Friday, December 31, 2004


the days between christmas and new years are always odd.

christmas sucked. muchly.

even more than that christmas eve i spend sleeping on an australian living room floor. my mom and me were exhausted both mentally and physically, my dad gave the impression he'd rather be left alone and was totally non-understanding of my mom's exhaustiaon. so even though my brother was relatively calm (by his standards, at least), it wasn't exactly enjoyable.
it just wasn't christmas. there was no home cooked food. no choir singing. no real tree. no presents (at least not for me).

i hadn't expected much. given the circumstances, i had hoped for some quiet time together, good olf family time, and that just didn't materialise really.
plus the food (over which i had no control) sucked muchly from a vegan perspective and i was constantly hungry for lack of good food.
i ended up spending christmas eve alone in a hotel room with two bottles of rigo after a dinner consisting of vegemite toasts, as the rehab clinic had provided mountains of fish and cheese as vegetarian food.
never again.

but why whine?
it's over and done with and next year, it'll be different. the only time that was enjoyable were the 90 minutes in church on christmas day singing "a catholic christmas - greatest hits", even though my mom cried the entire service, i tried to console her, and my dad kept scolding me for doing so.
and i'm not even catholic anymore.

what was the title of that book my douglas coupland again? all families are psychotic? i guess that was it.
it was all so bad it was bordering on the absurd, the surreal.

the inbetweendays i spent travelling, as pretty much every year, staying with dirk for two days at his mom's farm. despite the greyness of the weather a good, quiet time was had by all: good company, a little christmas replay for me, lots of cooking and ice skating for the first time in years. i need to include more iceskating into my life in 2005.
i also spend them glued to the telly with cnn and the news of the tsunami.
when i saw the first news about an earthquake in sumatra early sunday morning, being sleepless in that shitty hotel, it seemed like *just another earthquake*. now that the true scale of the desaster has revealed itself, it's beyond grasp, really.
the papers, the news round here are full of news about the injured tourists: it almost seems as if dead europeans are more worthy to be cried about than dead sri lankans or thais.
yesterday's zeit featured fantastic commentary by frank sch├Ątzing, critisising the west for enjoying the overly cheap holidays in southeast asia while not caring about the people there.
why does it always hit the poorest of the poor?

and does anyone believe that the sri lankan army had nothing better to do on tuesday than to airlift helmut kohl out of his hotel?
in the zeit, rupert neudeck also notes that europeqans are so shocked because this hits our luxury, our reliable holiday weather, our relaxation zone. and it's true.
on tuesday, i saw austrian tourists on the news complaining that they couldn't enjoy their holiday in thailand because "they weren't clearing the beach and the trees of the bodies quickly enough". it was sickening, their self-rightenousness, their lack of compassion. i just hope that they feel ashamed now for those comments, having understood the extend of the disaster by now.

i donated money to the international red cross. there won't be any fireworks tonight, but more donations instead.

so while i'm rather cynical about all the euro-centristic coverage of this global desaster, i can relate to it, too. in a strange twist of fate, this is close to home, too:
the best friend of fabian's girfriend maike was on phi phi island as the wave struck. she was injured but is safely back home in belgium now, after days of worry on maike's and her family's part.

but how can you measure the despair this has caused?
yesterday, cnn interviewd a sri lankan man who had lost 35 members of his family, including his pregnant wife.
how is he, his society, his part of the world to recover from this?

like i said: beyond grasp.

in any way, as these inbetween days draw to a close, as the year ends (already?), i'm back at my parent's place as my mom left to spend the last 5 days with my dad at the clinic and as usual i'll be looking after shop/house/cat. thankfully not alone, as dirk should be arriving in a little while.
it will be a quiet new years of cooking, company, movies, talking. i couldn't party right now.

these are strange days, these inbetween days.

may 2005 be better, a year without global, without personal disaster.