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It’s been a minute…

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We haven’t fallen into an abyss; we’ve just been busy, busy, busy.  Before I fill you in on what we’ve been up to, let me photo blast you the latest addition to my family who is born on 8/18/18.  He’s been raising hell and breaking hearts since the minute he became my daughter’s son.  I get to hold the little cutie on October 27th.  I cannot wait!

 

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This child has no idea how much we’re all going to spoil him.  Oh I soooo hope he and his parents can come visit this summer — oh and when he’s a little older, Christmas!  Europe is so magical around Christmas time.  Okay, it’s always magical, but uber lit in December.

Tickets are booked for Kyle and his girlfriend to visit during Christmas, so I’m also excited about that.

We’ve been busy with visitors actually.  In August we had too much fun with Jordan, in September Joe’s friend Brian came for a week and those two had a great time touring Normandy, and then last week my friend Marna popped in for a few days.

 

Showing off Belgium to visiting friends:  beer, waffles, Brugge, outdoor markets, Mons Tanks in Town and the Belfry.

We’ve also been whooping it up with our friends in Belgium as well.  There’s just so much going on this time of year.  We checked out the flower carpet in Brussels, had too many laughs doing a pub crawl in Brussels, had quite a few Grand Place days, and were mesmerised at the Fire Symphonie in Viller’s Abbaye.  Baroque music and acts in the abby ruins, lit up only by candles and fire.  It was truly amazing.  I hope they do it again next year.

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LOL my crazy peeps tailgating before the big event.  My pictures don’t do the symphony justice.  The musicians, the dancers, the fire acrobatics, lol and the horse act all on a brisk night amidst the ruins of our past.  Villers Abbey is one of my favorite places to go near Brussels.  We’re signing up for more of their experiences!

 

A bizarre in Germany, the shopping street in Mons and the flower carpet in Brussels.

There’s so much more to share, but I can’t think of it all.  Living in Belgium is such a treat for us.  I know there will come a day when we have to leave here, but for now we’re inhaling it all as much as we can.  There’s pretty much a festival or some sort of fun event going on every weekend until after Christmas.  Then we’ll have the dark, cold days of January and February to snuggle up at home, and then before you know it Spring kicks in, and we’re back outdoors whooping it up.

Work has been super busy, so this weekend we decided to just chill in Mons, and lo and behold there was a pumpkin festival…

 

Camembert with pumpkin and flowers, and those birds and flowers are carved squash and pumpkins!  Yum yum.

 

While sitting at our favourite cafe pub Excelsior, this happened! I wish I could tell you who the fur men shaking bells were, but all I know is when they finished performing the masks came off, fur stayed on, and they found their spot in the Grand Place and drank beer with the rest of us.  This is Mons:  Past and Present; Paganism and Christianity all meld together and enjoy a good beer when the sun is out (which has been quite a lot actually)!

I’m slammed at work the next few weeks, and then I’m off to visit the grand baby, but I’ll try to post more frequently again.  And, Badger is ticked at me for not putting the woof in his blog, so I’ll work on that soon as well.  Until then Happy Autumn!

Jordy & Wilber’s Big Fat Gay Wedding

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Woo wee did we ever have a fun time celebrating Jordan and Wilber’s nuptials in the Dominican Republic.  If their wedding is any indication of their life together, it’s going to be a whirlwind of everything.  Pool parties, boat party, beach parties, dinner parties, a surprise party, hell even acrobatic pirates, a burlesque show and an unexpected night in Columbia became part of all the fun.

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The best was all the love and laughter from friends and family who traveled from around the world to take part in solidifying their union.  Those two have the coolest people as friends, and the wedding was beautiful.  I really enjoyed getting to know Jordan and Wilber’s family, and I’m honoured that we got to share in all of their glory.  Love should be unabashedly celebrated and highlighted like it was on this trip.  It’s the best of what we humans have to offer.

I also cherished getting to spend some time with some of Jordan’s and my UAE peeps who we haven’t seen in a year.  We became each other’s support and family over there, and I so missed our time together.   I’m a lucky gal to have so many wonderful people in my life.

Joe and I also had a few moments of couple time enjoying a spa day, and strolling through the resort’s tropical landscape, beach and shhhh, even sneaking in a night-time swim in its amazing pool.

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Our anniversary was on the 16th, so it was a nice way to remind us of our own love bond and life together.  The plan was to enjoy our anniversary in Brazil with Jordan and Wilber (since we’re spending 10 days there with them in an adorable beach house in a town called the Port of Kings), BUT we had to have some drama thrown in.

Long story short our flight was delayed, which caused us to miss our connecting flight, so the airline put us all up for a night in Bogota, Columbia.  At first we were like shit yeah, another country to add to the list, but then we walked up to the gate and saw folk bundled up in fur-lined parkas.  Um, it’s winter in Columbia, and we were in tank tops, shorts and sandals because hello? it’s flipping humid and hot in Dominican Republic.  But, the Team Jordy-Wilber crew persevered and made our way to Bogota.  Luckily a Bogota winter translates to rain and temps in the 50s and 60s, so while chilly it certainly wasn’t arctic.

