October 30, 2007

Changing the topic: Travel

Another highlight of this week: I've just booked new travel tickets! Woohoo.

Am spending five days in Marrakech and a short day on the way back in Madrid in January.

Cannot. Wait.
Hugely exciting.

October 29, 2007

Less cryptic

Okay, I wasn't quite expecting that response to my previous post. Here's an attempt at explaining things more clearly.

In the back of my mind there have always been two careerpaths that I've wanted to pursue, that seemed like the best careers I could want, doing challenging, different and interesting work.

With the new job I'm now at the beginning of one of those two. Yay!

The second one of those is something I've always dreamt about but I have never seen a way of making it happen. It would demand a lot of discipline, a lot of guts, and I suppose I've been lazy or not confident enough in my capabilities - and have decided to pursue the first career actively. For the moment. With (belated) success. It's still in the back of my mind, and I have vague plans of returning to it at some point in the future when life is more settled down. The only way I would be able to start in this before is if a vacancy would come up, a position that would launch me in this career but would also give me an advantage as it would ask for some very specific skills that I definitely have. But clearly this would never happen.

THAT very job has just been advertised.

October 28, 2007


Some things you are better of not knowing. I really wish I hadn't seen a particular page in this weekend's newspaper.

What do they say? It's better to regret something you did, than something you didn't do?

Looks like we're back to writing a job application letter.... :-/

October 22, 2007


Whenever people have asked me where I would want to be in five or ten years, I would never have an answer. Or it would be some vague answer about how I'd want to be in an interesting/challenging job, have different interests outside of work, blah blah.

And even though you probably don't HAVE to have a set goal, I do think it would give you a bit more direction in whatever you're doing.

I think I finally have one. I'm quite amazed. And I think I have an idea of what I have to do to get there.

That doesn't mean that I'm throwing myself in a new thing that I HAVE to accomplish (like previously - when jobhunting turned into quite a disaster). Luckily. But I'm looking forward to all the fun stuff that is going to come along with it!


Becoming famous?

Remember my post on the internet video?

It's been in the magazine for about two weeks now and slowly people are starting to react on it.

I've had comments from co-workers, a random email from someone unknown who's in a closely-related organization, my old boss, friends, a client I have spoken to on the phone a few times, etc.

See, I'm slowly becoming famous!

Easy answers

The question I am asked most these days:

"Aren't you disappointed that you are not working on Japan in your new job instead of these other countries that you don't know much about?"

Answer: definitely not.

October 21, 2007

*bounce bounce*

Ugh, I'm starting to bore myself with the bouncey-happy feeling of the last couple of weeks. Suppose I can't complain though, wouldn't want it to be any other way!

Anyway, the weekend was fab - as always:


I've been emailing with Julia about her upcoming move to the Netherlands... it's made me realize I wouldn't have a clue how to go about something huge like that myself. I haven't even been able to help much with her questions as moving here from abroad seems to require very different information than what I know of this country... or so it seems to me.

Another friend of mine has just done the same - but then moving from Tokyo to New York. Eek again!

I know I've lived abroad a fair bit myself, but then everything was perfectly arranged - whole organisations (in the case of Australia and the first time in Japan) or an instant social network (in the case of the last time in Japan) were there for me to set me up and keep me going. I'm not sure how I would handle something different if the opportunity came up... which is not totally unlikely in the future.

October 17, 2007

In Orbit

Soyuz to ISS
Originally uploaded by macchi.

(I'm cheating, as this is not really 'our' Soyuz, but it's close enough. Can't find the proper pictures)

Friday, a year. That's how long MetOp has been in orbit, after finally finally a successful launch in October 2006. And it's being celebrated of course.

Received an invitation today for this party and I'm ridiculously excited about it and can't wait to go. Funny in a way, although I've always complained about the content of the work that I was doing there, the organisation itself was fun and very interesting. And definitely can't complain about the freedom I was given in doing whatever I wanted.

I am really looking forward to seeing my ex-colleagues again, and it is one of the few places of work that I've stayed in touch with after leaving.

