29 July 2006

An angel came out of the Brussels sky and told me all my video editing problems will be solved professionaly in the near future. In the meanwhile, we've managed to finish te film. Audio mixing and all. I thank the angel on my bare knees.
Then on to a funny story. The company where we're currently at is young, but quickly developping. So they wanted to build a new part for the factory. Digging the earth away for the foundations, they found all kunds of weird engravings in the rock and pieces of pottery. They had to be tested and proved to be 6000 years old. Ever since, a team of archeologists have been digging around and building work had to be stopped until further notice.
Hurrah for the first comment! I was already getting a bit depressed, wondering if anybody was actually reading all of this.

Some more info on Sweden for today. A lot of Swedish people have got tattoos... And if I say a lot I mean it. We're starting to wonder if this is a legacy from the Vikings or if people get free tattoos at birth. Secondly it never gets dark here... All night long there's this blueish light in the sky. It was rather hard to sleep through this the first days, but you get used to it rather quick. The sun gets up really early, too, in the morning, so we must check our alarmclock to be sure we're not getting out of bed at four in the morning.
I had packed for about tree weeks when I came here. Since we now will probably be staying here for almost tree months, I'm having some vestimenatry problems, so here are some tips for other girls packing their bags at this instant, or in the near future (only for destinations where the weather's ok!):
  1. Take two bikinis, preferably one who doesn't leave too many marks and one that is particulary good for swimming
  2. put a little handbag in your luggage, because it's not fun to always have to take your big travelbag along with you
  3. take paper handkerchiefs (I forgot this time, and itis something that always comes in handy)
  4. don't take to much stiff or dressed up clothing, you won't have so many opportunities to put them on, so one set will do
  5. accessorize: take a belt with you, some big necklace, two paires of earrings... this will get you a lot further with the comfy clothes you packed
  6. take two skirts. You might think you'd only need one, but it's hot and you can combine more with a skirt than with a dress. (I only took one and I'm running around in it half the time)
  7. take something practical to wear when you're on your own (I took a little stretchy dress - tennisstyle - and I put this on most of the time when I'm at home). This is also convenient when you're at a hotel, you can quickly throw it on and do your thing.

That's about it. If something else comes to my mind, I'll make sure to let you know... (I add this for myself too, so I can check next time what I forgot this time.)

Ik denk ni dat ik het filmke online ga zetten, aangezien het niet echt de bedoeling kan zijn dat iedereen zomaar op internet kan zien hoe je biodiesel maakt. Maar je krijgt het zeker wel s te zien hoor!

28 July 2006

computers are the fasted way to suicide

Ok, this post might be a little boring, but I have to get it off my chest to avoid insanity! Let's see it as a therapeutical session!
As I've mentioned a couple of times I am making a movie to show David's work progress. So far no harm done. I started using Movie Maker for that purpose, but this seemed an unreliable program. First of all, it crashes once you have more than two minutes of film (!!), second of all, there's no way to mix the compelentary audio. So, as I had almost finished the video, and didn't feel like starting all over again, we saved the video and wanted to put on audio using another program (for example cakewalk). Since I was unable to find a usefull version of any audio mixing program, and since actually that would be taking a step back, we started searching another program to do both at the same time (audio mixing and video!). First of all I have tried four of these programs and none of them worked or did what they had to do, or they crashed, or whatever! Then we ran in to some more problems with audio formats being incompatible to the software. So we said: let's try to put it on mac and use the general movie editing software to do this all at once.
And now you would think that we found the pathway to succes... NO! The wmv file was also incompatible with mac. Now there's four of us going at it finding a way to finally gat that wretched movie over with! And it's not like we're computer analphabetics or anything.
I think I'll have a lot to tell in this edition. First of all we found out yesterday that we'll be staying here for a great while longer than expected... Even though we could of figured that out on our own already, seen the way David's work seems to plan things. We'll probably be here until the end of september. Actually it's rather convenient, because this way, we won't have to come back from Africa for the wedding (which would otherwise cost us a great deal of money). I think we will be coming back to Belgium for a weekend, because we still have a lot to do before the wedding.

Then what I also would like to talk about is our car. I think the piece of scrap metal is older than I am! It drivers on 100% biodiesel, so we call it the biomobiel. Over the last two weeks both fornt door locks gave up, so that we can only close the door at the passenger's side. The brakes only work half the time. Sometimes when we drive electronical parts fall off... That is the result of having no technical control for cars in Sweden! It takes us wher we want to go, though, and we have good music in it, since we can connect our ipods to the cassetteplayer.

Maybe I should also explain where we're living in this post. We're currently subletting an appartment from a Dutch guy who also works at this company. There's a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, a living room and a hallway. The layout of the appartments here is quite different from the ones in Belgium. For example, all houses and appartments have a big kitchen and hallway. The living room is just another room off the hallway. Aparently, our appartment is situated in the nicer living quarter of Norrkoping (although it doesn't really seem that way, I think). It's on a small road at walking distance from the city center.

