Thursday, November 27, 2008


Here in Belgium we do not celebrate Thanksgiving, but that does not mean that we forgot about it.
I think it's not such a bad idea to have a day, once a year, a day on which you actually say "thanks" to people you like to have around you.

So here I go:

First of all, a special THANK YOU to my husband and daughter... without whom my life would not be complete and as wonderful as it is right now.

A sincere THANK YOU to my parents for all the things they do for me and my family, without ever expecting anything in return. I love you!
Also "THANK YOU" to my family. It's nice to know that, no matter what, I can always count on them.

THANK YOU to all our Belgian friends for supporting us the way they do... helping us to get over our LA blues. THANK YOU for your friendship we are so happy to have for so many years already. We love you too and hope we can remain friends forever.

Another sincere THANK YOU to all our American friends. THANK YOU that we got to know you so well in the US, THANK YOU for making us feel at home (so many miles from "home"), THANK YOU for celebrating Thanksgiving with us and inviting us into your homes, THANK YOU for being our friends and last but not least THANK YOU for not forgetting us now that we are many miles from our "American home". We hope you celebrate Thanksgiving and remember us when you say "Thank you" before starting dinner. We will for sure think about you at dinner this evening, although that's not going to be a stuffed turkey, beans and mashed potatoes...

And also a little word in Dutch for our Belgian friends in America:

Beste Belgische Amerikavrienden... wij zijn blij dat we jullie hebben leren kennen dankzij dit expatavontuur. We hopen dat onze wegen zich geregeld nog eens mogen kruisen... hetzij bij een bezoek aan Californië, hetzij bij een bezoek aan België. Daarom dat wij jullie langs deze weg nog eens "Dankjewel" willen zeggen voor alle fijne momenten die we samen hebben mogen beleven.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Winter fun!

Axelle had a lot of fun in the garden... She did not only make the standard snowman, but also a very cute little bear... Just have a look at it and let me know what you think.
Honestly I think it becomes very obvious that she has a lot of imagination. Probably she will start ice sculpting when she's somewhat older. In Bruges, in Belgium, they are having an ice sculpture exposition right now... in a few years Axelle can go and give them a hand!

And this is what our garden looks like under a white blanket of snow:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Busy weekend - First snowfall

Friday evening we started the weekend with a trip to the movies. We went to see “Madagascar 2”, a fun movie for young and old. We went with Emma, John and their kids and after the movie had a drink together.
It sure was a nice way to end a busy week.
On Saturday, we started the day with a nice breakfast, after which I had to run some errands with Axelle. Alain went to Antwerp because the house over there needed some minor repairs.
On Saturday evening we were invited for the “goodbye party” of Tiny and Jurgen. Tiny and Jurgen leave Belgium end of December because they are going to Canada for one year. It sure was a nice party and because it was such fun we only came home around 3am.
Sunday morning we woke up with a little layer of snow in our garden. In the afternoon I had to go to a jewelry presentation (a few streets away from where we live) while Alain went with Axelle to the tennis club around the corner.
In the tennis club they were celebrating “Sinterklaas”… which is kind of the same as Santa Clause, but he brings candy and toys on December 6. Axelle got a nice book with tips for young teenage girls and some candy. It’s nice that this club offers gifts to the kids of their members.
As I said earlier on, I went to a jewelry demonstration. In July I received a nice bracelet from Nadine and Kris for my birthday. That’s also the one that caught my eye yesterday… and the nice thing was the fact they also had the matching necklace. I simply couldn’t resist… I had to have this necklace and so I spend some money.
By the time we were going back home, we had like 10cm of snow on the streets… so it became more “sliding back home” on high heels. Nice! But Rosette, my neighbor, and I made it without breaking a leg.
And that’s how the busy, but nice, weekend ended.
Today is another “grey” day… and although there was no extra snow this morning, I fear for this afternoon. It seems like we’re going to get more of the white stuff!
But let’s look at it the positive way: It’s so romantic walking in a winter wonderland!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fire in California starts tears in Belgium

Got curious?
Nothing special you know, but this morning I was driving to work and listening to Q-music, the radio channel I always have on in my car and suddenly I was back in sunny California.
How come?
Well, they got on the phone with a Belgian living in Ventura, Ann Ongena.
We know Ann, because her blog was the blog that inspired us when we knew we had to move to the States.
We also visited Ann and her family in April 2006, just a few months before moving, when we were househunting in LA.
So hearing her on the radio, talking about all the fires in California... well... it did something to me, it took me back in time and it brought tears to my eyes.
It made me think about the good life we had over there, about the nice and wonderful people we met over there... about our friends for life.
So, while Ann was telling about the fire and the St Anna winds... I was driving and feeling very sorry for myself.
When I arrived at work, I had to put these thoughts away, because a very important training started today with many people coming from our affiliates all over the world (Brasil, Poland, Czech Republic, India, Italy and so on...) and so I had a lot to do and there was no time for feeling sorry or whatsoever.
Just wanted to share these feelings with you...

