Life in Tokyo and Brussels

Life in Tokyo and Brussels

Week 339 - January 3, 2016

LifePosted by michael Thu, January 07, 2016 04:36:25

Happy New Year!!!

Let me start with a little (mathematical) riddle that will keep you busy for some time.

How can you make 2016 with using the following numbers only once (using them all): 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

You can use as many +, -, /, *,( and ) as you like. I'll spend some time the coming days to try and find a solution myself.

2016 has now started and as I do every year, this is the time to review the good resolutions of last year and make plans for 2016 as well.

In 2015 I completed all of my running related objectives:

- I improved my time on the 10 miles to 1h08'36 (90s faster)

- I improved my time on the marathon (in Berlin) to 3h19'31" (10 min faster)

- I completed the run of the entire Belgian coast together with Peter (with a total of 60,6km)

- I went running more regularly at lunch-time at work

I also managed to eat better at work (eating actual meals and not vending machine calorie bombs) and went to see a dietitian to get some healthy eating tips and am following these more or less correctly.

The weekly blogs are also still part of my weekly routine and I have managed to read many good books this year again. And even though we still watch some TV at night (with some trash-TV from time to time I must admit), the amount of hours spent in front of the TV is rather limited.

Over the whole year, the work-life balance has been OK I would say in 2015. Only at the end of 2015 did the stress-levels increase a bit too much. But with the quiet XMAS period I hope 2016 will be better...

The one resolution that I did not make any progress on is the one related to buying a new apartment. Even though I managed to organise my financial investments a bit better this year, and even though I am still reviewing the investments at least once per month, I did not make move forward on the apartment.

I will thus keep that last resolution as one for 2016 as well and next to this I:

- want to keep on running regularly but also work on my general condition, core strength and flexibility

- am not setting any concrete time improvement targets (but improving the 10miles, 20km and marathons times would still be nice); what I do want to do is run a nice nature trail of over 30km in the mountains (real mountains, not the hills in Belgium). The Sierre-Zinal run in Switzerland is a likely candidate.

- keep up the good eating habits and work-life balance

- buy that apartment

- would like to learn something new this year (I have not made up my mind yet but i would like to be able to do something at the end of the year I can not today. This should not be work related but something like playing a new instrument, be able to draw, acquire a new skill, .... More on this later once I decided what it will be)

This week I enjoyed some further holidays with the kids. Unfortunately, Marina has to work on until Thursday afternoon. I went a couple of times to the pool with the kids (Matías is really not afraid of the water and is starting to be able to swim independently under water; I obviously stay close to allow him to hold on to me as soon as he needs to breath; but he loves to throw himself into the deep water and "swim" to me). We also went for a couple of walks, played games at home and enjoyed the time together. It was a very relaxing holiday for me without any real interruptions from work.

One of the pools we went to is the pool of Overijse. Overijse is one of the cities south of Brussels that officially is part of Flanders but since it is south of Brussels and thus geographically closer to Wallonia than Flanders, many people living there are French speaking. And thus the Flemish government makes sure to make it clear that it is part of Flanders. They do this by displaying a lot of Flemish flags (yellow with the black lion), have all information in the city only available in Flemish and by stating at all the access routes to the city that Overijse is "Vlaams - Groen - Gastvrij" (Flemish, Green and Hospitable). To be honest i find it all a bit aggressive; but that is Belgian politics in action.

In the pool most of the people we heard were speaking anything but Flemish. We heard English, German, Spanish, French and from time to time some Flemish. The pool however is a nice one with a nice glass dome and a big rapid that Alex has spent most of the time in.

On Thursday we then celebrated New Year. We did it at home and rather quietly. Natalia, who is the godmother of Matías, joined us and brought some very nice things for all of us: an Indian feather head-dress for Alex; a knight armor for Matías, and nice champagne, snails, bulots and octopus for us.

The Indian feathers inspired us for a little YMCA dance in the living room using YouTube as our guide...

The kids stayed awake until after midnight and could enjoy some of the fireworks that took place in the street. Compared to Buenos Aires the amount of fireworks was very limited. The official Brussels City firework was cancelled because of the terror level that still is not fully back to normal; and the government did not want to take any chances. In Antwerp however the firework did take place and (of course) went fine. We watched part of it on TV. By 1am we were all sleeping.

On Saturday we then celebrated a bit more for my mother's 67th birthday.

With the new year starting and Marina and I both having some exercising related resolutions we started a 30 day Yoga training via YouTube on Jan 1st. We have now successfully completed the first 3. I hope we will keep up the good habit, because last year we started a 30 day challenge as well but stopped after a week or so. There thus is some ample room for improvement...

Pictures of this week are here.