At least once and sometimes many times a day I stop and wonder if this is all real. There was so much paperwork and planning and stress before we got here that there was no time to contemplate what was coming. As the plane touched down in Brussels after a long and extremely exhausting flight with a screaming child I had a moment of pure panic. What the hell have we done? My nerves settled quickly but that doesn’t mean those first couple of weeks weren’t stressful. Things that were effortless back home sometimes seemed like insurmountable tasks here. Finding milk that actually tasted like milk (aka “Ellia approved”). Using the oven. Using the washing machine. Finding an apartment. Making a package of noodles. Buying chicken at the meat counter.
I quickly realized that everything here needs to be seen as a tiny little adventure, rather than an endless list of things that terrify or irritate me. I all but danced a jig when I finally found the magical milk that Ellia will actually drink and my French has improved enough so that I can almost prepare packaged foods without the assistance of Google Translate. On the other hand, my attempt at ordering a roasted chicken in French last week ended with the guy behind the counter giving me an irritated stare and saying “just say it in English”. Burn. But hey, I think he knew I wanted some form of chicken so that’s progress right?I’ve stepped way out of my comfort zone more times than I can count. I’ve started the long and apparently very slow (for me) process of learning a new language. I’ve made new friends. I’m learning to love a new city & a new country. I often feel lonely and isolated and sometimes lost and confused. But mostly I feel alive. Life is good and each day here is a gift I plan not to take for granted.