Sunday, October 23, 2005

When in Rome, do the Romans

I’ve been a month here and I'm feeling at home now.
- I no longer stare at the orthodox Jews on Belgielei and wonder 'They still live like this???'.
- I sleep in the train without the fear of missing my station.
- The Bangladeshi surfing centre guy flashes me a big smile every time I walk past his shop. (Although the Tamilian lady next door starts scanning the ground when she senses my presence).
- I can differentiate between Dutch, German and French. I can speak a few sentences in Flemish too.
- I can strategically time to millisecond accuracy my visits to my desi friends here so that I get invited for meals.
- The Gujju guy at the night shop spits out his paan to talk to me. I find that very flattering.
- My biological clock seems to be already in tune with the seasons here. At least my scalp seems to be responding to the mysterious stimuli of the fall season, evident from post-shower analyses of the bathroom sieve.
- I like waffles.
- But I realised I was really blending in; when I realised I was subconsciously doing the 'Belgian pout'. A couple of weeks ago Fran asked me what I think is the most peculiar thing I noticed in Belgium. At that time I had no answer but if she asks me again I have to say it is the Belgian Pout. It’s the Belgian equivalent of the famous Ambiguous Indian Head Shake. This is how you do it; you purse your lips to form the smallest circle possible, lift your eyebrows, nod your head a couple of times and optionally let out an unsure 'yeah' (of course, it wont sound like a 'yeah' because you've rounded your lips!!). When done correctly it literally translates to 'I don’t see why not!’.
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