Battered feet mean better days

Because when your feet are battered, it means you used them. So this morning in dance class, I had to admit I sort of abused them. But what does it matter when you got a lot of fun in return?

So what battered my delicate feet? First, my dance classes have started again. I haven’t had one in three months, so it was hard – but good. I missed it, sincerely missed it and now I’m happy again.
Second, I went on a holiday! Yay! I like leaving Belgium behind every now and then, though I have come to realise what a nice country we are to live in. Which doesn’t mean I don’t want to get out. So some friends and I stepped on a plane, really casual, and arrived some hours later in Kiev.
Now that is a great city to visit! They have plenty of churches with walls white as heaven and shiny, shiny gold. The sun was shining bright, so everything looked even better.

Shiny shiny shiny. Source.

Next to that I went to the ballet twice, ate delicious things and overall had a great time. Going to the opera mean going on high heels, by foot. So this battered them even more… But it did make me fit in, because all the Ukrainian girls seem to be pros at wearing high, higher, highest heels. Feels fancy!

This also explains my absence here, but hey, I needed this. Traveling can feel like catharsis, which is the case now.So in case you feel bored, down or frustrated, just batter your feet, and the world will seem bright as a golden tower!

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Life Choice # 4: Mountains or Beach?

We’re all craving for a little bit of vacation and leaving ourĀ  own dull country that’s either too hot or too cold, right? I feel like I’ve got more than enough time, but unfortunately too little money to explore the world. I do like traveling a whole lot though. A few weeks ago, I leaned out of a window, it had just rained, and I smelt Austria. Something nostalgic inside me began to ache and long to return. We’ve been to Austria for five years. I mean, one week every year, a different place every time. We always went to all-in hotels, but I was too young to really take advantage of that at the time… There’s not so much to do over there, we were always walking. We crossed forests and bridges and small little mountain rivers. Somehow, the weather was always nice. Rain during the night, which left the world fresh and with a nice scent, and sun during the day. But never so hot you feel like you’re breathing rocks.
We saw sheep, donkeys, cows and squirrels. Nothing exotic, but still. Once I even fed a squirrel, he quickly took a nut from my hand. It was probably one of the most exciting things happening during these holidays. Next to what happened in the hotel. It always felt like we were one big family, though we didn’t speak to anyone or just a few people. Still, the faces were familiar. Somehow you just know the people, and if they leave, you’re sad. The ‘new’ people are never as familiar as the old ones. They’re invaders. Only a little bit, but still. And yes, we were aware of the fact that we had been new people as well. Sometimes, we even gave them names. Or got a crush. But that was just embarrassing, when it happened. So let’s not talk about that.

Austria

Green peace, literally, small villages, great mountains.

So these holidays were just fresh air, walking around in the mountains and going to the hotel bar without having to pay every single time. O, and don’t forget the cake at 4. And the swimming pool. Nothing spectacular happened, but that was okay. It was like living in our own small world which we shared with cows and sheep.

On my last Polish oral exam, the teacher asked me whether I’d on go vacation to the mountains or to the beach. The choice was easily made. Mountains can be really impressive, they can make you feel so small, and if you’re lucky you even find something like the Liechtensteinklamm. While lying down on the beach, just tanning… Nah, that’s way too boring. Besides, I can’t stand staying in the sun for too long. But of course, I didn’t manage to actually say all of this.

Now, what would you choose? Any good memories supporting your arguments? Are you going on a vacation this year?

