Thursday, September 02, 2010
It’s all about the life that I live here in Europe, the places I go, the people I meet. It would be so good to see you there.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
We biked over to the new (rented) house today. We have the key to take measurements and coming back, through the park nearby, I couldn't resist stopping to take this photograph.
My beloved old black bike is there in the foreground and this is one of the many beautiful city parks Antwerpen has. I miss the wild rugged wilderness of New Zealand but have to confess that sometimes, these parks are almost enough ...
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
23 celsius at 11pm and mosquitoes in the know are partying down at 'the' mosquito club ... Di's ankles.
Work today, a good day but for the rivelets of sweat running, everyone checking their pants and skirts as they stood up from hot plastic seats, soaked by the lack of fresh air as we trammed, trained and laboured our way through these 30 celsius days in the cities.
Living in Belgie, one becomes unaccustomed to such heat, the lucky ones are already on holiday at the beach. Summer holidays have begun and today I noticed the trains and trams had already halved their passenger loads.
I've been processing photographs and just loved this image.
Monday, June 29, 2009
And so it begins, I fly out in 11 days heading for Genova ... my favourite city in the world.
This photograph was taken at Camogli, not so far from the city itself. I hope to swim there with Pippa, an old friend I used to visit the beaches of home with. I think this will surely become our northern hemisphere beach, although it will be so very strange not to have my old labrador - my constant New Zealand beach, lake and river companion, with us in this new place. I'm sure she would approve though.
The best thing about leaving is surely the tangible deadline ...
I have to have Istanbul finished.
I have to have tidied up my photography exhibition in the city and I need to have a book outline for the next in-between project.
The 'new, getting old fast' website has had its corrupted module rewritten and I am packing a whole lot of paper notes because I prefer to read paper over laptop screens. I have interviews and all kinds of other things and an 8 day period alone for loading that website and kick-starting it finally ...
All of this and I don't want to think about the fact that the real estate agent and the owners of the house decide whether we're 'it' today.
Okay, back into Istanbul.
We're expecting 30+ celsius all week, only broken by thunderstorms at the weekend ...
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Our apartment is top floor with a flat black roof that attracts ALL the heat you can imagine. We open our doors in the night and the mosquitoes congregate to party at our place. My ankles are testament to this wild party still happening now ...
When I was child, my parents would load the 4 of us into the backseat of the old Holden stationwagon at midnight and let us swim within the high beam of the headlights at Outram Glen. Failing that, we might walk over to the school next to home and midnight swim in the swimming pool there - the safer option I'm sure, although I still have two brothers and one sister.
Life was so much simpler back then.
So ... it's one of those impossibly hot summer nights here in the flatlands - no a/c at our place.
Little Miss 4 had her 5th birthday party today, early so that her kindy friends could come before summer holidays begin. It was a wild day that left everyone except her completely and utterly exhausted at days end.
She's a 4th of July girl, more celebrations to follow.
We have a delicious 15 metre balcony but the wrong climate to make much use of it, with the frustration of many mosquitoes who fly in and breed exceptionally well in the warm weather. We have a rooftop view too and an extremely reasonable rent however ... the peasants have been revolting, in every way, and there has been a call for change.
Jessie spotted this very cool old house, with more bedrooms, bathrooms and a garden!! for the same price as our apartment which translates as stunningly reasonable, mostly because there's no car-parking or garage. Perfect for this car-less family who use old-fashioned black bicycles and public transport.
Jessie and I went with Little Miss 4 and fell in love which then meant we had to haul Gert into the process. Haul because it could be said that Belgians are, in general, reluctant movers, especially when compared to the kiwis I know ... but this is mostly explained by the tenancy agreements and difficulties of making a house move.
I took him back to the house this morning.
He fell in love too.
It's 3-storeys high, has atiny steep staircase that is normal for these narrow high old Belgian houses and then there are all these quirky ... yes, quirky is the word that most fits this house ... all these quirky rooms that we can easily fill with people and stuff. New central heating using gas, 2 bathrooms, a cellar, and lots of windows for the light I'm so in love with.
