Moving in the time of Coronavirus

Moving in the time of Coronavirus

Moving in the time of Coronavirus

I’ve been struggling and released. In darkness and light. Lonely and yet, never alone. This is the impact of Coronavirus in 2020. “You know Mama, they said at school a major pandemic happens every 100 years or so,” my 10-year-old daughter told me. Really? This is news to me. “This is the most major illness since the Spanish Flu,” a friend of mine had texted me when debating about the pros and cons of canceling the March Monthly Meeting for the American Women’s Club of Antwerp. After consulting with one of our Programs and Hospitality Directors, we canceled the meeting

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Ijs op de Schelde!

Ijs op de Schelde!

This morning, in a lovely little restaurant called Presence in Schoten, forty-two women gathered to celebrate the American Women’s Club of Antwerp’s 91st anniversary. With feathers in our hair and jazz music twinkling, we embraced, remembered, and honored our members celebrating mile-stone anniversaries and our club. Ariadna, our 2nd VP of Membership, worked tirelessly over the past few weeks to create the most amazing program. Constant phone calls and whatsapp messages flew between us. “Where are you now?” I’d ask as I sat at my computer updating luncheon payments. She was hopping all over the city – collecting videos and

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Crawfish Étouffée

Crawfish Étouffée

This American college football season has been a celebration of crawfish (rivierkreeftjes) in our home. Every LSU gameday, we’ve enjoyed both Crawfish dip and Crawfish Étouffée (and as I native Texan I admit I’m still trying to learn how to spell that word, but that’s less important than knowing how to cook it, I suppose.) I’ve tweaked and perfected the recipe throughout the season. Now, with the LSU-Clemson National Championship a mere few days away. . . I’m proud to present my game-winning recipe. My Dutch-born, Louisianan-raised husband assisted and approves. You know I’ve got the rivierkreeftjes ready to go

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Life Love Hope

Life Love Hope

A festive vibe energizes the city. I’m on the number four headed towards the Nationale Bank stop. The passengers are filled with excitement despite the drizzle accumulating on the ancient tram windows. Darkness fell hours ago. I check my phone. 6:07 p.m. This is winter in Antwerp, days before Christmas. The tram eases to the stop. I descend the steps and walk on the glistening cobbles. The darts of moisture are in that in-between-stage, as any seasoned expat knows – it would be self-indulgent/wimpy to open an umbrella, but I left my hat at home. I glare at the rain

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Crawfish Dip

Crawfish Dip

“Geaux Tigers!” our three children shout from the living room. Our family has lived in Europe for over six years, but I still love meshing American traditions with Belgian culture. After a busy day of grocery shopping in the Netherlands, errand-running in Belgium, and art and gym lessons, my husband connects his computer to the television. By some magic (his information systems degree comes in handy in professional and personal realm) the TV roars into action at 4:00 p.m. We have successfully made the kids fans of College Gameday and Lee Corso’s revealing of his favorite team by putting on

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Last February, the American Women’s Club of Antwerp celebrated its 89th anniversary at our annual Founder’s Day luncheon. An elegant affair, as always, we traveled through the decades celebrating fashion and the history of the club. We were invited to dress in the decade of our choice, applauded the women of the club who were celebrating significant anniversaries, and concluded the already-sophisticated meal with a luscious slice of red velvet cake. The cake was homemade by our Activities Director, Ariadna and I messaged her afterwards for the recipe. Months later, my son turned 7 and he requested red velvet cupcakes

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Cranberry Salsa

Cranberry Salsa

It’s that time of year again. When my local SPAR grocery store stocks Ocean Spray cranberries in that familiar packaging, making my heart flutter. I’m not sure what the Belgians do with the cranberries, but this Texan knows quite a few ways to prepare them. (Jeweled Cranberry Bread, anyone?) I buy a bag every time I go to the store and put the ones I don’t use immediately in my freezer. I started experimenting with cranberry salsas in October. I took a batch to my writing group in the Netherlands and while the guys in the group gobbled it up,

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Yummiest Yams Ever

Yummiest Yams Ever

I first ran across this recipe years ago when I was prepping for Thanksgiving dinner in my home in Texas. I’m pretty sure I was pregnant with my first child and hosting my parents, my husband’s dad, sister, and a few rowdy nephews in the mix. It’s so sweet and fabulous we had dessert leftovers before we had leftovers of this. It’s become a Thanksgiving staple ever since. My printed sheet has gone across the ocean three times, is all stained with water droplets, and now graffitied with metric measurements. So. You know. This one’s a keeper. Preppin’ 3-4 large

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Pecan Pie Cookies

Pecan Pie Cookies

One of my best friends from Texas sent me a Southern Baking magazine this year for Valentine’s Day. I’ve worked my way through lemon pound cakes in the spring and blackberry cobblers in the summer, but I’ve been keeping my eye on the pecan pie cookie recipe for the past few months. Waiting. Anticipating. For the day when it would be perfect. I whipped these little jewels up on Thanksgiving Eve and I’m pleased to say, they were the perfect addition to a simple, but sufficient Thanksgiving. I halved the recipe because 60 seemed too exuberant a number (and 4

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Baby Blues Traveler

Baby Blues Traveler

I walk to my friend’s house with a pot of bright pink flowers in my hands. I press the doorbell. Her shadow steps over a baby on the floor, points to her daughter on the couch, and approaches the door. She smiles. But not really. I give her a fierce hug and hold the flowers out to her. “I thought you could use these,” and tears brim in her eyes. “Is it that obvious?” she asks. “Um, yeah,” and my eyes water – her weepiness is contagious. She’s the second friend I’ve talked to in a week that just returned

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