Friday, July 29, 2005

Lonely worker

Pfff had meetings all day, some of them really boring. Geez, some people can keep on discussing things that weren't even the true subject of the original discussion. They don't even get it that they are not answering the question they were asked, not even when it is being asked a second time. Nevertheless they come up with a whole new 5 minutes of pointless arguments. Fortunately we had some good people in the meetings as well :-). I survived!

Anyway, it was almost time to go home when I finally got behind my desk. I really felt I oughta work a bit more on my daily tasks as I am falling behind on my planning. On one hand I really didn't feel like it, I was tired, it's almost weekend, ... but on the other hand I did want to progress a bit more before going into the weekend.

Some hours later, everyone else has left and I am here by myself in the empty building. By this time, my first dip of fatigue has gone (after telling anecdotes to my boss... yeah good way to progress quickly on a friday evening! But it did wake both of us up) . By now I might as well stay even a bit longer in order to drive directly to the airport to pick up Jan. It's weird to be here alone on a friday night, I feel like I am doing tremendous overtime. This is really not my habit anymore, whereas this hour would still be leaving "early" at my previous employer. Hmm so glad I am not there anymore! When I was working at Accenture, my friends commented that they'd never be able to work overtime so much...but it really is a habit. In the end, your life is adjusted to it and then it's weird to eat early and come home early. Now my habits have been reversed as well and I find it very strange to work this late.

It's also strange today as everyone who was here seemed to go on vacation next week. So I' ve been saying all the time "see ya in 3 weeks" "have fun".... while the others don't come back before next week. It seems like a switch of teams with me being the connection. So I really feel even more like the only one working! How brave huh! And if I'd stay concentrated for a while (without surfing and typing in my blog) it would be even better :-).

bye bye.... almost weekend

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Festival in Ghent


Well, last monday was the last day of the festival in Ghent again. I've been 3 times over the 10 days and it was fun. I saw street theater during day time, street animation, concerts, had some initiation of folk dances, ....

I always seem to have a routine to my yearly recurring visits. I don't do it on purpose at all, but looking back I always follow the same pattern. Even when I go everytime with different friends. The first night I don't have a routine or agenda in my head. I just wonder around with friends, listen to the music at the different squares, look for good food (I never go to the festival with a full stomac!! to much good stuff to try !), ....

The next times I try to go more to specific acts or concerts. This was a good thing because it was very crowded downtown on some nights (and I picked the most busy nights). This year almost 2 milion people came to Ghent during those 10 days!! They broke all records and very often squares had to be closed off by the police when the crowd before a stage risked to become too big. This is very annoying when you want to go somewhere although I was never confronted with the problem. I never showed up at the beginning of a new act and apparently the gates were
opened very soon afterwards again after some people had started leaving the street again. The fact of streets and squares being closed raised a whole discussion in the press. It is against the spirit of the festival in Ghent were you can just wonder downtown from the fair to a dance to a street theatre to different concerts everywhere. On the other hand... if you are on the street that has been closed off, it's much more confortable for those who are already on there.


At one point the police and the city council decided that the city couldn't absorb any bigger crowd so they closed off for the first time in history the highway exits and put a sign along the highway "Ghent full". I wish I could have seen that!! It sounds so unbelievable. It'll be a challenge for the coming years to keep the festival attractive , secure and managable. Some people fear it has become a victim of its own success.

As a kid however I already remember wringling myself through crowds. At that point I still thought it was fun to make yourself a way through the mass of people as soon as you could with a friend. It must be a sign of getting older, but now I more easily take a detour in order to get somewhere faster and easier :).

Anyway, the party is over now. I am back at work and I feel exceptionally tired already all week. Can't be last weeks festival as I always went on evenings when I could sleep in the next day and just spend some lazy time. I don't get it.
But right now it's already past bedtime and naturally I do feel awake now!!! Go figure. You'd better not ask me tomorrow if I am feeling tired!

