Life in Tokyo and Brussels

Life in Tokyo and Brussels

Week 451 - March 28, 2016

LifePosted by michael Wed, March 30, 2016 05:05:46
Tuesday was a black day in Belgian history. At around 8am a double suicide bombing struck in the departure hall of the Brussels airport. One hour later another bomb exploded in a fully packed subway train in the Maalbeek station. Both these attacks killed 35 people and made more than 300 injured (of which 100 are still in hospital a week later and half of these still in intensive care).

The attacks follow the attacks that took place in Paris in November and have also been claimed by the terrorists of the Islamic State. Even though the situation has calmed down in the meantime there still is some fear that more is to follow. It seems that this fear and new reality is something we will need to learn to live with.

Luckily these events passed by without Matías noticing and realising. Alex however is aware of what happened. We explained him (in terms he can understand) what happened and also at his school the teachers have done a great job in explaining what happened and in helping the kids understand and deal with the uncertainties and fear that comes with it.

Right after the attacks people started gathering at the Beurs Square in downtown Brussels to pay their tribute by leaving flowers, burning candles and writing some messages in chalk on the pavement. On Friday i had a day off and decided to head downtown as well. When I arrived there I was surprised (shocked even) by the amount of camera crews, reporters and news gathering vans (with satellite dishes on the roof) that were standing all around the square.


While looking inside the vans I was happy to see that many of them contained devices that are built by the company I am working for. And so it is the work from my engineering team that ends up in those vans...

Since I had the day off I also went to pick up the kids from school at 3h15pm. On the way home Alex and Matías suddenly noticed a couple of toads that were crossing the street at a pedestrian crossing. So we stopped the cars and helped the toads cross. In fact one toad was carrying the other, something I had never seen in real life yet. The kids too were impressed and impatient to tell marina at night when she got home.


The weather forecast for this long Easter weekend was not good, but in the end the weather was still relatively OK.

So while Alex enjoyed goingto the movies with Hadrien and some other friends for Hadrien's birthday, and while marina went shopping in the (not very inspiring) center of Waterloo, I took Matías to visit the famous Lion of Waterloo. The Lion stands on a huge hill that was built specifically to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. The huge lion is forged from the iron from the canons used in the battles. The Waterloo site has a new visitor center and a very nice interactive museum. At least that is what people say. Since Matías is still a bit young I did not visit the mueum with him but stayed outside. While walking around the site a group of 7 soldiers dressed in military costumes from the 19th century arrived on horseback and we spent most of the time just looking at them.


On Sunday we then went to the market for our weekly chicken roast but also bought some plants. Spring started last week so this is a good time to start cleaning up the garden and make it ready for the summer months. So all of us worked a bit in the garden. Some of the trees already have flowers, clearly showing that spring arrived indeed.


After working in the garden I went for a run and Alex joined me on his bike. This time he took a backpack with him in which he carried his rollerblades. in the Ter Kameren park we then put on his roller blades and went for a 25min tour. I was pleasantly surprised by how well he manages already. So if all goes well i hope to be able to take him with me on one of the Friday evening rollerblading events in Brussels in Summer.


Today we then had my parents over for an Eastern lunch. Bram was invited as well, but since he is in the middle of some renovations in his apartment he could not make it.

After lunch we went for a nice long walk in the forest. We spent 2,5h walking and we were happy to see that both Alex and Matías walked the whole time without complaining. Only the last 10 minutes of the walk I heard some complaining, and not only from the kids, because it suddenly started raining pretty heavily...

Tonight my parents took the kids with them since as off tomorrow they will all go for a midweek holiday in a holiday resort with cottages and swimming pools.

Marina and I will use the time to go out a couple of times, but more about that next week.

In between all the outdoor activities Alex also helped me to bake a bread. We used the flour that Alex received when we visited the water mill a couple of weeks ago. And the resulting bread was really very nice.


The pictures of this week are here.




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