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Monthly Archives: April 2013

This afternoon called for a well-deserved pick-me-up break.

Greek sage infusion and self-made coconut rochers. The strong and curt taste of the sage, paired with the nutty taste of coco, oh, what a bliss.

Pick me upPausing and reflecting over an aromatic cup. Pinching on moist sweets. Thinking that the person who did all those things today, must be someone else. In a dream. In fast forward.

 

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Sofiawise has been convalescing. Hence the infrequent blogging from the heart of Europe. Several days have been spent in seclusion, as energy to socialise was scarce.

Too drowsy to exert myself,  I spent quite some waking hours on the sofa watching Downtown Abbey. And I must say that, after watching two or three seasons, I got a DA overload.

What mostly ended up catching my attention were all the scrumptious soft breads, scones and pies and other delicacies prepared by  the house-cook. Such a contrast to my strictly liquid diet  based on juices, rice-milk, probiotic drinks and clear broth.

Downtown Abbey was good, but together with a longing for solid food, it left me with the impression of  “seen one, seen them all”. How much drama can fit into a single  – English – family?

Watermael

Fortunately the weather was nice so once the spirits were up, I was out walking and savouring the late spring.

Due to special circumstances, I did some domestic social tourism  as a friend  put it. Changed three places in a week. Every change brings with it different focus and perspective. New  neighbourhoods, new walking routes, new routines.

ticket to ride

I think that Brussels is worth seeing on a local transport card. Hopping on a tramway or a bus and discovering areas outside the centre. The many parcs. The picturesque residential areas and the densely populated working class neighbourhoods. The blossoming cherry trees in Schaarbeek, the undulated landscape of Uccle, the bazaar of chaussee de Gand in Molenbeek and the artistic vibes of St Gilles.

community garden

Sunshine, spring sprouts, STIB, and happy, healthy feet.  Amen.

Days have been packed. As my days in Brussels tend to be. Despite the fact that this is a low-key, easy-going European capital. I have been running errands, meeting people and looking out of rain-washed window panes.

Greyish skies, rain, a spring yet to materialise and too short intervalls of  sunshine. Same old Belgian rain that was falling on my cracked apartment window at rue de Flandre, a picturesque mini universe at the very heart of Brussels.

DSC00347Rue de Flandre,  my home for one year, at a time when one year somewhere felt like a serious commitment…

From my sofa I could see the night shop across the street with the young sihk boy  I first mistook for a girl. His Madonna – like mother, moved so slowly  as to barely produce a crease in her salwar kameez.

Just a stone’s throw away, the St Catherine church and the square full of cafes and restaurants with flocks of people sipping on white wine while eating seafood at the Nordzee.

DSC00350Because in Brussels, wherever you go, you can always enjoy a drink with a bite of food. It becomes all the merrier when the weather turns sunny and you have to fight your way to a precious spot for sun-basking.

DSC00352If you are around the city center of Brussels, have a stroll around rue de Flandre. You’ll find everything you need for a nice relaxing time,  including  window-shopping for bombastic party dresses.

Landed and settled in  the country of  endives, pralines and  linguistic debates.

Consider me your own special correspondent from the capital of the united nations of Europe.  This city which despite its relatively humble size, is a unique melting pot of  cultures, languages and intersecting life stories.

This is Brussels of Art-Nouveau, swelling terraces on  sunny afternoons,  mingling eurocrats on public squares, mussels and fries, lapses of translation.

PlatonicMy aim is to provide you with answers to  questions that you never dared ask about this friendly and understated little country squeezed in between the Netherlands and France.

Answers to tantalising questions like “what is the difference between a couque and a croissant? “what is the Caprice de Dieux”,  “where can I order some Russian milk” and “what is the secret of the Cinquantenaire parc?” will  be presented here on Sofiawise for your eyes only.

So please stop by and explore. My special assistant, Plato the cat, and I would like to wish you welcome, bienvenue and welcom.

 

I feel sad.

Sadness in the mind, sadness in the solar plexus, sadness along my spine.

Fine particles of melancholy spread out in the air. The dishwasher gurgles. The sun reveals small stains of dust on the window pane. The sky is so blue it makes my heart miss a beat.

Leaving always disturbs me. I can’t avoid it. It has always been like that and it will always be. I do not nurture any vain hopes of getting rid of my separation angst.

Maybe somewhere along the way I have come to accept the fact. This feeling has been with me since the beginning of time. Ironically enough, we are probably inseparable. It would be meaningless to fight it and not give it space to exist. Somehow, it compels me to move forward.

Today I take another temporary farewell from my kin.

My suitcase is almost packed and I am ready to go out on a long sun-washed walk and  then meet my sister for a cup of tea. I will enjoy the moment and let my sadness dissolve like tea leaves in hot water.  I will treat myself to an almondy cookie and feel how its sweetness reflects the good times we’ve had.

I will leave with the spiraling hope of good times ahead. It must be the only right way to leave.

Almost exactly one year ago I was celebrating Easter with J. in Pondicherry.

We set off for the later mass in the thick morning heat.  Summer clothes and sweat pearls. The inside of the church was illuminated and cool.

PondyeastersundayAfter mass we had brunch  on a high perched veranda, enjoying generous amounts of fresh fruit, coffee and pastry.

EasterbrunchOne year later, I have Easter lilies on my window sill and outside the ice  is melting, creating rivulets of flowing water.

eastereggFunnily enough, I am reading Life of Pi this weekend. The book that J lend me many years ago, but that I never managed to finish. The story begins in just Pondicherry, on the coast of Tamil Nadu.

The Gandhi statue, the ice-cream sellers on the sea promenade, the botanical garden, the muslim quarters, the Aurobindo ashram are not only words inked on the pages of a book – they are also images impressed in my mind.

boulevardicecream

This is another April.

sofiawise

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

The Chick on a Pea

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Buttercupgoeswest

Buttercup is a newborn and we are taking her on a 5000 KM journey from Ahmedabad to Kanyakumari

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

taking a moment, having a coffee, writing down some thoughts