Despite all that, resigning in April was the best decision I've made all year. I can't quite believe how different my life is right now - new job, new guy, great friends - I'll just keep on enjoying this for now....

October 14, 2007

Video fame

I always feel weird seeing myself back on film - the voice is odd, the person on the screen doesn't look like me [or, at least not like the 'me' I think I am] etc.

I just watched back an interview I did in May. A simulated job interview for a national career magazine - for them it's to fill up pages in their magazine, for me it was purely to get feedback on how I interview and to use that to improve my interview skills.

So weird. Although, it didn't feel as weird seeing it now as I had expected, but still... not sure what to think at all!

On the good side, this was one of the meetings in late spring that finally pushed me into trying out new things and realizing more what I needed to do. And I have the job I want now. So it definitely wasn't bad.

And now it's up on the web and in print for the whole country to see. Yikes.

October 13, 2007

A new favourite [updated]

The gig on Friday by Wir Sind Helden was great! I guess I can add a new favourite band to an evergrowing list. At the least, a new addition to my cd-collection. Perfect music for a happy mood like this afternoon.

Can't wait for the other live music things that I have planned.... Finally some drum'n'bass again in two weeks time, possibly Miss Kittin the week after, and finally the Arcade Fire in November. Yeah.


It's two weeks later, but have more to add to the above list:
Aphrodite was great (but short)
Miss Kittin is a definite by now
Seeing Flip Kowlier and Tom Pintens in Antwerp (am currently listening to Flip's music to find out what I'll be seeing)
And I should maybe also be seeing a musical or something similar in Brussels next month...

Good stuff (*^-^*)

October 08, 2007

Work evaluations

Had my first official work discussion with my boss today - what I should be aiming for in the next year, what is expected of me, that kind of stuff.

No mention so far about my performance (I suppose I should take that as a good thing) except to say that I need to be less quiet. *sigh* When will people ever stop saying that?

But, best part of the plan for the next few months: "You really should be looking at and planning of future visits to your countries." Teehee.

So, when's the best time to visit Malaysia? I think I'll hold off on South (and North?) Korea until after spring...

October 2006

I realized today that I was here (photo 2 & 3) a year ago exactly!

I've seen some cool places over the last 15 months or so, huh...

October 07, 2007

Moroccan cuisine

I currently have a big Moroccan tajine on loan from a friend who's off to Uganda for a few months to see gorilla's and more.

It's been sitting in my house for months though, without having anything to do. Saturday, though, was spent shopping for ingredients for the following dish. It turned out quite well luckily!

Now.... off to Morocco to buy one for myself?

Moroccan fish tagine with coriander couscous

1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp ground nut oil
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1 preserved lemon or normal lemon, chopped
12 green olives, stoned and roughly chopped
1 tbsp home-made harrissa (see below)
125ml/4fl oz white wine
200ml/7fl oz fish stock
1 pinch of saffron
500g/1lb 2oz mixed firm fish, such as monkfish, gurnard, mackerel
200g/7oz mussels
100g/3½oz cherry tomatoes
couscous and coriander to serve
For the home-made harrissa
3 fresh red chillies, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 lemons, juice only
4 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the ground nut oil in a tagine and gently cook the onion and garlic until soft.
2. Add the cumin, ginger, cinnamon stick, preserved lemon and green olives and cook for two minutes.
3. To make the harrissa put the chillies, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil into a food processor and blend into a rough paste.
4. Stir in the harrissa and cook for one minute.
5. Add the wine and fish stock and the saffron and bring to a gentle simmer.
6. Add the fish and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the mussels and cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook gently for 6-7 minutes.
7. Serve on a bed of steamed couscous and sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander.

(from here)

October 04, 2007

New challenges?!

How to make a smooth entrance into a new group/club? Just become friends with the president of the club. The rest will take care of itself.

Which is generally a good thing. Except for the fact that because of the above, I've now also had to tell an audience of unknown people what I would do with x-ray vision superpower (anyone, what would YOU do with it?!). This in addition to having had to discuss pregnancy yoga only a few weeks before.....