Friday, November 02, 2007

For me, the grief is still too close!

September 15th 2003, The day I first landed in Belgium; Four years, one month and two weeks it’s been since! Nobody tells you that, after living in a place for four years, you get so attached to it!! Well, I guess that’s because it’s common sense, right? But that’s just the problem! The heart doesn’t have any! It is moved by emotion (and of course ventricle valves)! I had known for a while that I was leaving Belgium and had even run the entire scenario through my mind: “Raymond, you are going home, to marry a girl with huge bum! And hopefully hair that doesn’t reek of brimstone!” and it all made sense! Then came last Thursday evening, when I had to start saying goodbye to my friends, I then realised, that the heart isn’t moved much by huge bum consolation! Besides, in the past, I’ve actually seen my very own sisters use hair products that were clearly labelled “SULPHUR”!

I got to Julian’s apartment at about 7:30pm, he was preparing some salmon sandwiches. He told me how sad he was that I didn’t get the job at Electrabel after passing five interviews (I won’t even get into that!)! He told me that he was travelling to England and Morocco with his mother for the fall break the very next day, so I knew that this would probably be the last time I saw him.

He wore a white t-shirt with the Greek flag and the words “Greece”, his jeans had a “1969” label etched into the leather patch above the back pockets, I tired to remember as much about the moment as I could while he spoke: The way he signals with his hands to pass him something, the way he’d hold his forehead with the tips of his fingers as though pushing them into his scalp as he’d say, “Man you can’t imagine…”

I kept remembering all the great times we had together: going out for drinks, movies Hectors chicken, Zizi! Swimming at ULB! Shopping together at Colruyt for groceries in bulk just short of dislocating our shoulders as we carried the bags back to the apartment! Watching Top Gear together and laughing like nuts! The Lord of the Rings Trilogy marathons! Him bashing Uganda while I had to google Costa Rica just to find out some dirt to hurl back in vengeance! Julian hated and was irritated by the very same things that I was! The true test of friendship! I tried to fight back the thoughts because I could feel my emotions beginning to override basic visual system functions!

We went down to my old apartment where Coucou and Germans now live and had dinner, Titta joined later, it was a good laugh. When dinner was done, I took the elevator with Julian to his apartment and after he’d shut the door and we were standing in the centre of the room; I said,
“ Man, you have…” and I just broke out sobbing! I couldn’t finish the sentence, tears were way past my shoelaces now and forming a little puddle, but I was wearing timberlands!
HAHAHA, that’s just reminded me of the time we were in a shoe shop together and after I’d shown him a pair of Timberland boots that I absolutely loved he said, “ Man, you can’t be serious!! Really?! Those are carpenters shoes!! That’s what carpenters wear!” I saw the light that day! Debonair marketing had been selling me carpenter shoes all these many years!! I never bought another pair since!

“…been one of my best friends I have had here and I just wanted you to know I appreciate you and I am going to really miss you!” Gave him a last hug, he had started tearing as well, and said he would miss me too. I hurried out the door with what shards of macho-ism I had left because I was seriously breaking down!

Friday, 7pm, there I was, standing at the stairs of the Gare Centrale Metro station, the very stairs that only two years ago, Shruti and I had sat at and spoken for hours for the first time! We’d walked together from university on the last day and ended up on those very stairs, where she told me all about her friends, family and how she loved Sharuh kahn (I’m sure I’ve botched the spelling) the Indian actor!

Finally, she arrived, wearing long black boots in which she had tucked her jeans, her long hair resting past her shoulders, looking beautiful as ever! She gave me a big hug and started apologising for being late. I wasn’t really listening; my thoughts were far and away revelling in all the times we shared together.

Shruti ordered a panini(she said that she hadn’t eaten all day) from the sandwich counter close to where we’d met. As she did, my eyes welled up with tears. She turned to me and said, “Don’t cry, you are going to make me cry!” It was too late!

I had just remembered the day she bought me flowers, white roses! (She is, in my opinion the sweetest person in the solar system!) Then the time she asked, “ So who is the new girl in your life?” I told her that I was too busy looking for a job that getting a girl was really the last thing on my mind. Very shocked with the mother hen look she’s perfected, Shruti said, “You’re not serious Raymond! Anyway, do you like Rwandans?” I nodded in affirmation “… because there is this really nice girl at work, she is shorter than you, so that’s already a good thing, plus I’ve told her everything about you and she wants to meet you, I think you’d be perfect together” she continued. I was so touched! Isn’t she just the sweetest? She is more concerned about my love life, than even I am!! I’ve never had a friend like her!

Everyone needs at least one Indian friend! She’s the one that talked me into sitting for the GMAT and TOEFL exams and now when I think back, that’s one of the best pieces of advice I have taken! She even helped me study for the tests, getting me all the text books and CD’s.

I recalled how at university, she would bring me containers of Indian food almost every fortnight or so. She once visited when I used to live with my dad and Stella and brought such a hot chicken dish that her memory was indelibly etched into my father’s mind, “The girl that brought us food with chilli enough for a battalion,” he refers to her!

I vividly remember that day, after university, it was raining as we walked to my empty apartment. Shruti had come to help me set up and assemble my huge reading table and book shelf. I remember how after we’d finished, we stood back looking at it very proud.

I cried on and off for over one hour as Shruti tried to comfort me, telling me that we’d of course see each other again! Most people passing by must have either thought I had lost someone and they would be right because I really can’t imagine my life without my pyar!

I am going to miss: how she claps her hands, skips and does a little jig whenever she is very excited, how she holds out one finger then proceeds to wave both her arms backwards almost as though she was trying to fly whenever she is mad, how she pronounces “w” as “v” and says “thingy-do”.
By the time she left on the train to Antwerp; I felt so weak and dizzy!

I set off for Steph’s apartment after leaving Gare Centrale Metro. I found that both she and Benedict had been waiting rather long for me to arrive. We sat round their dinner table like we’d done times past

Me, thinking all the while, how it was probably going to be the last time! Thank goodness for their cocker spaniel “Suki” that helped distract my tear glands as I attempted to befriend it.

French music played in the background, as I had what I can only describe as, one of the longest moments of silence! We all didn’t really speak this time, which was really weird because usually, Steph and I can talk till the cows come home; and die! But I guess it was because I was dealing with so much emotion and so were they! It almost felt like I was talking to strangers.

Steph is a great company, we’d go to restaurant with, order a meal or a cup of tea and talk until they close. She once made the fatal error of accusing me of talking a lot ( which is true) only for me to quickly turn round and remind her about how she’d once spent over 3 hours explaining to me in detail, how to go about delivering a baby (she studies midwifery) in a restaurant! I can confidently declare that thanks to teas and dinner with Steph, I can deliver a baby, all on my own!

I left at about 11pm, hugged them both goodbye, I thought I was all cried out from the Shruti ordeal but as soon as I got into the elevator, it started all over again! I got home feeling like some department in my brain had illegally hired a jackhammer crew that worked the graveyard shift, my head hurt! My eyes felt like the palms of an ogre!

On Saturday evening, Jerry took me out bowling and then for dinner after. Originally from Ghana, he’s one of the first friends I made from my old church. Although we never did hang out as much as I would have liked, every time we did, it was always a blast and we had a good laugh, a really great guy! He got me a rugby ball as a goodbye present! When I finally got around to saying goodbye, I really didn’t think I’d cry but I did! It’s official, I’m a bitch!

At about 10pm that night, Titta called me up and invited me to dinner at Maison de crepes ( The pancake house) in La bourse. I must mention at this point that as much as I hate using clichés, Titta is who they had in mind when coining the phrase “You meet someone and you feel like you have known them your whole life!” I’ve never known someone for such a short time and gotten this close, where it actually feels like we used to fight over LEGO toys in another lifetime!

She tells a story and you feel like you’re right there, like you could smell the meatballs and potatoes! A story she told comes to mind; we were once seated at the table and I was complaining about how I hate the winter and snow and she shot back: “ I love snow very much! It’s the best thing about Finland! When it snows! I remember when I was young, we used to live in a flat and every time it snowed and I made a snow man, the bigger boys would come and destroy it and I would cry! Then one day, when my parent showed me the blue prints of the new house they were going to build, after they left the room, I got a pen and drew snowmen into the blue prints and rushed full of excitement to tell my parents, ‘Ohh, 8 snowmen can fit in the compound!!’”

