Good-byes and Hellos

By - April 3, 2008 (Updated: November 28, 2014)

This week has really had its highs and lows. One of the biggest downsides to life as an expat is it seems you are always saying good-bye. In the past month we’ve had to say good-bye to two couples. First, our Indian friends and yesterday it was the Canadians.

I’ve spent a lot of time with ‘The Bee’ over the past couple of months and we’ve had some ‘interesting’ adventures (not to mention a bottle of wine or five). It was bittersweet to help her pack yesterday. (It seems like I’m always helping friends pack… maybe if I stopped packing they’d stop leaving…) But I know they are both eager to get home and start real life. I understand how hard it is to live in temporary accommodations and not to be able to plan for the future and I wish them all the best of luck with their return home. I also have a feeling that we’ll be seeing them again soon, whether it is in Belgium or in Halifax. So a big thank you to my ‘coat-saver’ and partner in crime and to my Discount Donkey Safari/Vindaloo eating buddy. You two will be missed here in Brussels.

Another good-bye I had to say yesterday, although unfortunately not in person, was to my cat Minnie. When I got home last night, I had an e-mail from my mom saying that they had to have her put to sleep. Minnie was the last of my parents’ pets who was around when I lived at home. She was a funny cat. She was enormous but she didn’t eat much at all. She just had absolutely no metabolism. She was very shy and spent a lot of time hiding from strangers. Whenever I went home to visit, I would find her hidden away and when she saw that it was me, she would waddle out to greet me. I will miss her when I go home to visit again.

Now for some happy news. Tonight, Andrew and I are headed to the Netherlands so we can get an early start at Keukenhof tomorrow morning. I’m excited as always but a bit nervous as this will be my first year shooting digital. I’ll miss my Fuji Velvia but I won’t miss the hours of scanning. Hopefully it won’t take me a full year to get these ones edited.

I joked that I wanted to have my 2007 Keukenhof photos edited before I shot the 2008 ones and I just made it. You can check out the Keukenhof 2007 gallery here.

Also I have found a new outlet for selling my images. I am trying out a site called Red Bubble, which will print my images as cards, posters, canvas and various forms of prints. The quality looks good so far and the shipping prices are MUCH better than other sites I’ve tried (It’s been difficult to find a site that offers reasonable shipping rates to both Europe and North America). I have a limited portfolio available there now which I will be adding to and if there is anything specific you are looking for, just drop me an e-mail and I will upload it. They also offer a calendar service which I will try out as well since I realise the Lulu shipping is very high to North America.

So for now, think sunny thoughts for me in Keukenhof and enjoy the slideshow!

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
- 2 days ago


  1. Comment by pugwash pops

    pugwash pops April 4, 2008 at 19:50

    Change is the constant, eh? … makes reunions so sweet! … plan on it! … sorry to hear about Minnie, she was a good friend although my only glimpses of her were when she was retreating to safety, she’ll be missed … have fun on your weekend hunt to capture the glorious colours of the new hatch … looking forward to some pics, but I can be patient! … lotsalov … PP

  2. Comment by BeeBop

    BeeBop April 7, 2008 at 06:19

    You will be missed, Alison! We had some fantastic times and I will miss having a bottle or five of vino with you and all our other adventures! I will see you soon though – you can count on it! xoxo

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