Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Alison's Birthday - Di's Surprise

Alison has asked that I tow the party line with regard to her age so okay, yesterday I popped over to Brussels and on out into the countryside to help Alison celebrate her '24th' birthday...

Gert was the ride that I 'hitched' over to Brussels with, and there I met up with Shannon the American expat and third member of our gang of three. Meeting her at Brussel Noord Station turned out to be a bit of a tourist surprise as we were caught in a traffic jam at the back entrance of the station ... slap bang in the red light district. Shannon eventually noticed, hilariously going through the 'that woman in the window is wearing underwear' realisation out loud.

Alison was concerned about us finding the bus out to her place and we may have misled her about our precise location, smsing from the blue car about being lost, wet and next to an unnamed canal. Just as she was giving up all hope of us finding our way to her place, we knocked on the door ... so very proud of our small surprise.

Hah ... if only I'd known that I too had surprises ahead of me. We anthropologically experimented with a local spirit called Genever ... the Apple Pie flavour went down just as simply as pie. Then we moved on to the Spanish red wine, talking and catching up on each others news ... eating delicious foods and relaxing as expats, as opposed to socialising as foreigners who don't quite speak local languages.

After two bottles of wine, eyebrows were reshaped ... absolute luxury in these days of in-process poverty. Shannon's a goddess, it has to be said ... I've paid a lot for less exquisite eyebrows in the past ... (boys, cover your eyes, I'm sorry. I forgot to warn you).

A little more wine and somehow the discussion turned to my long hair, uncut since my days of employment back in Turkey. It's odd how okay it can seem to let two friends cut your hair under certain circumstances. Part of me knew it was risky, the other part desperately wanted to believe them when they said they could get a little shape back into my long straight hair ... so okay, what did I have to lose?

They took off 2 inches however, suitably relaxed, we all agreed this was necessary due to damaged ends. They shaped it and then finally I was released and wandered through to the bathroom, for some reason thinking of all those bald little childhoood dolls whose hair I hadn't quite stopped 'trimming' in time.

And lo ... it was lovely, confirmed in the mirror this morning (as we all know, harsh light of day is the big test).

Today we walked a few million miles to Stone Manor - the British Store. I was ... I'm searching for the word ... I was stunned. Everything English, and by virtue of the previous colonial status of New Zealand ... everything Kiwi, almost appeared to be there on the shelves of this incredible shop.

There was Vegemite, Crab Apple Jelly jam, Cadburys chocolates, tomato relish and pickles, and a million other things that just stunned me.

So while Alison got to age, was given gifts and had a birthday 'cake' for breakfast this morning (we were fine, we really didn't drink so much), I also had one or two lovely surprises.

Thanks guys, I had a ball!


Alison said...

Thanks for making the trek ... even if it wasn't so hard. Didn't I tell you how great Stonemanor was? Um, and what's with the '' around 24?

woman wandering said...

"These" ... I don't know if you don't know.

The trek was excellent fun, thanks for being an incredibly hostess.

Stonemanor ... no words could have prepared me for it. We'll be back one day soon I hope.

Egan said...

Someone from Liechtenstein needs to read your blog stat.

Sal DeTraglia said...

Apple Pie Liquor? That sounds like a one-way, express ticket to hangover central.

But at least you redeemed yourselves by moving-on to Spanish wine.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to let friends cut your hair. Unless, of course, those friends have been mixing Apple Pie Liquor with Spanish wine. Fortunately, Lady Luck was smiling on Lady Di.

I completely empathize with your comments of expats just chilling out vs. immigrants struggling to function under the weight of a foreign language. It's a good feeling.

Glad you nutty girls had a good time. Some day you'll need to educate the rest of us on vegemite...and it's proper use. The spoonful I ate in 1988 still comes back to me in sleep-disturbing flashbacks. Perhaps I should've mixed it with chocolate first.


woman wandering said...

Should I advertise for this person, Egan ... hmmmm, the land of the postbox company? ;)

woman wandering said...

'A spoonful of Vegemite' ...???? You crazy crazy guy, and no, those weren't the words I used when I read of what you did back in 1988.

I don't know anyone who has eaten a spoonful of Vegemite ... it's all about balance and correct application.

'Gec misolsen' ... as the Turks say. 'May it be behind you soon' although flashbacks might just indicate that not even my best Turkish wishes can help you.

Dobermann said...

I thought you must've had fun when I read the brief email from you. ;)

That apple stuff is great. Especially with vodka, poured in dry apple cider.. lol

Egan said...

Yes, I can pretend to be that person if you would like. I'm super at impressions. Thanks for stopping by my blog yet again. Nature is nice. Those pictures Sandra posted on here blog are pretty amazing. I love my neck of the woods. I have some friends from New Zealand and they say Seattle is quite similar to Seattle. That's what they tell me at least. Take care.

woman wandering said...

The apple pie flavoured genever is stunning ... and lethal I imagine, we stuck to one glass as a 'must taste' experience offered by Alison. :)

And Egan ... lol okay, you can pretend to be 'Liechtensteinian'. Your blog is interesting, hence the stopping by ... and anywhere beautiful is like New Zealand ... but then again, I would say that, wouldn't I :)

christina said...

That sounds like so much fun! Nice way to spend a friend's birthday.

Egan said...

I will take "interesting". I'm not picky.