Monthly Archives: October 2015

“Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”

Read in Jane Eyre, Chapter 12.

Written by Charlotte Brontë, published 1847


Short trips are sometimes juicier than longer stays. One and a half days in my old hoods were enough to run administrative errands and see some friendly faces.secondhandstorepostersolitary_coffeechausseedecharleroibioshopden_teepotFgtb, ONEM, Stib, ING, Min-Fin. Belgium may be a typical bureaucracy, but services kind of work. I was well treated and got things done.

The big cherry on the pie were of course the few, but dear friends I managed to catch up with on this comet visit.

And what did I get as a souvenir? Well, some documents with official stamps and a bag of whole oat groats from the good old favourite “Den teepot“.

Suddenly the streets, roads and paths are all covered in autumn leaves – yellow, rusty brown and flaming red…treetopslittleredridinghoodThe early morning temperatures fall under 0 degrees. Frost and blue skies. I think this is the prelude of a cold winter…bondenaradig
ovenbakedfruitteawaterI am definitively not in a hurry…

I love literature; life without storytelling would be very dull.

After some months of bookish disappointment during which my intuition has failed me on several occasions, I am finally back on track with some hundreds of pages of great fiction behind me.

I have been following a thread, starting with “The Help” telling the story of African American maids in the US south during the civil rights movement of the sixties (Kathryn Stockett). Then I went on with Mississipi, another sad story of segregation and racial discrimination taking place just after WWII (Hilary Jordan). In parallel I was reading the autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder (the author of the little house on the prairy) which tells the story of pioneers in the American north west in the last decades of the 1800.

Before that I had read a Swedish classic, W. Moberg’s tale of a family of imigrants from the county of Småland that finally settle in Minessota in 1851, after months of traveling, with the hope of starting a new life, away from poverty, famine and oppression.


Laura IngallsThen I deviated from the theme a bit, although I did stay in the Americas. Following a friend’s suggestion I read the “Discrete hero” by Mario Vargas Llosa and loved it. From Peru to Cebu and I have now shifted continent, reading Haruki Murakami’s “Sputnik darling”, but soon I will be leaving for Africa on a “Long walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela.

Reading is such a good and enjoyable way of understanding and learning about the world, working on your language skills, getting perspective and developing feelings of empathy; I really believe it should be an intrinsic part of school curricula.

The potential contribution of librarians and scholars of comparative literature to education is really undervalued, which is a true pity. Time to change that. I am also convinced that soap-operas are serious learning material, but that’s another story….


Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

The Chick on a Pea

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

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