It’s been a week of ups and downs. I don’t have a concrete theme for this blog just a lot of little tidbits to write about. So let’s get the downs out of the way so I’m not dwelling on them.
Actually there’s only one major down and that has been Andrew’s work schedule (or lack there of as is the case.) We were hoping that October would bring less stress for him but it seems things have gone from bad to worse. There is lots of work to be done (which in itself is a good thing) but not nearly enough people to do it. In addition, another employee has just left so all of his work must go to someone else. I fear major burnout for Drew and our Christmas travel plans look bleak. (We are still planning a trip home at the end of the month and as soon as the tickets are booked I will let everyone know the details.) He hopes that there will be time for vacation in January but I have my doubts that the situation will improve that quickly.
On to the happy news:
It’s nice out! It’s been sunny for the past four days and it has warmed up dramatically. We’ve been in the mid 20s for the past few days and although it’s supposed to get a bit cooler than that, the forecast is for sunny skies all week. I really hope fall will make up for the crap summer we had. The dreary grey days don’t help my mood any so hopefully the sun will stay out for a while.
I got a happy (or sad depending how you look at it) present the other day. Andrew came home with a bag and handed it to me. One of his Halifax co-workers had asked what I missed from home. I (half) jokingly said Kraft Diner and Cheese Wiz. I had forgotten about it because it was before we went to Helsinki. Andrew happened to find the bag in the office on Tuesday. Well, the bag contained 2 bottles of the synthetic cheese product and 4 boxes of KD. I don’t even eat the stuff at home because I know how horrible it is. However, now that I can’t get it I crave the stuff. Last night I had some KD and I swear it was the best ever. I will save it for homesickness emergencies. Thanks Jerry!
In other food news, we’ve finally found a couple of take-out solutions. The first is a fantastic Thai place right in Kortenberg. It’s just a hole in the wall spot that only does take away. It’s freshly cooked and really cheap and they give big portions. The Pad Thai is super and we’ll already becoming regulars. The second spot, also in Kortenberg, is a pizza and pasta restaurant. They also do take away pizza but the lasagna I had there the other night was delish. It’s nice to have a take-out option other than Pizza Hut and the Friterie.
On a cuteness note, the little girl next door had a birthday while we were in Helsinki. We brought her back a stuffed reindeer as a gift because we had no idea what she liked. Apparently it was a hit. Her mom says she sleeps with it every night and she even took it to Venice with her when they went on a weekend trip. She named it Andrewandalison.
So my best news of all: After three months in Belgium, I managed to make two friends in a week! Ok, ok… I know that makes me sound like a total loser but I think any trailing spouse (or partner) will tell you that it’s difficult to make friends (especially when you aren’t working). We have our neighbor, but she works and has a kid so other than the occasional evening glass of wine, we don’t hang out together much.
I mentioned before that I was surprised how many women have contacted me because of this blog, and how much we all seem to have in common. I finally got to meet a couple of them and they are great. (Hi guys!) Since I don’t like naming people in the blog without their permission I shall henceforth refer to them as the (un)American and the Kiwi.
I mentioned above my diner with (un)US and her guy the other day. She will be moving here permanently in January and I’m already excited for her arrival. We spent a day in Brussels together and I’m sure we appalled a couple of old Belgian ladies with our loud laughter while we were yakking away at a cafe.
The Kiwi lives in Antwerp with her ‘Belgian Man’ and I took the trip to visit her on Tuesday. After a transportation debacle (mostly of my own making) we met up and toured the town. We had a few drinks and chatted like old pals about the crazy country that we’ve adopted. We also visited the incredible Kathedraal, which is truly a gothic masterpiece.
Antwerp seems like a lovely city. It seems to be a more manageable scale than Brussels. The square is lovely and there are some parks and a zoo that I hope to visit in the future, (if the Kiwi will have me again…).
I’ve been an Expat for over six months now. Some days it feels like it’s gone by so fast. Other days it seems like it’s been forever. It’s certainly not been a bed of roses, but things are looking up.