Good night. Slaap wel!

flies and mosquitos

message to all those f.....g flies that are in this office already for 3 days now: GO HOME, there are nice cows out in the field a little further!!

This applies for the mosquito's that like to visit my appartment as well! I do have a lethal spray that has proven to work, so you are warned.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

day off

maybe I should just clarify why I am not at work today: 21st of july is our national holiday. So I had a day off.

It's actually a special birthday for Belgium: 175 years old! and 25 years that we have a federal state with Flemish, Brussels and Walloon governments.
There are a lot of festivities in Brussels and there will probably be fireworks in most cities late tonight. I decided not to go out anymore today and I have progressed well on my to do list. Hurray for myself!

Negative feelings

Do you ever get annoyed by something and it really pulls you down in a negative spiral of feelings? You are really pissed off over something even though you realise that you are overreacting. But somehow all of a sudden, everything annoys you and you work it out on other people and you hate yourself for it. But at the same time you are still angry, so somehow you don't care being difficult to others because everyone is being difficult at you at that moment.

It's really strange since you are not feeling pleasant and you want to feel better but at the same time you don't, because that annoyment is still in you. But then it slowly fades away a bit while just concentrating on daily little tasks and normal conversations.

Well, yesterday afternoon was like that for me. Something happened at work that pissed me off and I couldn't get rid off it right away. It was only after arriving at the festival of Ghent where I met some friends again and moving in the big crowd, looking for some good music, good snacks and atmosphere that you slowly forgot about it. Thinking back, the annoyment is still somewhere there below the surface but it's not going to pop-up like that anymore.

Yesterday we saw a good folk concert downtown Ghent. There were very many people out once more, the police had to close of some squares. that's too bad, because it kinda spoils the atmosphere if you can't move around easily anymore. The Park and Ride 24/24 system works excellent though with the new long trams going all the way to the huge parking lots of Flanders Expo. It only costs 2 euro to park and ride, so why bother anything else huh. you only need to stand up in the tram as it's quite full at night!!

Anyway, today is my day for catching up chores. I've been neglecting my appartment so much in the last 2 weeks, it's a real shame. So up I go: vacuuming, washing floors, cooking, cleaning shoes, ..... Lots to do. If just for once I can get myself going and keep going, there might be time left for a book or another sneakvisit downtown!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

chores

I should be doing some chores, but I feel so lazy tonight. In fact, I am not doing anything at all and I am enjoying it. On other days I'd get all stressed out, but now I just feel very peacefull and quiet :-). Too bad that work doesn't run away. Sooner or later I'll have to get moving again. But it's not going to happen tonight anymore.

Monday, July 18, 2005

summer summer summer time!

Last weekend was already so perfect, how could this one be better?
Well I don't know if it was better. Last weeks folk concert in Leuven with the more than excellent Galician folk group, the lazy long biking tour in the country side, the outside italian dinner with Jan and even the construction work in our house was really good.

This weekend I opted for a "quiet" household chores evening at Friday because it was one of the only evenings that I was at home in my appartment. When Jan arrived he announced the great news that we were expected to be at the house in Leuven at 7.30 - 8 AM (one hour drive!). Great to start a weekend that early :(.

After a very sleepy morning I transformed myself back again in a grey construction site assistant. My main duty was dividing bigger bags of mortar into smaller portions to be mixed with the sand and water for our floor base floor on which the floor heating can then be installed. This duty explains the grey/black color that my clothes, skin, hear, etc... had.

Refreshed by a long nice shower back at home in Ghent, I walked downtown to enjoy the first evening at the festival in Ghent (yes I walked: tram had derrailed and the crowd waiting for the bus was too big. Walking was actually quicker than I expected: after 45 minutes I was downtown. ) . The crowd was big (150000- 200000) people but it was a great night althoug a bit cold. We watched the folk dances going on in the park. One of the next evenings I do want to go to such a folk dance initiations. It's so far the 3rd time I stand there watching the others line up and swirl around at the life folk jigs, bourées, etc.... but I don't know the steps. I will talk some of my friends into joining me at a session this week ;-).
We watched a very good concert of Chic at the subfestival of Pole Pole. I only knew them of some old funny disco hits, but they turned out to be a really good life band with great musicians and dancers shaking on the floating stage on the river. I am really glad I chose to see them over the great offer of concerts going on.

