Sunday, December 22, 2013

This year...

was amazing and tough at the same time. It toughed me that the best thing to do when you feel you're loosing control is to let go. It hurts less than trying to stay in control.

2013 was also insightful. I learned that home is truly where your heart is and that sometimes embracing circumstances benefits you more than trying to fight them.

It was my year of closures, personal and professional. Having more time to do what you love and be with who you love matters. It means cutting time when you're doing stuff that isn't so important and letting go of relationships that don't share deeper connection, letting go of people  that only see you as a resource. So this year I closed some big chapters to make space for the new. And the new came in many different and wonderful forms.

So overall 2013 was a great year but I won't hang on to it. For it is only a pebble in the way I choose to take.

As it is for new year's resolutions, I stopped making them some time ago. For what really matters is not the decisions will take but those I already took.

Happy 2014!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Buying new pants or: What's wrong with the world today?

This is a confession, OK? If there's something I hate is buying new pants. On my list of things it's somewhere between getting vegetarian dish with chicken and sticking a fork into your eye. It's hard to say what is so strenuous and awful about going shopping for new pair of pants, but the more I think about it, the more I think absolutely everything. Actually, even just thinking about it makes me nervous.

The thing is, I know now for a while that this day way coming. And I was prepared too. I decided to solve the problem once and for all (or at least for another 5 years or so) and buy 2 or 3 pairs of Lewis jeans, the ones that were proven to fit well and last long. After all, I don't want another Jack & Jones experience.

I even waited for the new Lewis store to open, picked a nice day and walked in the store confidently. Sure, I forgot the model and the size I used to wear, but surely that nice young lady there is going to hell me, right? Well, at least that last part turned out to be right.

When I tried to navigate through different models and asked for the "old ones" the nice lady kindly explained they don't make those anymore. To my surprise they also don't make any jeans that isn't elastic. And all models are "slim"now. Tighten up and expose your kidneys.

I couldn't hide my disappointment and she was probably wondering why I act like I'm 90. As my last hope to buy normal pair of trousers went down the drain and I quietly accepted my defeat, looked away and bought a pair of semi-elastic jeans, I remembered what Douglas Adams said about technology.
“1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. 2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. 3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”
It's true for clothes too.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Brussels, the terrible child of Europe

Brussels is a complex city. It's too easy to see only the bad sides. Unlike other cities I've lived in, Brussels isn't kind. It's brutally honest. It doesn't take you by the hand to show you the brightest jewels. It rather throws you deep into the water without as much as asking if you know how to swim. You're on your own, you have to find your way. It's dark and cold and distant.

"Decipher me or I will devour you" is how Brussels spoke to Brazilian photographer Vincente de Mello and how it speaks to many others. It leaves you alone and confused but with a choice. Are you going to dive in and discover or merely try to swim your way out?

It's been two years since I moved to Brussels and after being lost in deep waters for a while, I've come to realize it got under my skin. I love this city. It's loud, chaotic, sometimes dirty but so alive and colorful. And always full of surprises.

It's easy to stumble upon a concert or exhibition in a park, enjoy all those cute hidden pubs that serve really great non-industrial beer and amazing cheese. I love walking through metro stations that smell like fresh waffles and observe all the bureaucratic chaos. And then there's free jazz festivals, old cinemas that play silent films and oh my Marx, there is food. Honestly, I've never eaten so well in my whole life.

I took my time to get to know Brussels and we share our secret moments, whether enjoying the magnificent view of the city from Kunstberg and Justitiepaleiswhere you can breathe in the city and feel its' pulse, or trying to understand how the public transport works. The city has so much to offer and give and it won't disappoint those, who are wiling to engage with it and give it a fair chance. And you know what? It deserves it.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

About vegans...

I have a problem with some of them. I truly do. Not because of their philosophy but because of their attitude. Being vegetarian myself for 18 years and pesceterian for the last few I know it alignes you with a certain stereotype, even if I don't eat meat simply because I don't like it. During this years I've gotten a lot of sh*t, mostly from meat eaters, trying to question my lifestyle even if my lifestyle is simple: eat what you like. I don't think my lifestyle is the best one and I don't try to promote it by convincing others to follow it.