Mozzarella and Tomatoes 4 : The good, the bad and the ugly

Somehow, the best moments on a trip are the ones that aren’t planned. Their were little lacunes in our strict scheme where we ahd the greatest time. I mean, seeing all those wonderful places was great too, but the spontaneous actions of oneness are different. They aren’t planned.
For example, one guy bought 6 bottles of wine and a few of our group sat together in front of the hotel and we drank all the wine together. We didn’t even have to pay the wine. It was very cosy. I like the feeling of oneness, and that moment had that feeling, also because there were only a few people of the eighty people on the trip. And just because we were all on the same trip, we could just talk to anyone. As soon as you have something in common, you may talk. Weird, but true. Me like.
There were a lot of Belgian and above all Flemish schools over there, and when we met another group at the metrostation, we started to sing our very beautiful, high-quality song ‘It’s silent on the other side’. Soon to be followed by the song ‘Hookers’, with these lyrics:
Hookers
Hookers
Hookers
Hookers
And so on.
We were each standing on our own platform and screaming that at each other. It’s a Flemish sign or recognition, you know.
In another metro station, we also sang our Belgian hymn together. I mean, we have our real hymn and the hymn that is played at the Olympic Games. But our real hymn is like this (repeat every sentence in your head because that is how it goes):
Everywhere we go
People want to know
Where we come from
Where we go
So we tell them
We’re from Belgium
Pretty pretty Belgium
And if they can’t hear us
We sing a little louder
(Repeat louder)

If you hear people singing this, it’s quite obvious where they’re from, right?

But there were bad moments too. The first of April here, is the day of practical jokes. But our first of April was full of things going really wrong. It started with one pregnant teacher being nauseous. She immediately returned to the hotel. Minus one leader. Later that day, another teacher fell of a stone and his shoulder was dislocated. Another teacher accompagnied him to the hospital. Exit two more teachers. And then someone’s wallet had disappeared. The wallet with all the money, with the ID and stuff.
That evening, we would take the metro and train back home together. (I wouldn’t have done it alone anyway) But we missed the last train and we had to walk home, which took us 45 minutes. We had been walking all day long, we were all fed up an,d then we had to walk… Two girls and I played word games and we made it, but still. It was midnight and we were walking there… God.

Further on there were some pathetic drunk people and stuff, but after all, this was a great trip with lots of memories to talk and laugh about. You never forget this kind of trips, you know. They are so amazing and all. I had a great time.

Mozzarella and Tomatoes 1: Sleepless in Seats

I’m back and I really want to thank you all for your enthusiasm!! I’ve only been able to read your comments today, but it makes me smile that you are such nice people. I like you all!

So, I’m back and exhausted. Seriously, we had to wake up at 7 every day, sometimes 6.30, and 12 o’clock was mostly the hour of going to sleep, if it weren’t any later. Also, never even consider sleeping on a bus. Welcome to part 1 of ‘Mozzarella and Tomatoes’!
Today, I’ll tell you about our bus trips. Use Google Maps if you’d like to know how far away Italy is from Belgium, but believe me: when driving to Pisa, you spend a lot of time in your tiny bus seat. Bus seats are made for sitting, but not for sleeping. You can lay them back, but only if the ones sitting behind you agree. Otherwise you might crush their knees, which won’t improve the atmosphere. I’ve never traveled with a bus like this time, so it were my friends who told me how to organise sleeping: one should sleep on the ground, the other one should sleep on the seats.

Now that doesn’t sound to difficult. Nor comfortable actually. My friends and I are (close to) 1m80, so that was serious folding before we could actually lie down… And do not consider moving as soon as you lie down! There simply no chance to do that. Also, if you’re lying on the seats and you are unable to fold you knees enough, there is but one thing to do: stretch them out and use other seats to let them lie on. My feet have used other seats more than the floor or my own seat. But lengthy legs demand space, room, wideness, which wasn’t available at all. I wasn’t the only one. We should have taken a picture, because there were just blankets and bags and legs everywhere. We were like a puzzle of sleeping people. ‘Sleeping’. When I woke up at approximately 4 a.m. because of the most terrible earache I’ve ever had, I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t sleeping. It was like everywone was awake. But when lifting my head at 8 a.m., I saw everyone sleeping like they were just knock-out due to the previous sleepless hours.

You can also use other people to lean on, something I did as well (with their approvement). You have to help each other and respect each other’s place, for everyone’s sake. That also means that you can’t just leave the bus. When you want to go outside, you have to act like Tarzan and you have to use the handrails of the seats as stepping stones. Otherwise you’ll probably step on someone’s face, hidden beneath a blanket. Or you step on a bag and you’ll break the souvenirs. There is no other way than using your flexibility!