We talk about everything! From: Alex’s new shoes, the EPDP party (EU politics), to our future plans, dreams, to chicken dances, to pink dots, to pigs (don’t ask!). She is the most organised and planned person I’ve ever known and she really inspires to change the way I think and behave! (Apart from the binge drinking of course) There are so many things about her that I am trying hard to adopt and emulate!

We had pancakes, talked a bit and then headed to Gallery Louise ( discotheque). As we walked there, Titta broke one of her heels of her boot, so we then headed off to her apartment where she changed into another pair. We finally made it at about 1 AM, it was loud, filled with lots of people and yes, smoke! Yalcin got us free entry, (I don’t know how he does these things).

We sat in one of the semi circular couches as they brought huge ice boxes filled with ABSOLUT and Redbulls ! I steered clear of the ABSOLUT as everyone was busy mixing ABSOLUT-Redbull cocktails!

Titta got really pissed a couple of hours later when some floozies nicked her pack of Marlboro that she'd placed on the table! She was seething about how she was going to go over to them and kick butt!! What Marlboro will do to a lady!!HAHAHHA!! At 5am, I told her I wanted to go home. Titta said , “ NOO! You’ll sleep when you get to Uganda, lets enjoy your last night” We finally left at about 6AM after having a debate about whether we should add or subtract one hour, as it was now Sunday morning, the daylight time adjustment date, 28th October.

I gave her a big hug as she got into a cab to go home, I was too exhausted to cry (at least so I thought) when about 10 minutes later, just I had reached Palais du Justice ,Titta called. As soon as she said that she was going to miss me, that was it! The Sahara irrigation scheme was fully functional once again! I let her know how much she meant to me and then she said, “You are the only Raymond and if in future I meet someone else that is called Raymond, I’ll tell them, ‘ Noo! You can’t be Raymond, because there is only one Raymond and I know him! So you can be Ted or Bob, choose, but not Raymond!” Even though I found that hilarious, it totally shattered me! Stuff like that just destroys all resolve to respect all the signed non-tear treaties!

I am going to miss: how we always had to stop walking just for her to light up a cigarette because she can’t light it and walk at the same time! How she purses her lips and turns her head a little sideways with her large beautiful eyes when she is shy, embarrassed, or asking for help! How she shakes her head up and down with the broadest smile as she laughs with all her heart!

I just remembered when she was explaining why she had started smoking again after trying to quit , “ I got an apartment with: a balcony, a table, a chair and an ash tray!!” HAHHAHA That was reason enough to start she claimed! Titta! Titta! Titta! Titta! I'm going to miss you!
We once TRIED taking a picture before a movie marathon: Impossible!Alex would laugh at nothing and then get us all started!

FINALLY! We took the picture!

Alexander, my Coucou, one word (actually I think it’s more of a sound) describes her “HAHAHHAHAHA” She has an amazing sense of humour , she can find humour in the most concealed places! I remember walking near one of the European Union buildings in Porte De Namur when she noticed there was a fork stuck in the concrete of the sidewalk; she almost fell over laughing!!

We have had our serious times but we tried our very best to keep them at the bare minimum! She hates it when I poke her shoulder (which I do intentionally), and she always gets up, chases me around until she gets me and exerts her vengeance through : kicks slaps and punches! There have been times we literally wrestled on the floor!! HAHAHAH! All for a sweet or a slice of salami!! She is the person I am a total kid with! A blast!!

The most special thing about my Coucou, is she can cook up a storm! She makes the most amazing beef steak with fresh steak peppers and cream! And she’s taught me so many cool recipes! I am going to miss all the experimental dishes we would concoct together!

I am going to miss how she would twirl her hair with her fingers whenever she spoke! How she really loves music and dancing, even more!! She always had this jig , where she would move her hands together in circular motion as though stirring a cauldron!

How she loves Latin American guys and calls them “Caliente”!! HAHAHA !! As a goodbye present, she gave me a jar of Mayonnaise with truffles that she knows I absolutely love and also a special vinegar from her mother that is used to make the béarnaise sauce! Which, if you have been reading this long enough, know is what I feel should be the rightful ruler of the planet!! I LOVE Béarnaise sauce!!

On Sunday afternoon, after picking up my wind chime, from my old room, she started crying as she hugged me goodbye. In the middle of sobs, she told me that her mother is going to write out the very detailed recipe of how to make it! And that she would send it to me by e-mail! Coucou, I know you are reading this, I am sending you a big dragon kiss!!

German Duran, my house mate for the last two years; Now I must admit, that we have had our differences and I probably was harder on him than he deserved but I let bygones be bygones!

He is a fun guy, a real party animal, goes out clubbing EVERY night of the week!! Got the smoothest tongue, and can sell you your own soul! German is probably the closest I will ever get to knowing a porn star! He’s got charm no doubt about it!
I will miss how he adds “Eh” before every word that starts with an “s”

I will miss the way that he always gave a speech about all the countries he had lived in EVERYTIME he was trying to make a point:
“You know I lived in Australia for three years , travelled to Switzerland , been to Turkey, lived in Belgium, Miami, and I have had all these different experience and I know that….” And this would be totally irrelevant since we would be talking about something as simple as taking out the trash! What has Turkey got to do with that?!
And if we ever argued, he’d chronologically list every single thing he had ever done since we met!! Regardless of its significance HAHAHA!

I will miss how he would wake me up, if he had to, just to ask, if his shirt , jacket and jeans matched every time he was going out!(Ok, I am lying I will definitely not miss that!)! How there were more feminine facial and hair products in the bathroom than do L’OREAL boutiques!! HAHAHA! How he was always LATE, not just by minutes, but complete days!! I had a policy of NEVER waiting for him!(ok, maybe I won’t miss those either)

The greatest things about him are that he is very friendly and kind, if ever anyone he knew was in a tight spot, he would always try and come to their aid even though if it was taxing for him, he’d always go out of his way. German would always make people feel warm and welcome!

Sulaiman, he was the only other African (from Sierra Leone) in my class for four years! His mere presence was always very welcome. He showed me where to find a good barber!( Only an African could find me one) He was always very generous with me, he’d help me move stuff whenever I needed to in his van.

I would like to state for the record, that he probably contributed most to my first class degree! In fourth year, he and I formed a study group and every Saturday evening, we studied: MBC ( Money, Banking and Credit) and in the last semester, Finance. If it wasn’t for those hours of serious study we put in, I doubt I would have gotten the 87% averages that I did!!

Somehow (and I am sifting my mind for how this came to be), I became his designated relationship coach! He would always confide in me about his girl problems! And I would offer what little tips I could concoct. Funny thing is, just a couple of weeks back, he got married!! And the coach (that would be me) hasn’t even gotten around to proposing to anyone at all!! I am so happy for him! He is in love!

He took me out to dinner to and Congolese restaurant in Matonge (African enclave) where we ordered roasted goat meat with fried plantain! Only a fellow African would know how that meal hits just the right spot! After we’d finished the meal, he dropped me off and walking into the apartment, I felt so glad that I had gotten to know him the way I did! As I walked up the stairs, I realised how much I’d miss the way he says
“ My man!!” before and after every sentence, with his Creole accent.

They say that one of the ways to judge the closeness of people, is whether they have nicknames for each other! I remember it was in First year , Oliver, Marc and I were in the Metro from university, when a punk walked past, I said, “That’s one thing you’ll never see, a black punk!” Oliver shot back, “I have seen a black punk in Luxembourg, had a Mohawk, piercing, chains, the works!” I broke out laughing and from that day Marc and I referred to each other as Punk! It got to a point when some first years wondered whether it was really his name! HAHAHA

This was really the hardest goodbye, for me, Marc was my best friend, the entire four years, nobody was closer! We always had lunch together, walked to the sandwich shop together, he showed me around parts of Brussels I didn’t know, went to record shops with him to buy CD’s, watched movies and most of all, we had the same passion: Olives!!

