Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dancing with my eyes closed

The streets were bordered with walls of piled up snow.  We had gathered with a group of international exchange students at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, BC.  Quite a few in the group, coming from more exotic countries and being hosted more in the south of the international Canadian/USA Rotary district 5080,   had never seen snow before.   Needless to say that our well organised trips to Yoho National Park and Lake Louise didn't progress at all: apart from our habit to pile up for yet another group picture every 5 meters, we also had to catch up a life time of snow ball fights.  After some hot tub fun we braved outside in our swimsuits to make bold jumps into the piles of snow outside only to race back into the hot tub afterwards and feel the melting snow on our body burn for a few seconds  after which the entire process could be repeated with lots of giggles. The local hosting Rotarians watched our snow hysteria with an amazed smile.

These few exchange student weekends were some of the highlights of the exchange student experience: put a group of 17-18 year old students from all over the world and you get a great party.  A room full of international diversity, yet all bonded by the experience of settling in in a foreign country far away from home.

That evening the hosting Rotary club had invited a local band to play to us in the gym in which we were camping.   Somehow the band didn't really get the party going. With hindsight, we did not really seem in the mood  for the offered entertainment in the too big gym while we simply wanted to hang out and create our own party.  As soon as the little concert was over, we all digged up our own cassette tapes (gosh where did time fly?)  with our own music from home.   While in Canada rock , country etc were the common styles  (Alanis Morissette yeaaaah), the Europeans and Latin-Americans were desperate for some electronic beats.  We had been deprived of our own music  and sharing the big hits from our home countries together, got us all on the dance floor instantaneously.

I let the beats invade my body, enjoyed the dancing bodies around me and felt back at a high school party back home. I just jumped around, up and down, eyes closed, to the beat.   No silly need here to dance with a 'date' , just me and the music, in circles, on and on, totally taken by the rhythm.

Then all a sudden a flare of pain ran through my body...ouch, stupid me, I had blindly jumped on the lock of the open guitar case from the band that was still cleaning up.  Oh well, I did a bit of cursing, and figured some more dancing on one leg would help me forget the painful heel. This time I kept my eyes open: jumping/dancing around on one leg needed more coordination and after all, I didn't want to jump another time one something sharp.

After a while I realised there was blood on the floor. There were blood drups all over....all over the area where I had been making my silly jumps.   I had been a bit on the outside of the dancefloor so looked down my heel and saw it dripping red.    Ouchhh, I immediately became aware of the pain I was suffering.  

With some stressed little jumps , I made my way to the fairly  young chaperone , showing my bleeding foot. Cautiously we peelled off my bloody sock, revealing the nice big cut through my heel.  I could see the panic in her eyes: this is not what she had in mind of chaperoning a group of youngsters in a gym by sleeping over with us. She and her little brother were alone with us this time a night and they could not leave us behind.  

"It's ok, it's probably not that bad, maybe we can just put a bandaid on it", I claimed because I really didn't want to leave the group and miss the party.  When 2 minutes later the soaked bandaid fell on the floor as well, she started phoning around and looked more and more stressed at me.  
Fifteen minutes later her dad showed up at the gym and since I could not put my shoe on, neither could I hop through the piles of snow outside,  I got carried out on the man's back to the car and we drove off to the ER of the local small hospital.

When we arrived there, the district Rotary management in a nearby meeting, had already shown up, alarmed that one of the students had been taken to the hospital.
"What happened to you?"
"Euh, nothing, we were just having a good party. It is great fun, can we hurry up please so I can go back?"
They actually laughed, probably relieved I was not seriously ill or injured in a teenage riot or so.

And so after a while I went back, on painkillers and with a glued heel, ready to go back on the dance floor until bedtime. I tiptoed in lose shoes for the next 3 weeks but I had great fun at our improvised gym party.

I remembered this story again a few weeks ago when there was lots of snow in early December.  We went to a christmas party from Jan's work, where I had great fun on the dance floor, all drugged up to keep my nasty cold under control ...Aaah getting lost in music is the best cure for anything!  

Friday, December 28, 2012

Washington Slagbaai Nationaal Park

While it keeps raining and raining outside, I dream away back to Bonaire and the beautiful landscapes there and the sun....aaah the sun and the heath.   Can I suck that back in from the pictures? Can you?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Made in Belgium: Anne Christy

Ann Christy is a voice from my early childhood. I do not actively remember her, but she has given us some songs that last and that still strike by their drama & frigility at the same time.  Ann Christy was successful in the 2nd half of the 70ies and early 80ies but she passed away from cancer in '84.

