Sunday, April 20, 2008

Antwerp, Antwerpen

Tens of frying pans when all you need is just a good wok - one week into european life I found myself in the exact moment - 'the moment' that I've experienced it for many times in my mind - but going through it out here is a different story altogether.

I keep stirring it keeps spilled all over but hell, I still have my fried rice in the end. Rice, cooking oil, garlic, ketchup, salt, white pepper, eggs, porks - all comes gradually, so does the taste of my dish.

Forgive me but as much as I enjoyed it, I had too much bread-butter-jam-cheese-ham-tuna kinda combination. Not for all the meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - anyway. So until I get my hands on some really nice home-cooked Belgian cuisine, I will continue to stumbles in the kitchen.

Regardless, beautiful Antwerp city has been treating me well so far, even so from my wonderful colleagues at SCI International Secretariat.

Here, at least for me, the often regards as over-used term within the movement would falls back into line: Decision making policy, coordination structures, volunteer drains, unrealistic plans, consistency, over-dependency, euro-centered...and a long list of practical procedures.

However, as one could have figured out, it is the yard stick of transperency, democracy, accountability and liberty as defined by different individuals, the most difficult to manage. Sometime it gets them some-where but everybody, no-where.

Cultural difference? Over-rated!

But alas, this is by nature, human. Suprisingly I enjoyed it - big part of it is because I am not working alone here, that getting a bigger picture of things free your minds.

The office St Jacobsmarkt 82 is within 10 minutes walk from central station, a chinese grocery shop, cinema, Mier pedestrianised shopping street and if you can keep up with the pace of ever changing Antwerp weather - a basket ball court.

Halfway to the station - Katten straat P7 where I stay now, post office, key-maker, kebab + fritters aka junk food. Now that I have my bicycle, that 5 - 10 minutes can mean something really, really different. Next week, though, I should really get you guys the picture of spiderman crawling on the wall opposite of our office.

For now, you can see me working under a huge attic windows - this made me stop complaining about climbing up the stairs.

Volunteers maybe but a job is still a job - a day would start and 8 hours here seems shorter than those in Malaysia. Probably because of the cold weather - but it's spring!

That means even at 8pm, the sun would cast a long shadow over my body at the basketball court - so long it almost reach the Antwerp Cathedral of Our Lady, a stone throw away.

So, I am still tasting Antwerp and probably Europe at large - no promise but at least, what I see is what you get as long as I have time to write :)

Warmest regards to my blogging you-know-who buddies!

One week later...

As promised...

Of course Spidy is always there, one week or one year, be it rainy or sunny saturday like today. Now I think no one will ever miss the entrance door to our office...

Have a nice weekend everyone!!!


At 9:32 PM, Blogger Micha said...

Hey Low!

I just wanted to say WELCOME to Europe and let you know that I am still reading what you're writing. And I am looking forward to see how you will develop during the time you're in Antwerp! :)

I cross my fingers and wish you the greatest of fun!

At 12:00 PM, Blogger PinkPanther said...

很羨慕你常常有机会往外地工作, 见识異地风光. 

At 5:39 PM, Blogger @ロウ 。LOW@ said...

Hey!!! Apa khabar???

It's been a while my friend, great to know that you are still enjoying the life...Michakatha-style ;p

Yeah, I am looking forward about it far so good :)See you around, maybe, nearer to you, nearer to your home :)

Dear C...
Hmm I may be able to read chinese character here but am still trying to do something so that I could write in Chinese too!!!

Yeah you are right - simple things like rice make all the difference. Of course I am still going all out to experience and learn new stuff here...

Well just get on some plans and you are most welcome to surf my room ;p

At 10:41 PM, Blogger The Moody Minstrel said...

Now that's an office I could enjoy! But I guess you're enjoying it for me, and that's fine.

You're really soaking up that European culture...and letting it dribble back out by choice...aren't you? ;-)

I know the feeling; much as I love Japanese food, I still need my cheese and Cheerios once in a while.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger @ロウ 。LOW@ said...

Dear Moody...
I'm just getting 'wet', really...but yes, I let it dribble freely...try not to think too much at the moment :)

Japanese food can almost substitute my appetite for chinese food, except that 'nato' thingy ;p

And you are enjoying Japanese food for me - interestingly one of my French colleague lived in Japan for couple of we talked about things Japan, we certainly missed it too :)

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Happysurfer said...

Nice office - love the light coming thru from the windows above and the neat files on the shelves.

What's with Spidey btw?

Enjoy your stay, Low.

At 6:33 PM, Blogger @ロウ 。LOW@ said...

Hey Happy!

In fact I have not touch on of those files yet, haha! But need much contact with the sun - it's cold, still.

The Spidey? Nothing much - just add a bit of spices to Antwerp street/shops, that's all :)

Have fun too okay!


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