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Garden Panorama

Garden

We got a new place.  It has a garden.  Well, a place to put a garden.

Lots of room to grow 🙂

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Long time no see

So wow. It’s been a while. Quite a while, in fact, since we last posted on this adventure blog. The lack of posts however has very little to do with our lack of adventures. Or maybe it does. See, we’ve had quite a few adventures this summer after I got back to Belgium, visa in hand. In fact, it has been rather adventure-dense. We’ve house sat, been nannying, gardening, writing theses, catching up on Belgian TV, applying for Belgian residency, apartment hunting, moving, entertaining visiting parents, and finally traveling to the Ardennes and Paris with visiting parents only to be sitting here at the computer writing this post wondering where our summer went.

So yeah. It’s been busy, which led to lack of posting, which led to general laziness mixed with more business. So that explains it somewhat. However, it’s not a good excuse. We really loved posting on the blog, and it’s a shame that we’ve slacked off. But we will try to get back at it in a real way. There are many hilarious stories that have yet to be told. So please, dear friends and family, have patience with us. We’re doing the best we can. 🙂

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And we’re off

As you’re well aware, this is an adventure blog. So we thought, let’s use the Easter holiday to do some adventuring.

Paris, here we come. We’ll be back Sunday night for Skyping, posting, and generally being awesome.

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Bee Keeper

As many of you know, I am terrified of bees.

Not just any bees really. Those cute fuzzy, round things that fly around pollinating fragrant blooms and making honey and wax for my cosmetic enjoyment are not what I mean when I say that I hate bees. A hatred bred from fear.

No, indeed. I am referring to the more aggressive pest. The one that ruins your wonderful late summer picnic by buzzing around your food,  impossible to shoo away and defying you to swat at them, stingers poised, ready.

This lot includes wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets to name a few. Honestly, I’m not sure what the differences are between the species, but I do know that they are NOT adorable and soft looking, but hard, mean, sharp, and threatening. Though small, they are anything but defenseless. A honeybee might honorably sacrifice its life for the greater good of the population if threatened. But I challenge you to come up with an instance where you intentionally bothered a wasp knowing that they possess multiple stinging capabilities and will not die in the act of defending itself.

In short: wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, etc are assholes. Bullies.

As with any irrational fear, the reaction to the feared stimulus is usually quite dramatic and volatile. In the case of myself and bees of the above description, this includes, but is not limited to: screaming, whimpering, running away, and begging someone else stronger and more courageous than myself to off this tiny bugger.

You may now be curious to know why I’d bother to write a post on bees in the first place.

Well, spring has sprung in Leuven! Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and people are taking advantage of this beautiful town in all its glory. However, spring comes with a few downsides…

Our apartment, though tiny, is fitted with two very nifty windows. However, given the slope of the ceiling and general configuration of these windows, it’s impossible to fit a screen on them. This is annoying. In the fall, we battled with a bug bite or two and fought off the pesky moths that drifted in attracted by the light bulbs. However, the spring comes with another challenge…bees.

Since I arrived in Belgium last Friday night, we’ve had at least (AT LEAST!) 4 wasps fly into our tiny abode, each swiftly and efficiently killed by Trevor while I hide in the hallway. I don’t like those odds. Something fishy is obviously going on as there aren’t any flowers or really anything resembling one in the vicinity, so they could not be attracted by the sweet smells. Methinks a nest is probably to blame. But where?

As we’ve already had two of these unfriendly visitors today, I think an urgent message to the landlords will have to be dispatched. I’m sure they will see to it that it is dealt with with the same level of inefficiency and laziness that every other complaint has hitherto been dealt. Here’s hoping.

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Oh crap.  It’s been nearly three weeks since either of us last posted on the blog.  Have you ever gotten really behind on something and then realized that it’s really tough to catch up?

The mountain of my laziness seems near insurmountable.  Sorta like this.

Worry not, dear readers.  Linds is back.  Things will get back to normal soon enough.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

I hope all of you are enjoying a wonderful, warm, happy, white Christmas. Hugs and kisses to all! Merry Christmas!!!

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Leuvense Kerstmarkt

So I’ve arrived safe and sound back in Minnesota, as most of you already know. However, there’s one post that cannot be forgotten as we draw closer to Christmas, and that is the Leuvense Kerstmarkt.

So you are probably thinking, what is a kerstmarkt? Well my friends, it is a Christmas market, and it is possibly the best thing that ever happened to humanity/the holiday season. Christmas markets are kind of a big deal in Europe. I know they have them in Germany and Belgium for sure, however, I believe they exist all over. They are hosted by each city separately, and as a result, some Christmas markets are far superior to others.

You might be wondering what one does at such a market. Basically, you participate in all the merry-making of the holiday season in surroundings so beautifully decorated that it’s hard not to get excited about it. Examples of said merry-making include, but are not limited to: eating enormous, delicious bratwurst, bacon on a stick, pannekoeken, churros, champagne and oysters, tartiflette, and many other tasty treats, drinking mulled wine, taking pictures with St. Nick, and shopping for handmade wares.

It’s pretty much the best thing ever. The large open square by the Leuven library is transformed into a mini-festival with tents housing all of the above mentioned items. Night is the busiest time as it temporarily steals the spotlight from the beloved cafes and bars in the Old Market for 2 weeks a year. The lights sparkle in the library windows and all over the tents while people wander with hot Gluhwein in hand (mulled cider/wine) gazing at the artisan soaps and wooden childrens’ toys for sale.

If alcohol is not your thing, there are plenty of delicious alternative beverages as well. I recommend the hot chocolate, it is to die for since it is basically melted dark chocolate in cream. Really, how could you go wrong?

Each city has it’s own kerstmarkt like I mentioned above. The Brussels Kerstmarkt is held in the Grand Place (that gorgeous square with the gold trimmed buildings, dontcha know) and it’s said to be a very good one. I never got a chance to go to that one before I left, but I have heard from a friend that the Leuven Kerstmarkt is better. Yay!

Bruges also has a decent one, and we will always look back on it fondly for having the most unbelievably delicious bratwurst ever to have been created by man. Since then, no other brat can really compare. Even at our own precious Leuven market, we couldn’t find one quite so perfectly juicy, yet slightly charred on the outside with a superb topping of fried onions and mustard in a fresh bun. Just writing about it is making me salivate.

However good that brat was though, the Bruges market itself couldn’t really compare to the wonder of the Leuven one.

As we’ve stated several times in the past, Leuven really is amazing, and probably the best place we could have ended up in Belgium. I couldn’t imagine a more charming place at Christmas either. Everything is decorated and brilliantly lit up, however, the intense commercialism that categorizes the American version of the holiday is refreshingly absent from its Belgian counterpart. Yes, presents are important there as well, but being a Catholic country, the season seems to be more focused on general merry-making and celebrating the miracle of the birth of Christ and all that. It’s a nice change of pace from what we are used to back home which is what Trevor fondly calls “Atheist Kids Get Presents Day.”

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