Don't get caught in the Mist

UPDATE: Poor man was hit by a truck, dragged for a distance, then left while the truck drove away. Very sad!

Stephen has been taking me to a cafe most mornings on his way to work so I can read and do a devotional or two...mostly just to get out of the apartment and "do something with my life." Well, today we noticed the traffic was pretty bad, so we went the backway towards the park where Gracie and I play (and where the Big Top is). Well, as we approached we saw a fire truck and an ambulance and quite a few cop cars. As we got even closer, we realized something terrible had happened. You don't just pull out the tents for a fender bender or traffic violation. So what do I do? Document it for the blog.

















Now I'm really curious. Did someone die? Get murdered? What happened. We discuss how terrible it is and Stephen drops me off at the coffee shop. I go in, and a few minutes later a group of people come in discussing it. I didn't catch everything they were saying, but I did catch "dead" and gathered it was by stabbing. By gathered I mean this one lady with fire red hair was making a stabbing gesture and saying how terrible it was. So terrible that she ordered a coffee and kissed everyone at the bar before lighting her cigarette. I sat down in my normal area and went on as usual. Three hours later it I had completed my book and decided to leave. I walked across the park, checked out the admission for the circus and then headed home. But the direction I was headed still was roped off and hadn't changed much from the pictures above. So, I kind of lingered and watched what others were doing. Do I cross the roundabout (cars were blocking so no one could drive through) or go on the crosswalk (see pic on right above) that everyone else seemed to be using? I stayed back and watched a large group of people use the crosswalk, in between the fire truck and the tents mind you, and no one yelled at them and nothing "popped out" at them...so I figured it was safe. As I started across the crosswalk, a heard a huge "whoosh" as the fire trucks' hose began to POWERWASH the street. About the time I get to the curb, huge amounts of VERY bloody water begin to crash against the curb, on its way to the sewer opening in the street. I jump across, narrowly missing a foot-in-blood-that's-not-mine ordeal. I turn around to see if the guy did it on purpose. Not sure what I would have done, but I was intending to give him a dirty look when I see something chunky being washed to the sewer grate. In my head I think it's brains, but I'm sure it was gauze or something used by the paramedics. Either way, I was about to dry heave when a huge gust of wind came and misted myself and the crowd of onlookers with dead body juice. It happened so fast, but I ran just as soon as I realized what was happening to the shelter of a corner store to avoid getting drenched. Completely disgusted, dry heaving and standing in disbelief, what do I do? Document it for the blog.



After I collected my thoughts and "wiped my face clean" I moved over to where I could get a better look. You guys know I'm nosey, don't act surprised! As I watched, a homeless man started to reenact his story of what happened. Apparantly, two people treid to walk across the street and were hit by a truck, then rolled to their current locations. He was pretty animated, and his story was believeable. But, in the end we don't know what "really" happened. I can tell you that, after I felt I knew all the scoop, I came home and washed my face :)

They got a racket going...


So, most early afternoons during the week the greater geriatric population of our street go the neighborhood grocery store. It is not rare for me to walk by and smile as they make their slow but determined trek two blocks down the street to store up for their weekly needs. Most of them have these "backpack on wheels" contraptions to place their goods in...which are pretty handy for those that can't carry heavy goods. But most of them also have canes or walkers, and a select few have the "old person hunch" going on which makes the walk a little longer and more tedious than your average person.


Now, the grocery store has it's own little crew of beggars out front. I say beggars, but some of them are actually useful. Sure, you have the one lady schlepping her child in exchange for a few euro-cents, but there is one "family" in particular that actually DON'T ask for money and just sit outside smoking and greeting you as you walk in. I've had the particular luxury of being in the store near closing when this "family" (not sure if they are related, but three or so of them are always around each other) does their shopping with the days revenue. Although they buy junk food and soft drinks, they are a jolly and well-mannered bunch. Well, as of today they've upped their game. Now...they offer door to door services. Yes, you heard me...they've become little entrepreneurs. They will take the elderly's groceries and walk them home for them, to ease their load and simplify their lives. GENIUS...and I'm sure they are making more than the toothless "Bon jour" they were offering up last week.