Punk being a Spaniard, had a serious passion for good food! He would call me all excited just to say, “Guess what I just bought? A huge container filled with olives! You want me to invite you right? Huh?” I’d be there in a jiffy depleting the olives numbers. He always invited me over for meals whenever he’d have sea food like Salmon, Squid, shrimp!
I’ll miss how he’d call me up almost every evening to ask, “ So are you still dwindling your thumbs looking at the ceiling stretching out your toes?” to which aptly would reply “ Yes, and scratching my back as well!”

I remember a period when we had no water in my apartment because they were cleaning the tanks of the entire flat, Marc told me to go over to his home to shower. It’s the little things you remember…

The very first time I ever saw snow, December 2003! Marc chased me all around Brussels pummelling me with snow balls like he was trying to kill me!! He had such resolve that even after I had my guard down and thought he had given up, when I stepped through the university main entrance, he hit me with three snow balls he had made and hidden behind the door!!

I’ll miss how he’d look at me in disbelief whenever he’d mention a rock band I didn’t know who the heck they were!! “Raymond, you don’t exist!” he’d say very concerned. And would take it upon himself, to educate me about music! He was quite the music collector and owned ENTIRE discographies of almost all the rock bands and other genres as well :AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Nine Inch Nails, Redhot Chilli peppers, Smashing pumpkins, Jimi Hendricks, Marilyn Mason, the complete Bowie collection including all his LPs , Bob Dylan ,Bob Marley, the kooks, Brian Eno, Beck!

He had great taste in movies too, a little esoteric: a lot of Stanely Kubrick movies, Barry Lyndon ( which I enjoyed immensely) I had never seen and some cult classics like the Big Lebowski, DAS UTERGANG ( if I spelt it right) Amadeus! Until I met Marc, and now I exist!

Marc got a job in an accounting firm in Barcelona and so about three weeks back, he left Belgium permanently. Back then, I thought that’d get to see him one last time, I was planning to visit Barcelona for a week and say a proper goodbye but alas, that was the very last time I saw him.

I can’t tell you how much I regret not getting to see him one last time. I called him up on Sunday night. That has got to be the saddest phone call I have had in a long time! He could even hear it in my voice and told me not to be sad , that he’d come visit Uganda next summer for a Safari. I type this out in tears even now, when I think that I probably won’t see him again..*sigh*

This is the first time; I’ve come to Uganda and felt like I wasn’t truly home! I just want to see my friends!! But, I can’t! I have to move on, adjust! You know, they say that the friends you make at university are the ones you’ll always have for the rest of your life! Where does this leave me? All my close friends are in Europe, I can’t express how bad I feel inside!
It’s been five days since I left Belgium but for me, the grief is still too close.

This is my last blogpost, I want to just say a very big and special thank you to Minega, he is the one that got me blogging in the first place, I am a huge fan of ALL his writings! Back then, he told me I should give it a shot but I was reluctant, I always felt insecure because he is so bloody good! I felt that I was total crap in comparison but I am glad I got into this, it’s improved my writing quite a lot that I am even flirting with the idea of writing a book! Minzo, thanks a lot! I have really enjoyed this, and now, I will always have many of my memories of Belgium documented! Thanks to everyone that’s stopped by over the years, whether you left any comments or not, I appreciate it. I guess this it…


Friday, October 19, 2007


Monday, October 15, 2007

Updating soon...

Pushed my plane ticket to the there should be an update real soon... SOUTH AFRICA is winning the WORLD CUP! I bet my chest hair on it!

It's official: HABANA is a human rabbit android!!! You can't run like that and think that you are part of our species!!!
England, " I'm sorry but there is no hope for the wicked!! Yes, you and I mean the bad wicked!!"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Alice and Darlyne Haunting me!!

What do Somalia and Belgium have in common? If your answer was a Camel:
“You punk you!!
Cigarettes are a far cry from the animals!!
See what smoking does to the mind?!!”

The answer isn’t as funny, if you actually found the opener so! I am just stalling! Now, after whetting your appetite, I am not sure whether it’s worth it; but I might as well let her rip, Are you ready? Really?

They both don’t have any government!

Yes, there has been such rivalry between the French and Flemish politicians in Brussels, that three months after parliamentary elections, they have failed to form a government!!

(Skip this paragraph, boring foundational text) Belgium is a Bilingual country, French and Flemish (Fancy name for Dutch) are the official languages. The country is spilt right across the middle, Flanders (the Northern part): Flemish and Wallonie (the Southern): French! They have such bitter rivalry, that it’s been reported that the lifegaurds at the beaches in Ostende and Blankenberg have willingly let people drown if they screamed out for help in French, " Hilfe!!Hilfe!!" (wait a minute, I think that’s German!!)

(Now read) All I know, is that speaking French in the Flemish region is as good as volunteering to be a piñata!! I lived in the Flemish region for my first two years in Belgium, where I quickly learned, that you are better off speaking English than French! Once in a bakery, I tried my dodgy French, pointing at a pastry with my nose stuck up the air said “ ça!!”(that) when the lady behind the counter sternly replied, “No French, speak English!!” I looked at her and smiled thinking, “If you insist, my love!” I don’t know why the Flemish hate the French so much!!! I suspect it’s all those Nasal “r’s” and the fact that objects have genders in their evil language! In fact, now that I think of it, that SURELY must be the reason!!! Yes, you can confidently quote me as an authority on the matter! Or perhaps read a more reliable source

That’s just reminded me of my first cultural shock/ French sentence. The first time I took the bus into Brussels: it was 2003, I was just fresh out the jungles of Kampala, thinking it was normal to strike up conversation with strangers on the bus, like we do back home in the minivan taxis. “Hello, do you speak English?” The girl simply glared at me and said, “J’ai quelq’un!” As she turned to face the window! Ohh the embarrassment!!! As soon as I reached university, I asked Marc what that sentence meant. “It means ‘I have someone’, but where did you hear that?” he said chuckling!!

Sunday, was the Annual No Car Day of Bruxelles!! Once a year, all cars are prohibited from entering the city for an entire day!! The Metros and Trams are free; it’s all to cut down on pollution!! The streets were brimming with bicycles!! I have never seen so many: cyclists, skateboarders**, rollerskaters and rollerbladers in my life!! I decided to join them but when I reached the bike rental stall and saw that the queue spanned from Bruxelles to Paris! I just walked home!! It’s a shame I didn’t have my camera!! It truly was a sight!

**I have always wanted to ask about skateboarding… why do people do it? Really!! I’ve keenly observed skateboarders many a time and it seems like this sport has one aim: Try and break as many bones as possible!! They always try the same move: A jump in the air, flip the skateboard and try landing on it!!

The key word here is TRY!! Since they are forever falling down, getting up (in the most dignified manner) and trying again and again!!!Almost like there was a bone they just must break!! Isn’t it cheaper (not to mention more effective) to fill a bathtub with water and slit ones own wrists while listening to Billie Holiday??? Than buying VANS sneakers and a skateboard???

I am pleased to announce that I finished doing all my laundry!!(This is the part where you clap your hands) My apartment rental contract expires on Sunday 30th September, so at the moment, I am packing up all my possessions, getting ready for the big move, it’s such a hustle. I still can’t believe I accumulated so much junk!! I seems like I am going to have to give a lot of it to the Salvation Army!! I don’t have 300 Euros to pay for excess baggage on the plane!! The big questions at the moment: "Does one need pyjamas when living in a country astride the equator? Can I use my scarves as Mosquito repellents if I lash out with them around the room?"

I plan to stop blogging on 15th October! Why? This has been a place where I have documented the past four years of my life in Belgium and I want to keep it that way! And now that I am leaving, probably for good! My blog's days have been numbered and it has been found wanting!! I don’t know if I will start another blog after this…I feel like I have lost the pizzazz…get ready for the END!

One of the things I have to prepare for when I get back to Uganda, is the phone bashing!! One thing I have never been about, is mobile phones! I just look for something that: calls, receives calls, sends sms-es, doesn’t melt when left exposed to direct sunshine and can survive a 3-storey drop!! Nokia 2610!

