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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?

Compliments

Blog every day in May, day 23: Tell us about the best compliment you have ever received.

I’ve had a thunk about this one. What does make a compliment a great compliment? If someone tells you you’re the bees knees every day, after a while, you’re gonna kinda expect it. The absence of compliment might be devastating but the compliment itself will no longer have so much impact. So the best compliments will most likely be unexpected. They’ll probably also come from people you admire. For instance, Amélie telling me the food I’ve cooked is tasty would make me happy but Hanno’s little brother (who has cooked some of the best food I have ever eaten) telling me the same thing would be huge (obviously, this is an entirely theoretical example since I never cook and, if I did, any compliments from Niko would be lies delivered through a sick-filled mouth – boiled fish fingers anyone?).  

 Great compliments are probably also going to be about one of two things: (1) things you are insecure about; or (2) things that are really important to you. Let’s illustrate. I am not secure about my looks, so someone telling me I look nice is always going to be more meaningful to me than someone telling me I do walking really well (because, yes, I know that I walk like a figgin’ pro. I’ve been putting one foot in front of the other for decades now and I hardly ever fall over anymore). Similarly, being told that I have nice shoes is going to have less impact than being told I have nice children. Because my shoes are ever so slightly less important to me than my children. Unless they’re having a screaming match in which case I love my shoes more (joke!). In fact, one of the best compliments I have ever received was from my WSM (my step-mum – she likes to be referred to as the Wicked Step Mother). She has very little time for fussy eaters (oh the stories I could tell. But I won’t. Cos I love her. Maggoty peas. What?! I didn’t say anything!) but after our last visit to England at Easter, she told me that my children were “good eaters”. Now that’s what I call huge. Had me grinning for days that did.

 So that’s that. And remember to say “thank you”. This is something my beautiful friend Tara taught me. If someone pays you a compliment, don’t disagree. That’s rude. Instead graciously accept the compliment with a thank you.

24 May 2013 - 11:14 PM tara - that earned a big grin... obviously. look, ma! no crying!!

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