Monthly Archives: February 2011

It’s weird, bordering to the insane to watch the Oscars normal time. At 8.30 pm the award cermony is over and I almost feel cheated. I’m left with an overwhelming “is this really it?” feeling. On the plus side I’m sitting glued to the telly watching the stars from the afterparties. It’s something Europe is sadly exempt from.

As with everything else I am torn between the “love it” and just down right “can’t stand it”. On the plus side (and I shall spare you from listing any cons this time) are diet pills galore (I just managed to buy Alli pills without someone checking my BMI), the cabs are dirt cheap (we’ve been circling the town for a mere 10 bucks), people are super friendly (can be a con too when there’s too much of the good) and the malls are unbeatable (shopping will take place between Tuesday and Friday).

I hesitate to add to this side of the list the slightly degenerated side to the city. It makes for a certain je ne sais quoi, something quite beautiful in all it’s decline. And with the long lines of people applying for jobs, walking billboards, drug addicts and drifters, there is life around every corner. People have a purpose, to live and survive. I don’t think I’ve felt survival mode so strongly since my earlier travels in Asia. And perhaps not even then. Perhaps I am just more aware of it…and it makes poetry to my mind.

We take a cab to Japan Town. I’m leading the way from memories going years back to my last visit. My husband is moody for reasons I know little to nothing of. Even though I am tempted to ask why I figure it’s better to leave him to it. I remain concentrated on Sebastian who in turn is pulling several consecutive temper tantrums.

We end up at a Japaneese terriyaki place. The food is good but slow. Slow food in all its glory but the time is porly chosen. My husband is not amused and Sebastian only stops crying when the chef starts showing off his party tricks. Even Reinout manage to put on a smile. I see a glimps of hope that the day might end up on a positive note after all.

Dinner at a fish and steak restaurant (the ambience made up for what the food lacked) we are back in our hotel room. I just pray I get a good night sleep. My jet lag is still not giving in…

When Reinout mentioned the upcoming GDC conference as a mean to an end to get a few days of holiday, it seemed like an excellent idea. Especially since it’s almost a year since our last holiday.

The departure was less than ideal though. Reinout had a lot to prepare and a new project that recently landed on my plate took up a lot of time until the wee hours of Friday morning. I was in bed late and up early, clocking up a mere 5 hours of sleep. Sebastian was pretty restless too so sleeping on the plane was out of the question. I crashed around 5 pm and woke up just after 1 am. Darkness was absolute, and I spent hours going through recent events in my head. It only made me feel more alianated and lonely. I wished I never came.

I remembered a half eaten chocolate bar still waiting to be consumed, and despite my diet decided to fuel my body with endorphines in a bid to put me out of my misery and get me back to sleep. It worked and I slept like a baby until 7 am.

I don’t think I could ever live in this country. I am as European as it gets and the US is in stark contrast to the understated, minimalistic, classical Europe. This is not said in a manner of disapproval or rejection. In fact there are many things I wouldn’t mind a European adoption of….like light icecreams and well stocked supermarkets. No, it’s more with a mix of bewilderment and fascination I continue to observe this fraction of the new world.

Everything comes in extra large and with multiple choices. “Madam, would you like that with fries, baked, roasted or shaved potatoes.” Some of the choices I have never heard of “hash brown anyone???”. In the end I downsize a Californian breakfast to a Continental one as it leaves me with less options. The lady on the other side of the line don’t understand my rationale and I don’t understand her accent. Since when did American become so hard to understand?

The gym is great, spacious with pleanty of equipment. I learn soon enough how to navigate the screen on the treadmill. I now have over 100 channels at my private disposal. Club Sportive take notes!!

I haven’t seen any women walking in high heels here, despite concrete slab pavements that don’t damage my Alaia patent leather shoes. Women are quite skinny here too, something you wouldn’t expect. I am on the larger side – believe it or not. Perhaps it’s the hills that keep them in shape. The wheels are turning in my head trying to figure out this city and its people….

Things are rarely what they seem. And yet we keep on getting first impressions and sticking to those. What happened to thinking out-of-the-box? No, predisposition towards assumptions and believing that our own belief system is  absolute right and flawless keep prevailing. It got me thinking lately of my own actions and where the responsibility truly lays. There’s a fine line between taking responsibility and becoming a doormat. Where is the equilibrium in that?

As I was on the gym, watching a program about astronomical phenonema such as the creation of Earth and black holes, I couldn’t help but making comparisons to some events that played out just a few days earlier. The world seems flat, the moon appears to be shining, and the sky is blue. We all know this not to be true, but a few hundred years ago this was not so. And yet today, on a more social level, we draw as easily conclusions about people, events and social structures, without really knowing what is going on. And then we come with our well meant opinions and advice, which perhaps doesn’t fit the bill at all. And as the receiver of such, when do we decide to open up and listen and when is the time to move on?

