In the States we refer to those bustling couple of weeks at the end of August as “back to school”. It means the return of aisles and aisles of notebooks, gel pens and Elmers glue. A plethora of cheap plastic furniture, mini-fridges, and box fans make their way to front of Target, ready to furnish the dorm rooms and apartments of college kids everywhere. While “la rentrée” can refer to the return to school for kids here in Belgium its also used as a general way to say “welcome back to real life” at the end of the summer holidays. Brussels is all but a ghost town (other than the tourists) during summer, as the much of the population says “au revoir” to the grey skies and rain of Brussels and “bonjour” to the warmer climes of Italy, southern France, Greece or Spain. On top of this mass exodus, or perhaps because of it, many of the local businesses are shut down as well. As the city slowly wakes up in those last days of August you’re apt to hear and see tidings of “la rentree” in more places than school hallways. Continue reading
I was strolling down Avenue de la Toison d’Or a couple of days ago, window shopping and daydreaming on my way to E’s play group, when I realized that we’ve officially been expats for 6 months. Half a year. On one hand, our life in Milwaukee feels like it happened a million years ago. The pain of leaving our house has slowly faded, and I can barely even remember what an Egg McMuffin tastes like. But yet it feels like we just got here. I’m not sure how those two feelings coexist, yet somehow they do. Much has changed in those 6 months though, that is certain. And yesterday, as I was walking along that busy shopping street in the heart of the city I felt an overwhelming sense of joy. This is my life and its pretty fucking amazing. Continue reading
As I sat at the table today watching my sweet, funny, smart little beam of sunshine “eat” her lunch, I couldn’t help but reminisce about a simpler time…a time when making a mess with food was cute. The first time she ate yogurt she smeared it in her hair and in her ears and I probably giggled and took a video. Many a bath was had after spaghetti dinners and I laughed uncontrollably when she got frustrated with picking up tiny strawberry chunks and ate them off the table like a puppy instead. It was all fun games…when she was ONE. Now we can’t get through a meal without one of us having a meltdown (its about 50/50) and the use of all-purpose cleaner is at an all time high. I secretly believe that someone, somewhere, holds an age-old secret to getting a toddler to eat and behave like a semi-civilized human being but finding it would play out something like the plot of The Da Vinci Code.Continue reading
Animals have an amazing way of weaving themselves into our lives and our hearts. I’m sure most people don’t even realize how deeply they love their animals until they are forced to part ways with them one way or another. Whether it’s a loyal dog, a squawking bird, or in my case – a gorgeous but sometimes wretched little diva of a cat…they all find a way to turn us into a blubbering mess when it comes time to say goodbye.
Today was the last day in our house. Last night I thought to myself, “I got this. I’m totally going to keep my shit together tomorrow.” Yeah…I cried on 3 separate occasions before 10am. I looked out our bedroom window and recalled how happy that crappy little view made me the first night we Continue reading
The distance from Milwaukee, WI to Brussels, Belgium is 4092 miles. Hence the title of this here little blog. You may be wondering, “hey lady…this blog is pretty boring, when does this adventure start?” That’s a great question dear reader and the truth is I haven’t got a f*cking clue. Theoretically our background checks will arrive tomorrow. Then we just need my husbands Belgian work permit, a 3-legged unicorn, and a permission slip from Jesus to get our visas. No big deal. Continue reading