Saturday, March 24, 2007

24 hours in Belgie

I've had an odd 24 hours ... everything from Swiss advertising agencies through to the Japanese train commentary on stops between Antwerpen and Brussels this morning.

I'm not sure where to begin.

A Swiss advertising agency emailed to ask if they might use one of my photographs found on the web for a billboard campaign. Unfortunately my Canon EOS only produces a 2-3MB image, maybe reaching 8MB if I do this thing and that.

I had to write back and say much as I would love that, my image didn't fulfil the required 11-20MB requirement. They phoned yesterday, it was all very delicious so yes, I had to write of it here.

Then yesterday was a blur of things to be organised before a 1pm appointment with Ahmed, the guy I am working with as photographer on the Language exhibition opening in June here in the city.

I felt very privileged to wander with Ahmed, who knows Antwerpen inside out. He worked on the interviews ... in whichever language - some English, some Dutch, some French and some Arabic while I took the photographs, occasionally delighting about the prevalence of English.

We met some truly lovely people, drank that marvellously sweet Moroccan mint tea, ate a pastry or two and shared stories and laughter with people from Nepal Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco and Poland ... so far. More to follow in the days ahead.

I arrived home, downloaded images from the day while cooking dinner. I posted here briefly then raced out the door to a political reception, where I spent the evening with a different crowd of interesting people ... people who were political but came from all walks of life, the painter/writer whose father was a famous photographer here, the Flemish parliamentarian who has a camera like mine and was willing to talk politics to this 'yabanci' ... the Romanian who moved here as a child and is now studying law.

I delighted in watching the social ebb and flow of people I've been getting to know since first moving into Gert's life on that 'holiday' back in 2005.

Home again close to midnight, I slept until the alarm woke me at 6.45am.
Saturday is another teaching day in Brussels.

So I chose the earlier train which felt so wrong ... train station at 7.35, only to learn that that particular train had been cancelled and I had to wait 30 minutes for the next train.

Devastating news ... that much extra sleep would have made a massive difference, truly.

On the train, feeling a little jaded by now when a Japanese voice floated over the train's intercom. It seemed like she might be informing the passengers of stops along the way but who knew ...

Looking around, I was happy to see everyone was holding back nervous laughter, relieved like me that we were all hearing the same thing.

French, Dutch and English is common enough as a commentary language on the trains but Japanese is a serious hallucination early on a Saturday morning.

I think the rest of the trip was made without incident. I had bought some fun English kids books secondhand on Friday and was relieved when my students loved them and okay, we were noisy today but a lot of it was laughter and feedback.

Home again by 3pm, shopping for paint and balcony plant pots ... ended up with all kinds of other things, so necessary as we revamp the apartment for the kiwis moving in with us next month.

I was laughing when I told Gert that he might just about have a small New Zealand village in his apartment with my daughter and granddaughter moving in ... we might just have to fly the New Zealand flag from the balcony.

A bottle of red wine found it's way home with me and finally I'm curled up and comfortable as I type this ... feet aching but happy to be still.

An interesting 24 hours really.


awomynda said...

"for a billboard campaign"!! Oh my, that could have got you a flight home. You're going to have to change those settings my dear. Maximum quality only, you never konw what they could be used for!
Let me know if you work out the Japanese hallucination..

Manic said...

Somehow I had the feeling that you were meant for something great, never thought billboard great, though.

Maybe Japanese has become our fifth or sixth national language now, I so hope we don't have to study it in school.

woman wandering said...

The flight home .. imagine!

I have the camera at maximum quality but am just learning how to boot it up to raw files and conversions. I'm delighted with how big the Canons can go with some adjustments.

The Japanese ... I should have asked on the train, it's probably a forever mystery now.

woman wandering said...

Dank u wel Manic.

Hah! to Belgians learning Japanese. You know you guys could master it in a 6 week course ....

wandering-woman said...

A delicious day, sounds like from here. Maybe interesting, too...but definitely delicious.

Thank you posting it! Brought a face-stretching grin.

woman wandering said...

I'm glad about the face-stretching grin ...

V-Grrrl said...

Oh that felt like a very good 24 hours--so stimulating. Except for the lack of sleep, which just knocks me flat.

woman wandering said...

Hey v-grrrl, I was so very very flat Saturday morning at the train station ...