On Sunday we did sleep in a bit and then after a late long breakfast, the 3 (Jan, Sofie and me) of us drove to the other side of the country again. I had got free tickets for the Belgium Rhythm and Blues festival which goes on in the middle of nowhere near the Dutch/German border. A good opportunity to get to know a festival we didn't know yet, so of we went.
The festival was really nice: smaller, only 10000 people , but well organised, clean and very cosy (even with child care and a little children parade). We enjoyed our afternoon on a blanket in the sun just outside the open concert tent listening to the music, strolling along the food stands and little market, listening to the blues groups coming by. I am absolutely blues illiterate and I didn't know any of the artists, but I did appreciate it more than I had expected. It was really great!!! I might go again another year :-) and I might listen to blues a bit more often . Unfortanately we had to leave just before the 2 best acts would come on. But we all had to work today so we were committed to getting home at time. End of one of those marvellous summer weekends :-) .

Monday, July 11, 2005

Life goes on

Hmm I don't have much inspiration to write. A lot of things happened last week, but I don't know really what to write about it. It all seems irrelevant, cheesy or inadequate.

On Thursday there were the terror attacks in London which were shocking the world. It was fairly creepy since Jan was in that metro station half an hour before the bomb went off. But since it was him who was calmly letting me know about the attacks when we were both at work (he in London, me in Belgium), I was never really worried or scared.

It's amazing how quickly life goes on after the news. It almost seems like ware getting used to the fact that terror happens in our world now and then. It's horrible for the people involved. It's utterly a crual incomprehensible act. But if you're not closely involved, life quickly goes on after watching the news. We can feel guilty about it, I don't know if we should.

The weekend was in big contrast with 7/7 with the nice warm weather returning. I enjoyed some folk outdoor concerts in a small festival in Leuven, we continued the renovations in our house



and made a lovely big biketour along the river and some nearby towns on Sunday. It was such a great weekend.

Monday, July 4, 2005

weather's irony bis

hmm I feel a bit weird after watching the news and seeing the impact of last nights downpour. A lot of villages, roads, houses etc... have been flooded in Belgium (and neighbour countries).
Maybe my "humerous" tone of last post wasn't quite appropriate, if you think about the problems they have now.

Imagine your house flooding in 5 minutes time and loosing all your furniture while you can't do anything. I can't truly imagine how that'd feel, I just hope I'll never know.

Weather's irony

The weather gods are quite ironic once more.

In June, the month that all students have to study hard for their exams, there was a heat wave... until Wednesday June 29th. Then it got cloudy and colder and it started pouring. Rock Werchter, the music festival most students attend after their exams transformed once again in a muddy place to be. After a couple days that were slightly better, this night/morning our country was almost flooded with rain and some more rain and more rain and more rain, causing small floodings everywhere. Great start of the vacation!

I am so greatful I am not a student anymore! Now I can only be upset by the traffic chaos it caused this morning, not about a spoiled first week of vacation. :)

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Vacation exodus

Today I came out for the first time in a couple of days at the highway(I was a bit ill this week) . It was quite remarkable...the school vacation has started in Belgium as well as in a lot of other parts of Europe and right away the "vacation" cars and campingcars appear on the roads to the South. In a couple of weeks we'll see them driving in both directions: non-tanned people going south, tanned people going north.
Cars filled with beach toys, kids, luggage compartments strapped on the roof, ....

I already noticed yesterday in the supermarket: lots of children in the supermarket, small toys to use in the car in their hands, more coloring books in the shopping cart.

I wish I could get in a car and start driving south myself!