Belgium, Numbers

Lengthy Heatwave

We are to encounter a heatwave starting tomorrow. In such, I have been bracing myself for it by making little preparations the best I can. Yet, I still cannot help but get a sense of horror and disbelief when I saw the weather forecast for the next ten days. Oh dear lord, it will be Malaysian temperatures for more than a week straight! Damn… I barely survived that one above 30°C day last week.

Belgium, Flashbacks, Jibber Jabber, Malaysia

Nap Attack

Yesterday was the warmest 31st of July in the Belgian meteorological history! Afternoon temperature was in the 30s. And night time temperature dropped a little to hover around the mid 20s. That… made for very difficult sleeping in my case. I am from Malaysia, most people there do not live in bricks houses which turn into ovens at night, and we tend to make full use of fans or air conditioning.

It had been a restless night for me, so it was not a surprise that I encountered a nap attack at 1pm. My eyes were shutting down automatically and my brain was turning into mush. I had to lay down immediately and sleep for half an hour.

Still a bit fuzzy right now. I will most probably fall asleep on the sofa this evening.

Belgium, Health

Shrinking Bubbles

The Belgian health administration of the COVID-19 crisis has spoken. Our social bubble of 15 variable people per week has been reduced to 5 fixed people, effective this Wednesday. And as expected, there are outcries and confusions coming from every direction imaginable.

Our monkey brains cannot process this. We cannot deal with the temporary laws which limit our freedoms. We become very unhappy and sometimes furious when we think we are being imprisoned unjustly. We become depressed when we get stopped from doing things we like.

Well, it is either that or get sick and die. What would you have?

Belgium, Health, Numbers

24-Hour Health Scare

On Friday evening, my father-in-law was admitted into the Covid19 wing of Leuven University Hospital. He had a bad case of food poisoning a week ago, started coughing on Thursday, and was running a fever on Friday.

D and I were on our toes for 24 hours. Yesterday evening, he called D to let us know that his coronavirus test came back negative. Oh thank goodness!

I do not want to live through that again…

Belgium, Health, Human Nature

Riding The Waves

How does a nation of quarantine-tired people deal with an earlier-than-expected second wave?!

To be sure, there will be those (hopefully a majority) who will bite down and deal with this next coronavirus infection like good calm obedient citizens. But I fear that there will be quite a few that would probably just throw up their hands, and convert themselves into some idiotic rebellious ‘bug chasers’.

Regardless of how we will be dealing with this second wave, I know this one thing: One might not die from it but may suffer life-long physical and mental damages. Heck, I can probably get it, not suffer at all but kill someone else by passing it along unknowingly. That is not something I want to have on my conscience. I am suppose to live till age 107. That is a long time to be guilty of anything!

In the months to come, I shall try my best in reading my personal collection of books, practice my calligraphy brush strokes, paint some still life (I was very good at this in school), start and finish some long-delayed home maintenance, take care of my garden, and continue having fun in my culinary experiments.

Belgium, Flashbacks, Jibber Jabber, Simplify

Recycling, Beers, Tonic Water & Potatoes

In the attempt of minimizing our exposures to the coronavirus, D and I have been limiting our errand runs to only fulfil the bare necessities. This was lightly enforced since the middle of March.

So, it was kind of weird to be doing quite a few things this afternoon. First, we went to the recycling park to get rid of some glass bottles and jars, a couple of old cellphones, and the grass clippings from yesterday’s lawn mowing. We then went to the local drink centre to purchase some beers and a crate of tonic water.

Lastly, we went to a local farmer to buy a sack of potatoes. D had to leave cash behind because there were no one around. A usual practice along the road side stands in Sabah, at least where I came from…

It is good to be doing things like we did before, even though we have to be a bit more careful and alert.

Belgium, Food & Drinks

Live A Little

At noon, D went to pick up our 1-star restaurant order. This special takeaway came in several containers, and had to be prepared and plated according to the chef’s written instructions!

Starter is a tataki of hamachi, which came in its own plate with the sauce in a separate container. The main dish of fish, pasta, mushroom and a variety of vegetables took half an hour to heat up. The plated dishes look so incredible, and too pretty to eat! But I think it took D and I about 20 minutes to put €50 worth of food into our tummies. Must have taken longer for the food to be prepared and cooked at the restaurant.

What is living… if you can’t make use of your money, fulfil some of your desires, and live a little?

Belgium, Business & Creativity, Jibber Jabber, Numbers

Car Wash, Euros & The New Normal

This morning, it rained a little. And then the day remained in an overall cloudy and windy state. When D said he will wash the car, I volunteered to help like I always did. I started by removing the green growth (don’t ask) around the windows with a soft brush, and then moved on to vacuum the rather dusty interior. I had to stop the vacuuming abruptly when D started to rinse the car while I was busy. I said I will help, I did not ask for a shower. So, I completed my assistance by clearing up and cleaning up the buckets, rags and brushes. Ah well… the car is cleaned.

On a side note, the Euro has been strengthening against the dollar by a lot these past two days. The reason being that the main European economies are coming out of their self-imposed lock-downs. Also, the ECB has been pumping a significant amount of funds into the European markets. Things are liquid for now, but for how long? The significant change of value in the currencies does not affect me because I am not in the process of exchanging monies.

Infection rates are going down, cafés and restaurants will be back in business next week, junk mails are getting bulkier, and one can hear happy noisy children from the school yards nearby. Life is gradually moving towards the new normal.

Belgium, Business & Creativity, Jibber Jabber

Grocery Shopping Loophole

Last Friday, I mentioned that I might brave the local warehouse-style grocery store to stock up on necessities. Well, D and I did that a few hours ago this afternoon. According to the employee guarding the entrance, only one of us are allowed to go in. But we took an extra shopping cart and promised the TSA disinfectant-spraying person that we shall pay separately. “Loopholes…”, said D quietly and triumphantly to me.

Schools are partially reopened since yesterday. This coming Thursday is the Ascension of the Lord – a feast day here. No doubt there shall be lines at the grocery stores. Maybe it was our good timing or maybe it was just pure luck, but there was no line when we arrived, but a relatively long one when we left. Phew!

Our freezer, fridge and pantry are now filled up with necessities and goodies. On top of that, D and I did not have to line up to enter the grocery store. It has been a good day.

Belgium, Health, Numbers

Ten Positives

Ten employees at the Colruyt in Kuurne were tested positive for Covid19! Ten! Not one, or a pair… TEN! This is waaaay too close to home for comfort.

Who has been stupid? Or at least, who has been reckless? Will anyone be held accountable to have caused this cluster outbreak? The frustrating thing is that I know for sure that I will never get any answers for these questions. As with most news regarding the pandemic, this information will slowly dissipate without any reasonable follow ups. And then, it will also gradually disappear from the public’s memory.

A baffling and worrying case…