Wimp No 1, and The Horror Problem

I have the silliest problem. My boyfriend likes horror movies. Me: not so much. To say the least.

When I was about 14 years old, I got invited over to a friend’s birthday party. Birthday parties back then went something like this: give presents, eat junk food, watch a movie. The movie my friend picked: Signs. I had nightmares for years. I still get freaked out by doors that aren’t completely closed at the bottom (if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I mean), and I always switch the lights on ev-er-ry-where. Which is completely ridiculous, because I don’t believe in aliens and all that scary stuff! I guess I just easily scare?

And now we have come to the point where I owe the boyfriend a horror movie. He always comes with me to watch the stuff I wanna see, and when we wanna do movie night at home, I have made him watch Finding Nemo, How to Train Your Dragon, and the likes. I’ve been trying really hard. So far we’ve watched The Thing and Dracula, both times at a friend’s. Both times I brought a blanket to hide behind. I’ve survived. *Pat on the back*

But I sort of made the boyfriend a promise when he was feeling a bit down a while ago. I told him we’d go to fright night at the cinema. Which is tomorrow. The movie is called The Boy, we watched half of the trailer yesterday. I already had a nightmare. I wonder what ever happened to me for me to be such a wuss!

So since it’s at the cinema, I can’t really take my blanket with me, nor can I smartly pick my bathroom moments if it would get too bad. Any tips for Wimp No 1?

 

Advertisements

Exploring Belgium

A while ago StephJ from Scale Simple interviewed me about Belgium, for her Chatting Compass. So proud of my little country, and so flattered to be featured on Scale Simple. If you’d like to know more about Belgium, StephJ asked all the right questions!

One small country with one enormous story. A history steeped in red, baring witness to war throughout the centuries. Somewhat frozen in medieval time, reminding the world of days that helped build our modern doorsteps. For the current world Belgium has brought us such cultural delights as the Belgian waffle, Belgian beer and my personal favorite Belgian chocolate. Capture

I am excited to announce that I will be adventuring to Belgium in May of this year. Belgium holds a personal connection of it’s own to my country and province, being a place where grandfathers have perished and battled not so long ago. I am hoping to enjoy a trip filled with history and deliciousness. Oh and maybe a few surprises along the way.

So in loo of my impending journey I am overjoyed to have had the chance to interview Yolaine from Jolijnslittleadventures. She has shared so much helpful information about her country with me, and it…

View original post 1,728 more words

A Not Very Healthy But Definitely Exciting Cooking Spree

We have a frier! We got one from my parents for our Christmas. Do you think this is an odd gift? Or an odd thing to want at all? Well, then you’re clearly not Belgian. When you think about Belgium, you probably think about our beer, waffles and chocolate. However, when you ask a Belgian living abroad what they miss the most from home, they will say Chips even before they say Family. Yes, our chips are amazing. And non-Belgian chips, well, they are soggy and greasy and just not what they could be.

So how do we do our chip magic? First of all, when you’ve cut your potatoes you need to rinse them off thoroughly, to get the starch off. Next, of course, let them drip out. Then, put your chips in the frier for about 1 minute, and take them back out. Let them lie on some paper towel to soak up some of the grease. Then, stick ‘m back in and deep-fry until they are wonderfully golden and crispy. And that is why our chips are better: they are crispy all the way through, rather than a very greasy version of roasted potatoes.

Serve of course with some salt and your own favourite sauce. The typical one would be mayonnaise, which is also a lot tastier in Belgium than abroad. You can easily make it yourself, all you need is oil, vinegar, an egg, and some pepper, salt and mustard. But you could also go for andalouse sauce, a mayo based sauce with sweet peppers, or mamout sauce, also mayo based, but with hot peppers. Or curry ketchup or yoppi sauce or one of the many others.

Of course, like in many other countries, chips are a typical side to some of our more traditional dishes. Steak and chips (with salad, don’t worry), chicken with applesauce and chips, Belgian beer beef stew with chips,… And now, having a frier, we can finally make all these 😀 I am so excited for the weekend! I am going to fry the hell out of our potatoes!

The Beauty of Home

Have you ever noticed how it’s so much easier to be happy and amazed when your not Home? And with Home I mean the place where you grew up. Once you have travelled and moved to a new Home, you appreciate the beauty of that new place a thousand times more than the beauty of Home number one.

For example: I can imagine that if you go on holiday to for example Italy, you visit a fair bit of churches. Have you ever visited the one in your hometown? Or, when on holiday, you might go for a morning walk or run around the hotel and find some gorgeous spots that might not be in your travel guide because after all, they are just standard beauty. Have you ever noticed that kind of standard beauty and stopped to admire it when running around your Home?