It's just a phone, right? But not in Uganda!! There are herdsmen in the most remote villages that you can imagine, with mobile phones that are more advanced than those currently being sold in Brussels, the capital of Europe!! Phones that can actually milk cows, hands free!! And then send the milk back to the homestead via Bluetooth!! Really, I am not making this up!!

Alice, immediately comes to mind, she has a way of incessantly mentioning to me how embarrassing it is for her to hang out with someone that owns a Nokia 2610!! I am usually not moved by such things, but the fact that I am worrying about this like it was the herpes, shows that she does get to me! She seems to get a kick out of this! I sometimes wonder why we are even friends!! I think her folder is up for review!!

The other thing is Big Brother!! It’s that time of the year when Big Brother Africa airs on Ugandan TV!! It’s a horrid show, a total waste of Alveoli motion!! I hate it with such a passion!! And yet it seems to be the topic of all conversations!
Darlyne, is the one person I am CERTAIN, will give me a very detailed run down of all the events I have missed in the show (hardly stopping to breathe) !! As I stealthily try and lower myself out the restaurant window, after knotting up all the napkins into a rope!!

It’s almost similar to the way that Facebook in Belgium, has taken over, not just all parties but the country itself! In fact, if the parliament fails to form a government soon, Facebook might just run this country!! I can’t tell you how irritated I was at the last couple of parties I attended, when I found myself in the middle of what seemed like a 40 minute debates about Facebook!! Whose profile was recently updated, who tagged who, the best applications, and the messaging ability...It was rubbish!! How did this happen?? Now that I think about it…I can’t wait to leave this country!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Doing My Laundry!

A HAPPY ONE MONTH to my beautiful niece

Princess (Doesn’t she look it?) Tabitha Abigail Murungi-the great!! Yup, I finally got her picture and couldn’t wait to share it with you all! Don’t some of you feel like you know me? Well, I'll be expecting you to all congregate around the Brussels Airlines plane on 15th October when I land at Entebbe airport

My Baganda (Ugandan tribe) fans should be dancing Maganda (tribal dance consisting of a series of hip gyrations that baffle modern anatomists!) and at my appearance from the plane door: sounding alarms and prostrating themse…ok, I think I need to stop while I still can, I forgot to take my modesty pills this morning!!

There are two things that I MUST take with me to Uganda! That I just don’t want to live without! First, Zegna!!: I purchased the new Zegna Intenso this week! I made sure to buy the bigger 100ml bottle

So yeah; the Sexy Department is sorted for at least a year!!

The second: spice seeds!! Yes, you read that right!! I just can’t eat plain food again, I am sorry, I have just been thoroughly spoiled here with such sumptuous recipes that I plan to plant my favourite spices in the garden back in G.A.B.A and keep eating like Nebuchadnezzar: Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, Coriander, and thyme! I wonder, can olives grow in Uganda? And how long must I wait before they yield fruit?


A friend took me out to dinner last night; he is planning to propose to his girlfriend! I sometimes get shocked by the number of people that read this blog, so no names this time! I can’t let anything slip, especially not this! He really wants it to be a surprise. No one’s ever asked for my input on how to propose! I felt like an authority on marriage proposals!

Of course, I suggested the most outlandish ideas!! But in the end, he liked the one that I had always thought of doing myself someday, when I do get to the point of proposing to someone! (Yes, I'd love to do it in Brussels!) There is this place that I think is the most romantic ever!! (Nope, I'm not telling) So after dinner we went there and made reservations! A four course meal for two costs 130 Euros!!! For that kind of money, the waitress had better hold their hands all the way to the metro and hug them goodbye!! I'd have it no other way!


Does doing one's laundry qualify as work experience? Since I last blogged, this seems to be the only thing that's salvaged my activity devoid existence! I've run out of options to fill out on application forms:

“SPECIAL SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES: I can watch clothes spin in a washing machine and not get dizzy; I think it's got to do with my African genes!!”

I shudder at the thought of the day I run out of dirty clothes! What then shall my purpose in life be?

The Rugby World Cup has been the highlight of my life these past days!! The greatest match was last evening: South Africa Vs England!!! Ohhh how they thrashed England 36-0!! I loved every second of it!! I haven't felt this alive in a while !! Screaming at the top of my lungs at an Irish Pub where I watched the game! YYYEEEAAAAAHHHH!!! What cracked me up, was the English coach's comments after the game: " We played a better game than we did against USA" Is it just me ( and the rest of the world), or does he not remember that in that game, England beat USA 28-10?! Denial in it's purest form!!

I really love when they do those fake passes and the other team falls for them!! The side stepping!! The tackling!! I just love everything about this sport!!
Julian once tried to explain American football to me! And at the end of it, I was as lost as a tranquilized goose falling through the abyss!! It’s just too complicated, too many rules, complex strategies!! Rugby is much simpler; you only tackle the guy with the ball and when you get the ball, just try to get over the try line! Sure there is: Racking, Drop kicks, Conversions... but still, it's simpler and more enjoyable than American Football (If you don't agree, may a thousand mosquitos siphon blood from your armpits!!)

Julian’s back! He returned from Costa Rica with his mom. It was nice to finally meet her, he has always spoken a lot about her but she is even cooler than he described, got an amazing sense of humour, the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree! She took us out to dinner twice. I invited her for lunch at my apartment the other day: spaghetti Carbonara( I'm a maestro at it). I think she's leaving on Tuesday, I am glad that I got to meet her.


I took a tour of the Kings palace on Thursday, it’s open to the public once a year during the summer! I can’t begin to describe how breathtaking and regal it all looked: the ballrooms, the halls, the chandeliers, the art collections, the gold gilded columns!! It’s a shame we were not allowed to take photographs!
There was one hall in particular that had the entire ceiling made of Thai Jewel beetle wing cases, 1.4 million were imported from Thailand! I have never seen anything like it, the colours change with slight movement of your head, almost as though it were alive! The walls were made from marble with bronze fillings, It was AMAZING! You just have to see it for yourself!! I doubt I will ever see anything more impressive in my life!!


I've been reading about the recent capture of the Colombia’s most notorious drug lord since Pablo Escobar, Diego Montoya in the Times online paper.

He was once valued at $5 billion!! He is a complete animal! As brutal as brutal gets: he had 35 family members of one of his head men that agreed to testify against him, slaughtered, women, children, the whole lot of them! And then had their bodies stacked to form a pyramid that was then set ablaze!
One other traitor, had his legs sawed off with a chainsaw before being nailed to a tree! And then of one rival drug gang: he had them all killed and piled their bodies to form a wall in the middle of a highway! Does life get anymore surreal than this? Honestly, it read like the script of the movie 300! There are super psychos out there! He offered $5million to the special troops that arrested him to let him escape!! I've been following the story like a Mario Puzo novel all week. Here are a couple of links if you are interested:1,2,3,4

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fishless Circle Hair Sailor!!

Last Friday, was my very last class teaching little kids English. I can’t tell you how much fun that job has been! Kids are undiscovered stand up comedy talent! I’ve always had a good laugh at work!
We took a trip to the Sugar Museum close to Leuven and while on the train, I turned to one of the kids, Jordan, who I noticed was looking very intently at me, almost like a scientist about to poke at a Petri dish!
“Jordan, is everything ok? Why are looking at me like that?”
Then with squinted eyes, he pointed at my head and in the most awestruck tone said,
“You have circle hair?!”
I burst out laughing, so hard people all over the train turned to look at me! HAHAHAHHA you’ve got to love kids!

Desta (one of my workmates) told me of a time, one of the English teachers from Scotland was teaching the younger kids the different animal sounds. And when he got to the seal: clapping his hands all wavy-like and barking “oouurrhh, oouurrrhh, ouurrhh” all the kids yelled, “FUCK!!” He was shocked and told them that it was “a Seal.” Later that afternoon, after he narrated his ordeal,she (in between laughs) explained to him, that in French, a seal is “Phoque.” So whenever he’d get bored during his lessons, he’d clap his hands and bark like a seal and the kids would yell “PHOQUE” HAHAHA! That cracked me up good!