Furthermore I'm getting quite frustrated, because I've been working on the movie all morning with no result whatsoever. I've allready had to use a dozen programs (I'm currently trying to add a musicmix), but none of them seem to do exactly what I want them to do. So if somebody can give me a tip on a good program for movie editing, let me know!

Well, I think that's it for now, maybe I'll check in later if I get some more inspiration.

27 July 2006

It suddenly occured to me that i forgot to mention some things earlier on. On the backward habits of the Swedish: the trashcan also opens to the outside! So unlike in Belgium, you have to pull the metallic lid towards you, and then trow in your rubbish.
Misconceptions about Sweden: Many people think life is especially expensive here. This has proven to be incorrect. Housing prices are really cheap here, and the food is about the same price as in Belgium. Alcohol is expensive, though, because there's a big problem with people consuming too much of it. As going out is so expensive, people tend to either stay at home and drink, or get drunk before going to a pub.

Now onto another subject: I've discovered MovieMaker this week and have started on a film for my husbands company, where I explane the process of what he's doing. When he was in Indonesia, he already made a film about his work there, and he wished that I would do the same over here. It's quite fun to do, and if it wasn't such a shitty program, I'd like to make them just for fun. As MovieMaker crashes often, and I don't have a proper camera, this will be something to explore later. For now I'm sticking to fotography to entertain myself. The sky is particularly beautiful here for that purpose (yes, I admit, I've got a little obsession with that subject!). Here's an example to prove my point.

Since we didn't have a lot of spare time this weekend, David has taken it slow the past few days at work. Therefor, we have been able to go to a lake in Aby in the evening on monday. The water was surprisingly warm (but it's also been around thirty degrees the past couple of days). There's a lot of lakes around here, since we're at the heart of the lake-country. Apparently some of you had the misconception that the lakes where in the northern part of Sweden.

I haven’t mentioned this before, but there’s this wonderful thing in Sweden called: free right of passage, which means that everybody can walk about everywhere (apparently also on private property), as long as you respect the owner and don’t damage or destroy anything. You can imagine how wonderful this must be for the passionate horse- or nature lover. So it happens that almost everybody here has a horse. And who can blame them with all this space lying about!

Another misconception a lot of people have is that Swedish people are blond. There are maybe a few more blond people here than in Belgium, but it's a dark blond. What's more surprising is that almost all Swedish people we've seen up until now have vivid blue eyes.

That's it for today, I guess.

Swedish people do it the other way around...

After being here for a while, we’ve started noticing that some things are strangely opposite from what we’re used to in Belgium. For example: front doors open to the outside, which has caused a lot of frustration, when we try to get out. We’re always pulling the door, wondering if it’s still locked! Until we remember that it’s the other way around.
Another example: you have to put keys upside down in the lock, with the patterned part upward. Same with your visa or MasterCard: magnetic strip upward.

We haven’t had much time to visit anything this weekend, since David had to work most of the time. We did go to a barbecue, organised by one of the local guys of the Swedish company where David is working. People tend to drink a lot here. Disgusting things like Danish schnapps, which smells and tastes like perfume, and Swedish vodka (you could as well be drinking disinfecting alcohol). They can’t bare it though, at the end of the joyful event, they were all as drunk as a beaver, while we only had three or four shots. Some of them didn’t even manage to speak English properly anymore.

So as you can see, expatriate life hasn’t been so lonely up until now. We both have a great deal of work, and at the company where David is working, his local colleagues are very open and used to working with ‘strangers’. Next to us and Olivier, there are also two Polish guys (who, strangely enough, seem to speak English with an Italian accent).

21 July 2006

And so we discover blog...
This was advised to me as a way to keep in touch with everyone as we travel over the globe.
We are currently in Sweden, I've been here for almost a week or so. Once the crappy ryanair plane took off at Charleroi-airport (which is curiosly called Brussels south), I realised that, when I'll be coming back next time to Belgium, it would only be as a tourist. Once I took off, and now we're both in the same place, we don't really live there any more. It's a strange feeling.
So what is there about Sweden... A lot!
First of all, Swedish people have a strange way of expressing themselves: instead of saying "Hello", they say "Hey hey!" and in return "hello" means goodbye here.

We haven"t really visited a great deal, since David has to work a lot to meet his goals. But we've been to Arkosund and saw the city center of Norrköping, which isn't a big deal. It's not pretty at all. It's situated at a stream, but the buildings around it are rather smudgy. There's a shopping street and shops are open all week - even on sundays. Foodstores are open untill 9 PM, which is a welcome difference from Belgium.
Arkosund is beautiful though. It's a coastal shore with rocky beaches and a lot of boats (as you can see in the added picture).
About the weather: it's a little fresher than it was in Belgium, but the sun is shining and it hasn't rained yet.