Belgium

Expiring ID

My permanent resident’s card is about to expire. I need to go to the photo studio to have some recent passport sized photos taken. Then, I shall just cross the street to the city hall to apply for an extension.

I shall do this tomorrow morning. It is a blessing that everything is within walking distance.

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Food & Drinks, Health

Parboiled Rice

A few weeks ago, I bought a bag of parboiled rice. I do not know what it was then but was eager to try it out because of the price. A kilogram of jasmine rice from the Asian grocery store costs two times more.

As I always do with unfamiliar subjects, I did some on-line research to gather necessary information. To my surprise, parboiled rice are actually more nutritious than the usual white rice I consume.

Yesterday, I cooked this atypical rice in my steamer. At the end of the cooking process, I found that the water was not entirely absorbed by the rice kennels. Despite the harder texture, the rice actually tasted sort of familiar to me. Maybe I have eaten this at the university cafeteria a long time ago?!

Next time, I shall cook this rice in a pot on the stove-top. And I will probably cook it a bit longer than the typical 20 minutes. I might even pre-soak the rice as suggested by some websites. Cooking experiments, I never get tired of them…

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Events, Flashbacks

EQC

My home in Malaysia is only a street away from a football field. So, almost every day you will see people playing football, hockey or some other field sports.

When I was a university student in Michigan, some school friends and I went to a home game of American football (rugby). I remember having a fun time eating hot dogs and drinking Mello Yello (school events are almost always kids-friendly, thus alcohol-free) while watching the game. I can not recall much of the match since I did not understand it and never really bother to.

I have also been a spectator to an ice hockey game at the university’s ice rink. Because it was more than 20 years ago, all I remembered was players crashing violently onto each other and on hard surfaces of ice, cement barriers and some transparent non-glass dividers. It was brutal!

In 2011, when visiting my sister and her husband in Seattle, D and I were invited to a baseball game. That was also a fun and unique experience.

The uniqueness of my spectator sports experience peaked today. D and I biked to the football stadium here in Harelbeke to watch the European Quidditch Cup!

Football, field hockey, cricket, American football, ice hockey, and baseball… none of these prepared me for the strangeness of quidditch. Turning an imaginary sports from the Harry Potter universe into this real life four games combo must have involved a lot of tweaking. The part of my brain which savours fantasy and magic refused to bend to reality. Real life quidditch was weird, confusing and maybe a bit too real for me. To the fans, it proves to be a highly energetic and very exciting event. To each his own.

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Simplify

Zero Waste

Last evening, D and I biked to the library to attend a talk about Zero Waste. Despite the title, we all know that the main goal of this awareness talk is the more practical and realistic objective of waste reduction.

The lively presenter Vanessa shared with us 65 tips on how we may reduce our garbage output and live a plastic(less) lifestyle. Except for bringing my own product containers and bags when doing grocery, I can proudly say that I have been practising most of these alternatives for many years.

In solving a problem, one needs to look at the source. The source of our ever-growing waste output is directly linked to our mindless over consumption. If one does not consume, one does not create waste. Simple logic.

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Health, Jibber Jabber

Turtle Neck

When the temperature dropped last week, I started wearing a turtle neck sweater in order to keep myself warm. I would even layered up with a fleece jacket when it got really chilly. My outfit choice has led to a significant reduction of coughing and sneezing.

I am no longer coughing today. Wearing a turtle neck sweater for almost a week has cured me from my illness!

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Belgium

Freaky Weather

This morning, I put on a winter coat before going to the Lokaal at Heule. I have been paying attention to the weather forecast and know that today will be cold despite the bright morning sun. On top of that, I really wanted to recover from this annoying cough which I have been having for more than a week. Staying warm was the right thing to do.

As foretold, the morning sun soon gave way to sudden rainfalls and dark clouds. It went from sunny and calm to dark and windy in seconds. On our way home from the market, it hailed a little and then got sunny again. When we were at home, we saw storm clouds rolling in from the North like it was the end of days.

It snowed in the Ardennes today – in May! Two weeks ago, I was wearing a sleeveless dress to the Easter barbecue. This morning, I wore a winter coat and still felt the chill. How freaky is that?!

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Human Nature, Simplify, Travels

Vulcan Logic

A few years ago, I told D that he has to be smart when trying to get his point across to me. He would need to use Vulcan Logic to break down my reluctance and stubbornness, in order to convince me to see his side of things.

Well, he did it. I was convinced to cycle to Kortrijk for the Mayday event yesterday! My slight dizziness and coughing fit did not seem to have affected my bike ride by much. To my pleasant surprise, I am not even suffering from any muscle pain today. Admittedly, the coughing fit got worse, but the cold evening was to be blamed for that – not the cycling.

Yep, one will not be able to argue against Vulcan Logic.

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Simplify

Hair Trimming

I have not had a haircut since the summer of 2017. Two weeks ago, I got really tired of my long hair and decided to trim a little bit of the shaggy ends. Before I start cutting, I watched a couple of online videos as guideline. Then armed with a pair of scissors and a comb, I trimmed off a few centimetres on my first attempt. Wearing a sweater with horizontal stripes was helpful. My DIY hair trimming went on quickly and effectively.

It has been 14 days since I started this experiment on myself. I have cut my hair shorter and shorter in five attempts. In total, I have probably trimmed off a total of 15 centimetres and will stop for now.

When I was in my early teens, I was cutting other people’s hair without fear or failure. My then hairdresser said that I am one of those people who are just daring with the scissors.

Trimming my own hair has been a successful endeavour. It was an opportunity to use a skill that I am gifted with. The whole process has even proved to be rather therapeutic and I am quite please and satisfy with my lighter shorter hairstyle.

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Belgium, Food & Drinks

Sprouts & Endives

I made soup using one potato, some second-generation endives I harvested from the utility room, and a handful of week-old Brussels sprouts from the farmers market.

To the boiling soup, I added two slices of bacon. These were then chopped up and added back to the soup before serving.

What a delicious soup this turned out to be. Perfect for the cold and rainy weekend we are experiencing now. And what can be more Belgian than a spruitenwitloofsoep?

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