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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blog Against Abuse

As it's 'Blog Against Abuse' day, I thought I'd write a little about something very important to me. I am a real animal lover and can't bear to think about the poor animals that suffer every day due to abuse. Abuse can take many forms, from downright intentional cruelty to animals, to simply not providing them with the means to live a normal healthy life, i.e. not providing adequate shelter, food and medical care. Every day you read or hear about yet another case of abuse against animals, whether it's someones family pet that has been neglected and starved to the point of near death, or it's a truck load of cattle on their way to the slaughterhouse that are packed so tightly together that they suffer broken bones after being trampled on by other cattle.(This I saw on the news just today! I know these animals are bred solely for the purpose of providing us with meat, but at least let them be handled humanely in their last hours).It shouldn't be tolerated! There are so many organisations out there that fight for the rights of these animals, and they all do a fantastic job. I for one would never stand by and knowingly allow abuse to take place, and neither should you!
Here are just a few of the many organisations that are battling to give our animals the rights they deserve.
Animal Cruelty (overview)
World Society for the Protection of Animals

Come on people, let's work together to put a stop to this!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Typos and Talkos

While I'm sure alot of you know, typos(typing errors) can be rather funny at times, imagine what it's like to do it when you talk. TALKOS! Now before I start I would like to say that I love my boyfriend very much and I don't want anyone to think I am making fun of him when I write this. However, we have shared some hilarious moments due to him getting his words mixed up when talking. In case you don't know, I am English and I live in Belgium with my Belgian boyfriend Rudi. His command of the English language is excellent, in fact it is probably better than mine at times.

Whilst on a recent shopping trip, I was looking at shoes(as us women do) and Rudi spotted a pair of comfortable looking shoes. He picked them up and looked them over while saying to me, 'hey these are nice, you won't get blizzards in those'. I was creased up with laughter.

Rudi is a true lover of the 'Full English Breakfast'. This consists of: bacon, english sausages(otherwise known as bangers),black pudding, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans and toast or fried bread. There's a cafe along the road from here that serves this, much to Rudi's delight. On one occasion, when the breakfast arrived the bangers had been replaced by bog-standard Belgian sausages. Rudi was upset about this as the bangers are his favourite bit. When we left the cafe about 30 minutes later, he was still chuntering on about it as we got in the car. 'If it says badgers on the menu, then you should get badgers!' I explained to him that if he'd got a badger on his plate he should be very worried indeed!(Still chucking about this one now.)

Ok I'm not really one for sharing intimate details with complete strangers, however I believe this to be the greatest TALKO of all time!(Please let me know if I'm wrong about this, if you can top it, I'd love to hear how!!!)
Imagine the scene...Bedroom, the lights are low, the passion is rising, he looks deep into my eyes and says...'Oh baby, I love the way your nipples are so sensible'. He knew from the second the words left his lips he'd got it wrong. I tried really hard to let it pass, but the look on his face was too much to bear. Within about 10 seconds we were both rolling around on the bed, tears of laughter rolling down our faces.

I'm sure as time goes by, there are going to be alot more TALKOS, and not just from Rudi. Once I finally get the hang of Flemmish(Belgian version of Dutch), I have a feeling it won't take too long before I take my place on the throne next to Rudi's and am crowned the 'Queen of TALKOS'.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fancy a coffee?

When most people think of Belgium, the first thing that pops into their head has got to be chocolate. Well it does in mine anyway. Let me tell you, Belgium has a whole lot more to offer than just this. On my first visit here, my boyfriend Rudi, took me for a coffee. We went into a cafe and sat at a table and a waiter actually came over to serve us. Now being from the North-East of England I found that quite a novelty in itself! You can imagine the look on my face when the coffee arrived and it was in a proper cup. Not plastic. Not only that, it also came with a saucer, neatly placed on a silver tray along with a small jug of milk, several assorted sugars and a small cake. I was totally gobsmacked. I felt like royalty! However, I was soon to discover that this is actually normal here. The Belgians expect it. It doesn't matter where you go, you always get good service here. I remember the first time in England when Rudi and I went for a coffee. It was in the food court in the Metrocentre. He walked over to a table and sat down so I followed him. We sat there for about 5 minutes before I realised he had no intention of going to order drinks, so I finally asked what he'd like and went off to get it, feeling a little peeved. When I came back with the drinks, (2 coffees in paper cups), he just looked at me. I think he was a little stunned to realise you had to go get them yourself. Now I know why!!! I have since discovered that not only do you get what I would call a 'posh coffee' as standard here, but you also have the option to 'upgrade' it in many places (see photo above). You can also sit there for as long as you wish without having intimidating looks thrown at you from staff to let you know you should 'sup up and shove off' to allow other paying customers to take your place while your seats still warm. So, I ask you again...fancy a coffee?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Brit Abroad!

February 11th 2005, a day I'll always remember. I was standing at the end of my driveway in a town in the north east of England, waving goodbye to my sister and her husband who had just left with a fully loaded transit van. I watched them til they turned the corner and drove out of sight before I walked slowly back into my house, tears in my eyes as the enormity of what I was doing finally hit me. The place was totally empty, except for a few items I had decided not to take with me. Those I was leaving for my friends to take. In just a few hours I would be on a plane, taking me far away from everything I ever knew. My family, my friends, my work. I had a last walk through the empty house, then I picked up my bag, closed the door quietly, turning the lock for the very last time.
Three hours later I was sitting on a plane after having said a tearful goodbye to my mother. I can't describe how I felt. It was like a huge part of me had been left behind, although I wasn't flying to the other side of the world, it felt like it at that moment. As the plane took off, I closed my eyes and started to wonder about how my life was going to be from this moment on. I had always had the security of having all my family and friends within a few minutes walk from my home. Now that was all going to change.
After an hour the plane landed at Brussels. I didn't have luggage to collect, I had with me a single small bag containing a few essentials, as the rest of my belongings, my entire life it seemed, were in the transit van I had waved off only a few hours earlier. I walked towards the gate of the arrival hall, nervous, a little sad, my eyes searching for a familiar face. Then I spotted him. He smiled and it made it all worthwhile. The reason for it all. He closed his arms round me and held me close and I felt safe again. We turned and walked away, hand in hand, to start our new life together.
The following day my sister and brother-in-law arrived having travelled by ferry with all my worldly possessions packed into that transit van. We had a good giggle at the colour of my sisters face as she got off that ferry. I had offered for her to fly with me, but she had thought it would be romantic to travel with her husband, have a little time alone away from their children. I don't think there was much romance going on while they crossed the rough north sea judging by the pallor of her skin. Fourteen hours crossing time. Not my idea of fun I can tell you! That's why I flew.
Anyway, that was almost two and a half years ago now. Life over here sure is different, in good ways and bad, and I'll write some more about this later. For now though, I have no regrets about moving here. It's my home now.