27 November 2015

Bitterzoet Carrefour

Our home away from home.  Belgium.

As I write this post, with tears in my eyes, it's only fitting that it be in my very own, mediocre, grammatically incorrect, Flemish words . . .

Onze leven in Belgie is tot een einde te komen.  Onze tijd hier was een fantastische ervaring.  Wij zijn zo fortuinlijk.  Het was meer dan een avontuur.  Het is ons thuis.  Ik zou niet wissel deze ervaring voor iets in het wereld.  Zes jaar is een zeer lange tijd en zullen wij het heel veel missen.

Ons verhuizen is ook bitterzoet omdat moet vertrek wij zonder Ross, maar weet wij dat hij is oke en blij. Wij kijken nu uit naar onze nieuw leven dichtbij de rest van ons familie en Ross zal snel volgen .

Tot ziens naar deze kleine land wij thuis gebeld!

25 November 2015

Lock Down

This is the header of our newspaper every day now . . . Paris Attacks.  The threat level remains at 4, the highest, for Brussels.  The city is in somewhat of a lock down, but slowly going back to normal.  This tiny country making headline news around the world . . . and not in a good way.

Brussels is normally a bustling metro city of nearly 2 million people.  A land area smaller than Baton Rouge, but with twice as many people.  More than 60% of the residents of Brussels are foreign-born making it the second most diverse city behind Dubai.

The Paris attacks have moved down a notch or two in the headlines and life goes back to normal for most - because it has to. 

The refugee crisis in which many European countries were welcoming, has morphed into racism and fear. What a shame that the same people who are trying to escape suffer again at the same hands that drove them to run in the first place.

Criminals.  That's all they are.

It shouldn't be so easy to find people with nothing to live for and nothing to lose.  Like Curtis Loew, on the day these criminals lost their lives, that's all they had to lose.

It's unimaginable for most of us.

17 November 2015

The Corner Cafe'

One of these days we will no longer be living in Belgium and for the record, I don't want to forget some important things, both good and not as good, about living here. 

Today it's the cafe'.

The cafe' is more of an experience in Belgium than a place.  Going out for coffee or a beer or a glass of wine is something to be savored.  Rather than entertain friends in your home for drinks, the cafe' is where they often meet. 

It's also been one of our favorite things to do here.  On a beautiful day, it's nearly impossible to find a seat at a local cafe', but we can't resist trying.  Belgians are like turtles - when the sun comes out, they are out basking in it. 

This cafe' is a couple of blocks from our house.  Within 15 minutes or less, we can walk from our house to no less than 50 cafes like this one.

This is the Grote Markt (in the center of the city) and this is typical for a sunny day in Hasselt.

Even as the days grow shorter and the weather turns cool, the cafe' is still the place to be.  You can see the heaters on the walls to keep an open terrace nice and cozy.

I think I need one of those heaters for our own house!

This cafe' and hotel is also a few blocks from our house.  It is just a five minute walk and one of our favorite places to have a drink.

They are also very prepared with heaters even on the umbrellas!

The corner cafe'.  Definitely one of the things I will miss the most about Belgium.

12 November 2015

The Gift

I received the most wonderful gift last week.  

Made by very talented hands.  

Especially for me.  

In the words of Frederick Barnard . . . a picture is worth a thousand words

I will let these pictures do the talking . . .



The handbag AND our son :)

Thank you. So very much.