Gelukkig zijn (Eurovision 1975)

Dag Vreemde Man

De Roos (cover Bette Midler)

Ik leef voor jou

Saturday, December 22, 2012


I notice I've been more quite online than usual....not to worry, nothing's wrong. I've just been very busy and often tired on my free moments on the evenings: many international meetings where evenings were filled with dinners with colleagues. And I've been struggling with the heating which broke down in the first half of december at home, so I fled those evenings when I was home to warmer places or curled up in my bed.
And the last 10 days I had a cold, giving me the feeling I look cross-eyed and my thoughts are invaded by snot.
but now I have some time off at the end of the week and apart from some festive get togethers with family & friends, most of the time is unplanned where nothing must happen but lots can happen. At first it'll be catching up sleep and just hanging out looking forward to it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Made in Belgium: Shameboy

In the 90ies Belgium was famous & trendsetting with its electronic music....With Shameboy we show we still are :)...Not hard if people from Buscemi & Arsenal are involved.    Time for a party anyone?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Made in Belgium: The Boney King of Nowhere

It's just recently that I heard the Boney King of Nowhere on the radio, invited to cover a great other Belgian classic. I didn't really know this singer song writer and while I dig a bit on youtube, I think you need to be really in the right mood to listen to him.  Maybe as background music, but not when you are feeling down a bit because then the melancholic sound might drag you deeper.   But if you are in the right mood, you can enjoy this, or just one song at a time.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hot water is better than no hot water

...even though they've spent 12 hours installing the boiler, making the exhaust in roof conform latest regulations, connecting to our 2 thermostat systems etc.    We have hot water now, but the thermostats are not recognizing the boiler just yet so the heating doesn't kick in.  Hopefully they'll start dating as of tomorrow.

Oh well, I notice my comfort temps is getting lower being quite happy with lower temps than usual.  But I will looooove my long hot shower tomorrow!

Snow tourists

Nothing so fun as share the snow fun with more people.  Unfortunately it was not so sunny anymore as yesterday as continuous new snow showers were blowing over the valley.  But a bit of warm cloths and some sledges you can have quite some fun in the nearby fields! 

Does anyone recognise our improvised beach in the summer heat wave? 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gorgeous snow walk

It keeps freezing and snowing occasionally in the high east part of Belgium....with a bit of sun out it is stunningly beautiful.  

(found a workaround for my pictures...not ideal so still contemplating what I'll do in the long run)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Made in Belgium: Jan De Wilde

When the first snow arrives, it doesn't take 5 minutes before you hear Jan De Wilde on the radio with "Eerste sneeuw " (first snow). Very predictable   and very appropriate. Traditions that are valuable.

But this singer song writer with typical voice has some more classics on his list. He not only sings about snow but also the arriving spring. His "he he wat een feest" is a fun contageous list of original curses that generate a giant relief.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

And when winter arrives is the perfect moment for your water/heater boiler to die

not a temporarily time out with some error message
but a not-a-led-light-indicator-on-anymore kind of death anymore,
the inside leaking on the electrical panel kind of death.

But then it's also the perfect moment to camp next to the fireplace
and visit nearby friends for a warm shower :)
(great responses by the way upon a broken boiler FB status, thanks!)

Today we ordered the new installation which fortunately can be installed still this week. Pheww.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First snow & Christmas markets

This morning we woke up in the Ardennes with a white carpet of 20cm of snow.

And 'fun' to shovel the long driveway together again with our visiting friend & the neighbour accompagnied by the enthusiastic chatter of the 4yr old neighbour boy, making snow angels or 'helping' us.
The day before we had visited the Christmas market in Monschau (just before the snow arrived) which was lovely as ever.

Unfortunately blogger announced last week while I was uploading my Bonareains  Part III pictures that I had reached the limit of my implicite Picasa account.  Ah, I'm pissed.   I'm at this moment contemplating what to do: pay, finally switch my blog to wordpress or something else.

Anyway....if you want pictures, check out last year's post and deduct 1 inch of snow ;). And here is Monschau in the snow or without.