New Year’s Do-Over

New Year’s Do-Over

New Year’s Do-Over

A month into 2018, my husband and I decided we needed a do-over. For the past months, there’s been a darkness that fell over Antwerp that lulled all its residents into a slow, silent depression. You think you’re okay – that you’re immune to the cold, the darkness, the lack of sun or perhaps you embrace the gloom by curling up with a cup of tea or a glass of wine on the sofa, but then. . . it gets bad. “It’s the first winter that can really get to you,” I remember telling my friends in Texas last spring.

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Adventures in Austria

Adventures in Austria

I’m shivering in the shower, covered in shaving cream, and screaming to my six-year-old. “Holden! Holden! Where is Daddy?!? This is an emergency!!” Tears press at the back of my eyes. There’s worse things. There are. My hair is full of conditioner. The space heater in the corner of the bathroom is on full blast, but it can’t do anything to warm the ice-cold water spewing from the spout. I’ve turned it off five times in hopes that it reheated, only to be blasted with more melted snow. I try to calm myself. It’s not working. “Mama, he’s outside getting

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Return to Heidelberg

Return to Heidelberg

A flight over the ocean. An embrace by a colleague. A walk through the FRA terminal. A drive on a bus. A crumbling castle atop a hill. A flute player. A toss of a few coins. A view. A photo. A memory. The year was 2007. I was an American Airlines internal auditor. My job was to fly around the world, visit the different airports the airline operated in, and audit them. It was a very cool gig. Especially for an accountant. The team was small – we had five staff/senior auditors and a manager. I remember the first time

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Adventures of a 3-year old

Adventures of a 3-year old

“NO!!! NO!!! NO, MAMA!!!! I DON’T WANT TO GO OUTSIDE!!!” I shove one arm into my winter coat while grabbing a tiny leg with the other. There’s a loud thud and the half liters of German beer shake on the thick wooden table as I bonk my head – trying to escape from the dark cave with my treasure, my love, my third child. I emerge from its underbelly – squirming into the other half of my coat, wrestling my three year old, and dying of embarrassment. The low roar of the restaurant is no match for my precious angel’s

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Christmas Tea Party

Christmas Tea Party

The idea began with me laughing and shaking my head at Facebook posts. My husband grew up in Louisiana, and his fraternity brothers all married beautiful southern-born women. While Texas has its own way of doing things, I can admit it’s probably a little more rugged and less refined than its southern sisters. With firmly planted French roots, New Orleans has a unique and sophisticated manner of decorating, speaking, and hosting. Back in September I swear, or maybe it was October, I saw Facebook posts requesting recommendations for mother-daughter Christmas teas in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. I smirked. I

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AWCA Gala Evening

AWCA Gala Evening

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

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Grandma

Grandma

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

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Campin’

Campin’

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

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The Full Story

The Full Story

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

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Expats Again

Expats Again

“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

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