They had a whole group of people waiting to use their services, some geriatric and some just plain lazy. Of course I risked my life to take the picture once I got across the street for the sake of the blog...the lady in the front was none too pleased. Thought I was going to get jumped...but for all of you out there worried about my well-being, I still would have blogged it. As for the new business in town...I'm going to shake their hands next time I see them and say, "Well done, well done."

'Ole Man Planters would be proud

The teachers went on strike in London...nice. The kids had the day off, and the parents had to take vacation days to care for them. They wanted a 4% raise, not sure if they got it but I love the acronym for their union...NUT: The National Union for Teachers.



This reminds me of a familiar Snoop Doggs song, "Lay off these N-U-T's 'cause you gets none of these, at ease"

Progress

Despite a debilitating case of meningitis, ahem, crick in my neck, I made it out for a walk with Gracie. She was not too happy that there were a bunch of children at the park (she doesn't love little kids) but she was very intrigued by the "barnyard smell" coming from some of the trailers set up near the Big Top. Yes, the circus is still in town. We were able to enjoy the beautiful weather...and as you can see, I have on RAINBOWS. I had to reteach myself how to wear something that didn't require two pairs of socks, but it all worked out nicely. I still had on pants and a long-sleeved shirt...but NO jacket and flip-flops! Progress...we're making progress!

Wonton Soup Experiment

Stephen and I decided to try and make Won Ton Soup from scratch last night. I found a recipe off the internet, and did my best to find all the ingredients at our local grocery store. Stephen was extra helpful in making the dinner, which was nice as it took a LONG time to prepare (mainly the pasta). I have to say, though, that it was very easy. The pasta had to sit for a while in the refrigerator, so we were able to multi-task. Anyone who knows Stephen knows he has food/texture issues, so I did my best to tailor the foods to his needs (i.e. HE got to chop/puree the onions) and he obliged. The end result was a great soup...it needs some minor changes, but it was great! Next time the pasta will be a LOT thinner so that the wontons aren't dumplings, and the soup will have a little more "asian" flair, but for the most part, we succeeded. With our extra pork mixture we made some spring rolls. They were also to DIE FOR. We're pretty amazing...eat your heart out Gordon Ramsey!


Indian food and Girl's Nights...

Ava (friend who works at PFS) has taken me/us under her wing and made sure we are socialized. She threw a dinner party for 20 or so guests a few weeks ago, including us in the soiree. It was so nice to be able to meet with different people we normally wouldn't have met (who spoke English mind you), and although we were dubbed the "Oil Shakes" from Texas, we had a great time :) Ava prepared home cooked Indian Food, and when I say prepared, I mean 6 different dishes that were AMAZING. We had Shrimp, Chicken, and Beef curry, Lamb with Saffron Rice, Bread, Tomato and Onion Salsa and various Chutneys, a chickpea dish and a vegetarian curry. It was awesome. I had never really had too many Indian dinners in the past, and definitely not any home cooked and THIS good! It was great, and she even made a chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream and strawberries. We were in heaven. Stephen really liked the lamb and rice, and tried the shrimp and chicken curries and of course INHALED the dessert. It was so nice!

This past Friday we had a girls night, we being Ava and Francoise (another coworker/friend). We had appetizers, spaghetti and dessert...and a lot of conversation and music. It was so nice to be able to get out on my own and interact with other women. They have been lifesavers, even if they are making me fat! Thanks girls!

Who knew golf could be so great??

Stephen and I have toyed with the idea of getting a Wii for some time now. If they weren't so dang expensive over here and not compatible back in the US we already would have. But...maybe this will make us rethink our "economical" decision! So cute! Thanks Ava!

video

P.S. I have no idea who this family is.