I really miss my kids, they are so sweet and they have such unbridled love! On the last day, when I said goodbye for the last time, they all gave me big hugs and kisses! One of the girls in the older group, gave me a note as she left the class

“We are going to miss you” it read!
Doesn’t that just shatter your heart?!

I’ve got the most horrid cough and flu! Thanks to Coucou who just returned from sampling the Mexican local talent to infect us all!! I should have known better than to hang out with her so often! It’s bordering on Bronchitis! Sometimes, I cough in my sleep and scare myself awake!! At this rate, my nose could as well be an aqueduct! Make that the Niagara Falls! Why did I imagine that simple tissue paper could dam it up?!

On Saturday night, was Mel’s house warming party! I plan to write out a full ode to all my friends in Belgium before I leave. However, today, I will just say this about her: she is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met in Belgium! She’s got the wit of the prairies fertilized with Einstein’s brain matter!! A total blast, it’s always laughs and more laughs! I love her!!

“Sailor Party” the theme was! Now for those of you that aren’t in the know, Uganda is landlocked, so we don’t really have sailors on large ships let alone pirates! Just fishermen on little boats and canoes dug out of tree trunks, throwing rocks at the fish in the water! Ugandans aren’t as ambitious as, for example the Spaniards!! While they were trying to discover a sea route to India to buy Tandoori spice; we in Uganda were busy judging who could milk the most cows while juggling four bananas at the same time (national pastime)

As a result, the Ugandan cuisine is not as spicy as the Spaniard's! We have never really colonised any other country, perhaps Rwanda (HAHA, retract the claws Minega) and have no sailors!! So looking for a sailor outfit was a hustle! I put on a stripped polo t-shirt, I’ve never owned a captain’s cap, so I just used my swimming trunks, hoping that everyone would be too drunk to notice or if they did, I would get points for originality!

I have always had dilemmas with party themes, while in Amsterdam in 2004; I went for a party that Yuri invited me to, where the theme was, “Proud to be pink”!! It was only after I was past the entrance and discovered I was the only black drop in the pink ocean, that I then realised that the “pink” in the theme, referred to the skin colour! Well, I was already in and wearing a pink long-sleeved shirt, besides, it was dark, so it just looked like a pink long-sleeved shirt with eyes and teeth joined the party!! (Yup, I have a disappearing act!)

I gave Mel my fish as a house warming present! So I put Nemo and Mohawk in a small jar and then emptied the fish bowl and packed it in a large bag with all the other fishy stuff!! I am now fishless; I am forced to talk to my rolls of tissue paper before (and after) I sneeze into them!

Her apartment is really nice! It’s close to Rogier and has got a large living room and a large balcony overlooking a park !! The party was a blast, met lots of cool fun people: Travis, Brandon, can’t remember the other people’s names, and unfortunately two really Boring-but-don’t-know-it-French Belgians! I swear, humour was NOT, and I repeat, NOT made for the French! They play with it like a child with a switch blade then pluck out their own eyeballs in the process!! They kept telling all these really bad translated Belgian jokes!! As I kept trying to hold myself back from jumping off the balcony!

I spent a lot of time talking to Sascha, who believe it or not, spent 8 years in Uganda! This automatically made her my twin! (A very detailed procedure I can not get into right now!) There was a huge cocktail punch in a large bowl that Mel claimed was worth 100Euros! However, it was blue and tasted like detergent, I took a couple of sips and poured it out into the potted plant, which caught fire instantly!! I had lots of fun; it was a really great party!

Leaving Belgium has its perks; I am getting taken out a lot, those farewell dinners! I have a dinner with Jerry and Anne-Lise tomorrow, then on Saturday with Desta and Selma (work mates from the kids language school) at an Ethiopian restaurant and on Sunday with Mel and a couple of her friends at an Italian Restaurant! I wish I were leaving Belgium more often!

Song of the Week

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Hats off to 'The Family Guy' for the funniest thing I have seen all summer!!! Bill Clinton and Peter Griffin, high on weed, trying to eat a pig!!

I laughed alone on the tram when I remembered Clinton saying “That pig could be in our stomachs in like one minute and then we could do other stuff!”

There’s a tagging thingamajig going around blogger like Chlamydia!! And I got tagged not once, not twice but thrice!! I feel like a blogger floozy!! Who started this tag? I intend to find out and craft a voodoo doll in their likeness, which I will then drown in my fish bowl!

Peculiar Virtue tagged me!! She is from the Virgin Islands, I always imagine her speaking with an “M Nichol”-like accent (I know you’re all asking who that is)

Anyone that pronounces “Call a doctor” as “kal eh dohkta” and then rhymes it with “water” can only be COOL!! So I’ve obliged!! (PV, you’d better have the accent!)

I’m supposed to write 8 things about myself…can’t remember the rest of the rules… too lazy to check… then tag someone else!!! Here goes:

1. I talk a lot!!
I’m sorry; I just have a lot to say!! I think I repeat myself even! (So says Derek the Merrick!) If you meet me and I seem quiet and reserved, that can only mean that either I don’t like you!! Or you have a big nose and are scaring me!

2. I have never been in a fight my entire life!!
As much as I love the expression “Punching someone’s lights out!!” Unfortunately, I've pretty much left everyone’s lights on thus far!! I am not violent! Sure, there have been many times, when like the giant in Jack and the beanstalk, I have thought “I’d like to grind his bones to make my bread!” But then it was never worth throwing fisticuffs! It never is!

I vividly recall in Senior 3, it was a Saturday, a friend of mine “Casio” (who had the temper of a hurricane of Irish descent) got into a fight over someone pushing his desk! I don’t even know how it all snow balled so quickly but two testosterone bursts later: they were clutching at each other’s shirts and limbs!! By this time, the class had formed a circle around them and was cheering!!

Now you must understand, I was in an all boy’s boarding school and there were two laws that prevailed: “Gravity” and “Never stop a fight!!” If you did, the rest of the boys would turn on you and beat you to a pulp! It was a form of entertainment for the class. So all you could do, was cheer as you watched them tussle it out! It was also served as a deterrent of sorts because if you ever got into a fight, you knew that no one was going to save your hide!

Casio and the other guy were exchanging blows like they were stocks and bonds at Wall Street! When the other boy grabbed Casio’s head and slammed his face into the wall!! He got up bleeding, two incisors less! And that’s how that fight ended; Casio searching frantically for his teeth on the floor! I know he looks back at that day and thinks “Was it really worth it? He just pushed my desk!! I now look like a walrus!”

3. I don’t yell!!
I have no stern tonal change when I complain about stuff! Most people can’t even tell! I might as well be appreciating a painting or complimenting a girl! I voice it calmly and expect people to just listen when I tell them to stop! (However my eyes narrow! That’s what they need to look out for) I recently had to tell a friend to stop frustrating me thrice in one week!! They still thought I wasn’t being bothered at all! I said it THREE times!!! I am thinking of purchasing a megaphone for use in such cases

4. I am a very happy person!!
I enjoy my life! I love a good laugh, enjoy making people laugh! I laugh at my own jokes! James once described me as being “witty with manic excitement”!! Sure I do have my low times but I never dwell on them long!
“If it can be tickled, then by Jove it must!!”
My mantra!!! Perpetual optimist to the rescue!
While still at university, during the first Strategic Management lecture, the lecturer asked each one to come to the front of the class, as the rest of the class talked about our strengths and weaknesses! Marc said that he had never seen anyone as happy and that in the four years we had been at university, he had never seen me angry!

5. I am not patient!!
Let me rephrase that, I am devoid of patience!! I hate waiting! Even for the sun to rise! I’m the guy, who after failing to sleep because of indigestion from drinking milk past 6PM, tasers the cockerel into crowing at 4AM to get the day started already! I want everything NOW! I am not particularly proud of this! (When is this post ending already? I’ve got things to do!!)