Best of all, the ground-floor is an open-plan series of lounge through into living space, into dining room area and straight on out through double-glass doors into one of those pocket-size Belgian gardens, so full of possibility that I can't stop smiling. Or left to the kitchen, with a real laundry room and a big sink, so missed in this apartment of ours.
The only question mark over the move is when we have to move in by, as it could mean paying rents on two places and that's no-ones idea of a good time.
We hear on Monday or Tuesday ... but we're so in love with the place, so very in love.
I'll let you know.
Note: and as observed by Paola, there's room for a dog in this house that's so close to one of the big city parks ... ;)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Authenticity is a daily practice. Living authentically means cultivating the courage to be emotionally honest, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of light and darkness, strength and struggle; and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of who we are supposed to be and embrace who we are. Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving—even when it’s hard, even when it hurts, and especially when we are wrestling with the shame and fear of “not being enough.” Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.
Brené Brown, Ph.D.
Borrowed from Kathy.
Martin, the ICC's man in Belgium, first talked of it when we were driving to and from Flanders Fields, then yesterday Pakistan won the world cup.
Yesterday it so happened that I was travelling between Brussels and Antwerp with a Pakistani who has lived in Denmark these last 40 years. He told me of Pakistan's win in the Twenty/20 World Cup.
I stopped at the night shop on the way home after a long day at the office, picking up an ice cream.
I had to congratulate our Pakistani shop owner there too.
New Zealand didn't do so well in the competition and suddenly there I was, running into every person from Pakistan I knew ...
Talking of cricket makes me nostalgic for the childhood sounds of a good match drifting out from a transistor radio on a hot sunny day or the roar of my sports-mad dad, mum and brothers as they followed some cricket match on the television.
A cricket match over in 3 and a half hours ... I never imagined that possible.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I was smiling, I swear I was and then in the process of searching out this image for this post, I realised I had just given the printers a tiny file by mistake and tried to stop them printing the 30x45cm print ...
It's been done, 2 hours after delivering it to the 24 hour service people. The Belgians were efficient and it couldn't have happened at a worse time.
Never the mind, I was here and smiling after a long dark night of the soul (or 3), snacking on a lunch of the wickedest things ...
Bagels from the British Store (where I hung up an advertising poster finally) with a splash of the most delicious Azienda Agricole Monte Gualberto Grati - extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany,with a sprinkling of natural sea salt from Portugal, listening to Viktoria Mullova from Russia and thinking life was okay.
The NGO paid my invoice, the Belgian VAT (btw here) people immediately whipped 250euro of it from my account. I have ordered the prints that I've had outstanding while waiting for my invoice to be paid. I have sent Belgian chocolates to the young guy who is slowly but surely recovering from his terribly injury suffered more than 8 weeks ago now.
The really excellent olive oil, salt and olives came from Oliviers & Co here in Antwerpen city. The woman was lovely and guided this creature who knows what she likes but lacks the details of olive oils and salts. I can't recommend the shop highly enough.
I mailed off 3 photo cds and and have two more here and I'm settling down to begin work on the thousands of Istanbul photographs that overwhelm me every time I open a folder.
My new website is undergoing its rewrite and I'm hopeful about moving to it within the fortnight and so I'm writing and preparing to load more over there, and then there's NGO stuff and a photo gallery to load in Brussels tomorrow, while I'm there photographing a meeting for the exhibition in August.
Hmmmm what else, there's always more .. the housework hasn't been done and it's already after 4pm and I was hoping to write an article for Cafebabel about work.
Oh, and there was most delicious photography session at a Jewish gathering yesterday. It was a privilege to be there and for those who are surprised, I've never not liked the Jewish people, I merely take issue with extreme right and centre right Israeli politicians and soldiers who are doing so much harm to the Palestinians.
I have good friends who are Jewish and l love taking part in Shabbat because both times I have found it quite heartbreakingly beautiful.
Just to be clear.