Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A summer break

I am still tired after all the long weeks I did at the end of May, beginning of June. After a sore back, I had a headache etc... So I decided I urgently needed to take some breaks and use those vacation days that I still have.

After a look on the calender I took off 4 days and after spreading them well I'll have to work 4 days in the first week of july followed by a 5 day weekend. then I work 3 days with a normal weekend and then I work once more 3 days in order to arrive at another 4 day weekend. Wooohoo, sounds great. I am soooo looking forward at having some breaks. Yes yes and summer is there with all the festivals, barbecues and hopefully summer weather to enjoy. Bring it on!

Abrupt goodbyes

Last saturday I attended the funeral of Eugene Munyandinda, a Rwundese priest that lived in my old town for the last 12 years. His priest studies had been supported by the priest of the main church of Deinze and Eugene had come to visit after he had finished his studies.

In the genocide of Rwanda in 1994 he managed to survive the torturing and killing that was going on but the rest of his family had been killed. After a difficult journey he managed to arrive in Deinze as a refugee. Soon he integrated in the city, started helping in church and started learning some Dutch, nevertheless with a huge accent.
Soon he became a well known face downtown with his big smile and on weekends dressed with the colors of the local football club. He also sang in the youth choir and taught us some African songs to sing.

Some years later he had discoverd that 2 of his brothers children were still alive and in a orphanage in Rwanda. He brought them to Belgium and looked after them which caused the necessary discussions: can a catholic priest raise children ..... but with his stubbornness he ignored all the discussions, advice, ... and took them in his home and with the help of friends and some nuns he raised them in Belgium.

After 11 years of being assistant priest in the main church in Deinze, he became priest in the neighbour town Olsene. He was welcomed there with a bit village party and his smile was shining as ever before. I remember we had to sing for his inauguration there since there was no choir yet. In the last year he actually flourished there in his own parish, the people got used to his accent as we did the years before in Deinze and he managed to get a big choir founded there.

2 weeks ago, he abruptly died in a car accident. Although I didn't know Eugene that well personally, his death came as a shock to me. I guess you never expect anybody to die so suddenly, so abruptly without any warning. Even though he probably did not know that I was present, even though no family could be there to see my presence at his funeral, even though I knew the crowd would be very big, I felt it was only appropriate to go to his funeral for a last goodbye. With the youth choir of Deinze we sang the Rwandese 'Our father' that he taught us.

I didn't expect that I would be so touched by the funeral which was quite impressive. Indeed, lots of people from Deinze and lots of people of his new parish were present proving how well integrated and accepted he was in our society there. I guess everybody loved his good humour and big smile which helped us forgive him his little faults he had as anybody else. All local organisations were present, but also many many Rwandese friends came over: the African community in Brussels with whom Eugene always stayed very very close in touch and who understood what he had gone through during the genocide and also his only remaining brother living in congo and friend priests from Rwanda. It became a big bilingual funeral in Flemish and French with 7 priests (3 Belgian and 4 Rwandese), even his Rwandese bisshop was present.
He would have been so proud at his choir in his parish.

Most people, so do i, feel most with Didier and Diane, his foster children, nephew and niece. Can you imagine what they've been through in their short lives already. It seems so hugely unfair that they are alond once more and have to somehow start over again. I don't know yet what will happen with them, right now lots of Rwandese friends were staying over and also a nun who has always helped the family from the beginning was staying with them, but a more permanent solution will have to be found. They are not helpless anymore at 16 and 14 but they are still very vulnerable.

During service I had to think about our multicultural society. The service was so beautiful and it all merged into each other nicely. I was sitting there next to 10 African ladies and I could only admire their beauty and style and I thought we should all interact so much more. It really adds something, we truly can learn from each other despite many prejudices that might be even true. The whole thing was so much in contrast with the racist murders that took place in Antwerp a couple of weeks before. Or other racism that is truly growing in Belgium. I hope that Eugenes death and funeral makes some other people think as well. A couple of hours after his funeral some street kids got into a discussion and fight with an adult on a bus and they kicked him to death. Today another shocking event happened in Belgium : the corpses of 2 little missing girls have been found back murdered after 3 weeks of searching. They say that the world has in fact become a safer place than decades ago, but that our media focuses much more on that type of events. I sure hope so because Belgium has gone through some shocks of that type shocks in the last 2 months. It's truly unbelievable, but I do still feel very safe in this country. I do still believe thses are isolated cases.

Jans pictures are better

Jan says that his pictures are better, so here they are. And we are polling: is the kitchen too white and should we paint the left wall in olive green :
1) yes completely. go for it, paint the entire wall
2) hmm an entire wall would be too much, but a band of green could be a refreshing accent
3) no please leave it this white

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Happy birthday to my blog!

Yeaaaah I just realise that goofballsworld is celabrating this week its first birthday.


Up to the second birthday!


And hereby I proudly present....our kitchen!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

40th wedding anniversary of my parents

I really don't have the time to tell all about last Saturday and the big party we had, but just before I am off to bed I did want to share a little bit about it.

We had a really good party and it was fun to see all my relatives together again and also my parents best friends! I think my parents really enjoyed them being around and having such a big turnout.

