Time to add another ring to my circles. Originally I said I’d want to do something big for my 55th since I didn’t do anything major on my 50th (although it was celebrated at a Syrian chicken place in the Middle East, so not necessarily a normal birthday for an American — and I bet it’s archived somewhere in here), but well Corona took care of that. We had 4 friends come over on Saturday and had a wonderful time with them (you cannot have more than 4 people over, and it has to be the same 4 people who allow you into their homes — basically pick a circle of 4 to hang with), and three of my friends will sit out back with us tonight — with our lawn chairs safely spread apart. (since this a day later: they did come over and we enjoyed a lovely bottle of champagne with lots of sunshine and a lovely Spring breeze).
So, while not a big celebration year (and yet still perfect), this is my first year on the planet celebrating a birthday during a pandemic, so there’s that. And I’m pretty damned happy that neither I nor any of my loved ones have gotten it. Although my sister, a nurse in Virginia, did get really ill; she tested negative twice, and she’s on the mend.
I haven’t been writing much because, well, there’s not a whole lot to report. We’ve taken a lot of walks, and I’m now on a routine of taking an hour walk during my lunch breaks. We’ve shared a lot of treats with friends within walking distance — lol mainly my friends baking and sharing with us, but I’ve cooked a few meals or side dishes.
And, we’re currently car shopping since the mechanic went back to work last week and, sadly, told us our car was finished. We’ve watched a lot of t.v. — a LOT — lol and will continue watching more. I’ve finished up two courses and am close to finishing up another, so finally I’ll be able to read books for fun — woo hoo. School will be out in a few weeks, and it feels surreal. There’s no end-of-year excitement for me. I think the kids and I just want it to end, so that, hopefully, we can look forward to brick-and-mortar learning again (one day!).
Since we’re hopeful that Belgium will allow residents to travel more within its borders, we booked a cabin in the Ardennes for mid-June (after school officially finishes). Fingers crossed we can actually go to it. LOL cars are currently cruising our street blasting techno music — guess the kids gotta get their summer music festival feel however they can. And, Mons is doing what it can to keep people’s spirits up — including providing homes with free face masks.
Spring is flourishing, so our balcony is a lovely place to sit, sip and stare and rumor has it borders will open June 15, so perhaps there’s hope that Joe, Badger and I can go camping or rent a cabin in the Alps or something like that — using our new vehicle.
I officially signed the loan papers for a brand new pretty blue Toyota Rav 4. I’m a little nervous about its size since our streets and garage are small, but it’ll fit. LOL a compact SUV is gigantic over here, so pray I don’t scrape up its sides like I did on our ‘normal’ sized VW Golf. I have no idea when we’ll actually get the car — sometime in June perhaps. It’s not like in the states where you get your new car the day you buy it. But, I’ll be sure to post a pic when she arrives.
Overall life is going along well despite the nastiness around us. I have my grumpy days where I’m just super annoyed at everything, but then again I also get to work every day braless and in my jammies —- shhh don’t tell the kids. When/if things ever go back to normal I’m going to be grumpy that I have to groom and drive that pretty vehicle in traffic. I do treasure my walks, time on balcony and video chats with family and friends. And, I never forget how lucky I am to have all of this. Well it’s time for me to get back to work and by 4 p.m. I’ll be back on my balcony sipping nature’s nectar. Cheers and Happy We’re Still Healthy and Alive Day to you all!
p.s. I forgot to post Belgium virus numbers — gotta keep the tally posting until this thing ends: 55, 559 confirmed cases; 9080 dead BUT only 147 new cases and 28 deaths reported for May 17th. Yeah I know it still sucks that people are dying, but as of today in Belgium it’s at a much lower rate. Fingers crossed with relaxing measures it stays that way. While I’ll always say yes to a second wave of wine, it’s hell no to any more virus waves.
Shame on me for not posting most of February and all of March. Work and life have been busy (I know you’re tired of hearing that excuse, but it’s true). We’ve whooped it up around Belgium and Paris with friends who were visiting, we’ve gone to a few wine tastings and lots of dinners and local outings.
Same old, same old … but never dull! Even a trip to the flower market could turn into bubbly on the curb — especially when the sun is out!