Best Day EVER


Stephen and I woke up to sunny skies, tried out a new church in Brussels that we love, had lunch on a PATIO in 60 degree weather, Liege Standard (pronounced "stand-throaty rrrrr-d", our soccer team) just won their game 2-0 and is #1 in Belgium, and the full moon over the river is amazing! Pretty darn incredible day! God is good...





"She's probably afraid because she can smell carnie"

This was Stephen's synopsis on why Gracie was afraid of the "big top." The circus is in town folks, for a month that is. The advertisement boasts a lady with a tiger. Seeing how small the tent is, this could be a dangerous (and thoroughly exciting) thing! Maybe we'll get tickets...Jeremy and Lindsay will be here at the end of the month. Maybe it can be a family fun-day?? Roarrrrrrr.

But, judging from the line of single-wides, I think Stephen might be right. Definitely smells of
Carnie...and I love it!

For your reading pleasure...

Stephen and I think these are quite funny...the first one is by far my favorite! Hope you are able to sing along to most~































*Click on the picture to enlarge if needed!

Bring the Rain

"In the span of a few minutes, I committed to God that I would stop praying for sunshine and start welcoming whatever made the soil rich. And so, a year later, here I sit. Many of you have asked how I am so strong. The answer is that I am not strong, but my God is, and He is in battle for me. My end of the deal is held up by praising the One who has chosen me to walk this. And I do." (http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/ --beware, another remarkable, tear-jerking experience filled with God's amazing love...I warned you! It's changed me...)

I'm so selfish, asking for the sun and yearning so badly for the Summer to heal my homesick soul. It's not going to happen. No matter what, even if the sun comes out and the Summer is amazing, it's not going to be the same. But it shouldn't be. We chose to be here, to be different, to learn about ourselves. We are learning, albeit difficult. But more than that, we are learning to be comfortable in our own skin...away from where we are "comfortable."

There is so much to see, so much to do, so many countries to visit, and many more blogs to be made...but if it has to be done in the rain, I'm going to do my best to smile. For it's not about the sun or the rain, it's about "whatever makes the soil rich."

Yes, that's right. We found out that you can watch shows on MTV.com. I know, I know...small victories! We used Saturday afternoon to catch up with Rob & Big (the title is a quote from Big, it's not my own thoughts), and I have to say that I haven't laughed that hard in a while. It was nice catching up! If you don't watch this show, you have to start. It's too much.

Saturday night we had Stephen's assistant Pierre-Francois and his wife Rosana over for dinner. They had never had, nor heard of, marinated steaks. I decided to fix some southern specialties (steak, mashed potatoes, bacon-wrapped green beans, and chocolate mousse) for them, and we had a nice night with great conversation. Gracie hated it because we locked her up for dinner, check out her blog to see thoughts!

We've been pretty relaxed over here in Belgium since the Dotson's left. Nothing really new to share, it's been pretty hum-drum. But, no news is always good news, right? I could be going crazy or we could have been hit by another drunk driver...see??? We made it through Stephen's birthday without having to deal with an accident outside, so we're thankful! Speaking of Stephen's birthday, being the amazing wife that I am, I decided to plan a golfing adventure for 'ole Stephen. He loved it, except for the extreme cold and wind the better part of the morning. We (really just I) hacked it up and enjoyed a nice round together. Happy 26th Esteban! (the picture of me is the ONLY ball I hit in the fairway from the tee box)

This weekend we look forward to having a nice dinner at Ava's house (another coworker from PFSweb)...she's cooking a curry dinner for us and some other couples! It will be nice to meet with new people, and get loud and crazy with Ava! She's great!

Now, I'm just looking forward to Spring. I took some pictures of the tulips we bought for our apt. They look so inviting and pretty...if only they could survive outside :) Here's to hoping for Spring...say a little prayer for us!!