6. I love hard, I drop hard!!
I am very loyal to my friends and will try and always be there for them no matter what! If I can help them in any way at all! I will! When it comes to romance, I go for overkill, the works (except sing)!! Ask any of my Ex’s! Yeah, I am an endangered species!
If someone I trust and care about keeps hurting me; I drop them like they were lava! Completely throw them out of my life with no right of appeal or bail! And move on like they never existed! Sometimes some relationships choke you and it’s no use keeping ties with people that always drag you down!

Romans 12:18
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

The key phrase there is “if it is possible”!! So when someone keeps prodding you as though you were a Herefordshire bull! That definitely qualifies as “not possible anymore” They have outlived their usefulness and will be channelled to the nearest, grimiest bin!

7. I am emotional!!
Another thing I am not particularly proud of! It first came to my notice when Claire (my eldest sister) was flying to Georgia USA to do her Masters degree! As I hugged her at the boarding gate at Entebbe airport, my tear glands started malfunctioning! (I want a refund!)

Then at my elder sister Gloria’s wedding! After both she and her husband said “I do” I didn’t cry, I wept!! For close to an hour!! Even more than my mother and sisters! I couldn’t believe that my munchkin was not going to be coming home with us anymore! I felt like I had lost her!! I think I lost a whole lot of Macho stars, medals and badges that day!!

8. Things I love!!
-Exotic food! Lots of spices! Olives! Waffles! Couque Suisse!! Béarnaise sauce!
-All SONY Gadgets (apart from their phones)! They know what they are doing!!
-Ermenegildo Zegna (He just released a new perfume “Zegna Intenso” which I am going to buy in a couple of weeks)!
-Humans packaged with wit!
-Sports Cars!
-Travelling! One of my dreams is to go on holiday to Israel and live in the Kibbutz!
-Of course blogging!


I tag Minega!

I’m very envious of Minega’s writing talent!! Not the kind where I’d love to see him pushing up daisies! Maybe just a couple of slaps to ease the tension! He, in my opinion, is one of the best African Writers alive!! I once read a movie script he was working on and was totally blown away! I really wished I could write as brilliantly as he!! He has a way with words that makes Don Juan seem like an autistic ogre to a country maid! I remember in Primary 5, while the rest of us were playing on the monkey bars, he was writing novels!! To any 10 year olds reading this, stay away from the monkey bars! I’ve gone down that path!! I know!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Free Fall!!

Hi Ray,
Long time no news! Have you got a job yet?
I just looked at your blog and noticed the last posting was July 21st!!! What is happening with you?
Do keep me posted.

Read an e-mail from my dearest Aussie Auntie, Barbara!! How come I have an Aussie Auntie? Well, don’t you? Pity!! That’s the reason I perpetually support Australia in the Rugby World Cup (The rambling spirits are taking over…)…that and the fact that they have kangaroos!! (Not their rugby team, stupid!!! The continent) I like Kangaroos!! No, I've never wondered whether Kangaroos like me too!!! Who the heck thinks of such insane things? Where was I? Auntie Barbara thanks for the concern!! Your nephew is still alive!

Family Update:

-Gloria gave birth to my niece, Tabitha! I am now officially Uncle Raymond, snaps to follow as soon as I get her to e-mail me a couple

-Derek the Merrick turned 20!!The heck!!! My baby brother is no longer a teenager!! Who authorized this?? What’s their address?

-Stella is…waiting for the next season of Smallville to start! The only person I know that can talk about Smallville for 30 minutes over the phone: that’s our bond!

The usual griping:

They misspelled my name and got the name order wrong on my Diploma!! I was seething Mad! They put a double “s” and single “i”!!!
“TumuSSime Raymond Rwabita”
It’s a single “s” Double “i” and the correct order:
Raymond Tumusiime Rwabita!!
It was returned to University of Wales in UK for correction!! I am expecting it back next week!!
Lesson for life: Never have an African name!!


A couple weeks back, I was talking to a guy I graduated with, who for anonymity purposes, I'll call 'Lacoste'. He is not European and is desperately trying to stay longer in Belgium and even become a citizen. He wanted some advice since my Student Visa expires October 31st as well and reckoned I would probably be going through the same thing.

Well, not quite as he soon discovered, I have been living Belgium for four years as a student. According to the law, if you live in Belgium for three years as a resident, you can apply for citizenship! Student status does not apply! However, if I get just one year of resident status, through a work permit for instance, then the four years I’ve been here are added to that one year and I would be eligible!

I really love Belgium and think Brussels is the best city in the world and I will always consider it a second home for a very long time. I know I have said it before but: I have had some of the best four years of my life living here! I consider myself blessed having had this opportunity.
However, I am Ugandan and very proud of being one, and of my country, regardless of it’s tainted history of pillage and corruption to Kingdom come! It will always be home to me, no matter where I go. It’s my heritage, a part of who I am!

Ohh Yes, I do love my country! I will always miss the warmth and friendliness of the people, the smouldering sunshine that knows neither mercy nor compassion! The mosquitoes on steroids with state of the art heat seeking abilities, and even though I am sure I will at some point deny ever making these claims: I miss the dust so abundant on the streets of Kampala ( capital city), the rationing of electricity like chow in a Prisoner of War camp! I am indeed homesick.

So when Lascoste suggested: “Why don’t you find some Belgian chick and marry her for papers?” I was stunned!! I know of an American guy that was a year ahead of me at University that ‘married’ a Belgian girl just to become a citizen and get a job here! I can never stoop that low, I have my limits! Call me proud or old fashioned but I consider that: Rock Bottom!! Getting married to gain citizenship! Please!! “Isn’t there some war or coup d’etat in Uganda so that you can claim asylum?” He continued. I told him there wasn’t any and I was never going to lie about something like that. I will never be that desperate! Thank you! Integrity, it seems, is out of fashion nowadays! I told him that come September 30th, if I have not gotten a job yet, I’ll book a flight back to Uganda. “But man, you are going to waste your four years!!” He shot back, in apparent shock! Well, they are my four years after all; I choose what to do with them.

One of the wisest sayings I have ever heard, that's kept me on the straight and narrow is:

“Whatever you to do to get something, is what you have to keep doing to keep it!”

If you get your papers illegally through lying and scheming, that’s what you’ll have to keep doing to keep them! It's not worth it!


I got called by Bank of New York for an interview about 2 weeks back, they first wanted to know if I had a work permit! As soon as I said that I didn’t have one: “It takes too long and is very complicated getting a work permit for you, but please do contact me as soon as you get one and we can schedule an interview.” the gentleman said before hanging up! I just wanted to cry! I was curious about what it took to hire a foreigner in Belgium and called up my Law professor who explained the labour laws very explicitly!

In the event that a company agrees to employ me and starts the process of acquiring a work permit for me; The company has to fulfil 2 conditions:
Prove that:
1. I possess a special qualification or skill that a Belgian citizen doesn’t have!!
2. I possess a special qualification or skill that an EU citizen doesn’t have!!

I only have an Undergraduate BBA!! Of course there thousands of Belgians not to mention Europeans that are obviously more qualified for all the jobs that I am applying for!! What special qualifications do I posses?
"I can blink really fast and type with my toes?"
On discovering this, I was officially shattered and decided to concentrate more of my efforts on getting into a Master’s Program.


I applied to the UK universities for a Master’s degree, and got accepted by a couple! Life is good when you have a Cum Laude!! The only problem is that they are freaking Expensive!! The least kryptonite priced tuition with the course I wanted (Finance and accounting) was Aston University, which is ranked among the top 10 UK Universities according to the Times.

It costs (rolls twice on the floor anticlockwise, in homage) £12,340!! I know of people that sell their souls and their children’s for much less!! I can’t afford all that on my own! As much as my parents are my superheroes, they are not invincible! Before they left for Rome in June, we sat down and they explained that that they would not be able to pay for my Master’s degree because they had to pay for Derek the Merricks University, he is just finishing his A-levels.

That left me with two options, selling cocaine or getting a scholarship! Getting a scholarship is not as easy I thought it would be! Many of them are strictly for Britons and the others for Europeans! The only one I seemed to have qualified for, required 3 years work experience!! Which I do not have! Cocaine hit anyone? I’ve got that Colombian stuff!