By the time we got to our rooms we were all exhausted, so no tour of the city the next day, but we enjoyed watching the Policia and their bomb/drug sniffing dogs work their beats near the hotel.   Joe and I walked to the nearby mall, so that I could buy a sweater, and I have never seen so many working dogs before (and I so badly wanted to scratch their necks!).  It’s a little jarring, but everyone we met was so friendly and accommodating despite the fact that we knew very little Spanish and they very little English. I doubt I’ll get the chance to come back, but I would like to tour more of Columbia —- despite the uglies that facilitate the need for all that security.

And Joe and I got to celebrate our anniversary at the hotel bar (God Bless bartenders who aren’t stingy with their gin!)  We’ve made it another year sipping, feasting, and laughing our way around this lovely little planet of ours.  And, now we get to cheer on our friends as they do the same!

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Will walk (and walk, and walk) for beer!

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We had fun on our our mini vacation lol visiting Mini and her family in Bavaria.  One of the highlights was our kind of workout:  the Funf Seida Steig, a 10 km hike that includes five breweries in the Franconia area of Germany.  Our hike turned into a much longer one when our guide got lost, but now that we’re no longer huffing and puffing and thinking we’re gonna die amongst the hills and fields it’s all good — we burned lots of calories and imbibed more.

 

Beer on a comfy lawn while earning our brewery stamps worked for us!

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And who doesn’t love walking through fields, forests and hills on a sunny day!

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Brewery hiking isn’t all that we did (although beer was a theme!).  Joe got to spend a day in Nuremberg with Mini’s son while Mini, a friend of hers and I went pottery shopping in  Poland.  I now have a slew of Boleslawic cups, plates, bowls, you name it prettying up the innards of my kitchen cabinets!  Plus, we got to spend the night in a quirky, burlesque art-like hotel, so of course a good time was had by all.

 

And yeah … more bevies and lots of Polish grub were also part of the journey.

Joe finally got to see Munich, but since it was a rainy day we pretty much just dried out (while wetting our insides) at The Brauhaus, and did more of this…

 

Another lovely day was spent strolling the streets of Regensburg (aargh those pics didn’t upload, but you get the idea:  beautiful buildings, greenery, and, well, beer!)

We even got to cruise a bit on the Danube to, big surprise here, an Abby with monk-brewed beer.

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But, most importantly, we got to spend quality time with friends, and that’s always a good thing!

I’m a bit rushed because we’re taking off again for our next adventure.  Tomorrow we’ll be in Dublin, and then it’s off to our big trek to celebrate Jordan and Wilber’s upcoming nuptials!  In between all of that is World Cup Fever (Belgium keep it coming!) and more quality time with old (lol not age-wise, but we’re getting on up there) friends.

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May none of us end up this way!

School’s out for summmmmer!

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Summer break:  Day one!

Another year logged and graded!  Can you believe?  This year flew by.  I mean really fast. It still feels like I just got here.  This time last year I was going through close-out hell in UAE and new-hire paperwork hell for this job.

Some of my good UAE friends are going through that now.  I don’t envy them (although I know their next adventure will be as exciting as mine), but I am thrilled that I’ll get to see them in a few weeks.  We’re flying to Dominican Republic to cheer on Jordan & Wilbur’s wedding — whoop whoop!  I cannot wait to pool drink, beach nap and OMG go to a spa with them again!  Mama needs some pampering with her girls.

Joe and I have got it good. Because we’re finally living in an area that isn’t as hot as the sun, we’re not rushing to get out of here.  So, we’re piddling around Belgium next week, then driving to a friend’s house in Bavaria (I might even get a chance to go to Poland to shop for pottery — ewwww yeah!), then flying to Dublin (Slainteing it up with Derrick), then DR, and then off to Brazil for 10 days, and then Jordan & Wilbur will fly back to Brussels with us.  Sooooo woo hoo — lots and lots of catching up with friends and fun times. Then in August I get to go back to work to a job I really enjoy, and welcome year two of my life here — which we hope will continue for quite a few years!

One of the many perks to being a teacher is the annual end-of-year reflection.  It’s nice to have that time to sip coffee and think about all that went well and all that went south way too quickly — some years it’s more crap than good, but mostly it’s more positive.  And while we’re oh sooooo happy to be getting our break, we do think fondly of our kids and all that they taught us — yeah even you “Johnny” who may or may not have given me a twitch from refraining a cuss word or two.

For me, this year, the bad was mostly outside my little bubble.   I don’t like where things are in the world right now, but the optimist in me clings (desperately at times) to the notion that change for the better will happen.  I’m not naive; there’s more chaos to come before some sort of calm, but working with teenagers always gives me hope.  Of course they’re still hormone-riddled, angst-obsessed, volatile beings, but they’re on the cusp of the adults they will become, and I always see way more hope and good than helplessness.  So, yeah, I still believe the young will fix some of what we broke — while knowing they’ll also break some things of their own.

I’m not going to bore you with my thoughts on all the different movements and walkouts taking place in my home country, but I will say I’m glad people (especially the young) are waking up and getting their voices heard.  It’s my hope all those voices will join to lead us to progress and smother out much of our senseless harm.  So, that’s my first-day of summer break reflection for you.  Time to refill my cup of coffee and get on with my deadline-free days.

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While Badger gets to go to Germany with us, he’s ticked we’re not taking him on our other adventures.  LOL he thinks giving me the sad puppy eyes will change my mind, but nope he’s going off to doggy summer camp!

 

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