Love you all and miss you so very much!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weekend in Germany

We went on a weekend trip to Leiwen in Germany with our good friends Nadine, Kris and son Arno. Leiwen is a very small village next to the river "Mosel". This region is known for its nice wineries.
We rented a small house in Landal Parcs Sonnenberg. We had a big swimming pool where the kids had a lot of fun and we went for some wine tasting of course too.
It was a fun and relaxing weekend for all of us. We did some walking, wine tasting, swimming, playing boardgames, dancing... and forgot our camera! Stupid me... I took spare batteries and forgot the camera.
Nadine and Kris had their camera and took pictures, but I did not get them yet.

We ended the weekend in Trier, a very old city closeby with nice architecture and had dinner in a Greek Restaurant close to where we live.
In the meantime Niki was already back home, she stayed with my parents the entire weekend.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

First Halloween in Belgium

Indeed, this was the first time we celebrated Halloween in Belgium and I think that the neighbors now it.

We took the time to decorate the house, inside as well as outside...
Friday we were busy the entire day: protecting the wooden floor in the living room, hanging up decoration outside and inside, putting up lights in the trees outside, preparing snacks.... Thursday afternoon was an entire afternoon of shopping for drinks, snacks, and so on...
So yes, it took some time, but man it was worth every second!

Around 6.40 pm our first visitor arrived: a fireworker (our friend Mark)...
Good news because this meant we would be at least safe an taken care off in case of a fire! (lol)
Others followed, mainly evil characters: witches, devils and mean looking people.
Spiderella (me) was not on top of things and got a little bit scared, even Lord Dracula (Alain) had serious competition.

Of course we started with some drinks (the American self-service way) and soon after with a game to get everybody going: a broom had to be passed from one to another and as soon as the music stopped, the one having the broom had to run around the group making sounds appropriate to his/her costume.

Everybody participated, although the games were mostly intended for the kids.
We had other games organised: catching bats (paper ones hanging on a cord), finding ghosts... especially the ones with high numbers on it, making a mummy, poison tasting (kids had to be blindfolded and were tasting 8 different kinds of food: ketchup, curry sauce, mustard, salt, jam, cocktail sauce (mayo with ketchup), brown sugar, nutella (chocolate paste). We had a kid that simply gave the right answer to all 8! Amazing...

We also had, of course, a Mr and Mrs Halloween election. The kids had to decide, while the adults were dancing, who had to leave the competition.
Our winners were Tiny (a witch) and Mark (our fireworker)... Good job guys.

I think I can honestly say that everybody had a good time and we danced the night away (till 2.30 am).
Useless to say that Saturday morning we were a bit tired, but duty called: take down all the decoration outside, some already inside and most of all.... clean the house!

To all those who were there.... next Halloween RENDEZ-VOUS October 31, 2009...
For those who were not there but think they might like to be there... let us know, "the more the merrier".

Here are some pictures... some look a bit foggy, but that's because we had some "fog" in the house with a special machine we rented for the night.

The entrance of the party house

The man of the house "Dracula" with our guest Nadine
Friends of Jurgen and Tiny... they joined us for the evening with their kids
and as they were good company, they can come back next year.

Scary visitor who had enough and ended his life in our living room (lol)

Nice couple... Nadine and Kris

The man with the mask, Monty, had developed a special language. Lucky for us he decided to speak our language later in the evening. And also Amber Jade (little girl) and Emma, one of our devils.

No, they are not a couple... but it sure looked like it the way they matched their costumes.
Koen came with two of his kids and his lovely wife Veerle.

Another little devil, Axelle with Amber Jade and Lore.

From left to right: Veerle, me, Rosette, Eddie and Monty

The kids are playing the "Catch the bat" game.


Blondes have all the fun (lol)

Me and Tiny. Remember Tiny from last year's Halloween in Marina del Rey?

View of the kitchen...