Belgium

Sudoku Winner

For several months now, I have been happily solving the Sudoku puzzles one may find in the city’s monthly magazine. I did the puzzles for fun. And for a laugh, I submitted these solutions to enter the monthly Sudoku competition held by the city’s administration.

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from the city on Monday afternoon, informing me that I am the winner of April’s Sudoku competition. I was told to go by the city hall to collect my prize. How cool is that?!

At around eleven this morning, I took a lovely walk to the city hall to collect my €10 gift card. This, I was informed, can be spent at the many businesses in Harelbeke. How blissful it is to have received a small reward and becoming one of the winners. Furthermore, my name will appear on May’s edition of the city magazine. Awesomeness!

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Belgium, Jibber Jabber

Spring Forward

Today, we moved time an hour forward. So in the next couple of days, little adjustments will be made to our daily routines. These include waking up later in the day, having our meals 60 minutes earlier, and experiencing later sunsets. My afternoon computer time will be affected by the setting sun. I have to move important computer time to the mornings to avoid afternoon glares. Ah well, one adapts when one needs to.

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Belgium, Events

E3 2019

It is the E3 cycling event in Harelbeke again. At around 11am this morning, D and I walked to the buses to see if we may spot a few well known cyclists. Then, we went to the podium to see the introductions of the cycling groups. The start of the race was at 12.15pm, and as usual short-little-me only caught a glimpse here and there through the gaps amongst the crowd. I made up for it by holding the camera up high and clicking randomly.

Before heading home, D and I lined up to get a free serving of fries each. There were quite a lot of shuffling and pushing – ah yeah, free food.

Once a year in March, we may walk in the middle of the street. Last evening, we even got to bike in the middle of the street like the cyclists did today. But that’s a story for another time…

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Belgium, Food & Drinks, Health

March Ahead

The month of February has come and gone in a wink of an eye. And I have successfully participated and lived through a campaign known as Tournée Minérale. This being my second time participating in the movement, I know beforehand that a month of not drinking alcohol is really not difficult. Just like in 2017, I was determined enough to say no to the temptations that crossed my path. Alcohol is not such a big deal in my life. The alcohol-less month will actually make me drink less in the long run. Win-win!

Since today is the first day of March, I may normally allow myself an alcoholic drink. However, I am not because I need to make up for that one day at the Bruges Beer Festival.

I might drink tomorrow. Or maybe a week from now. Since the days are still grey and gloomy, that refreshing glass of alcoholic drink is not necessarily and may wait…

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Belgium, Events

Space Smart

Yesterday evening, D and I attended a bi-annual event known as Ronde van Harelbeke. First, the mayor gave a short speech, then there was an introduction to the concept of Sustainable Development Goals, followed by an interesting main talk on how we can Be Smart With Space. The talk focused on space optimization and mentioned the challenges currently faced by Flanders. Halfway through, there was a break where we were treated to two free drinks each (what else?). The attendants were also encouraged to take part in some interactive activities and surveys. Then the event continued on with a panel discussion, which was then followed up by a Q&A session. There were some more drinking in the end before everyone went home.

It is very important that we, as a community, are made aware of the challenges and issues of our current environment. That we are also made aware of what we can still do in terms of the usage and optimization of space.

On the negative side, D and I have already built our house in the suburbs. Nonetheless, our home (space) has all the positive points of being close to the city center, a wonderful nature reserve, and many important public infrastructures.

Attending Ronde van Harelbeke was a worthwhile activity which provided me with much food for thoughts. As we biked back home, I came to the conclusion that I just have to make the best of what I have. In short, being frugal, environmental friendly and having low impact lifestyles would be the answers to our specific situations.

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Belgium, Jibber Jabber

Howling Winds

It has been windy for days. With sudden downpours and wind gusts at more than 20 km/h, there is no way one can do any yard work.

Today, I just took it easy and completed my indoor chores at a comfortable pace. When there was a short break in this deary Belgian weather, I would step out to the shed and back, quickly doing what needs to be done.

This is also a good moment to go through my food storage, using up some items from the fridge, freezer, and pantry. Into my dump soup goes some homegrown endives, pumpkin puree, and a few late summer tomatoes. Healthy, yummy and with minimum food waste.

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Belgium, Jibber Jabber

Summing Up

The snow carpet has completely melted away this morning. Temperature is currently at 8°C. Not much of a winter anymore, just rainy and gloomy. This allows me to quickly empty out the kitchen scraps bin. Dumping and burying the contents of a full bin into my back-of-the-shed compost area felt good.

One of Belgium’s most influential philosophers has passed away last week, but the sad news was only made public this week. A man with a stubborn logic but gentle manner, he had advocated laws concerning abortion and euthanasia in a very Catholic Belgium. He was a strong believer that overpopulation is the source of human miseries. We are on the same side here, Mr. Vermeersch. Rest in eternal peace…

I have borrowed my in-law’s sewing machine. With all the sewing projects planned, I shall be an industrious squirrel next week. Next week, D and I would need to go on our shopping and grocery errands for we are low on sparkling water, beers, drinks, and so forth. And because it is still January, I shall probably have to tolerate a visit to the shopping mall to look for some fancy pants. Ha!

Soon, I shall be implementing the Swedish Death Cleaning into my life. Cleaning out my crap so that those surviving me will not have to dump my stuff away heartlessly. The Marie Kondo ways are too mild for me. Because of all the moving around since my twenties, I find my organizing habits very similar to a lot of the KonMari applications. Yep, Death Cleaning is the next level for me.

Vooruit!


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Belgium, Jibber Jabber

Snowfall 2019

Today, we woke up to the first snowfall of the year. Yeah!

A pretty snow carpet laid in our backyard before the morning was over. In the mean time, I managed to conjure up an excuse to go to the shed. I just wanted to walk in a snowfall, leave some footprints in the fresh snow and revoke my strange liking for white winters.

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Belgium, Food & Drinks

Stay Home Sunday

Yesterday evening, D and I went to have dinner at our friends’ home in Kortrijk. Main dish was Moambe Chicken, the national dish of Congo, served on a bed of rice with a side of cassava (manioc). Dessert was a home-made blueberry cheesecake. Food was interesting and satisfying. Our friends were hospitable and chatty. All sorts of drinks were flowing generously while we talked and laughed. D and I only stopped drinking, shortly before we put on our jackets to leave!

After such an evening, we are making today a stay-home Sunday.

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Belgium, Creative Business, Health

Third Option

Yesterday, I phoned the local hospital to make an appointment for a medical check-up. The call went first to a language option menu where I may choose Dutch, French or English! Ten years here and I suddenly have an option of using English to book my appointment.

Well the funny thing is that I chose Dutch in the end. It just felt more normal speaking Dutch to a Flemish receptionist. And I have practised the sentences so many times in my head before the call. Besides, I have had made similar calls in the past years without encountering any issues.

The English option offered by the hospital did surprise me. This may mean that the hospital is becoming more global – possessing experts who cater to a diversity of patients. A good thing then.

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