Since you've reached this spot, I guess you'd like to know something about me. Well, not much extraordinary to tell I suppose.
One day in 1963, I came to this world.
Being quite curious, I was happily looking around, wondering where all the
warmth had gone too. I've always been a quiet boy, and I wasn't any
different then. But the physician wanted to hear some noise, so he slapped
me on the bum. He got the noise he wanted ;-)
I was quite big - 4.850 Kg. Apparently some nurse had said that I had the legs of Rik Coppens, a soccer-player of that time, and quite some felt the need to come and have a look. Well, I may have been quite heavy at birth, I never was even chubby, on the contrary.
My first few years I spent in and around Antwerp. A bright kid, a bit shy, like about a zillion others. My father worked as a driver, usually deliveries in and around the city. I remember when I was about 5 or so he worked for a brewery-depot, and my mother had made me exactly the same gray dust coat as my father had. During the holidays I assisted him sometimes, proud as a peacock with my "uniform".
Later we moved to Waasmunster, to the woods. My sister (I have two, I was the oldest) had a bit of a fragile health, and she couldn't really stand the dusty smoggy air of a big city. Of course it's a big disaster, to have to leave all your friends and your well-known school, but those woods sure made up for a lot. We had a big garden, and in fact we considered all the woods around us as our garden as well. Summers were always too short.
In the meantime - I was about 11 - there were some troubles between my parents. They separated, and that would last 3 years. During that time my mother - the children lived with her - moved 3 times. A pattern that would continue over the next decade. After those 3 years my parents decided to give it a try together. 5 Days later my father died. Not the nicest thing to witness.
Also not really nice is to see how people try to take advantage of a single mother. Heaps of promises and nice words from car-salesmen, bank-managers, and all other sorts, but when it dawns to them that they won't get any further than the front door, all that prose turned out to be hot air. I remember we used to have a very old camera, the "accordion" type, just like in comics, and Hubert D. asked to borrow it to have it appraised and show his son - and that was the last time we saw the camera. Yeah, just keep on promising "next week"...
I had some problems at school at first. Both the fact that, when I came home, school completely disappeared from my mind, and the fact that the first "big" school I was in tried to mold me into something I wasn't, made me change directions. Cookery school was the result. Well, at that time I believed in it.. I was still the quiet shy guy. Quiet was not really a quality however that one would link to my music choice of that time. Kiss entered the hit-parade with "I Was Made For Loving You", and I was sold. On this site, in the "Time Off" section, you can find some pictures I took of several gigs of several bands, over the next few years. I'm pretty proud of some. Proud of having a pile of Kiss-records on my shelves? Well...;-)
After school, getting a job wasn't easy. I was of slightly darker skin then - more time to spend in the sun then now - and I had an ID card in the wrong color. Building, painting, almost a year in a croissanterie,... and then unemployment. I had discovered computers (a ZX81 - 1KB of RAM!), and I wanted to know more about them. Can't really say why, there was just some chemistry. But it was hard to get training, someone told me that "informatics is the fashion word of these days, but it doesn't give you a job". Fine. So I picked the one training I was "allowed" to follow, that had the most hours at a PC - accountancy.
I needed a bit of a hand to get that first job (at MSS, my resume can tell you more if you like), and though it was a computer company, I didn't really work with computers: I received and prepared shipments. Loose parts most of the time, and if they needed assembling there were technicians to do so. But one day there was an urgent shipment and there were no technicians in, so they asked me if I would manage to Plug In The Video Cards. I said I'd try. They didn't explode. This was a great solution for MSS, Jim Can Assemble PCs! And for me too, so I could fiddle around with DOS, and later with all sorts of software that needed installing. After all, I had a warehouse full of bits and pieces to make me the PC I needed. And since I knew the machines by heart after a while, I did all the repairs of the Compaq computers.
Word got around in the company, I got a bit of a reputation, and when the management split up after the umpteenth fight, one of them asked if I would be interested in going with him, in a startup company. Sure, why not, every time I asked something at MSS I was "just the warehouse guy" anyway, no need for a training, a bonus, a company car, whatever. The next company, ICM, was ambitious, and required me to get some certifications. So 6 months later I was Novell CNE, and Compaq ASE (one of the first in Belgium). Unfortunately the boss liked money, more than his company could pay, and we ended up bankrupt. The entire team started a new company - without the boss - but there after a few years I felt I couldn't grow anymore. Now I can ;-)
Meanwhile I don't know if you noticed but there was a lot of work and so, and not much private life, let alone romance. That changed when I met my sweet Annika, in June '99. And since august '99 we were a couple. We traveled back and forth between Belgium and Sweden (and some other countries too), and we cherished the (too little) time we spent in each other's company. Geographic distance does create its own difficulties though, and unfortunately it didn't last.
Life goes on they say..
To be continued...
© Jim Bella 2002-2004