You win some, you lose some...

Well...finding a job is going to be harder than I expected. I had my interview, and it went great...except that I'm not Belgian! Apparently, you have to have a permit (which we weren't told about pre-move) and you have to be sponsored to get one...which they don't tend to do unless your Belgian. And, if sponsored, it could take up to 8 months until I receive the permit, and I couldn't get paid until then. So...any ideas? All in all, I'm holding up pretty well with the news...although I'm working really hard to think outside of the box and maybe come up with a job! Stephen thinks I could sell pigeons at the Sunday markets--not sure I have the stomach for that!
In other (more exciting) news, I've finished my personal 10K. I didn't make t-shirts this time, but next time I'm pondering having t-shirts and sports bottles for my fans! I'm going to call it "Dotson vs. the Meuse." I face the river everyday...and sometimes I win :) Also, we got a DRYER!!!! I never thought I was truly high maintenance, but apparently our landlord thinks so! She had an extra one, and I was the lucky recipient! You have no idea how exciting this is, after trying to dry dress pants and jeans and having to wait three days until they are dry, and stiff! We'll see what the product of the dryer is. My expectations are low!
Our plan is to head to Brugge on Saturday, which I'm really excited about! I've got a list of things I want to see...and the locals say it's the creme de la creme of European architecture--you know I'm PUMPED!! So, stay tuned, and have a safe weekend!

Weekend in Maastricht...

Well, it's been a while since our last blog. Last week I didn't have the internet for the better part of the week, and we were out and about all weekend, so this is the first time I've had a chance! Forgive me?

Last week was good, although I was getting a little stir crazy without the internet. Friday we decided to go "out," and realized that the students here are NUTS. They all go out, and I mean we got a little annoyed with that, and are thankful we don't live in the centre now! Most of the students that go out are in their you can imagine the noise :) On Saturday, we went to Maastricht to shop around and have lunch. We had a really fun afternoon--although I was definitely tempted with all of the shopping. We happened on another festival, and decided to come back on Sunday when we had time to enjoy it. We had dinner plans with Stephen's coworker Pierre-Franciose and his wife on Saturday evening. We had a really nice time! I tried duck pate...which did NOT sit well, but had a really nice meal and enjoyed talking and getting to know them a little better. Sunday we drove to Maastricht and enjoyed the "Taste of Europe" festival. They had a bunch of booths set up with various foods from around Europe. It was mostly an older crowd, but we had a nice time. Today I have an interview with the language school...keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer...I need a day job :)



You polled, we delivered! Our first trip was to Brussels, Belgium. We left yesterday to fulfill a day's itinerary I had planned, where we visited the touristy places as well as some local delights! We had a great time! The weather was a little chillier than I would liked, but we couldn't complain. We started the day off walking through the Grand Place (town square). It's magnificent, and stately. They do a "carpet of flowers" every even year, so next year we'll have to go and take pictures. We saw some post cards with what it will look like,

and you'll die! Stay tuned. We then headed down to the disappointedly small "peeing child" fountain (Mannekin Pis). I'm not talking about his "endowdness," moreso the entire piece. I was expecting a statuesque fountain, and it was a corner piece--and covered in costume to honor the voted "Best Beer in Brussels." Apparently, the poor boy has many different costumes: santa, devil, graduate, pig, spaniard, tourist, etc. for different times of the year and different festivals. Speaking of festivals, we didn't realize that this weeking marked the middle of a music festival in Brussels. We looked

to see if we recognized any of the bands, wishful thinking I guess. We didn't, but Rihanna is going to be there in a few weeks...might come back for that :) We left the little guy and made our way to the American embassy. We found a lot of cool buildings on our way, including a wonderful waffle shop (see pic) that produced some serious waffles. It kind of made me sick to imagine having those all the time! We also

found many wonderful cathedrals on our way. The architecture and stained glass in these churches is phenomenal! I was taken back...and stayed in there for quite a while! (Mom...didn't light a bunch of candles praying for snow--I've learned a little since that time!) We finally found our way to the American embassy, found the Palace of the Nations and the Grand Palais, which were both amazing. There is a park that Gracie would love to roll in separating the two, which reminded me of Central Park. Very beautiful. On our way back to the main square, we toured

the Gran Central (or the train station) and watched a few trains load up and leave. We had a quaint lunch and then a romantic dinner on the "Rue de Bouchers," a very popular dining street, with restaurants spilling over each other. Stephen surprised the heck out of me, we had seafood and he tried clams, mussels, ate crawfish, shrimp and rice! He was a very happy boy until the clams. He almost vomited (see pic)! All in all it was a fabulous day, and we'll
definitely go back!!

A Bientot!
The Dotson's

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Grocery Store Findings!

