gets so upset about, although the tourists still don't have a clue, Catalan, gets much harsher reactions than it used to. A few times now my mother and I have been very rudely treated by Spanish speaking people who were offended at our speaking Catalan to them. Now I know that that is partly their embarrasment at not speaking it, but it is also partly Castilian/Spanish resentment at Catalonia's cultural independence. But I'll be damned if I am going to be apologetic about speaking the main official language. Maybe independence isn't such a bad idea after all.

*In case you didn't know, my mother is catalan, though she has lived in Belgium since she was 21.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Travels


So tonight I am off to Sweden and Spain, so you won't hear from me for a while. I'll post if I can, but neither of my hosts is, I think, internetbound. A long goodbye to belovèd Europe, for the time being anyway. You have no idea how weird that feels. Still, I expect you'll hear from me before I am off to the States and all that wedded bliss. Probably more nonsense about said bliss. I hope it gets better once we're married.

I am going to miss the cheese.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The quest continues

Some time ago I defined a quest for myself. I set myself these goals:

1. Tangible Holy Grail: living with my lover/fiance/husband, and being able to work
2. Spiritual Holy Grail: making the transition to the above state without losing my enthusiasm for my lover, for finding a really good new job, for new projects. Most of all I must not lose my self-respect or peace of mind in the process either.

Looking back now (this was January 25th) I think things are coming along nicely. Though I guess I have lost plenty of peace of mind. Breathe, girl, breathe. My self-respect and enthusiasm, however, are in good nick.

I rule.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Cuppa

There are a muchness of things I would like to/could write about; but after a day of practicalities and housewifeness I'd rather just collapse with a cup of tea. I suggest you do the same. I wish you all a lovely evening, and the same for me.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Five reasons why I really shouldn't have children (yet)

- Bouncy castles never make me think of children. They make me think of how sad it is that I am not generally allowed on them.
- Large groups of children generally annoy me. On a good day, small groups of children annoy me too.
- I am terrifically bad at relating to children. My general approach is to treat them as adults. Basically this is because I never did relate to them well, even as a child. My parents will confirm that I always was a small adult.
- For the time being, I am very much enjoying my free time. I like spending time on friends and social activities. I like going to movies, I like doing amateur drama, I really want to be involved in charities and NGOs. Most of all, I want to spend a lot of quality time with the Fiancé before I ever contemplate kids, singular or plural.
- *laughing* The Boy and I will have a hard enough time supporting ourselves in the beginning. I can't even imagine adding a child to that difficult equation.

So, for anyone who was going to ask the question after we get married - there you go*.

I've just been to my niece and nephew's school show, can you tell?

*One might well ask whether I want children at all. The strange thing is that yes, I rather think I do, although I have no idea why. Biological clock? Maternal instinct? Who knows. Rather typically, the Fiancé and I discussed it in one of our many long-term compatibility conversations and we agree the children are on a 2-5 year plan once we get married (presuming we are happily so) I guess. Argh.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

True consolation

*
I am feeling quite miserable physically, for entirely normal reasons. I am also watching the miracle of high camp that is the Eurovision song contest. That helps.

*This is Belgium's entry, Kate Ryan, being molested by our favourite three-time Eurovision winner, Johnny Logan, he of the classic Hold me now. You know what? Deep in my sentimental heart I actually like the bloody song

a bit of a rest

I just paid the last of the party bills (on behalf of my parents, who have kindly given me the party as a wedding gift). I wish it were the last of the formalities but not a chance. For some reason things just keep getting more complicated when really I just want to curl up and sleep and enjoy a few days of quiet.

The Fiancé has been great and has agreed to sort out temporary health insurance, so that takes off some of the load. I miss him terribly just now, and in fact ever since he left. Moreover I keep dreaming about him, which is a novelty. Isn't that stupid? I'll see him in three weeks, and this time I will be there to stay, so why put myself through this?

The plan, then, is to brave my current state of body and mind and sort at least some of the mess. I'm ironing too, but that's just therapeutic. I always end up doing laundry when I have lots of things to do that I can't or don't want to face.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Time to wake up


This morning I saw off the very last of my foreign friends, friend extraordinaire and general great person who is also the person who introduced me to the Fiancé. I guess this is the end of that whole thing, and I am not sad the way I'd normally be for the simple reason that I know that I will see her again soon.

