Note: The following post was edited and submitted to Belgian’s leading English newspaper, The Brussels Times. It was published on January 20th, 2021, the day of the Inauguration. See published version here Or copy/paste link: https://www.brusselstimes.com/opinion/150354/an-american-perspective-from-6-january-until-inauguration-day/ “Yes, today is the day that Congress will meet. And certify that Joe Biden will be President,” my colleague from the American Women’s Club concluded our ZOOM meeting mid-morning of January 6th, 2021. “Absolutely, exciting day in America for sure,” I responded and wished her a good day. It had been a typical Wednesday here in Belgium. My kids (as always on Wednesdays) were
2020 has been the year of all years. And the heaviness of the events continues to weigh on our minds and hearts. We hope for a happy new year – full of excitement and reconnecting, but we’ve been through enough by now to set our expectations low. How will this year be remembered? What will the history books say? What will be the result of so much heartache, loneliness, and fear? The world is collectively dealing with the sudden loss of loved ones – what will be the psychological repercussions of such? But on a smaller scale, how will each
“I want to talk to you about the subject of plans. . . life plans and how we all make them, and how we hope that our kids make good, smart, safe plans of their own. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, most of our plans don’t work out as we’d hoped. So instead of asking out young people, “What are your plans? What do you plan to do with your life?’ maybe we should tell them this: Plan. . . to be surprised.” – Dan Burns (Steve Carell’s character, Dan in Real Life, 2007 movie) Christmas Eve, 2019
UPDATE: I’m happy to announce that a version of this post was published by the Plano Star Courier in Plano, Texas (site available in the U.S.) https://starlocalmedia.com/planocourier/news/guest-column-an-american-abroad/article_d692d50c-29e9-11eb-84ba-f382882acc21.html And on The Brussels Times https://www.brusselstimes.com/opinion/141900/an-american-perspective-from-within-and-without/ An American Abroad. . . Election Day 2020 Years ago, during the plane’s descent onto a runway surrounded by South African grasslands my friend turned to me and said, “Quick. What is your opinion of Bush?” We’d been traversing the globe for 24-hours. We were jet-lagged and dirty and all I could think about what how I wanted to get off the plane to sleep, shower, and
The following is an excerpt from a Letter from the President that I wrote to the membership of the American Women’s Club of Antwerp in September. At the time, I had spent almost five months at home with my children. Although it made me question my sanity, we had formed a bond. It was as if they were as close to me as joeys in a kangaroo’s pouch. We were contained in our own bubble – as intense or as crazy as it was – it was ours. It felt safe. The morning I ushered them off to school I
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
The American Women’s Club of Antwerp celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2019. The event was a festive affair held at one of my most favorite places in Antwerp, the Antwerp Zoo. We gathered in May, the break from the cold, long winter had lifted for our celebration. We dined on duck, toasted with champagne, and danced late into the evening. But before the party began, I delivered a welcome message. I was the incoming President of the American Women’s Club, and I knew I was stepping into a role of historical significance. Of responsibility. Of honor. I had not been
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
“Have you heard of the Two Fat Expats podcast?” my Australian mom-friend asked me as she sips a cup of coffee. She has a baby on her hip while our other four children are running around my kitchen. “Go outside, guys! Outta the kitchen, this is mama-talking time,” and my three children lead her little girl out into our garden. I flip homemade tortillas and scramble eggs. “No, I haven’t. Fat Expats?” and I laugh. “Yeah, yeah – they’re brilliant,” and I make a mental note. Two Fat Expats. That will be easy to remember. The next week I’m ironing.
My phone alarm sounds at 11:25 a.m. – ding ding ding ding ding. I throw on my coat, adorn my earphones, and head into the cold – popping a King Mint into my mouth as I haul the empty stroller down our front steps. The sun is shining – that bright globe I’ve missed so much. My boots click on the cobbled road as I cross the street, passing by a lane of Antwerp city bicycles ready to transport anyone from here to there. I walk at a clip place – I have a habit of always cutting it close.