BELGIUM:  Interview with K10K of The Penguin & The Panther

BELGIUM: Interview with K10K of The Penguin & The Panther

K10KWhere in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

I was born, raised and proudly remain stuck in the Belgian mud. I would sometimes dream about moving abroad, but it turns out I’m quite happy staying right here. I do like to travel several times a year, mostly for work.


What language(s) do you speak?

My mother tongue is Flemish (which is basically the same as Dutch), but with Belgium being a trilingual country, I also speak French and I can understand German. Obviously, I also speak – and write – English. About ten years ago I also decided to learn Indonesian, but all I remember of it now are the words kamar kecil, which means I can actually ask where the bathroom is if I would  make it to Indonesia one day.

In addition, I would love to learn how to read and write music, and to understand Amharic, the first language of our daughter.


When did you first become a mother?

This is a tricky one, because in my experience, I can call on two firsts.  Two totally different ways of expecting a child, of becoming a mother, both wonderful and intense. In 2006, I first became a mother when our son was born,  the one I love to call our cuddly Penguin. Five years later, in 2011, I first became an adoptive mother when we brought our two-year-old daughter home, our darling Panther.


Is your work, stay-at-home mom, other work at home or do you work outside the home?

Apart from being a full time mom, full time housekeeper and full time wannabe writer, I also have a full time job outside my home. Some might even say I’m building an exciting career as a geomicrobiologist, enabling me to go on missions abroad and to research amazing subjects, but they should  know that my favorite moments are without doubt coming home, be it after a working day or a business trip.


Why do you blog/write?

I started blogging (in Flemish) during our adoption procedure, merely as a way to keep friends and relatives posted on any news we would get in those long years. Along the way, blogging became a kind of therapy, enabling me to vent frustrations and personal struggles,  or to focus on optimism and fun facts. I also learned just how much I loved to write.

I kept on blogging until our daughter was home for two years. I recently decided to stop, mostly for the privacy of my children and because I felt like I was getting ‘addicted’ to blogging. It was a hard decision, disappointing to quite some readers who liked the plain honesty in my writing. But, as a go-between, I decided to start a low frequency, anonymous, English blog about life with my Penguin and Panther, and to contribute to WMB every once in a while. And in the extra spare time I have now, my newest endeavor is to write children’s books, which has long been a dream of mine.


How would you say that you are different from other mothers?

As a typically modest Belgian, I truly find it awkward to differentiate myself that way. I don’t believe I have something special about me as a mother, or a person for one. But since I have to, well, I guess I would be different from other mothers because my kids come in two opposite colors and with some extra needs. Our blond haired Penguin is an overly sensitive philosopher who understands more than is good for him, while our curly Ethiopian Panther deals with attachment, anxiety and health issues. They leave me both exhausted and enriched every single evening, but I guess that’s no difference to other mothers…


What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?

I don’t even know where to begin!  Every day is a challenge, when raising children, isn’t it? One of my major concerns though, is to let our children remain children as long as possible. I strive to keep a delicate balance between guarding my children innocence and purity, and still teaching them about the need for respect and care for the less fortunate or for our struggling environment. With today’s society going so fast, having everything within reach, leaving nothing to the imagination,  I try to create an island of simplicity and ‘slowness’ for our children (and ourselves!)  at home, where they can develop at their own pace. But when time comes, I still want them to be able to catch one of society’s speed boats that are racing by our island…


How did you find World Moms Blog?

I just bumped upon WMB through a cartoon someone shared. I think. My kids often beat me at ‘Memory’, so I can’t be sure about it. But I do remember I started reading and reading and couldn’t stop for another hour.


This is an original interview of our new writer in Belgium, K10K – pronounce it as Ka-ten-ka and you will come quite close to her real name – from The Penguin and The Panther

The image used in this post is credited to the author.


If you ask her about her daytime job, Katinka will tell you all about the challenge of studying the fate of radioactive substances in the deep subsurface. Her most demanding and rewarding job however is raising four kids together with five other parents, each with their own quirks, wishes and (dis)abilities. As parenting and especially co-parenting involves a lot of letting go, she finds herself singing the theme song to Frozen over and over again, even when the kids are not even there...

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