The Indian summer air shimmies through the wide boulevard of the Meir – leaves on the towering trees dance. Shop lights glow in the twilight as the final shoppers are deposited, hands full of bags and eyes wide with excitement – the Saturday evening beckons. My dress bounces around my knees and high heels click on the pavement I’ve so often passed over – always pushing a stroller laden with cups, snacks, and a discarded jacket, shoe, or both. Tonight, a tiny gold purse dangles from my wrist. Freedom. I grab my husband’s suited arm and we sashay towards the
The day, thick and heavy with grey drizzle irritates like a soaked wool blanket. My restless children cling to my sides, whiny and needy from being inside all day. I shiver – trying to shake off the damp creeping from under the gap in my patio door. I shake – trying to free myself from the children. My task of the week – toilet training my 2-year-old – was a failure, cleaning up messes off the floor, dragging rugs out to the porch to be hosed off, and washing his hands after playing in his own pee. A true holiday
Trees as thin and packed as matchsticks line the one-lane gravel road. Shafts of silver light pierce the forest. The GPS arrow hovers above a green blob on the map, and the indicator on the dash says “offroad”. A crooked tiny sign points to the left and our small caravan follows. The rocks and potholes challenge my Skoda sedan, but determined, it climbs toward the invisible destination – De Kluis, (Dutch for “The Safe”). A comforting name for a campsite. “Places in Belgium are hard to find, period,” my husband admitted a week earlier, “I can’t imagine trying to find
Southern Belle: Derived from the French word for ‘beautiful’ a woman characterized by her love of Southern hospitality, cultivation of beauty, and charm. Years ago, I found myself hosting the monthly book club in my home in the Netherlands. An array of homemade appetizers and desserts decorated my kitchen counters. Glittering tea light candles illuminated bouquets of fresh tulips on my wooden dining tables. TSF Jazz station out of Paris articulated the background music. Slices of fruit bobbed in a glass container filled with sparkling punch. Stemmed glasses accessorized by wine charms waited to be filled. My guests – from
“So. . . what do you think? Do you think I should apply?” My husband, V and I are sitting in our air-conditioned living room in Plano, Texas. It’s been hot. It’s October 2015. But of course it’s hot. It’s Texas. All three kids are asleep, for now. It’s only a matter of hours (or minutes) until Baby B awakes, wanting a bottle. Our four-year-old, Holden, has been put back to bed for the seventeenth time. Cosette, our five-year-old is like a princess in peaceful slumber. V has his computer open on his lap. A job opportunity with his company
I’m perusing the American Women’s Club of Antwerp website. When I first moved to the Netherlands five years ago, I didn’t know what an expat was until I was one. Clueless and lonely, I tromped through the rain and wind – figuring out everything the hardest way possible. But I learned. This second go-around in Belgium, I know who to contact, what questions to ask, and what to look for. A glow from the fireplace flickers in my Antwerp living room. I stare into my computer and my eyes alight at the newcomer’s information on the AWCA website. In addition
Pop-tarts, Oreos, & Beef Jerky. These little goodies are what the USA is known for outside of the USA. Oh and marshmallows. Who knew marshmallows were so American. Some grocery stores in Europe have a USA section. This is the USA section of the Carrefour close to our home in Belgium. Awesome isn’t it? Additional confession: The “American marshmallows” are often sold in packages with white and pink dyed marshmallows. Excited to find marshmallows and rice krispies in the Netherlands, I whipped up a batch of Rice Krispie treats. The result? I had Rice Krispie treats that looked like ground
Confession: Grocery shopping in Belgium is a lesson in three languages – Dutch, French, and German.
Confession: I saw this couple holding hands through a park in Gent and it made me really happy.
Depression glass, silk flowers, a screened back porch door that slammed if you weren’t careful, wintergreen gum tucked into the drawer of an apothecary cabinet, black and white photos of my grandfather with the faintest hint of red lipstick on the glass, tiny bottles of perfume on a mirrored tray, a bass bed so high off the ground a child would have to run and hurdle to get into it, plates of fudge, handpainted china in a glass cabinet, crystal bowls of sugared candy on marble top cabinets, a hand-carved white shelf above the tub that I’d always bonk my