Sunday, February 1, 2009

Let's Watch the Green Balls

For an in-town, low key weekend - it seemed very full and fun! Life in Brussels is falling into place slowly but surely. I am happy and thankful for new friends and new European adventures with Kirk and Connor. When living abroad you really learn to rely on your family unit in a new way. That is very special.

On Saturday morning we reconnected with an adorable family we met earlier in the week. Karen, Tony and Brady Proctor live in Cary, NC and Tony is a CPA and here for a year with
Tekelec. Karen is a schoolteacher. Brady is 2.5 years old and he loves to play chase with Connor. Which made Connor like him instantly. It was so great to see them play and discover together. We met at the Natural History Museum for some Saturday Morning Fun. It was so strange to me because we were there right at the 10 AM opening and we basically had the place to ourselves all morning. I have been told Belgians don't really get out early in the morning. (Is 10 AM early?) I couldn't help but think that any US children's museum on a Sat morning would be jam packed while we ruled the roost here. There were animal displays of all kinds and tons of dinosaur skeletons with plenty of room to run around. It was a fantastic museum - ironically by far the most popular "exhibit" was an empty room with a red couch. Just goes to show that the simplest things are sometimes the most loved!

We are looking forward to more fun times together with Brady and his parents in the future.

After the fun of the museum we traveled ~40 minutes to Lier, Belgium. It is a quaint and simple suburb of Brussels, undiscovered by the tourist masses. Imagine our surprise and excitement when we got of the car and saw this (see video below). It was so darn cold, but we had to stop and chuckle at the funny ducks in the cold. I liked Lier. The astronomic clock was unlike I have ever seen before. I love the way so many towns here have canals, cathedrals, and market squares to poke around. There is something comfortable about the familiarity from one town to the next....but also startling to note the unique differences. Enjoy the ducks!

On Sunday we had big plans for church and some more local sightseeing. But when we woke up and turned on the Australian Open to catch Nadal and Federer in the finals we knew we would spend most of the day tucked inside in our PJs. It was a perfect lazy morning with pancakes and a mellow baby. We taught Connor to watch tennis by encouraging her to watch the green balls! Thanks to Rapha and Roger we ended up watching a thrilling 5 hour match. So fun. But ironically it was the match point and we were on the edge of our seats to see if Roger could keep it going when Connor decided to take the cable card out of the TV box, immediately shutting down the TV and we missed the last crucial point. Oh well. Such is life with an almost 2 year old. I wish I could play tennis better.

And as if that wasn't enough celebration for one weekend, we then had our new friends Dallas and Thomas over for dinner. Thomas works for Google. Dallas was into technical training back in the US. We were bound and determined to be festive for Superbowl Sunday as well as the Chinese New Year. We live in Brussels' small Chinatown district so we felt we needed to join in the fun (2009 is the year of the Ox, just in case you were wondering). I made chili using what substitutes I could find in these markets for beans, ground meat, and chili powder. It didn't turn out too bad. And the football brownie was a hit! I met Dallas at the American Women's Club of Brussels. Just to demonstrate how small the world is - Dallas recently moved to Belgium from Atlanta, yet her family is from NC and she was in Kirk's high school class at Enloe!!! Dallas brought us our very first tulip bouquet. Yellow tulips. Gorgeous.

Kirk stayed up to watch the first half of the Superbowl (keep in mind we are 6 hours ahead of EST). He got a kick out of watching the game in French, Dutch, and we even found an English station. No commercials though. Too bad.

Today it is dumping snow, so we will have another cozy indoor day.

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