Events, Flashbacks

Farewell 2021!

By now, everyone I know has been vaccinated. The occasional social gatherings took place. Harelbeke city festival was a success. There is a self-dug pond (with plants and fishes) in our backyard, with the surprise presence of froggy during the summer months. We also have a family of house sparrows that eat out of our never-empty bird feeders. There were overall improvements in our lives. Despite the pandemic and my postponed travels, 2021 has been a fairly good year.

Bye bye 2021. Let us make 2022 an even better year!

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Belgium, Flashbacks, Health, Numbers

In One Week

The following are what happened in the past seven days:

  • Plumber came to clean the boiler. A once every 2-year maintenance.
  • My Dolce Gusto machine broke down when I tried to make a cup of coffee for the plumber. So, I turned to the internet to troubleshoot the problem, removed faulty part, and ordered the replacement online.
  • Did my weekly bread and grocery walk.
  • Cooked up a small pot of seafood bisque, using up all the grey shrimp shells I have in the freezer.
  • Trench composting in the vegetable patch.
  • Tidied up some of the fence-side sunflowers, sprinkled the seeds on the ground. The birds went bonkers over these when I was back indoors.
  • Armistice Day, D came back from the farmer’s market with too many surprises…
  • Ate vette darmen like I am a pure-bred West Flemish dude. Damn, the smell alone can kill brain cells!
  • Made pizza.
  • The coffee machine diffuser arrived in the postbox. This went into the Dolce Gusto in a jiffy and the machine is working fine again. Yeah, I can fix things!
  • Hot dog lunch.
  • Transferred and converted MYR to USD.
  • Did more research regarding online brokers, and got a bit wiser.
  • Europe’s Covid-19 numbers are worsening. I feel sorry for the elderly and the healthcare personnel. And hope to God that this will not result in the enforcement of a lockdown.

On this drizzly Tuesday, I walked to the baker for fresh bread. Baker’s wife said that they will be closed the next two days because her grandmother had just passed away. I wish that I do not have to say innige deelneming too many times in my days here in Belgium, but I guess that is impossible and unavoidable.

After the bread, I walked to the bank and withdrew and converted some dollars to euros. I can always get larger withdrawals from this bank.

My last stop was the grocery store where I got extra points for six bottles of milk and a bag of keropok. Because of my rather heavy grocery bag, the walk back home turned into some sort of strength exercise. And it started to drizzle more along the way, but I do not mind, I am breathing…

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Events, Flashbacks, Jibber Jabber, Numbers

September Sum Up

More than three weeks ago, I stopped blogging regularly because I needed to prioritize and place my attention elsewhere. Taking a break does not mean stopping completely! So, here is my September summary:

  • 7th: Bought broodjes and cycled to the Gavers with D to have a picnic lunch while enjoying the nature. Went to container park, library, and did grocery in the afternoon. Have barbecue for dinner.
  • 8th: Finally used up the rest of the moss remover on the terrace. The rinsed out container may go into the PMD bag for recycling.
  • 9th: D’s new computer arrived!
  • 10th: Went to Colruyt to stock up the pantry.
  • 11th: Cycled to Hoeve De Kerpel to have a beer. 20km baby! Oh by the way, Bijenhof café had stopped since 30 September 2019.
  • 12th: Open Monumentendag. Met a woman at one of the monuments we visited. She told us interesting stories of her years growing up in the house. I love stories like that.
  • 13th: D’s first day of attending a one year programming course.
  • 14th: Walked to the baker for bread, and then did some promo purchases at Delhaize. The bag of grocery ended up to be rather heavy!
  • 15th: Tidying up and reorganizing the refrigerator and freezer.
  • 16th: Renewed my library membership on Malaysia Day. Because I did not show my ‘ancient’ library card, the process took longer than I expected and was a bit chaotic.
  • 17th: To the library again, this time with D, to get our Covid safe bracelets. After dinner, we used these to attend Prebraderie at the city park.
  • 18th & 19th: Stadsfeest Harelbeke. Music, people, drinking, eating, and late night cycling!
  • 20th: Finished the silicone touch ups in the living room.
  • 21th: Made grape juice.
  • 22nd: Baker and Delhaize walk. Made grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch using grated cheese for the first time.
  • 23rd: Cleaned windows. About time! 😛
  • 24th: Pay Malaysian and Belgian bills.
  • 25th & 26th: Easy going ‘no events’ weekend. I am having sneezing fits. Uh-oh, Covid?!
  • 27th: Made yet another batch of grape juice. Someone besides me needs to be drinking these…
  • 28th: To the baker and Delhaize. Bought leeks because they were on promotion. Said to a woman whom I walked pass on my way home, “Ook voor de prei?“, and dangled my grocery bag in front. 🙂
  • 29th: Sister’s birthday. Sent her a photo of my vase of wind-blown sunflowers and today’s cat trivia. Harvested a cucumber from the vegetable patch and pickled it. Repaired and spray painted a flower pot. Moved a few potted plants indoors.
  • 30th: The last day of September. Did some home projects of dusting off the shelf tops and filling up hairline cracks. Harvested two of my six pears!

