Wear Sunscreen

An historian's view on life, love and leisure

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Hallelujah and Armistice Day

For the past two days, everything people are talking about, all over the world, is the election of Donald Trump as the new president of the USA.

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How to achieve total #freedom in 5 easy steps

Russia

Disconnect

Step one: switch off your phone, your tablet, your pc, your laptop, your TV and every other machine that seems to be controlling your life. Instant freedom.

Have you ever travelled to a place without Wi Fi or an internet connection? With no newspapers and no network coverage whatsoever?

After experiencing some minor withdrawal symptoms and panic attacks (the dreaded FOMO), you will quickly realize nobody really misses you, your friends can eat pizza without you, the 3.685 newsletters you receive each day will still be there to be deleted without a second glance when you get back, your colleagues were glad to be left alone for a change, and your cat did not die.

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5 images, 5 things I’ve done in the past few weeks

 

we've moved!

I hate moving, I really, really, really hate moving. This was actually my 5th or 6th move, so by now I can probably write a book about what to do – and especially about what not to do – when you prepare to move. Anyway, we survived. Barely, but we did. Our new house has a bigger office space and it’s closer to the offpring’s school. Everybody happy. More or less.

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The day after: 9 things to do in November

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Forest of Averbode (Belgium)

Forest of Averbode (Belgium). This photograph was actually taken in July, although with pine trees that doesn’t matter does it…

Halloween and All Saints Day are over, and as I sit here eating the offspring’s Halloween candy (note to self: stop bying candy as if you have 10 children), I can’t fail to notice what an incredibly dull and generally gloomy month November is. Though I shouldn’t complain, considering it’s about 15° C warmer than it usually is. We even went out for ice cream at the abbey of Averbode yesterday. Not really something you would consider doing when winter is nearing. Averbode is our ‘go to place’ when we have friends over and we’re looking for a relaxing way to entertain them. We took the kids out for a walk in the forest and a delicious ice cream, everybody happy. Although we did get some strange looks. All Saints Day is a serious thing in Belgium, and the fact that my daughter was dressed as a ‘devil princess’ (for want of a better description) for a small Halloween party we had yesterday was clearly not to everybody’s liking… Continue reading

Expats and Belgians: living happily ever after?

The ancient palace of the dukes of Burgundy in Brussels

17th century view on the ancient palace of the dukes of Burgundy in Brussels by Jan van der Heyden and Adriaen van de Velde. The palace on the Coudenberg was the quintessential meeting place for European diplomats and a true expat heaven for centuries before it was completely destroyed by fire in 1731. Its foundations can still be visited today in the Museum on the Coudenberg.

When The Bulletin (for those who don’t know The Bulletin, it’s the first, best known and largest of the media targeting the Belgian expat community) featured the results of the Expat Explorer Survey undertaken by HSBC, the reactions on social media were far more interesting than the results of the survey itself. Many of the issues discussed on social media weren’t even part of the survey and had nothing whatsoever to do with the article featured in The Bulletin. As the comments on social media demonstrated, people are often bewildered by the culture that surrounds them, even if that culture is not so very different than the one they left behind.

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