I feel like I have reached some pinnacle of my life and am now in free fall! Is this how it all unravels? I thought it would be all up hill from here on?
"Where do I get £12,340?"
I've asked myself every morning this month.

'Leo Leor Leost', one thing I really hate is regret! I hate having to say , " If only I had tried all my options!" "If only I had just inquired!" "If only I had just tried!" So I got all dressed up at some point and went to my bank branch; ING Tervuren, to inquire about a student loan. A very rude lady of Indian descent told me that it was not possible, that I needed a Belgian guarantor who had to be in the same bank branch!
This opportunity feels like it's slipping right through my fingers! And there is nothing I can do about it! It is sad!


If you read the post with my graduation pictures, there was a picture with a Mr. Hendrik Woods, scroll down and see it! Go on, I’ll wait…

This past month has been the scariest period in my life! Nobody tells you that after you graduate, life becomes like this humongous Pac man maze, blindfolded! It feels like a balancing act with an inner ear infection. I can honestly say that I have never been so perplexed about what to do next! Questions like:
Should I make dinner? (Yes, I think I shall!)
How do I get a job in Brussels?
How do I get a scholarship?
What do I do come October 31st (when my student visa expires)?
The only replies I get are the bubbles my fish make in their aquarium!

I sent an e-mail to Mr. Hendrik Woods, asking him to write me a letter of recommendation for Aston University, as well as some advice on what to do next with my life! He called me up the next day and we spoke for 2 hours!

He asked me to tell him all my plans, however over the moon they might seem! Which I did.
One of the things I thought of doing was getting a Visa to the UK, and get a professional ACCA qualification as I did a apart time job to pay it off.

To this Woods said:

“I personally have a problem with people waiting tables that have degrees, you are still too young, and you have got a lot of potential, you shouldn’t have to resort to that at this point in your life!
I think the most important thing you need right now is some experience, getting a masters right now with no work experience, is like having a horse with two legs.

If I were you, I would go back to Uganda, gain at least two years of work experience and then you’ll know for certain what you want do a masters degree in. Then I would recommend you go to Stanford University. Don't take it the wrong way, but you do not have the most fashionable Passport, so getting a job in Brussels is going to be very difficult given the fact that you are not European.

Why don't you try some of the international firms in Uganda? However , do continue and complete your application to Aston University as your plan B.”

He then told me about his own son that also just graduated, but he had also told him that they would only discuss a Master’s degree in his future only after he first got a job!

I won't lie that I didn't let out a sigh as I heard him speak, or that I didn't feel like this was taking a step back, because I did. However, the more I listened to him, the more he made sense.

That gave me a lot of clarity and peace of mind. So I am waiting until September to book a plane ticket to Uganda. Am I nervous about going to Uganda? Not in the least, it is home after all. I had just wanted one year of work experience in Belgium before going back home, however things have not panned out as I had hoped!!

One thing I know I will have to get used to, is the poor pay. That is truly going to be a little hard adapting to! Just at my student job, tutoring kids English I get €375/ week! In Uganda, for a decent white collar job, I'll get €375/ MONTH!! That’s quite a tumble!! But then of course, the standard of living is way lower. I will survive!

Thank goodness Kampala ( capital city) has a Belgian Restaurant "Le Chateaux" ( that is not far away from where I live: G.A.B.A) it serves amazing beef steak with croquettes and Béarnaise sauce: my favourite Belgian dish! Ohhh, I love Béarnaise sauce!!!! And they even have Americain sandwiches (raw minced meat mixed with spices)! So I will definitely be fine!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I want other people sniffing my armpits!!

I have always been comfortable with my height… I am lying like a dog! Ever since the fateful day in kindergarten, when Minega knocked out my pituitary gland with a slap (see story)! Life has been rough and tough! It was the very reason that I converted to born again Christianity in my teens. I heard the preacher say:

"Jesus is a God of impossibilities!"

“Can He make me grow tall?” I asked “Yes, if you have faith and belie…” “Where do I sign!!?” I cut him short! And so I found salvation, for the “RIGHT” reasons!! I prayed fervently to grow tall day and night! I even tried all those faith methods: speaking to my kneecaps “Grow in the name of Jesus! Please grow? I’ll play basketball! I promise!” I checked the notch I’d etched into the wall after the first month: I hadn’t grown an inch!

I realised that either kneecaps didn't like basketball playing oaths or that I would have to fast! That too was unsuccessful, as I just ended up looking short and famished( very bad combination if you ask me)! I then turned to Timberland boots (God bless them). For a while, these made up for that extra inch! Until I out grew my “Gangster Dawg” phase! By that time, I was in my 20’s and no longer insecure about my altitude settings. What can I say, after living with a height impairment for over 20 years, you grow attached to it: take ‘short’ walks together, have ‘short’ picnics and every once in a while, even make tea for each other!!

Recently, I was chatting with one of my Ex’s; I still don’t know where exactly she was going with this but said, “ I keep praying to God for someone just like you , only taller!” HAHAHAHA!! Yes, there are people out there praying for taller versions of me!!! And No, I’m definitely NOT getting Masaai kneecap transplants for her!!

But on Thursday, I would have condoned body parts trafficking and ordered for the kneecaps of the tallest Massai available!! What caused this change of heart? There I was, standing in a crammed tram, on a hot afternoon, when a tall man got on and held the higher region of the support bar (anchored to the tram floor), his armpit, just inches away from my epiglottis! Ohhh he reeked!! Like a gangrenous railway construction worker, in the noonday sun!! I was getting high off the pungent fumes he was letting off! I got of at the very next stop, tried to sober up and waited for the next tram!I have flirted with the idea about how cool this must be! But now I am sure of it: "I want other people sniffing my armpits too!!" I know most of you are thinking that I have been infected by the pungent fumes I inhaled and have now changed to the very thing I loathe. I have considered this notion! Regardless, I stand by my wish!

It was scorching hot today! Reminded me so much of Uganda, where in the afternoon it’s so hot that blacksmiths completely abandon furnaces, leaving their iron ore exposed to sun before beating it into plough sheers! Everyone in Brussels is clad in summer wear (read: stark naked!) which means you are forced to ogle even when you didn’t intend to! Cleavage (hereafter referred to as ‘Stuff’) was all up in my face! You begin to wonder, “Why am I fighting this again? Aahh, those look good! Let me just observe them as scientific marvels! Artistic creations hmmmm!! I wonder if they come with fries?! Grrr!”(Bad Dog!!)

Just as I was descending down the path of decadence, I noticed what looked liked an entire root network of blue and green veins branching throughout her stuff!! EEEwwwww!! I was traumatized! Totally grossed out! They looked almost like cyborg wiring! I have watched Terminator! And I know her kind! You don’t want to wake up and find out she has a laser canon for an appendage and is demanding that you take her to Sarah Conner!

After that, I was afraid to ogle anymore! I just looked at the tram floor until I got off at Louise. I took the Metro to Trone! An advertisement in the Metro grabbed my attention: “Chef training classes!” I took down their phone number. I have such a passion for cooking and would really like to learn how to cook like a proper chef and forever eat like a king! On the same metro, I saw a man with the largest Adams apple I have ever seen! He looked like a Marabou stork!

Ummm…ok, with more hair…no feathers… and… aahh…yeah, no beak, just a nose and a blue t-shirt!! I was so tempted to ask him a question, just to see if the decibels he'd let off would rattle the metro carriage!

Last weekend, was The Church Youth Barbeque! I love barbeques, even when this one had all the hallmarks of being deathly boring! One of the policies I strictly adhere to is “Never say no to food” (And it has taken me many places)! I got there only to find that most of everyone didn’t know how to set up the barbeque grill! So I took up the chef’s hat and was in charge of flipping the burgers, ham, chicken sausages, and fish! Ohh!! I enjoyed it immensely!