The Grand Place is all decked out for Easter, including a big ferris wheel, which I’d like to post pics of, but I’m sure it’ll be down before I get to it. We’re leaving on Saturday for our big trip to Asia. I’m really excited about it. We begin in Beijing where we’ll see the Great Wall and Forbidden City, then we’re off to South Korea where we’ll whoop it up with Jordan and Wilbur and watch a Korean baseball game, imbibe at a Korean BBQ, do a DMZ tour and check out Seoul, then it’s off to Shanghai and then Hong Kong. Every stop except Beijing includes fun time with friends, some of whom I haven’t seen since moving away from the UAE. So, a busy, good time will be had.
Another thing I’m excited about is it’s Spring! Days are blessedly longer and work is winding down (I’m already planning away for next year). When we return from Spring Break, we have Game of Thrones parties, more friends visiting, weekend trips, Dou Dou fest (before that the Beer Fest!), more dinners and plenty of Grand Place adventures to look forward to. And then it’s time to fly back to the states for the summer where I’ll get to swim with the grand baby, my kids and friends. Let the warm days of fun begin!
And while I like this picture: Adieu to the long dark days of winter. LOL Winter is NOT coming here — until November.
After spending 16 years living in a desert, I am so so so so flipping ecstatic to be going through a real spring again! I loved Phoenix and the UAE, but I was born into 4 seasons (a late spring baby at that!), and it is my intention to die in a 4-season area (but not anytime soon). Don’t get me wrong, the desert has its spring too, and it is lovely, but it’s just not as amazing when the temperatures were already warm to begin with — AND when it’s your reminder that in too short of a time it will be in the 100s again.
Today is a gray, rainy day, but it’s all good because we’ve had almost two weeks of sunshine and temps that went above 80. Sooo, pretty much every free moment we have had has been spent outdoors. I’ve also gone into overdrive buying flowers for our place. So much color and fragrance! Here’s just a few, but my place and balconies are full of them.
I even have my birth flower. I love Lilly of the Valley, which grew wild in the Catskills, so a great childhood memory is picking them for myself (when we’d get out of the city to our ‘country house’) because, you know, they were MY flower. I haven’t seen these lil tinker bells in so long, I did a little dance when I saw them at the market. And can I say I freaking love, love, love that A. we have a Sunday Market; B. there are so many flower shops everywhere; and C. I always have fresh flowers in the house now. Ohhhh, and I also have a honeysuckle vine on my bedroom balcony, which makes my bedroom smell divine (why do I have to leave its bed?). I don’t care if temps drop back to the 40s, lol that window is staying open.
I’ve also bought a whole slew of edible stuff for my kitchen window.
I’ve got thyme, basil and rosemary too. Okay, I’ll stop with all the blooming pics. Oh wait, there’s one more. The backyard tree that mesmerizes me every day.
This pic doesn’t do it justice, but you get the idea. So, yeah there’s a lot of balcony time sipping and staring. Yum, yum.
There’s also been a lot of time on the Grand Place, doing the same, while running into friends.
And, we’ve done some touring too. Last weekend we spent all Saturday at an abby
I wish I uploaded more to show you because it’s in a beautiful area, and we plan on going back again. My wifi is sketchy, so this time around, I’m too lazy to fight it and upload more. The beer is quite tasty too.
Last Sunday, we went to Dunkirk.
And next weekend, we’re headed to Amsterdam. We haven’t gotten around to visiting the famous bluebell forest near Brussels or the tulip farms in the Netherlands, but we’re trying to fit that in the next two weekends (if it’s not too late). There’s also been a lot more touring around our area and finding little gems along the way, so needless to say we’re really enjoying ourselves. I cannot believe that in seven weeks the school year will be over (and oh my goodness do we have some fun summer plans). How did it all fly by so quickly?
Oh, and I bought my future grandchild his or her first bike bell. I’m already planting the seed for another without-borders soul. Cannot wait to meet him or her in November (although the lil one is expected to be born late August)!
And, of course, Badger has his take on the spring, so if you’re curious to see what he’s up to, go to https://badgerdoesbelgium.wordpress.com