Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ixelles Cemetery

I guess it's time for another blog post!

Tomorrow, I'll be headed off to Hannover, Germany. The annual ASI convention will be held there, and Walter Veith will be the main speaker. I really look forward to it. I'm going to help with the interpretations into English, for those few attendees who don't understand German - including my friend Violeta from the Flemish part of Belgium, who will be attending together with her husband Sacha. They are actually going to give me a ride there.

My roommate Larissa is still staying with me, however her programme in Brussels is coming to an end tomorrow. Then she will be continuing in Tilburg, Netherlands, for the next part of her master's studies. It has been a real blessing having her at my place, and I hope she will be doing as well at the other places as she has been here.

On Sunday morning, we went to IKEA (I accidentally found out that they had an open Sunday), as I needed some items for the home (bedding, kitchen stuff, etc.). It was a wonderful sunny day, and in the afternoon, we took a walk to the nearby cemetery.

Well, normally it's unusual for me to visit a graveyard unless there is somebody resting there that I have known. I like to visit the local cemetery at my home town from time to time, since both my grandfather and great-grandmother are buried there. However, in this case, there is no close relative or friend of mine whose grave I was interested in visiting. In fact, I haven't even known them. It actually concerns twin girls who were born prematurely to a young lady of my church. She was only five months pregnant when there were sudden complications, and so she had to give birth. The little infants were alive, but they were not viable. Of course this brought a lot of grief into the family. Myself and some other people from church attended the funeral last April, which was very sad.

This is how the patch for the premature births looks 
like. Each child has this stone with a star on it. 

Some of the graves even bear a name

And some are even decorated with toys around

A visit to a cemetary is always interesting. For example, I saw a tomb of a woman who died a few years ago, at the age of 39. And this is what her mother wrote on that grave:

To my unique daughter
Pray for me that the Lord will help me
to overcome this grief of thirty nine years
Because by myself, I won't be able to do it
Know that the Lord will render you justice.
Your mommy who loves you so much

Well, if she meant that her daughter should pray for her, that sounds a bit weired to me. She is sleeping after all. Nevertheless, this text expresses a lot of pain and grief.

There was also a grave with a broken stone that nobody seemed to care about any longer. A man who died in 1944 was buried there - his wife followed in 1981. This made me think of my great grandmother, who was a widow even for longer than 37 years.

Of course it's always a time of grief and sadness if you loose a loved one, at whatever age. However, I think it's particularly tragic if somebody has to die who hasn't even had the chance to live! Well, the young mother of these twins will be able to raise them on the New Earth. There, she won't have any trouble disciplining them; she won't have any sleepless nights because of them - she will just be enjoying them! I think we have a great source of comfort here. I actually realized that I will have a sibling on the New Earth that I have never seen; as my mother also had a miscarriage in her life. Maybe it will be the sister that I had always wanted. This thought makes me smile indeed. What a wonderful hope we have!
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4

Saturday, October 13, 2012

This and That

It's past 11 PM and I'm sitting in my living room. I woke up relatively shortly after falling asleep. I think I was lying on my right hand or something, and then there was this pain in my hand. Strange.

Anyway, I've been on sick leave. My chiropractor urged me to slow down. He is right. It has been impossible for me to fully recover from my pain, as I always went back to full-time work too quickly. Plus they haven't exchanged my office chair yet, which is giving me this pain. The foam is too hard for me, since I have no natural padding (i. e. body fat on my buttocks).

But nothing to worry about. In fact, I really look forward to part-time work this coming week (the doctor said I should work only half days, and then slowly increase). From December on, I will have every Friday afternoon off from work. Yes, I'm going to be on a 90% regime. I think this was the best decision I could have ever taken. Of course I will earn less money, but it will be so worth it. My health is more important than money after all.

On Friday, I saw my dentist. He relieved my tooth pain (just by removing some bacteria which got "trapped"), and then I ended up having an interesting conversation with him - about health and the NEWSTART concept.

On my way to his office, I went through a park.

That's a normal picture in Brussels. Actually, at this time of the year, you see them rather lingering at the metro stations, because it's warmer there.

Only about five minutes away from that bench is the Berlaymont building, the main Commission building, were all the Commissioners and their cabinets are housed, as well as the Legal Service and the Secretariat-General. My friend Agnieszka, an Adventist from Poland, works for the latter as an administrative assistant. On Thursday, I met her and two of the other "EU/SDA workers": Jana from Slovenia, who has been here for a little over a year; and Emma von Romania, who just arrived in June. She is a legal adviser at the EEAS (European External Action Service). This is the newly founded diplomatic service of the EU, headed by Barroness Ashton from the UK. On the picture below, she is the one left to President Barroso (front middle man). The one left from her is Vice President Almunia, the one who is in charge of competition matters. I still haven't met him, but I hope to be able to meet him soon.

Then I went to the metro. There was a group of controllers on the stroll. They look really scary. They always catch a lot of people without ticket. That's interesting, because in Germany they are always in ciwies when they control the passengers. Thus, nobody can flee from the bus or tram, because they don't notice that somebody is going to control them.

