Six Things About Me

By - June 10, 2010 (Updated: November 24, 2014)

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in any blog tagging activities but this one was too good to pass up. The lovely Tez, a Canadian gal in New Zealand and one of my former university room-mates, has tagged me with six interesting questions. You’ll be hearing more about Tez and the rest of my uni gang in a series of up-coming posts, so stay tuned.

So on to the questions:

Grand Place Christmas Light Show

Grand Place Christmas Light Show

What’s your favourite thing about winter?

Am I allowed to say ‘when it’s over?’ No… oh. Seriously if you’ve been reading here at all, you’ll know I am not a fan of winter. In fact it’s one of the reasons we left Canada.

That said, there is one thing I love about Brussels in the winter and that is the Christmas Market. The first weekend of December, the little huts are constructed from Grand Place down to St. Catherine’s square. They will soon be filled with people selling everything from hand-made leather bags to delicate Christmas ornaments. Producers of local cheese, meats and alcohol will be offering samples and selling their wares. There is an ice-skating rink and a Ferris wheel and two of the most bizarre merry-go-rounds you’ve ever seen. The air is filled with the smell of mulled wine and sausages.

My best Christmas market memory was last year when my beauiful sister-in-law Katie came to visit us. The three of us went down to Grand Place and watched the light and music show projected on to the town hall building while we sipped champagne and downed oysters. It was festive and magical.

Best comfort food on a rainy day?

I love a lot of ‘winter foods.’ I’m a huge fan of soups and stews. I think my favourite is a Belgian dish called Stoofvlees, in Dutch, or Carbonade, in French. Basically you stew beef in beer and spices until it melts in your mouth. Being Belgium, the most common thing to eat it with is frites! Very, very low calorie dish…

Why do you blog?

Wow, there are so many reasons. So many good things have come my way because of my blogs. I’ve met some fantastic people through blogging and I am continually amazed by the warmth and generosity of the expat blogging community. A few months ago I wrote a guest post called How Blogging Saved My Expat Life, on one of my favourite blogs, Almost Fearless. That post still gets comments today so I think blogging has definitely helped a lot of us who have felt lost and lonely.

At AAF - Do I look as terrified as I felt?

At AAF – Do I look as terrified as I felt?

What is something you always grumble about, but secretly enjoy?

Haha, Belgium! Bitching about Belgium is a great expat pastime. For that matter most Belgians I know grumble about the country too – the weather; the political situation; the bad customer service. Despite my grumbling though, the good things about this insane little country far outweigh the bad. There is so much culture and history here. There is great support of the Arts. The food is incredible. Even the weather can surprise you (in a good way) sometimes. For me, the best thing about Belgium is the multitude of cultures that exist here. Is it perfect? No. But no place is perfect. I can’t think of anywhere else that I could have a circle friends from around the globe all sharing our cultures with each other.

What is something you’ve done that you’re really proud of yourself for?

Well, Tez knows this about me and maybe some of you who have known me for a while, but I’m actually a really shy person. Since becoming an expat, I’ve really had to push myself into social situations that terrify me. As you all know, lately I’ve dived into the art world. It’s been terrifying but also fantastic. Even though it scares me to put myself out there, I’ve enjoyed meeting people and talking to them about my work. I proud that I took that leap and I’m so grateful for all the support and encouragement I’ve had.

How could this not bring a smile to my face...?

How could this not bring a smile to my face…?

Something that always brings a smile to your face, no matter what is…

My husband, who can always make me laugh; My cats, who seem to always know just when I need a cuddle; My incredibly supportive family and friends who are always there for me; and travelling which always inspires and invigorates me. I can’t choose just one. I’ve been really blessed.

So now it’s my turn to come up with some questions and tag some others:

  • What experience has most shaped who you are and why?
  • If you had a whole day with no commitments, what would you do?
  • What food or drink could you never give up?
  • If you could travel anywhere, where would that be and why?
  • Who do you have a crush on?
  • If you were the leader of your country for a day, what would you do?