I usually go to the local supermarket, just down the street. But we had to go on an expedition to find a clothes hanger/dryer w/ clothespins thingy. So we went to a Cora-like place, called Carrefour. It's wonderful! On our search, we found a few native things we thought you all would like. For our resident dog owners, I found a new bone for Gracie and Bella to share :) It's a little too big for just one of them, but together they should be able to handle it! For our resident beer can get a case of 24 Jupilers (local, but good!) for $8 euros. You can also get the mini-kegs shown below for about $5 euros. Now the green specimin is cheese...this is frommage I don't even think Patrick would eat Veronique! And lastly, if you are like most Liegians, you can get your smokes in a quaint little vending machine, right at the register! So convenient :) And...for all you TEXANS! They have Old El Paso taco and salsa stuff...but we bought the salsa and it tastes like ketchup with gum. Weird!

Musiques et Traditions, Folklore Festival de Outremeuse

August 15th in Liege is a BIG deal!
Across the Meuse, the river that runs through the middle of Liege, is Outremeuse. The town is famous for it's puppet shows, the marionette sort. These puppets and theatre shows seem to be local legends, and the festival is in honor of them! It began after work on the 14th, the parade began at 2pm on the 15th, and from what I hear the Liegians party until the wee hours of the 16th. Belgium declares the 15th a work holiday, so it gets pretty rowdy! Stephen and I went after work on Tuesday, and it was crowded, but not terribly. We wandered around, took pictures of things we saw that were interesting (as you can see here) and ate dinner--yes, it was ANOTHER brat for Stephen. The local drink here, Peket, is served at almost every tent. Some tents boast they have 40 different flavors, others serve trays of 5 or 6 different flavors. It's pretty wild. There were carnival rides for the kids, brasseries for the adults, and concerts for people of all ages. It was a lot of fun. We decided to go home, after wandering in the rain for an hour or so, around 10:30. Little did we know, the party doesn't even start until minuit (12am) or after! We slept in on Wednesday, and around lunchtime headed back over to the party! The parade was a long awaited adventure (about an hour late and not very well organized) but it was GREAT! There were huge puppets, kids bands, polka dancers, you name it! We had lunch there, and enjoyed the afternoon of sunshine before heading back for a nap on Stephen's day off! I love these random days off (well, random to us) and festivals! I could get used to pony rides and cotton candy! :) We've included some funny wardrobe findings...hope you enjoy those as well! The rain hit last night, and it seems its going to continue all day. I'm trying to find a break so I can go run...we'll see! Hope everyone is doing well! We're still stocking our archive of hair styles, I didn't forget!

You Will Win Now

Stephen has Pilgim's Pride, all the way in Belgium! Go get 'em guys...let's put a tally in the "W" column!

It's been a while...

since our last blog. We have done a lot of driving around (it gets me out of the apartment) looking for new things. I've attached some pictures of things we've seen that I think are cool! Most of the statuesque things are "native to Liege." But doesn't everyone say that about their areas? I'm learning to love being around the river...I've started running a 3 mile stretch, and though sometimes it smells (coal barges) it's so beautiful. There are a few more "cora-like" places we've found to do some shopping, and the drive is along the countryside. There are so many cathedrals, houses, and buildings that catch your eye. I've decided to start venturing out on my bike, hopefully capturing some of the neat things we see on a day-to-day basis. Stay tuned!

Who's FLY new ride is that?

Oh, it's mine! Yep...I got wheels! I'm pretty excited about this--I can now bike my errands, and get them done quicker! And, as you can tell in the picture, I bought a bungee cord to hold my groceries in. That's official! It's really neat! In case you need a ride, I can take the basket off and you have a seat! I know, it's cool!

Pick our new "House Mascot!"

The following are various options of House Mascots we have seen at the Market! Let us know which one you think we should purchase...but know they will be released when the girls get here :) You can vote on the poll on the right!


Market Adventures

Today we went to the market outside of our apartment. We saw a lot of the same things, although the people watching is always fabulous at these events. We were able to buy some groceries for the next week, and we got a wonderful poulet rotis (rotisserie chicken) for dinner tonight! They have fresh vegetables and fruits, so I was able to get some green beans like we used to pick at Nani and Papa's house! I'm pretty excited, although Stephen has no idea why I would get excited about green vegetables. He was excited, however, at his brat he got for lunch. I've attached a picture of the happy man, and also an up close picture of the nasty sight. Whatever works, right? We have a couple "poll the audience" blogs coming up. One will be "What should Stephen do to his hair next?" and the other is "Pick our house mascot!" Until we get the girls over here, we thought it might be fun to have a house mascot! You guys can let us know what you think we should do! We can purchase the mascot at next Sunday's market! :)