Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Sunday, April 13, 2008

green parrots and sunshine

I shut the fridge, pick up my plate and head through the door into the sunshine. As I take my seat, I instinctively tilt my head upwards, towards the rays, and pause a moment before starting my lunch. I take my first crunchy bite into the baguette, sit back and listen to the birds, serenading me invisibly from their branches.

The gardens below differ in style, but add together to create an orderly patchwork of trees and shrubs. Some lawns are patchy, others impeccable deep green. Some trees have new branches growing straight up towards the light, others have been hacked back, tweaked into unnaturally neat shapes, or chopped right down, just their stumps reaching blindly into the air.

I close my eyes again, and notice the happy hum of children's voices coming from the left, a few gardens along. My eyes snap open at a loud buzzing by my left ear. A bee bumbles along, flower to flower, sucking and slurping on his lunch as I pick saucisson from my teeth.

Two men emerge from the house opposite, one handing the other his cigarette pack. As they light up, their voices float over, the relaxed Sunday voices of friends. They lean over their balcony, one pointing and explaining while the other asks questions. I can't hear individual words but they form the easy conversation of people in no hurry to go anywhere. I am in no hurry either.

A flash of squawking green catches my eye, and I turn my head to watch two parrots, inhabitants of the nearby park whose ancestors escaped from zoo transport, or so the story goes. They wheel up into the sky, circling once before coming to rest a few gardens to my right. I wonder vaguely where they nest, how they dealt with the snow a few weeks back.

My plate cleared, I head inside again and put it in the sink. The sun goes behind a cloud and my neighbours return indoors. I think about blogging and for once think I might have something to write. It's not so bad this Brussels life.

The best thing about the flat I rent in Brussels is the balcony. It's big, it's quiet, and it looks over gardens as far as you can see in either direction. It's great.

The balcony was the one thing we were never so thrilled about in the otherwise perfect Warsaw flat. Internal, no trees swaying in the background, no birdsong or buzzing insects.
Now I'm hoping the Brussels balcony will do its bit to draw my Pole over here. Job? pah. Who needs money when you have green parrots and sunshine?

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Sunday, April 06, 2008


Well, April blogging would have got off to a better start if I hadn't woken up on April 1st with eyes swollen shut, itchy blotchy red marks all over my face and neck and having almost lost the will to live. Still, it did its best to make me slow the hell down and The Great Allergic Reaction of 2008 will surely feature in the book of Becca right after The Neverending Glandular Fever of 1994 and The Freakishly Swollen Knee of 1988.

Since my face went back to normal and people stopped giving me the kind of staring looks that showed they were desperately trying not to dart glances all over my puffy bizarre-looking face, life has got much sweeter. Work took me to Slovenia, to a useful conference and to everyone-always-told-me-it-was-beautiful-and-damn-they-were-right Ljubljana. I got a macbook (yay!) which should have multiplied my blogging potential, as I can do it from right here between the covers. 

This weekend had me and my Pole together again, trying to cram it all in before the Sunday night flight took him back to Warszawa. The time jeered us as it flew by, the sinking feeling getting stronger as our weekend disappeared. We walked, talked, and even snuck a peek at the village where we first met but all too soon it was time for him to vanish through the gate at Charleroi and be wizzaired away until next time. 

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