I’m really trying to. It’s a part of my post-travel-life therapy. Once in a while, I stop and try to look at Home with the eyes of a tourist. This weekend, it went extremely well. Why? Because winter has arrived.

We don’t really get decent winters anymore. The ones with a lot of snow and ice skating on the lakes. But Thursday night, it started snowing. Compared to northern countries, it was nothing. But for us Belgians, it was more than we’d seen in a long time. Coming home from work in the evening, I went straight into the back garden to build a snow man! Biggest one I’ve ever made!

It hasn’t been snowing since, but it’s still cold so when out of the city, it’s winter wonderland. Sunday, me and the boyfriend had a gorgeous walk. Just around the block really, should’ve taken us less than an hour, but it was so pretty we stopped after every corner to take in the view and soak in the sunshine, just like I was craving so badly!

20160117_133207

And even this morning, a Monday morning of all things, I was amazed by Home. While waiting for my train, usually I am browsing Facebook or WordPress. But now, my fingers were too cold so I had to put the phone away. And I noticed an absolutely stunning sunrise.

20160118_081830

I feel inspired by the beauty of home, and I have extra strength now to tackle my post-travel-life this week. Thank you winter, thank you home, you have given me hope!

20160117_125704

A Love Letter to the Sun

There is a specific kind of happiness that comes with sunbathing at the deserted seaside. How I love the warmth of the sun on my face, the orange light behind my eyelids, the sea breeze making my hair all crazy and leaving that peaceful rushing sound in my ears that is only broken by the sound of the waves either crashing into the each other or just gently wobbling along the sand or stones. Sometimes I even mix in some music. Mostly instrumental, lounge-like stuff. It lets my mind fly past like the seagulls drifting on the wind.

It doesn’t even have to be warm, wether it’s just my face getting the sun and every other part of me wrapped in hats and gloves and scarves and coats, or wether it’s me in a dress or a bikini. When the sun warms your face, the rest of your body feels golden too.

Or I might also get that happiness away from the sea, maybe in an empty field or a quiet spot on the side of a mountain. But it has to be peaceful. No other people. Just me, some animals, and the sun.

I’m not even sure if happiness is the correct way to describe it. It’s more like complete and utter contentness. Life feeling perfect right there and then. The sun being so overpowering that you simply can’t worry. You simply can’t come up with anything to worry about. All that matters is inhaling deeply and exhaling while smiling. Yes. You are smiling. Your face muscles feel completely relaxed, and still you are smiling.

And you could lie there for hours. Or sometimes just a few minutes, and it feels like you were there for hours: you feel like a new person. I really don’t know anything as relaxing as a peaceful lonely sun session.

Sun, please come visit soon. I’ll start with finding the perfect quiet spots near me so I’m ready when you get here. I miss you.

Lots of love,

Yolaine

 

The Dilemma: Learn a Language or Stick to My Free Time

If there is something that can explain almost everything I do, it is that I like to experience new things. It is why I love to travel, why I enjoy a good hike in new and unexplored scenery, and why I took this research job as a PhD student.

But like I said in one of my previous posts, the job is keeping me in the same place and situation for what feels like a century. So I need to try to find other new things to explore. I was thinking of taking a course of some sorts. I’d love to do something travel related, since I really wouldn’t mind working in a travel agency after I finish with academics. But I think I’d better do that when my contract here is getting to its end, so my newly gained knowledge can be put straight into work.

So then my next idea was to learn a new language. Being Belgian, I really should study French, but I don’t really like French. Well, it’s not that I don’t like the language, it’s more that I’ve studied it for so long in secondary school and even though I am still no good, I’m so sick of it. I’d also love to learn German, I think it sounds so funny and it rolls about so nicely in your mouth, but I guess the applicability of that would be relatively limited. So then there’s Spanish. Which I don’t really like the same way I enjoy German, but which would benefit my travel dreams extremely. So I think I’d go for Spanish.

But then the big question is: do I really want to put my time into it? So far, I’m doing sports Monday evening, and Wednesday evening I teach a workshop in academic English. Learning Spanish would mean I add Thursday evenings to that as well. Which means not having dinner with the boyfriend in the evening three evenings a week, and even less time for sports, again taking away another dinner, than I have now.

Ever since spending a year down under, I’m really not a busy bee, I don’t deal very well with stress when it comes to planning weeks full of social obligations and hobbies and family visits etc. But I would love a new challenge. What do you guys think? Time for me to get back into the busy rhythm of the western world and learn Spanish, or wait a while until I’m more comfortable time-wise?