Saturday, October 1, 2011

Brussels Everyday Scences - part II

We are finally having an Indian summer, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it! It makes such a difference when the sun is shining. This past week was quite strenuous, yet very blessed. Friday morning, I attended a very interesting meeting of the "AST network" of the EU Commission. The AST's are the assistants working in our offices, i. e. everybody who is not an Administrator. I'm part of the network of our Directorate-General, but this was an event of the Commission-wide network. I was able to share about health. What a blessing. Again, I have the feeling that I'm pushing at an open door. Will share more about it later.

The other day at lunchtime, I went for a walk in the park nearby my office.

I think these are Turkish men. They gather there every day to play cards
Interesting view. I had never consciously looked at this statue from this perspective.
The impressive building in the back is one of our services: It's called "OLAF",
the European Anti-Fraud Office

I also saw a muslim couple in the park. Apparently, they were on a date. He was dressed all in white, and she was dressed in dark blue, wearing black gloves (in spite of the warm weather). They were talking and holding hands. I found this really interesting to look at, so I took a picture hoping they wouldn't notice. However, the man then approached me and asked me politely to delete the picture. He watched me deleting it and asked me if I was sure that it was deleted, which I confirmed. I was impressed with his politeness: he was neither angry nor impatient with me. I wish all Christian men would be like this. Afterwards, it dawned on me that this couple was probably not married. Why would they meet in the park after all? Therefore, I guess they didn't want me to blow them off!

Yesterday, there was also my colleague Giovanna's "farwell breakfast". Giovanna joined our secretariat in August of 2009. She actually has a legal background, but she was interested in working for the European Commission, and so she accepted a three-years contract to work in the secretariat of our unit.

Anyway, she decided to end her contract earlier than originally foreseen. Her boyfriend has two children, and she has taken over responsibility for the kids. So for now she would like to spend more time with the family. I always appreciated her humble spirit. After all, she didn't get to do much work which would have been interesting for her according to her background, yet she never complained. In two weeks time, Cristina, the most senior colleague in the secretariat, will leave us. I'm a bit apprehensive of the weeks after that, as we are not going to have a replacement for her right away. And even when somebody comes, this person still needs to be trained. I hope it won't become too stressful.

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