A few weeks ago we booked our first Belgian beach vacation since moving here, and lol of course it’s the one weekend a major storm hits. All is well: we survived, our cars survived, Badger survived.
We rented a cottage in the Koksijde area, which was lovely and its old roof and walls held tight despite the constant pummeling of gusts up to over 100 km per hour — all weekend long.
On Friday night while the wind howled, we made some noise of our own yowling out our own gusts of fun and stories. Saturday we ventured out and followed a trail that brought us to the dunes, which brought us to the beach, and which eventually brought us to the woods. It was wonderful, windy AF and probably too dangerous to be out, but whatevs … we survived.
I started this entry a few days after out trip, but life, work, the exhausting drain of 2020 got in the way. Basically, I forgot to come back and finish up the post. Badger has some great pics to also share, so I’ll get on his blog next.
Today is a rare sunny autumn day. It’s been raining for weeks, which is okay because Belgium is supposed to be rainy and before the rain finally returned it was way too dry. The leaves haven’t really changed color yet probably because they were so damned dehydrated. Some are yellow but mostly it’s just brown or green — totally matches the whole mood/tone whatever the eff you want to call it of 2020.
Like everyone else on this planet I am sooooooooooo done with Covid and sooooooooo done with the shitstorm that is 2020. And oooh there’s a lot I could say about the politics in my own country, but those conversations are better off had in my living room. That said I did finally upload my vote yesterday. I clicked the submit button with a little extra gusto, so it felt good.
Covid numbers are drastically increasing and with that comes more restrictive measures, so yeah we’re once again hunkering down in our apartment. I have a vacation coming up in a few weeks, but we can’t cross borders right now (they’re not actually closed, but I can’t miss work because of travel-related quarantine), so we’ll explore more of Belgium while masked. Again, I’m done with it all, but I’m glad to say we’re still healthy. And, at least I’m stuck in a beautiful corner of the world, so we will make the best of it. With the longer dark and cold days comes more baking and roasting — it’s not like my waistline ever had a chance.
I’m bummed we can’t see the kids nor can they visit us, but summer (and hopefully the chance to travel) is lol just around the corner.
Stay safe and healthy everyone! We have some rocky days ahead of us before it’ll get better, but we can pull through and make the best of what we have.
And Badger pawed out his version, go to Badger Does Belgium.
This is probably the hardest time of year because it’s when I get the most homesick (it comes in waves). Two of my children have birthdays — Kyle’s was on Tuesday and Kaylene’s is today. When they were young I always threw them a combined halloween/birthday party — until they started requesting something different (but that didn’t stop me from inviting folk over to get all ghouly). I love, love, love halloween, so having two kids birthdays near it always just made it that much better. I’d dec out my house and whip out the crock pot because this is when it gets chilly enough for stews and fires — in Virginia it was our wood stove; Arizona it was our outdoor fire pit. Plus, who doesn’t like having glow-in-the dark witches and frankensteins hanging all over the place?
October through Jan 1 is just one excuse after another to snuggle up, eat hearty foods, sip good whatevers, laugh and love with the good (who sometimes drive you crazy) people. We do it here too, but it’s not the same. Besides it’s still too warm for any kind of fire other than the one heating up the shisha coals or burning in our Fall-scented candles. That said on halloween I had a lovely dinner with Shannan and Ian, and we wtf-ed over Westworld episodes.
and ewwwed over these cookies I found at Abelas, a store that caters to expats.
During the week Haneefa and I shrieked and questioned life while watching Black Mirror episodes (if you like freaky shows like the Twilight Zone, give this one a looksie; it’s on Netflix). We’ve got the chamomile tea, a/c blasting (to make it cold) and fuzzy blankies to snuggle with, but, no offense to my friends, I’d still rather have my burly man there rubbing my feet. Somehow I don’t think my friends would continue coming over if I plopped my feet on their lap and gave them lotion, and since I enjoy their company I’ll just continue rubbing my own damned soles (but Joe your time is nigh!).
This country also has its fun times coming up. Yesterday was Flag Day, which is when the UAE celebrates its patriotism by showing off their flag and getting all giddy over their citizenship. I learned yesterday that it’s also a son’s way of honouring his father. Way back when the former sheik passed away and the responsibility of ruling this country transferred to his son, the new sheik wanted to do something that commemorated who his father was, so on his version of a coronation he created Flag Day. I think that’s pretty cool. From now until January festive lights and flags will pop up all over the country because coming up December 2 is National Day, the UAE’s birthday. So it is festive here, and it is cooling down, and it’s good to see my students having fun, but as nice as this is it’s all not ‘my’ holiday. I’m honored to take part in it, but I’m really missing doing my traditions with my American brethren — although I am glad to not be part of the heated political rants (inshAllah that nightmare will be over soon — yeah yeah I know the uglies will keep on for awhile but a girl can dream).
I missed watching the cubs win, but another teacher friend of mine watched the last few minutes of the game with her students, and they all cheered — bringing two worlds together for just a bit during something called the World Series, so see good things are happening. Opposite cultures can rejoice together.
As for what else I’ve been doing: last week I got to go on my first field trip. It’s always difficult to get a trip approved, and there’s always so much that needs to be done in the classroom, hence the reason that my first one is during my third year here. Our theme this trimester is careers, so we took the girls to a career fair in Abu Dhabi, and it was a great experience for them. They got to mingle with universities from around the world — including my Alma mater VCU (how exciting that was for me) and a university from Arizona (good to speak to a Flagstaffonian) and I got to share something new with them. I really think this is the best part about teaching — when you can connect the real world to what you’re boring the hell out of them with in the classroom, and they finally see that oh wow this stuff is actually cool. Yesterday two of my students from last year popped in, and woo hoo they told my class to pay attention to my grammar and essay lessons because they’ll need it next year. HumdaAllah dots are being connected!
How do you feed 50 hungry girls at a very busy, small gas-station McDonalds? You get the food to come to you!
On a bittersweet note I’ve decided this is definitely my last year here. I will forever be grateful for this experience and will always have a soft spot for my girls here (if any of you are googling and stalking me, I expect to see you do great things! Now khallas with the social media and get back to studying). It’s time for me to move on to another experience, so the search for where I’ll be next year is on (and the better news is my man will be with me). I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m applying to international schools with good reputations (and, well, salaries and benefits as well — Mama likes to eat and travel) and DODEA. Joe and I will discuss any offers that come my way and plan from there. We’ll see where it all leads to next. The only thing that’s certain is that 2017 will include a whole new set of new!
And that’s all I’ve got for you for this week. Ewww, and I typed all of this while sipping a velvety pumpkin-spice latte, so life is still very good and almost autumnish.