Monthly Archives: November 2017

Plenty to be thankful for…

This is my fourth year away from family on Thanksgiving, and while it is hard there is still so much that I am grateful for.

  • There are always people willing to take you in and share their food, wine and laughter with.  I’ve been invited to all kinds of fun activities tonight, tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday — there is no time to get lonely, pining for family time (but oh what I would give to be with Joe and the kids today).
  • I’m surrounded by giving, good people.  My neighbors upstairs are moving back to the states, and you would not believe how much great stuff they have given me.  You know how I’ve been stressing over getting a bed delivered;  no need.  They gave me a fantastic king-sized one, a dining room table, fans, lights, small appliances, the list goes on.  I cannot believe how lucky I am.  All they asked is I give back to someone else, and they’re fans of Grandma’s Closet (or is it attic?), so a donation in their honour will be made.  I hope it’ll help pull someone else through a tough transition like their gifts have helped lift my spirits!

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Just a taste of what I’ve been lucky to receive!

  • I’m driving my car!  I got my tags earlier this week, and it’s so much more fun to drive than the Twingo.
  • I think I’m getting Internet/cable service next week — my hope is that typing this will make it so.
  • I have my health; Joe and the kids have their health; every one is doing well.
  • Life is good.

I’m also on the continent of Christmas markets, which are budding all over the place.  I went with some friends to the one in Lille, France (only an hour drive away!), going to the one in Brussels next weekend, and the weekend after that the one in Mons is opening, so mulled wine, gingerbread and all sorts of goodies galore!

In a few weeks I head home to see the family for Christmas, and then the countdown for Joe and Badger’s move begins.   It’s finally all coming together as it always does, and that might just be the best thanksgiving of all.

lille3

Badger finally cool with his kennel.  LOL don’t know how cool he’ll be with it on that long flight, but we’ll cross that bridge in February.

I hope you’re all enjoying time with your loved ones, and I promise to post more soon — just a little busy with work, finishing up the move-here process and play.

When a rainy day gives you closures, you make belly-pleasing adventures

Yesterday Belgium celebrated the name of my street — okay, not the street or its name (Onze Novembre), but the date since it commemorates the day WW1 ended on paper.

Most stores are closed on Sunday, so a friend and I planned a shopping day for Saturday. We had it all planned out, meet for breakfast, hit Ikea (yes I AM a glutton for punishment), the mall, other household stores, etc., etc.  It was going to be our apartment decorating day.  What we found was locked doors and Ferme signs all over the big-chain establishments.

Belgium takes its memorials serious, so employers take heed.  Who wants to shop on a day off anyway?  I wasn’t happy about this at first, but we strolled on down to a cafe I assumed would be open since it caters to English-speaking folk (although of course they’ve got the French down pat too).  Hahaha a coffee house named after Texas and run by a southern man, who I’m assuming is from Texas.  I love going to local places, and, for the most part, I’m all about imbibing in the local flavour and saving my Americanisms for when I’m home, but this weekend I needed to have my first cup of coffee where I didn’t need to point and pantomime, and it was awesomeness.

Turns out a lot of privately owned places were open.  The Belgium bakery two or three doors up from the Texas place was also open, and I’ve been told that place is wonderful too (so it’s on my list).  When we finished eating, we stopped into what we thought was a wine shop to learn it sells only beers.  The owner is a lovely woman who works hard to find the right beer for you.  We ended up spending quite a bit of time there and got some Christmas shopping done.  If you’re ever in Mons, stop by Cave a Biere on Rue d’ Havre (a street that juts off the Grand Place, Infotel hotel is on it — everything else I mentioned is there too).  Something tells me I’ll be a regular at this little speciality shop/bar.

The Fromagerie was also open, so heck yeah Mama bought some specialty cheeses.  I love that I live in a place that has stores dedicated solely to cheese — with bakeries to boot.  My two biggest weaknesses (well besides wine) have their own stores!

The Grand Place was loaded up with carnival rides and games for kids, so despite the rain everything smelled like roasting sugary goodness, which makes you hungry no matter how much you already have in your belly, so we ate again at a little place off some other road. That one wasn’t as great as our other stops, but we still had a good time.

We even got lost and ended up at the park near the Belfry, which has beautiful views of the city.  I purposefully have not gone to any of Mons’ main attractions, The Belfry being one of them, because I’m saving touring those with Joe when he arrives.  But woo hoo there are so many hidden gems in this city that I get to discover.

Soooo, my rainy Saturday didn’t earn the cube shelves I want for my living room, but it turned out way, way, way better.  Later on today, I go to another friend’s house for curry pumpkin soup and more goodies — yeah, I know my buddha belly is never going away.

As for all the other stuff going on:  my furniture did arrive last week (woo hoo), my cable/Internet did not (boo hoo), my car still looks great parked waiting for its tags, it’s getting chilly and I’m loving winter fashion, work is still great, my apartment is coming along (will post pics when I’m finished decorating), oh and I got to visit my relatives in Germany last week.  I LOVE that all I have to do to travel is walk to train station, get to airport, land and then hop on a train again — it’s so, so easy.  LOL although, lugging a suitcase up the cobblestone hill that leads to my place is a bit of a cardio workout.

So all is well, and my weekends are booking up with all sorts of holiday festivities, and then before you know it I’ll be home baking cookies and sipping bevies with my kids, Joe and Arizona friends.  This year is flying by!

p.s. my crappy old phone (it’s a 3 in its series) has been annoying me forever.  It’s insane, I know, but I’m wasting my hard-earned euros and buying the iPhone X soon —— soooooooooooo, better pics will be posting in the near future.

 

 


 

 

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