My husband frequently says I think too much. Perhaps he is right. Perhaps it’s a mechanism in order to achieve the right balance, to find a “suit-it-all” solution. Yet we all know this to be utopia. Despite my rationale being aware of this, I find myself waring against such paradigm, fighting the preconceived ideas and conclusions, the expectations, the roles and responsibilities. And in the process I find myself making nobody happy…least of all myself…

It’s Sebastian’s birthday and naturally it doesn’t go unnoticed. At 8 o’clock we started the celebration with loads of ballons and hidden presents in Sebastian’s room. He loves cars and trains, so we got him a Thomas the Train set with tracks and train carriages, as well as some small mini cars. It was so sweet to see, as every present was opened to WOW’s and Tuta’s! After our birthday unwrapping moment we got him over for another celebration at the creche and to pick up the his birthday cake.

Happy Birthday little man! We love you so much!

xxx

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Birthday celebration started with my husband putting on the birthday song

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Sebastian realizes something special is going on

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Whoohoo so many ballons…just for ME!

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OK, there are presents too

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WOW!

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Another one?!

Arrggh…it’s one of those evenings when everything is caving in. My husband is running around like an ADHD afflicted on steroids and Sebastian is doing his best to immitate (and innovate….R’s motto) his father’s behaviour. To top it all off Victoria is blowing up ballons, only to stomp them out. The dogs are following in hot persuits like headless chickens. I’m doing my best to block out the noise but it’s not working. I try some homegrown anger management strategies but even that fails. The result are two burnt chicken fillet’s and a dried up roasted chicken in the oven. I’m the only one that eats her dinner. Perhaps because I’m starving from my< 1000 kcal a day diet. The rest leaves most of it scarcely touched. Even Sebastian refuses to eat the potato and chicken mix I made.

It’s just one of those days I know. Thankfully the house is finally silent as Victoria has locked herself up in her room and Husband has fled the house. Now where are the freaking series?

It’s Sebastian’s birthday tomorrow. It’s amazing our little boy is becoming 2! Life is known to be taking the fastlane, but this fast? I can recall the day he was born as it was yesterday. And the days and weeks that followed. It was so surreal – a creation of our own. So small, yet so enourmous. On his 1 year birthday he started to walk. His first steps. And ever since he’s been taking steps, if not leaps, developing into a little man with his own will, thoughts and intellect. He’s not speaking yet, but that is most probably due to having two languages to sort out. It is mostly mama (which he uses for everything he wants), papa (exclusively reserved for his dad), Buppy (the new name for our dog formerly known as Buddy) and Ceci, which is pronounced with a great lisp. As much as I can’t wait to start hearing him talk, I also don’t want him to leave behind his kabauter language (Dutch for gnome). It is just so sweet.

Well Sebas this one is for you!

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The little man!

I’m really not a Valentine fan. Along with the naff gifts and cards proclaiming eternal love, one has to find a suitable restaurant only to be surrounded by other couples in an over-crowded space, most likely sharing the same sentiments. Thank God I ended up with a 24 hour stomach bug and spent the day in bed with a heatpillow blasting my midriff whilst nursing a cup of tea.Valentines couldn’t be better!

Reinout had a birthday get-together to attend to, and blaming on not feeling well (which technically wasn’t a lie) I opted out from joining bar- and restaurant hopping on the most over-rated night of the year (with the exception of New Year and Queens Night).

I guess my husband must have felt a pang of a guilty concious, because he came home around 10 pm. My valentines gift, minus the card, which I in all honesty couldn’t be bothered with: Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles. My husband was happy, thus objective achieved.

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I woke up an hour ago. Slightly lightheaded but in good spirit. Reinout left for an early meeting and I have the bedroom for myself, reading news and diving into some topics of interest. Sebastian is playing in his cot in the adjourning room. He talks to himself in the most sweetest voice. It’s like music to my ears.

Last night we watched the film Chloe by Atom Egoyan. I haven’t watched a film of his, since Exotica released in 1996. The films had some clear similarities, delving into themes of human isolation and alianation. And with sexual undertones as well as overtones (a very hot lesbian scene with Julian Moore and Amanda Sayfried is quite refreshing), it’s a novel take on the onset of  midlife crisis in a marriage and the subsequent aftermath.

My husband was less thrilled of the pick, so perhaps only something for the most ardent male cinema buff, otherwise best left for a lonely night with an excellent merlot and a small box of excuisite Belgian Chocolates.

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