Our surprise on which Griet and I have been working for so long (hence my silence on here most of the time) was still kept a surprise. We gave them a picture and story book about their lives. We had a lot of fun making it and learned a lot about our parents, but it was also tiring. Doing that on the most busiest time of my job wasn't the best combination, but hey, it can only get better now.

fatherday barbecue pictures

Here is some fun pictures from the barbecue at Jan's parents for fathersday. Both Jan's little nieces were there: Luisa (16 months) and Renée (9 months).

Back to normal life

yeaaah I am back at home, not in the hotel anymore!!
yeaaah I cooked myself some dinner with freshly bought ingredients, for the first time in weeks!
yeaaah I can sit down at my computer at night and chat with Jan and friends and update my blog.

bummer though that since Monday every non straight movement I make, gives a boost of pain in my back, which afterwards slowly fades away again. So I'd better not make this my so long awaited "update my blog night". :( there is so much in my head still that I want to tell you all.
I promise that I'll get back up to date little by little and that I'll write e-mails to all those people that I wanted to write e-mails to to get back in touch but that I have been neglecting!

It's good to be home though even when you then have to do the dishes after dinner ;-). And I urgently need to clean my appartment too... when my back isn't sore anymore.

Monday, June 12, 2006

We have a kitchen

Yoohoo, we have half a kitchen now and it'll be finished in 10 days when they come and install the countertop and the last missing parts. But it's already looking good!

in the hallway, we took down the little wall under our staircase. We'll make a door/floor that is tiled and when the door to the basement is closed it looks like floor. When you want to upen the door, it opens upwards against the upper stairs with a hydraulic pump. Well something like that. Now it gives a larger feeling to our former oh so narrow hallway.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Go justine!

Yeah, I can just feel it: Justine Henin will tomorrow win for the third time the French open. so I hope.

(note added 12/06/06: Yeaaaaah yeaaaah, she did it. She won Roland Garros, the French Open for the 3rd time! Way to go, Belgian gravel queen).

We have a kitchen

We have a kitchen!! They came to install it yesterday and it's almost finished. They have to come back for the countertop though, so it kinda looks funny without it right now. It's all secondhand information but tomorrow I'll be able to see it myself!

Jan's dad said that they put in good quality work though :-).

I promise to post pictures tomorrow

Tough week but we are live's weekend again and we survived last week. Two more beer traders are live and switched to their new software System21 aurora last weekend.

After weeks of preperation, looooong days and not enough sleep, extreme stress because we get on finding mistakes in the data files and we hardly had enough time to test the data touroughly, we made our deadlines last weekend. The cut-over stock was counted last Friday without too much problems, but it was 00h20 after all before we had loaded it all into the new system. It was fairly disappointing that the platformmanagement had all left us in the early afternoon without even checking how things were going. What a display of interest , support and involvement on such an important day. I can't understand that: when other people are helping you to make an inventory and counting stock, when you know they've been working in your platform every day from 8-9u up to 8u-9u, and you are reaching cut-over day, when you know loading the stock is critical to go life.... would you then just go home early?
I suppose I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they did not realise how important that step is.

On Saturday they exceptionally had to come back to work and prepare the first trucks with the new goods. I am always helping telesales the most since I don't have operational sales responsibles in my team. Despite my fears and lectures about them still being too slow and not practising enough, it went fairly well. But they were not so stressed as there were no phones ringing and they did not have to key in the orders while they had the customer on the phone (the day before they wrote down the orders on paper). We got delayed because some articles were not created yet and when they were partially created, they were already put on orders, but beside that we had no real problems. By 21u30 the first trucks were picked, loaded and the first despatch notes and load sheets had come out of the system. Yeaah, so far so good. But usually it's not that weekend that that's hard, it's when the customers starts phoning, when there is stress of deadlines, when there are coming back complaints about wrong invoices, etc...

Thank goodness we had still 2 days weekend left to recover from our lack of sleep. I must admit that I've been quite dizzy and weak twice in the previous week. Scary.

Last week was hectic and stressfull and yet not too bad. As in the previous go live in March, we did not suffer tru technical problems. But as was too be expected the first days we got a lot of delays. Mind you, this was a 4 days week, so much busier than usual, there is the big festival going on in Mons which causes this to be the busiest week of the year anyway and then all the new systems and processes are completely new for everybody.
So the poor pickers have worked until 1h30 twice , the first time leaving 5 unfinished trucks. But I am sure things will slowly get better. Everybody seems to know how to use the system though, only the processes in specific cases aren't always clear yet.
A lot of prices are still wrong, but that's because they gave us the wrong data to load and fortunately they realise that.

For the first time we have a go-live with a platformmanager with a positive attitude. Despite my disappointment about their absence during stock count, he's been quite supportive afterwards, putting the problems we encounter in the right perspective and encouring the people to continue to have a positive attitude. But of course you can't have it all: the logistic manager who always used to be supportive and active has surprisingly switched completely. All of a sudden, the new system is shit to him and he's not willing to collaborate much further. Great...just what we needed.

Oh well, another week next week. It can only get better, when it all becomes more routine.

Friday, June 2, 2006

it's late

It's late .... we are not finished yet with our file for the inventory. In Antwerp they are still recounting some stock. I hope we will be done in 30 minutes. I am tired. Fortunately the inventory went quite well but you are always surprised by how many prices are missing to valorise the stock, the work that you still need to do for items that need to be added last minute, and the adjustments you need to make after the trucks return with more empties en returned goods that need to be added to the counted values.

so despite the fairly smooth count, we are not done yet at 23h37. Life's tough. I hope other people are having a good sleep right now.