Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Leuven SOLDEN (sales) to begin

Every year on 1 July the official sales period starts in Belgium. The month before has a block on sales and reduced prices, however the law is no longer respected, and clothing stores will have promotional events all through the month of June. The sales remain a big event however, since past collections will be sold at a heavily reduced priced, and real bargains can be made. This year, the sales will start exceptionally on 30 June, due to 1 July falling on a Sunday. I have, probably along with 5 million others living in Belgium, a list of things we need, and plan on hitting the stores as soon as they open on Saturday morning. Wish me luck!

By Lovain

Monday, June 25, 2007

Saturday mornings

One of my favourite moments of the week is when I go to bed on Friday night and turn my alarm clock off, knowing I don’t have to get up early in the morning and rush off somewhere. Saturday mornings are if possible even more enjoyable; still the entire weekend lies ahead of me, but I’m already enjoying it. The boys will sleep in, come and lay with us for a bit and then go downstairs to have cereal and watch cartoons, while the Husband & I enjoy an extra hour in bed, alone. On Saturday, the youngest one who had been laying in between us, got up after a couple of encouraging words to go with the oldest one downstairs, pointed at his recently vacated 2/3-of-the-bed space, said “and DON’T take my spot!” and then added “and DON’T lay on top of each other!”

How in the world...?

By Lovain

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

deciding on an American/Swedish/European classical home schooling curriculum

In the light of our children's upcoming 3 years of home schooling, over the past few weeks, the Husband & I have been discussing elementary education.

It is quite obvious the Husband & I were schooled very differently. My education had a broader historical, geographical and linguistic approach, while his was more detailed in sciences, math and personal development. While my history and science education started with the Big Bang and moved forward in time carefully covering the ice-age, stone-age and bronze-age, the Husband's started around the civil war, and then later covered the classics without really focusing on the development in a broader sense predating the Egyptian and Greek cultures.

The emphasis in my educational background is a result of many causes, I'm sure. The regional influence is certainly obvious; around the area where I grew up in Sweden, a large amount of findings from the stone- and bronze-ages have been excavated, and the impact of the ice-age is visible in the pysical landscape all around. Because Sweden is a small country whose history and development are largely intertwined with those of the larger region, and because Swedish is a language not widely spoken, a broader geographical and linguistic education has been important. Further, the social and historical development of Europe ranging from the Vikings, the Roman Empire, the Crusaders, the Feudal society to Fascism and Socialism have contributed to a very specific history not comparable to that of eg. the people of United States.

Together the Husband & I are now trying to decide on a curriculum for our children's homeschooling, and with a compromize of American/Swedish/European schooling, it should be very interesting.

By Lovain

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Inspirational injection: a Kant conference

On Friday the Husband came back from his conference in England, all worked up on Kant and God. A conference is like an injection to him; he gets as inspired by confirmation and cheer, as he does by opposition and scepticism, and apparently the discussions had been extraordinarily vivid and exctiting this time. Followed by intese e-mail and chat discussions between the Husband and his friends and colleagues at universities in Egypt and Turkey, this conference proved to be a prosperous affair academically.

By Lovain

Another baby, another joyful addition

On Thursday our good friends J. & R., the AA-couple's (AA in this case referring to countries) baby arrived. Late, but more expected than a lot of babies born, the baby girl was delivered by c-section, and I thought I immediately could related because I had two of those myself and I know how scarry and painful it can be, but then J., the proud father, told me that R. had smiled throughout the entire operation, and remembering the tears that ran down my cheeks, tears of fear, as they cut open my stomach during the oldest one's birth, I knew the AA-couple will do great. With tons of child-related experience, great minds and lots of love, they'll make perfect parents.

By Lovain

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Rushing to present "The Postulation of God’s Existence as an Act of Freedom"

What’s in here?” The Husband motioned to his backpack, and I told him what I had packed for him as he was printing his paper while taking a 2-minute shower. “I made you a sandwich and your passport is in the small outer pocket!” I yelled after him as he took off on the bike to catch his train.

When I had got home from work an hour earlier, the Husband had been in a state of near panic; the boys were unfed and unattended to, nothing was packed, the paper wasn’t finished, let alone printed, the Husband couldn't find his wallet, belt or decide on which shoes to wear, and the house was a disaster!

One hour of rushing around, and the Husband was now on his way to Birmingham, England to present a paper on Kant and “The Postulation of God’s Existence as an Act of Freedom”. It had been close; he nearly didn't make it, but as always, my dad was right: when things were difficult, seemingly endless or impossible, he used to say, “Things always work out.” And I guess they do.

By Lovain

Monday, June 04, 2007

Miserable day; post expensive tooth surgery

Yesterday a periodontologist numbed my mouth, pulled out my broken tooth piece by piece, drilled a large hole in my jaw bone, attached a titanium screw, added artificial bone around the screw, stitched it up with 6 stitches and charged me 1000€. Today I am not only broke but also in terrible pain. My face is swollen and my mouth very sore.

The worst of it all is that I’m only half way to restoring my tooth. In a few months I will have to go back to have the middle part attached to the screw; the part that my new tooth will actually fit onto - 200€, and two weeks later the new tooth can be fitted at the additional cost of 1000€. I know we can’t afford it but what are we to do? All because a different Belgian dentist didn't know what she was doing four years ago!

By Lovain

Friday, June 01, 2007

Drinks and Dutch on the Oude Markt in Leuven

Last night I met up with a few of my former colleagues for a drink on the Oude Markt. It was great seeing them again, and we were a colorful crowd indeed; using Dutch as our language of communication, we - a divorced Finnish mother of three, two Swedes, a Polish father of one, two Belgians and an Italian - had a great talk and a good time!

By Lovain