Lately, the thought of how long it will be till I see my family once I leave has hit me. With one thing and another it could easily take more than a year for me to even get travel permission. Now of course some of my family will travel up to see me, but it isn't always an option. It's a saddening idea.

There is this whole view ahead of me, a tangle of possibilities, starting with that 10:10 am flight to New York on June 10th.
Arriving in Baltimore* and hugging the Fiancé, driving over to his place, now our place. Then the civil wedding the next week, and a weekend away, some time to ourselves. Then we move house, we file the next set of papers, etc etc.
At this point the picture gets foggier. What will things be like once we live together? Will we fight or live a life of domestic bliss? Obviously I love the boy to bits but that doesn't mean it will be be, as they say here, all moonshine and rose smell.
Will I be homesick? Will I make friends? Will I manage the culture shock? Will things be ok in Belgium? Will I need to drop everything and return, for an emergency of for myself?

I think we, and things, will be ok. Otherwise I wouldn't do this, I wouldn't take this jump. I think we will be happier together than apart. But ye gods, what a jump it is.

*assuming that immigration finds no reason to turn me back

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Heimat

Well, I have made at least a few decisions. I will be going back to the Motherland before leaving Belgium. I will also try to go to see a friend for a long weekend.

Meanwhile, in my endless saga of minor illnesses, my rash(/bites?) is really escalating and I itch like hell. More than you need to know, I'm sure.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

In the field

Not sure I will be seen much over the next couple of days, as there is much going on. You may see the occasional pair of ears sticking out in the high grass. I need a break and also to take some decisions, but somehow I don't think I will get round to either.

I've been going on lots of walks with people, and drinking lots of beer and having lots of chocolate. I think I am going to miss Belgium.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

So, Luxemburg

I live in Belgium, born and raised here. Nonetheless I had never visited Luxemburg before last weekend. Last weekend, however, my Fiancé's parents were visiting friends there, and the Fiancé and I joined the party after a couple of days of quality time together in the Ardennes. You know what? Luxemburg is really nice for a small and insignificant country.

Luxemburg City has terribly expensive trains, but also a really nice park right in the centre, in the old river valley. It's full of strawberry plants and red beeches. I fell asleep on the lawn there, nestled on the lover's broad manly chest.

Luxemburg is nice.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pros and cons

I was telling you all about my splendid engagement party yesterday. The thing is, I was wondering today about whether or not it was really worth all of the stress and misery and I guess I will reluctantly admit that it is. Mind you, this was a particularly splendiferous do.

Later:
I, or rather my lovely Fiancé, have just booked a one way ticket to the U.S. I am eagerly awaiting the email confirmation. Good heavens. The thing is really done now, isn't it? June 10th.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

After a long absence

Well, no rest for the wicked as they say, and so after seeing off the Fiancé and his parents today turned into yet another busy and complicated day.

However.

I promised you all a few stories and so I guess I had better get started. The Party. Well, those of you who weren't there missed out. To prove this to you, I give you:



The Food. A thing of beauty in every way.

Of course there were also people. They were kind of nice too. It was a really bizarre, if nice, to see so many people that I love together - miscellaneous foreign and local friends, family, family friends. Oh, and the Fiancé and I both looked like a million dollars. Million euros. Whatever. We looked fa-bu-lous.

The other star of the party was my mum's garden:

And there were outdoor heaters. Those were also great, since it was an unseasonably cold, nay, glacial spring evening. What else...a band. Yes, the band was a surprise. At one point I saw a man with a guitar walk past in our deserted countryside road, but I figured he was was probably just an eccentric guest. Turns out that my sisters had booked a band, and a good one too, and so my love and I danced somewhat awkwardly to some very nice Brazilian music.

Anyway, so it was lovely. Pics on the site will follow, as will more stories on the blog. I have to go now. My mother is handing me a kitten and let's face it, blogs are not as cute as kittens.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Yip yip yip!

I have a fiancée visa!!!
And got to watch about half of The Two Towers in the process. The American consular section takes its waiting room entertainment seriously.
The Fiancé leaves tomorrow, so I am off to spend quality time, but proper stories of the Party and of our minimoon to La Roche and Luxemburg will follow soon. Really.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ok folks, party's over

So it would seem. And a very successful party it was too; but that is a story for a later time, when I am sad and lonely. For now, we (the Fiancé and I) are off to the Ardennes for some quiet time. Oh, and just to make things interesting, I have a rash all over my body. Gah.