Another thing that was quite bothering, was the radio playing above our heads. The on/off button didn’t work, the horror, the horror… And we passed a lot of tunnels, which caused an annoying rush ever time… When we woke up in the middle of the night because the drivers changed, we heard the radio playing one very cheery melody. You don’t want cheery melodies when you are fed up. So the guy sitting in front of us said: “Put off that radio.” “Impossible”, said the guy behind us. “Ram” was the very professional advice then. When you are exhausted an in terrible need of sleep, that answer is too funny to handle.

And can you imagine a qeue of girls running through the rain because they have to go to the toilet so desperately? If yes, then you know why I laughed so ahrd at that point. You see, this trip has given me loads of subjects to talk about. It was amazing and I cannot wait to share it all with you!

What to take with you to Italy

Last post, I told you about the horror of not finding clothes and shoes, but I didn’t give you any context, which I should have done so that you could understand why that was even more frutrating than normally. So here’s the one and only context:

I’m leaving for Italy in a week and we’ll be staying there for eight days.

Now that changes some things, ain’t it? When you’re on a holiday in a warm country for eight days, you have to take quite a lot of stuff with you. I mean, T-shirts, pants, skirts for when it’s really hot and so on. Good shoes that you can wear all day long without feeling the urge to die straight away. I have these golden sneakers (but not of the big sneaker kind, more subtle), but I already have them for four years (can you imagine? they just keep on fitting, while I grew like 10 cm!) and my mother has a veto. I don’t really have dresses or skirts, by the way, that fit these shoes. And ballerina’s all day long, only the idea hurts me already. Maybe sandals. If the weather is really good.

But, what else to take with you when traveling? I’ll give you a list of stuff I take with me anyway:

* a big bag, for all the following stuff
* an umbrella; Italy is known for rainy weather when all Belgian schools move over there
* a ballpoint.
* another (plastic) bag, because you never, ever know
* scissors. Never underestimate scissors. They always come in handy. My father once forgot his razor blades, and he could use my scissors instead. Or when you buy new clothes over there, you can at least remove the price tag and wear it right away.
* a scarf. Although surrounded by nude paintings and sculptors, the Italiens freak out when they notice that you wear shorts. Be a good catholic girl and cover yourself.
* some knowledge of Italian and French. It’s quite well known that Italians don’t get why you can’t talk their language.
* battery charges for your camera, mobile phone and iPod. We’ll be spending lots of time in a bus, so music is needed.
* patience. Eight days with people, all getting tired and annoying. Have patience with them. Spare them of your sharpest tongue. Just put on your iPod (so don’t forget the charger!)
* tissues. It’s not because it’s a warm country, that you cannot get a cold.
* Tic tacs. Get refreshed. (That is Tic Tac, right?)
* The Belgian Elle. Because for less money, you have the Flemish AND Dutch version, which you might need when everyone around you is bitching because they’re tired.
* all logic stuff. ID, money, blahblah
* playcards. We are card game fans.
* sunglasses. Duh.
* makeup. To cover up your inferiority complex. (Dear Google translate, why do you seem so unreliable sometimes?)
* it might souns silly, but nail clippers. (Do you know what I mean?) For when your nials grow long, or you break one.

With this list, you will have packed half of what you really need. Congratulations!

Imagine

Imagine… you’re in a great city, a city that lives, a city that is beautiful. Imagine that it’s your last evening there, that you regret that, that you want to make the most out of it. That you, and all the people there with you, are walking over the bridge where everyone is walking, and then it starts raining really hard, out of nothing, and everyone flees. Imagine that three young guys then try to dry their instruments, because they were playing music on the bridge. Imagine that the people, hiding for the rain, start clapping, that the boys decide to start playing music and then play Metallica on cello while it is dark as if it’s night and it rains as if you’re in a movie.
Imagine that you never forget that moment, and that you might remember it before all other things that happened in that city. Because it was so unexpected and beautiful and it was this kind of thing you can’t plan. It just happens and it makes your day.