Lemon Herb Tofu, Sesame Tofu Sticks, Emerald K...
Lemon Herb Tofu, Sesame Tofu Sticks, Emerald Kale, Gardein Chicken Salad, Gardein Curry Chicken Salad, Gardein Sonoma Chicken Salad, Golden Sesame Tofu, Grilled Sweet Chili Tofu, and Pumpkin Wheatberry Pilaf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It became even worse when I was eating fish, because then also some vegetarians joined the grilling. I understand, it's not just a choice, it's an identity and it needs to be protected. But does it have to be imposed? After all, it's not a sect. I think everyone knows best what's good for them. Sure, some people don't live very healthy but in this day and age of information, one cannot assume this is so due to lack of information. I'd guess it's mostly because of insufficient financial conditions but can be also many other reasons. The bottom line is, there's a big difference between sharing information about health/food and stuffing that information down someone's throat.

Now to be fair, I have met vegans that are happy with their lifestyle and aren't trying to "educate" you or show you the right way.  But most of others has tred to teach everyone else by using rather agressive means of persuasion and almost implying every not-vegan person is nothing but a plain animal killer/hater or at least someone that doesn't care about their health. It's either by making 'casual' half-accusing righteous comments when non-vegan things are mentioned or engaging in a ferocious discussion about veganism, onine and offline, with friends and strangers. And I don't mean argument based dialogue, but rather angry convincing escapade, disguised in education. It's all about taking responsibility and saving animals.

I understand all the problems with mass production of meat, how it effects environment and people's health. But there are many ways on how to tackle with this and veganism is only one of them and in my opinion also not the best one. To be fair- veganism is middle class/bourgeois life style because it's expensive. Working class and poor people can't afford to buy expensive supplements, they can mostly afford industrial meat and occasionally meat from organic farms. Some people, who can afford to take a stand on this, choose to eat only meat from small farmers and food is bio, eco, organic etc. But not everyone can afford this. Hoewever everyone should be able to decide for themselves what is the best way for him/her.

Besides this there are also consequences of increasing popularity of veganism: prices of basic foods, rich in protein (e.g- quinoa) are rising in their countries of origin (e.g.Bolivia), causing the poor people like farmers (who lived on it for centuries) to starve, because they can't afford it anymore. So basically the healthy lifestyle of the West has consequences for poorest people in developing countries. But Veganism isn't primarily concerned with people, it's concerned with animals.

Now I have vegan friends of both types (maybe after they read this I will have to use past tense). Some are really sweet and don't bring veganism up every time you eat or mention food but some are just as eager about educating me as they are about veganism. And unfortunately the stupid veganism is affecting our friendship. Of course I'm not against veganism, I like some of vegan food, just not enough to live on it. I choose not to be vegan and want others to respect that choice and give me enough credit to be able make it. After all, I will be the one responsible for its consequences and if I can live with it, the others will have to too.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cat football

It's been a while, I know and many things have happened on many levels. But I won't bother you with the details for only one among them is really shocking. And that's the discovery that I play football. More precisely cat football.

Now before you go jumping to any conclusions, let me explain how it works: unlike with classic football, there is no ball but a toy mouse, preferably one filled with catnip. As you've probably guessed you will need one cat to play with and to set the rule of the game. Most of the time she'd play the role of a goal keeper (the position of goal of course changes according to her preferences) unless she assumes roles from other ball related sports such as tennis, baseball, volleyball etc.

While the cat is chasing the mouse around the flat, you role is mainly to find a terrain interesting enough (e.g. stairs) for her majesty to chase after the mouse and bring it back to you. Don't be fooled, it is a sport and you will sweat and she will win. Cats always do.

The reason why I was so shocked to discover I'm playing cat football is because I really don't like football (or any ball/group sport for that matter). I find it dull and completely uninteresting. And yes there have been many people who tried to enlighten me with their wisdom, convinced it's just a matter of explaining. Well, it's not. I tried to watch it many times with different people (playing was never really an option) and I'm not convinced. Accepting I don't like it was more difficult for other than me (no more explanations, please!).

But cat football, well, that's something completely else. Come to think of it, I think her majesty the cat is ready for another game.