I’m going to tag a few folks but there’s no pressure. I’d love to hear The Tribe’s thoughts on these. I know the lovely Louise will have some insightful answers. The sensational Sion should give us her Parisian perspective.  If you are tagged or not and want to answer these questions on your blog, post a link in the comments so we can share.

If you like this, you might like:

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+
It's after Halloween so I can officially share Christmas Markets now right...? 🎄🎅 - 1 week ago


  1. Comment by tez

    tez June 10, 2010 at 11:24

    Al, I love reading what you write. This was fantastic – thank you for participating! The market sounds absolutely magical. In a small way, I miss that wintery-ness of somewhere that gets snowy. It does get snowy down south, but not up here, in Auckland… of course, I did decide to leave home because of the cold, so I really don’t miss Toronto winters much.
    I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed it, but I’ll leave it at: I really enjoyed it. 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison June 10, 2010 at 11:44

      Aw thanks! I can honestly say I just don’t miss winter. We had a ‘bad’ one here this year. Which means that we had an inch of snow that stayed on the ground a few weeks. I don’t miss shoveling, or keeping a bag of sand in the car, or having to plug the car in at night… yuck. That said, I enjoy skiing so I guess snow it good for something. I’d just rather have to travel a bit to get to the snow 🙂

  2. Comment by Emily

    Emily June 10, 2010 at 11:48

    Loving the cats piled on top of you – Just enough room for the 3 of them!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison June 10, 2010 at 12:04

      Haha, It was in our old house and actually I have a photo taken after that when our forth cat (who has since passed away) jumped up on the arm of the chair and was looking for a place to settle as well. Unfortunately that one was a bit out of focus.

  3. Comment by Sion @ paris (im)perfect

    Sion @ paris (im)perfect June 10, 2010 at 12:58

    Wow, thanks for tagging me! Though, gosh, now the pressure’s on! I’m going to have to just go with my first response – otherwise I’ll spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about this (I mean, if I were leader of the United States for a day, what would I do? Sheesh, that could take days just writing the to-do list!)

    I’m actually going back to the States next week for a month. Always seems to happen when I’m going back home – a million things to do before leaving! I’ll try to post this beforehand, but I apologize in advance if I can’t get to it. (Wow, pre-emptive excuses – not pretty!)

    Hey, in other news, I received your postcard! Thank you! It passed through both Belgium and France’s postal system without a hitch – incredible!

    Catch you soon!

    P.S. I ADORE the photo with your cats, too!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison June 10, 2010 at 13:05

      No Pressure Sion! If you have time great but please don’t stress about it. I know how crazy things get when you’re trying to get ready to visit home. If it’s anything like us – co-ordination nightmare!

      So glad the postcard made it so quickly! Wow, that has to be a record right?

  4. Comment by Louise

    Louise June 10, 2010 at 13:58

    I’m honoured by the credit you give me and my possible ability to give insightful answers. I will though, in order to live up to this PRESSURE :), have to think a bit. But thanks for tagging me – the first tag in my blog-history!!!

    PS No surprise in todays Belgian weather…

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison June 10, 2010 at 14:12

      I did specifically say no pressure guys…! Haha, you’ll be great Louise. You always have insightful things to say 🙂

  5. Comment by Megan

    Megan June 10, 2010 at 15:02

    This project is great fun. Many thanks to Tez (and Faiza!) for getting us started!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison June 10, 2010 at 15:22

      Absolutely! We should keep it going. There are some great questions being asked!

  6. Comment by Nomadic Chick

    Nomadic Chick June 11, 2010 at 06:56

    Loving this insight into Alison. I wouldn’t of categorized you as shy at all. I learned something new. 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison June 11, 2010 at 10:43

      Lol, it’s all a persona 🙂 In school I was extremely shy. By the end of the school year there were teachers who still didn’t know my name… students too for that matter. Living over here has certainly forced me to ‘come out of my shell’ and push myself into social situations that freak me out. It helps that Andrew is super out-going but I have a tenancy to hide behind him when I feel uncomfortable. I could never be brave like you and travel solo. I wouldn’t make it out of the airport!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison June 14, 2010 at 14:37

      Thanks Louise! These are great!

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