It’s been a rough year.
After nearly ten years of procrastination, I made it to Belgium. I owe massive thanks to Herman, Oma, Nicole, Sam, Inne, Rudi and everyone else who put me up and put up with me.
But in other fields life has felt like treading water. And it’s so damn tiring!
Onto a new year.
“Baudouin = Walloon, long live the republic!”
“Baudouin (previous King) is a walloon, long live the republic”… Old Flemish nationalist graffiti spied in Leuven the other day.
The city of Leuven is still littered with the remains of antifa stickers and graffiti after a confrontation between far right vlaams nationalists and antifa a couple of months ago.
It’s an odd thing nationalism, I would have thought that a country as small as this would be too small for such nonsense, everyone living cheek by jowl, but no.
Here as much as anywhere, raise the black flag, fuck borders, fuck bosses and fuck racist tossers!
Next week I want to find these guys.
After a few pinke…
What a word is astublieft
ME: twee pinke* astublieft!
BARTENDER: astublieft (hands beer)
BARTENDER: vier euro, astublieft
ME: astublieft (hand veef euro note)
BARTENDER: astublieft (hands ein euro change)
I have observed this single word used for “please”, “here you go” and “next please” in a single interaction at a shop. Oh what a word is astublieft!
*I don’t even pretend to know how to spell in vlaams.
Goedendag (dutch. good day), a composite spear/club used by Flemish militia in the 13th century.
Good day from Aarschot!
The name “goedendag” derives from Dutch, usually taken in English sources to have meant “good day”, with reference to the revolt of Bruges in 1302, at which the guildsmen of Bruges purportedly took over the city by greeting people in the streets, and murdering anyone who answered with a French accent. -wikipedia
Everyday is a good day not to be French!
I’m safely in Belgium and recovering from jet lag. Already we’ve had bier en friet(beer and chips) a plenty, met mayonaise of course.
My vlaams (flemish) is a thousand times better than it was yesterday, now I can say goegen morgen (good morning) as well as goedendag! Already I think language will be the most intellectually interesting part of this trip. Aside from the multiple formal languages, there are multiple dialects with distinct difference not just by region but also by generation.
I’ve decided to focus on the local dialect in preference to formal dutch, largely in order to have a bit of fun exploring these language variations. So it will be nier instead of neen, friet instead of frietjes, and so on.
I’ve also decided not to make any attempt on the written language. There is only so much my poor brain can handle, especially with all this bier around!
Tot morgen everyone!
Language lessons on a bus, a trek about the city. A few beers, a meeting, dinner with friends.
Tomorrow we fly.
Snail mail is practically retro! Anyone who wants a post card or two whilst I am away should email me their address, or fill in the form over the fold.
I’ll be visiting family in Aarschot, Belgium, for the next couple of months.
Whilst I am abroad I will be posting short updates and the occasional photo, largely the benefit of friends and family.
If you’d prefer my intermittent political writing, check out Kieran’s Review.