I sat down and tried to socialise with a group of the youth! Now as much as my French sucks, I understand when people speak it. Why can’t I speak? Well, I can’t conjugate! I know all the words but in their infinitive forms and can’t be bothered really!! Conjugation is for the birds!! You know the one word that really irritates me that almost all native French speakers that learn English abuse is? “Boring” In French, there is one word for both “boring” and “irritating” which is?“Ennuyeux” So they forget that we have two words! Coucou once said, “ Those men keep whistling at me, it's so boring!!" And I’m thinking, guys whistling at you can't be boring!! It then dawned on me that she meant irritating!!

Conversations ranged from basketball to dance moves and finally descended to body parts! I always thought it was just my sisters, my mom, their friends and cannibals that spoke about stuff like that! However, listening to these girls conversation, I realised that I was gravely mistaken!
Girl une: "I get my eyebrows from my father."
Girl deux: "Really? I like their shape, did you tweez?"

Girl une: "Thank you! No, they are natural! You know; my fingers and toes are from my grand mother, my legs: my mother and my teeth: from the dog Chikwiss!”

(So I made up the part about the grandmother!)

They went on as I bit into another chicken drumstick and wondered where the Sprites were and what the heck I was doing there listening to this! It almost sounded as though each of their family members stood over a cauldron throwing in their maimed body parts and mixed them together with sugar, spice and all things nice to create them!!

I am selling my VAIO AR11B on eBay! So if you are my fan and want to actually buy something Raymond once owned, before he became: a famous…um… cook?...(wait, I’ll think of something to insert there soon!) Here is the link!

Why am I selling my VAIO? When I did my internship at SONY, I learnt that Consumer electronics like computers, mobile phones, and cameras suffer the fastest depreciation rates! So if you hang onto any of the above, for more than one year, you won't be able to sell them. So I always try to sell them off before they are a year old and then upgrade!

Which brings me to this:

The new VAIO TZ series!! In modest terms: SEXY doesn’t get any sexier!!!

Look at the green lit "Power On" button! GRRRR!! That is unadulterated pornography right there!(Is it a faux pas placing unadulterated and pornography together?) That picture should be rated R18!!

VAIO’s are like THC: Once you own one, you’ll need another hit!! I am hoping my VAIO sells for some extra money!


Shocking News of the Week:

Minega, your reign as blogger Emperor has FINALLY been challenged by the worthiest of foes!! This blog freaking rocks!!!!! I spent the entire day reading through every single post! Highly recommend it! Great stuff!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Two nights back, I walked into an argument between my Colombian housemate and his latest addition to the harem, a Polish chick! She has the English level of water hyacinth and a very strong Borat-like accent! Hence, hearing her speak is always one of the day's perks!

I had walked into the living room to get my laptop from the dinning table, there they both were; standing, Pole in tears. In between sobs, in the most shocked tone she asked him: “THIS IS END??!!” I rushed to my room and burst out into mad laughter! Laughed to tears! HAHAHHAHAHAHHA I still laugh whenever I remember it! I know you must think me cold and my humour grim!! But that’s comedy gold right there!! Just had to share it!

Last week, my landlord called me up and asked whether I wanted to renew the contract or I planned to move out, my apartment rent contract expires 9th September. I told him that I wasn’t staying. Two years living with my housemate, have been filled with more drama than a theatre bathroom soap dish! Whatever happens, I NEVER want to share an apartment in my life again, EVER!! If I have to work three jobs, train Siberian tigers how to ride a unicycle and juggle, to afford a single apartment, I WILL! (I guess the keywords here would be: NEVER, EVER!)

If I ever convince Minega to co-author a book with me, I will dedicate an entire chapter to life in this apartment!! No spoilers: You’ll have to wait for the book!!
Looking for a new apartment freaks me out! It's one of the toughest things I have experienced in Belgium! Just the thought of going through the entire hustle all over again!!... Something I am definitely not looking forward to!

My eldest sister Claire has a boyfriend and whenever I call her up, she asks, “Do you want to talk to him?” And before an answer is formulated in my Corpus callosum, she has already passed him the phone! He sounds like a cool guy, though he has the thickest African American accent! He sounds like LUDACRIS, the rapper! Whenever I am on the phone with him, I keep expecting him to shout “LUDA!!” at some point in the conversation! (Just like the rapper does in his songs!) But he never does! But should he propose to her, I’ll make him do it if he wants to receive my blessing! “LUDA!!”

Brussels is crazy with summer sales!! Everything is set to Darfur market prices! Some shops now accept cowrie shells and salt as a mode of payment!

I even read in the newspapers that if you commit a crime this month, for the price to pay for that one crime, you get two jail cells!! Yesterday, as I was in a tram going through Avenue Louise (Most Expensive street in Belgium) all shop displays had “SOLDES”( SALES) signs. Then all of a sudden I see “NO SALES” on a small sign in the J.M WESTON shop! HAHAHHAHAH that cracked me up! How snobbish is that?!! It’s a shame I won’t be shopping for anything this summer, I am completely skinned at the moment!

I watched “Die Hard 4”, HORRIBLE MOVIE!! Don’t waste your money on that crap! There’s a point where he drives a car really fast, out of a tunnel as he is being fired at (probably by armour piercing rounds) from a sniper in chopper. He then he jumps out of the speeding car, just before it ricochets off one of the tunnel barriers, flies into the air and takes out the helicopter!! WHAT THE HECK?!! I preferred the original trilogy!! This was definitely 24 steps backwards!! What’s happening to Hollywood! Think back, what was the last good movie you watched, in 2007?!! “Spiderman 3” was such a disappointment! I have not and will not watch “Shrek 3”!! I slept in the middle of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End”!! At the part when the ship sails upside down… my concentration span just let up (and I don't blame it)!! I dreamt, drooled and probably sleep talked even!! That movie had more than 132 plots sewed together by a seamstress on horse tranquilizers!!! With that said, I am still going to watch "Transformers"!!! I just hope that the sound they made when morphing from the cars into robots “KII KII KOOH KOOH!!” in the cartoon, is still the same! That would do me good!

I had a Pita with Julian and Coucou yesterday evening. Julian flew to Costa Rica today morning. So while we were eating, Coucou asked him to bring her some sand from the beaches. Want to know what I asked for? Two large bottles of Costa Rican salsa sauce!! Julian laughed! (Yes, I really love to cook with exotic ingredients and spices).

Are there times you remember something from way back, burst out laughing alone and everyone looks at you like you are mad? I noticed through the windows of the Pita restaurant, an Indian night shop, that had rows of NIDO (Nestlé powdered milk) stacked in their display window!! I burst out laughing alone! In SMACK (Ugandan secondary school), there was this chubby looking guy, Balhikya, I think his name was. He was nicknamed NIDO because he looked like a fat cow. I vividly remembered how Lutaaya Brian used to shout “NIDO” whenever he entered class! HAHAHAHHAHA!! I have some crazy memories!!

After we had devoured the pitas, Julian spoke of how he watched the most amazing Indian movie. Now Shruti Pyar and Twinny "No offence", but I have always thought Indian movies are total crap! Just the entire notion that( you might want to take a deep breath now): I can meet a girl, fall in love in Carrefour supermarket, start dancing with her near the frozen salmon stall, somehow all the other STRANGERS in the supermarket join in, know all the words of the song that I am making up as I sing and mirror my exact footwork, strikes me as … how do I put this gently… INSANE!! “But what do you expect? They are musicals after all!” You are probably thinking. But I just am not going to spend 4 hours watching that!! That’s another thing!! They are usually four hours long!! As you can tell, I have barrels more where that came from…

Julian, like a street preacher, told us all, how he was once lost, thinking that they are all crap! But now was found, when he watched “AŠOKA” He said that he cried!! Now that, coming from Julian, laden with South American Macho-ism as he is, can only mean that this is truly a movie I need to see! After the Pitas, we walked to an Indian DVD rental place, we found it there but I was a little sceptical (plus broke) and didn’t get it. When I got home, I called up Shruti (who is now my official Indian Movie Reviewer) and asked her about it and she said that she hadn’t watched it yet! (I think I might need to downsize her department!)
However, she told me that her favourite Indian movie was “KAL HO NA HO” I am planning to rent those two movies and see what all the Hullabaloo is about!