Saturday, May 25, 2013

Last one standing?

(This was an old unpublished post - written 2 years ago- sometime in late May 2011)

I should be working. Its `that time of the year' again (for those uninitiated, its `brand plans' period).

However, this evening, saw a post on facebook and found out that one of my ex has just gotten married a few days ago and somehow that kinda impacted my evening.

Not that I still harbour any feelings for him. It was like really eons and eons of years ago! He is not in my immediate circle of friends anymore and in between the years, we have but met up only a few times, probably still countable with the fingers of one hand.

However, I still can't explain this strange and weird feeling that I am having. No, I don't know the bride and no, am also not jealous. I am just trying to decipher and analyse this weird potpouri of feelings that I am having.

Its a sense of loss somewhere, but wait, hold on, what `loss' am I actually referring to? when I don't `have' whatever it is to `lose'? Perhaps its the feeling of being the last one who is still `standing' in the land of singlehood, while everyone else seems to be entering matrimony by now... how fate and destiny and bad choices of men I've made in this life had collided and now this is my path...

Certainly not Vidal Sassoon

Today I finally mustered up the courage and walked into a neighbourhood hair saloon for a hair cut. Been postponing this for quite a while, making it not high up on my priority list. However as i would be going for a big meeting next week, having messy hair wouldnt really do much to help my professional image, so its now a matter of `when push comes to shove', which finally saw me out of the door to look for the next Vidal Sassoon.

Till now i don't really know the name of the saloon! anyway, I guess purple being my favourite colour, I was attracted by their exterior enough to want to walk in. And was very pleasantly surprised when the hairstylist, a young lady can actually speak English to me.

So, it began one of my bizarre hair cutting experience! I was asked to stand when she was trimming my hair! and this went on for a good 10-15 minutes... before I was finally allowed to sit. When she was done with layering my hair, she asked me if I wanted mousse, which I said `yes' and the next thing is, she pumped out a whole big glob onto a towel and proceeded to spoon off these to a comb and actually combed through my whole head! i think I have never used so much mousse before..

At the end of it, the price of the total hair do - 53 Euros! which I think is pretty expensive since I know a colleague of mine does her usual haircut at only 25 Euros...and I asked the lady..her answer, `yeah, but you agreed to use the good shampoo..and you wanted a conditioner..and then also the mousse"...waah..that means that every little bit of material used on my hair is at a cost to me, welcome to Belgium!

And how was the look? honestly, I think nothing much as changed..she just trimmed 1-2 cm off the hair still looks very much pretty similar as before, only probably tidier.

This clearly ain't Vidal Sassoon...

Monday, May 20, 2013

To Brussels, to Brussels, I am finally there!

I moved over to cold and clammy Brussels one day in mid February 2013. Had meant to write all about my horrendous experience getting all the paperwork sorted and done but ..never got around to do that. Had also meant to write about all the new experiences of my new life here in the first few weeks, but..also never got around to doing that! so, how do I then quickly sum up in a nutshell then? here's my attempt:-

My move : KL to Brussels was on 17th Feb 2013

First Month -
* had the shock of my life when I was handed keys to a car to drive back from the office, on the 1st day of work! it was snowing, and the driver's seat is on the other side...
* got sick on the 1st day of work as well - probably too stressful the days before leaving warm sunny Malaysia
* learnt to drive in the snow ! it was still snowing in Feb. First day driving on my own, banged my other side mirror on a stationery truck. Lost the outer casing of the was never replaced..
* asked for snow tires and never got it - cos was told that come March, the winter snow would be over (but it didnt!)
* learnt to start and be more vocal at work - not always the easiest when others speak faster and louder! and they are native English speakers to start with.
* stayed at flat rented by the company - was on a duplex, with the living/dining/kitchen on the basement, and only the bedroom on the ground floor. So, literally i was living in the basement. This went on for 2 months. Damn and cold, not sure if its the apartment or the weather!
* still converting Euros to Ringgit, and feeling really poor *hic* (salary not yet paid yet till end month)
* surviving on the maggi mee I brought over, and also started to buy other brands of instant noodles from the little shop in `Chinatown"
* starting to realise that my cooking skills had deteriorated tremendously, and feel that my cooking sucks..oh well, need to quickly warm up again and refind my cooking skills, else how to survive?
* started my registration at Etterbeek commune (my temp flat) as my visa is only valid for 8 days upon arrival ! need to stay legal!
* attended the Singaporean assoc's Chinese new year do, and made some new friends
* didnt attend the Malaysian assoc's Chinese new year do, as down with a bad cold

2nd Month 
* it continued to snow into whole of March (lesson: weatherman is not always right!)
* after being taken around by the relocation agent to view >20 units, finally found my home! hurray!
* started to plan for my move, and visiting Ikea, which is some distance away...
* getting more confident with my driving, but still avoiding driving if I can
* discovered that the croissants at the cafeteria is ooh so so fresh and delicious. Am having this for breakfast everyday onwards!
* started to drink more coffee - since the culture is so `hey, lets chat over coffee" ...when in Rome, need to do as the Romans do!
* starting to `couldnt care less' of how others view my dressing - which is not the trendy stylish european way. so what?
* learning that there is a `Continental' Europe..and Europe - and the people from different European countries are very different in terms of behaviour, speech and outlook
* pulling my hair out on where to find reasonably cheap curtains, and also wardrobe for my bedroom
* Ikea became my common haunt during weekends! having meatballs dinner there on Fridays, and breakfasted on scrambled eggs there on Saturday morning
* had to restart my residents registration at another commune, Woluwe Saint Lambert (where my new home is), as there had been no progress from the 1st commune
* my furniture arrives at Antwerp! hurray - now, need to clear customs before being moved to Brussels

3rd Month
* completed my move to my new home - hurray! 
* starting to see progress at work (albeit slower than anticipated), things are not so alien anymore. People are beginning to get more familiar with me, and vice versa
* realised that there are some really nice people around at work, and then again, there are also those who are not so accommodating or just plain selfish - just like any other offices
* had an impromptu `house warming' at my new place, and realised that Europeans are not used to potluck concept and everyone just brings wine and dessert, no `real' food! and drink beer like water.
* Italians are fast becoming my favourite Europeans (no offence to the others please), as I have a couple of good friends whom I can connect with, and they are Italians. Found that we share some pretty common values, e.g. tight family ties, community closeness etc. They are also the ones who understand potluck! haha.. had one friend who came and made fresh gnocchi at my home, really lovely!
* my confidence in driving in Belgium sees another achievement - I no longer feel strange driving on the right side of the road and driving is becoming natural again
* had my first 2 visitors from Malaysia - hurray! and we did a mono Belgium tour
* had the most beers of my life in 1 week, while bringing my visitors around - clearly am starting to drink beer like water too
* weather is getting lovelier by the day! spring is upon us...
* had my first bout of hayfever when spring hits..and continue to sneeze my head off..geezzz...
* starting to plan my summer holidays!

There! the key summaries of my first 3 months in Brussels...And now...I move into my 4th month!