Cheers to productive days, memorable events, and exciting changes.

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Flashbacks, Malaysia, Numbers

Nineteen & Thirty

I left my home town, Lahad Datu, when I was nineteen years old to pursue higher education. It was not a pleasant experience but it was necessary.

After returning from the United States and spending half a decade living and working back in Lahad Datu, I took leave again at age thirty. My second departure was less painful. And at the back of my mind, I was aware that I might never return ‘home’ to stay.

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Flashbacks, Jibber Jabber, Simplify

Adjusted Habits

Last year’s lockdowns have driven me to adjust my habits. I have significantly reduced my consumption of food and goods alike. I cannot eat much at one sitting any more. That probably explains the fact that I did not gain any corona kilos in the past year and a half.

Spending less and needing less is a sort of freedom of the mind, body and from societal pressures. I personally find it a luxury.

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Flashbacks, Travels

Flashback Journeys

Now that D and I are fully vaccinated, we may travel to all the EU countries with our EU Digital COVID Certificates. Though I am grateful for this option, I am rather wary and dare not stick my head out of the bunker too soon. It is after all the early days of recovery, and the damn Delta variant is busy making its rounds.

Since the first lockdown, I have been utilizing my memory to relive past travels in my mind. And having been alive for half a century and have lived on three different continents, I am definitely not short of the ingredients to conjure up some lovely memories of past travels. I call these flashback journeys. 😛

Nevertheless, I do want to travel like it is pre-Covid. Wishful thinking maybe, but one may always dream…

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Belgium, Flashbacks, Malaysia

Floods

The south east part of Belgium had endured some serious floods in the past days. So serious that it had cost more than 30 lives and enormous material damages.

Yesterday, it rained heavily again and parked cars were flunked around like rubber duckies in a bathtub.

Having lived in a tropical country, I am very aware of the danger and damage floods can cause. I feel sorry for these people who are at their wits’ end. Experience tells me that the floods are just the beginning of their troubles. When water roars through places that it is not suppose to be, it brings along many issues.

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Events, Flashbacks

Garage Sales

Today, our neighbourhood is having our first ever garage sales. Because D and I do not have much to sell, we have asked his mother if she is interested. Currently, our side-walk is filled with the stuff from D’s sister and her family.

My first ever garage sales experience was in 1994. How fun it was visiting neighbourhoods which were having their annual spring cleaning garage sales, going through the mountain of stuff, and chatting to people who were just as interested in us international students as we were over them. Back in those days, almost every Asian you meet in Kalamazoo have something to do with the university. 🙂

In our first outing, my cousin bought a $50 television which we could hardly fit into the car. I do think that the joy and laughter we derived from that old thing made up for the monetary cost and transportation.

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Belgium, Flashbacks, Numbers, Travels

At 31…

It was the year 2002.

The year started with my second semester in college, working towards a diploma in graphics design. I was staying with my cousin Eileen in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

My school days were spent learning new skills, making friends and exploring my creativity. Graphics design turned out to be something I was rather good at. At the college art show in November, I won several prizes including The Best of Show with one of my illustration pieces. 🙂

In the summer, I crossed the Atlantic for the first time to visit D in Belgium. My first European trip, and it was wonderful! Later, D and I travelled to San Francisco to visit my sister and get to experience the city together.

The year 2002 was filled with happy school days, new long term friends, and memorable travels.

Two days ago, a 31-year old cyclo-cross cyclist lose her fight to aggressive brain tumour. Rest in peace, Jolien.

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Belgium, Events, Flashbacks, Jibber Jabber

Burgers & Beers

D, his mother and I went to a nocturnal shopping event at a garden centre yesterday evening. The parking was packed. There was a line going in. And a line coming back out.

At the check out counter, the cashier gave us coupons for a burger and beer each. As we sat there enjoying our free burgers and beers, and listening to live accordion music, we realised that it was more than a year ago that we attended such an activity. My record shows that our last normal activity was the lunch we three had at the hospital cafeteria on the 10th of March, 2020! Talk about pre-corona era…

Nonetheless, I do believe that we have adjusted our lives effectively to the crisis all this time. Shortly after the first lockdown, D and I have enjoyed drinks, amongst other people, at the Lokaal. We have also participated in simple careful activities with the neighbours last summer. Despite the restrictions and health measures imposed upon us in the past year and a half, D and I did adapt and still get to do our usual activities in reduced mode. We carried on with grocery shopping and errand runs as normal as possible. We even enjoyed the occasional city trips and train rides. Most importantly, we have survived this without getting sick. Amen to that. 🙂

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