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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'd just like to say...


I've been on holiday for a full week, my shoulders are less hunched and my natural expression has returned to a relaxed half-smile rather than a serious face all scrunched up in concentration.

Warsaw is managing to be cloudy yet sunny and is full of free internet.

We're going to the seaside for the weekend, even though its going to rain and be cold enough to make bare arms and legs goose pimply.

Marek is in his last week at work, and from the middle of next week will be a resident of a certain Brussels flat, which may or may not have his name on the doorbell in readiness.

Life is good. When things are good you should recognise their goodness. Take this as recognition.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Oh Belgium

Belgium is weird. Everyone knows that. There are the parties celebrating streets' birthdays, the carnivals with strangely dressed figures from myths, the giant omelettes...
Then there's this.

It's a carpet, made of begonias, on the Grand Place. I know. It only happens once every other year, and lasts just one weekend. It is an extravagent, labour intensive, and staggeringly impressive thing. But why? No idea.

You can queue to walk through the town hall, and up onto the balcony overlooking the carpet. From there you see the detail and impressive size. If you're lucky, you meet an old lady who was married in the town hall in 1939, comes to see the flower carpet each time and is celebrating her 90th birthday in South Africa in a couple of months. She will impress you even more than the flowers laid out over the cobbles, with her steady walking and straight forward chatter. You'll hope you are that fit when you're 60, let alone 90.

When you've taken hundreds of pictures of flowers laid out to look like a carpet, you'll suddenly have had enough, and when you look down at the people, you'll get carried away by the power of your zoom, and start taking sneaky shots of people eating frites and crepes rather than flowers.

Then the man with the security badge will ask you to leave in three languages, and you will go home, shaking your head at the mystery of it all.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

My name is Becca and I am [gasp] a bridezilla

We've been engaged under two months and a part of my brain has already fenced itself off, put up signs holding that space clear for all things wedding. It started with the mags. Now I was warned about wedding magazines, so I stood back, stopping myself from buying one with thoughts of 'it's so far off! There's no need to obsess!' for all of, oh I don't know, five minutes?

I was in Austria you see for work; thought it might be interesting to see what they include in their wedding magazines there. Then Poland, then Belgium, England... I now have too many to mention without blushing, from an impressive number of countries (not all of which I've been to in the last couple of months... Brussels has some very international newsagents).

To be honest the British mag is winning. The French one is ok and the one from the States is a mix of atrocious and surprisingly cute. The Austrian is the most disappointing, with barely a reaction to be had and the Polish ones are plain scary (yes, I've been given a couple of extra Polish ones,can't think why...)

I blame the magazines for my recent dreams. It is over a year away and we haven't even set a date, but I've already had several wedding nightmares.

They've mainly been set on the wedding day, apart from one where I was trying on absolutely disgusting pouffy dresses and everyone around was saying I had to have one like that. All the other dreams have been related to me forgetting something vitally important, and not realising until the very. last. minute. In one, I was wearing a foul flouncy dress (knee length, black and white, not very weddingy at all) and I suddenly realised I'd forgotten to wash my hair (not to mention getting someone to style it for me, or applying some kind of make-up). It is absolutely pathetic.

If I were to analyse the dreams, I think I'd decide they are based on me not living up to this classic bride fantasy - hair! makeup! pretty pretty things! but I'm not sure this pop-psychology will kill them. Perhaps when we do make the first big organisational arrangements (er, I'm thinking venue and date are kind of basic) this will slow down or even stop until the standard couple of months beforehand.

Or, I could just turn this blog into a wedding nightmare all of its own, where I take my (surprisingly persistant- what are you all doing here still?) readers through each flower choice and bridesmaid's hairband.

As if I'll have the energy for that.

Looking on the bright side, at least I'm not having nightmares about my husband to be. Either that means I have no doubts about that side of the wedding, the part that actually means something and will affect the rest of my life, oooorrr I'm a horrible superficial product of the hateful (I first typed that 'hatful', which it also is, in England anyway) wedding industry.

I'll have option 1 please. Shh.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

summer daze

I'm at work, but the emails are dripping through slowly, as if through a fine internet-based sieve, and the phone is quiet. I lift it, to check it still works, and the dull tone assures me it does. I tick things off my list quickly, uninterrupted and left to work at my own speed. I quite like the quiet, but know the pace will drive me mad in a few days. I'll have to concoct a big project to focus on. Or I could plan this wedding... no, that can't count as work.

My water bottle is standing by my monitor. I glance at it, and my eyes rest there, not focusing but allowing my thoughts to wander. Then I focus. The Belgian water bottle is telling me, in three languages, that the water is natural and mineral, and that it is fizzy. Sparkling. Bubbly. Thirst quenching.

Eau Minérale Naturelle: pétillante

The words in their back to front order and spattered with accents suggest that French is just mainly English words mixed around with fancy bits. Then they spring a surprise with pétillante. What's that then clever clogs? Petulant? I don't think you have petulant water now do you?

Natuurlijk Mineraal Water: bruisend

I don't speak Dutch, but the additional j and double vowels make it instantly recognisable as Dutch don't they? The bruising quality of the bubbles is a little worrying, but I always find Dutch sounds worse than it really is. Empty threats.

Natürliches Mineralwasser mit kohlensäure versetzt

Now this is classic. The -es ending matching the wasser, the umlauts, the detailed explanation of why the bubbles are there (they added kohlensäure) - they're all so very German.

Who knew you could get such a stereotypical impression of three languages just from a water bottle?

The bottle in question suddenly pops, expanding against the way I left it, slightly squeezed in. I jump and look at the time.

Home time.

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