Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wreckless biking

It rained all night and everything was wet this morning, including the cobblestoned streets of Leuven. Old cobble stone is slick and old wet cobblestone is extraordinarily slippery. Going down a steep hill to the left of St. Anthony's chapel on my way to work this morning I should have considered this, but I was late and wanted to get to work fast, so I stayed on my bike. I slid a couple of times but defiantly stayed on my bike until the very end of the hill where the steepness cumulated. Here my descent dramatically turned into an uncontrollable side-slide resulting in my landing flat on my stomach, catching myself with my hands and knees. Billy Joel was brutally silenced (I had my mp3-player around my neck) as the pain registered in my brain.

I limped the rest of the way to work, leading my now chainless bike, and arrived in my torn muddy formerly-white jacket with scraped-up bleeding palms and knees atrociously late.

By Lovain

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Theoretical time of departure

On my way to work, I walk under the train station, and I always pass the big board for the bus departures and arrivals. Today it struck me, and I’ve noticed it a million times before but was never struck by it, that each departure time has a little star next to it 09:35* and if you look at the bottom of the board, it says *=theoretical time of departure. It really is quite typical Belgium. Everybody realizes that delays might, from time to time, occur when it comes to busses, but here they feel the need to dodge, in permanent ink, any potential complaint - every day, all the time. I rarely go by bus, but for commuters it must be frustrating to leave your safe arrival at work every morning in the hands of theoretical times of departures. Or perhaps then you also get a little star in your work contract Start of working day: 09:00*? And in a footnote *=theoretical start of working day.

By Lovain

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I have bi(tri)lingual children

The Easter bunny broght 2 little Batman dolls for the boys. The older one had just parted with a previous version that after intensive play finally gave in - legs & arms were broken off – and it had to be thrown away. He was very happy to receive a new one, and the younger one was overwhelmed at having received his very own Batman doll. When the boys after 2 weeks of Easter break returned to school yesterday, the older one explained this entire Easter bunny-Batman story in perfect Dutch to the younger one’s teacher, “Tante Isabel” as they call her. It’s not a surprize to me that he speaks Dutch. This is his 2nd year in school and his teacher has told me that he has no trouble keeping up. It’s just that I never really heard him speak Dutch before. To hear my little 4 year old expressing himself flawlessly in a foreign language; a language that took me a couple of years to learn, truly amazed me. The mind of children is indeed fascinating.

By Lovain

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mission impossible: time management

How do normal people manage their lives? I imagine myself to be a fairly well organized and energetic person, but I always feel as if I’m constantly trying to catch up. I’m never quite on top of things and although I’m hanging on I’m not able to keep up. There’s always another load of laundry, or a dirty floor, or a bill that needs to be paid. I never have enough time for the boys or the husband, and I don’t see my friends even remotely as often as I would like to. There’s never an extra hour for a work-out and there’s hardly ever enough food in the house. I’m constantly reminded that I don’t know anything about what’s going on in the world around us, let alone in the literary development or what happened in the last episode of Lost. I always have a party to plan or an event to prepare for, and something constantly seems to come up!

Who lives in a clean house, has all clothes washed, folded and put away and the dishes done? Whose fridge is always full of nutritious food and who keeps children, husband and friends constantly happy? Who manages to work out every other day to stay fit, all the while working full-time and still gets the 7 hours of sleep every night that is needed? Who can prepare for birthday parties and participate in school activities while keeping up with the world news and Lost? Who manages all these things?! (without paid help of course) Please let me know because I would like to find out how this person does it. Is there a trick? An art?

By Lovain