Anyway, I'm still not sleepy enough to go back to bed, but I hope I will be soon!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Little Friend

I'm on sick leave these days. It feels so good not having to push you to go to work. My back problem is getting better and better, and I'm confident that I can go to the office on Sunday - at least for a few hours. I really need to catch up.

Anyway, my roommate Larissa went on excursion again today. Her class already went to Antwerpen last week and today it's Bruges. Lucky them! As I have noted before, it's probably the most beautiful place in Belgium - at least amongst the "man-made" stuff here. Of course the hills in the Ardennes are much more beautiful. But after all, they are made by somebody much smarter then any human being.

I just noticed that there is a little spider coming down from my kitchen ceiling - one of these tiny ones. In the past, I would kill them. But since they are supposed to eat insects and other "false friends", I decided to save his life. Now I have a little friend in my house!

I'm heading off to the EU quarter now. The "EU/SDA workers" have a lunch appointment today. This means the five Adventist ladies who currently work for the EU institutions in Brussels: Agniezska, Jana, Ina, Emma, and myself. I really look forward to it, especially as Emma is our "newcomer", and she doesn't know Jana and Agniezska yet. She works as a legal adviser at the "European External Action Service", the newly established EU's diplomatic service, headed by Barroness Ashton from the UK. Before, it was our Directorate-General "RELEX" (external relations), and I've always wanted to work there. After all, they may send you on Delegation to Geneva, or to Washington, or to Iraq. However, this may not really be the place where I should be, so I gave up applying there.

My friend is getting closer (I mean the spider is coming down on me). I'm not sure if I really like it! But I guess I will have to overcome my phobias...

Thank you all for your prayers my dear friends!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Can't Sleep

For several reasons.

I will probably write about them later - I just wanted to share with you the two songs that I've been really appreciating to listen to these days:

The first one is sung by the Nebblett youth: "At the Crystal Sea"

The sescond one is sung by Emily Bond and Robbie Folkenberg: "Write them on my heart"

Just click and listen when you have a few moments. I'm so thankful for these songs. Thank you Chantée, Sean, Joshua and Natasha; thank you Emily and Robbie!

"The liberal soul (the soul of blessing) shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself." ~ Proverbs 11:25 ~

Monday, October 8, 2012

Catching Up

Ok, here comes the next chunk of information about the recent happenings in my life. I'm going to start with the latest:

Yesterday, we (our task force) were invited at the house of one of our colleagues who is going to leave our unit at the end of this month. He invited us over for a brunch. I was running a bit late, as I had a one-hour phone conversation in the morning, which threw me a bit off my schedule. I had also forgotten to recharge my GPS fully before leaving the house, and so after descending from the metro station, I had absolutely no idea where to go. Unfortunately, I hadn't written down Gunnar's phone number, but thank God I had the one of my boss on my cell phone. So I called him, but he was still on the way with his bicycle (plus three-year old son). However, he was able to give me Gunnar's landline number, and so I called him. He explained everything to me, and so I was able to find the way. So finally I arrived there half an hour late - however I was still the first guest!

The next one to arrive was my boss Philippe with his cute little son Aubery. Then little by little, the others showed up. The problem was that there was the annual "Brussels Marathon" and many streets in the city were blocked, which caused a lot of traffic jams. For me, this wasn't a problem, since I had taken public transport. Antonia wanted to come by taxi, but the driver was only able to drop her off near a metro station. Unfortunately, Kai was not able to come at all because of the traffic, which was a pity. This reminded me of last year at this time, when I gave a cooking class at my home. Quite a few were not able to come either, just because of the traffic.

Anyway, we had a blast. I supplemented the food choices by some home made granola and scrambled tofu. They really liked it, and my boss (and some other colleagues) said they wanted to place orders with me for monthly supplies of my granola. It's a recipe from Walter Veith, and it's really good - only sweetened with dates and bananas. I told Philippe that I would be happy to provide him with that if his wife could give me some music lessons in return (she is a voice teacher by profession). So maybe we could then prorate the lessons with the granola - we will see! My British music teacher recently left Brussels after all, so this seems to be a medium-term solution.

All in all, it was a very pleasant day. Gunnar and his wife have a 8-month old daughter, Lea. She is the cutest. She was so happy to see everybody - very social. Little Aubery was a bit shy at first, but then he started playing with all of my female colleagues - and really enjoyed it. I think he is going to that phase every child that age goes through - that they feel drawn to the parent of the opposite gender. Thus, he is very interested in spending quality time with women in general. Well, I left before he could try it with me! I already had an encounter with him earlier this year, when we were invited at Philippe's home. Indeed, he is also very social.

I gave Gunnar the book "Education" by Ellen White - one of my favorites. I'm sure they will be blessed by it.

I will probably post some pictures of the event later - I still need to ask my colleagues for permission. Not that I necessarily have to do that, but I decided to.

The weather yesterday was fantastic - an absolute contrast to Saturday weather, where it was raining almost constantly. Really strange weather patterns in this country!