I'm a Fan

of SARAH PALIN.




I was looking forward to Obama's speech last night and even contemplated staying up for it. After watching the speech this morning, I'm glad I didn't. I don't know if I had too high of expectations or what. I was just wanting someone (anyone, really) to inspire and challenge our country collectively. I guess I was hoping Obama would try to appeal to both sides and bridge the party differences and even possibly seal the deal for me. But, as I ate my bowl of Frosties (Frosted Flakes for you Americans) I felt nothing. In fact, his attacks and digs against Bush and Republicans actually frustrated me more than the level of sogginess of my Frosties after a 15 minute speech. Granted, McCain hasn't provided much inspiration either... UNTIL today. I never really gave it much thought so I'm not sure why I was excitedly shocked that McCain picked a woman as his running mate. It makes sense, but I figured he would follow the political safe road and pick a fellow Washington bureacrat, boy was I wrong.


Alright, so, let me give you the laundry list of qaulifications of why I'm a fan of Sarah Palin:

1. She's pretty HOT


And that's all I got...


Ok I'm joking. But you have to admit, she gives a really good first impression.


Needless to say, I'm still no closer to deciding how I'm going to vote... Most people that know me know I'm super conservative, but being in Europe has shown me that not everything is black or white (or in this case red or blue.) The order of "red or blue" in the previous sentence does not apply respectively to "black or white" so get over yourself if you took it that far. In fact, I avoid political conversations at all costs over here, mostly because only one side of the story is shown in the news. Events, situations, or stories are all portrayed with such subjective slants that it taints any objective conversation anyone can have with a Belgian. I don't fault the Belgians for having such disdain for certain aspects of American life, it's all they know. But I do fault the media for only putting out one very slanted side of the story. I'm not just saying this becuase it happens to be the liberal slant, I think I would feel the same way if was only the conservative slant shown. Rather than complain about the lack of objectivism or neutrality in the media, I think it would be more beneficial and possibly even more entertaining if the subjectivism continued but both sides were shown. It would be up to the individual to decide, with the truth being somewhere in the middle. Now, yes I know the possible repricussions that could occur if man were left to his own intellectual devices, and so did our founding fathers, because that is exactly why we have the electoral college. If too many people begin to think for themselves and begin to vote according to their principles and convictions rather than party affiliations or the "hotness" of a candidate, the "leaders" and "priviledged" of our country would be in danger of losing their jobs. Alright, I know that's a bit harsh, but I'm just fed up with politics and the "talk" of change. My cousin was just here last week and we spoke a little about politics and she did mention something that I think is worth repeating. She said "I'm a thinker, not a Republican or Democrat or even Independent." And I completely agree. My challenge to you and mainly myself, is to be a thinker. I don't care who you vote for, I only care if you can tell me why you voted for who you did or even what the key issues were for you in your decision. I'll even accept "Because she's hot." I think that's better than "Because she's Republican." We can even discuss the pros and cons of having an attractive person represent and lead our country. Case in point: recently elected mayor of London, Boris Johnson. (picture below)... Could he be a suitable leader of a country or even an important international city? Forget about his merits and credibility as a person, don't lose focus, judge only on appearance... haha jk. But seriously!

Ok, enough of my political rant. If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. If you don't agree with anything I said, then Katie made me say it. JK. But she did encourage me to make a special appearance on the blog so it's ultimately her fault if I've bored you to death.

Hope all is well and thank you to everyone that has supported us (especially with fun filled care packages). See you in October!

Stephen

M.I.A.

Well, I've signed up to teach an Immersion course for children at a "dude ranch" near Liege. I'll be in charge of 10 kids aged 9-12, and 4 aged 13-15. It should be pretty interesting. I'm very excited, though, I get to do all of the activities with them: horseback riding, zip-lining, archery, ATV's, Sumo-wrestling (those blow up things), etc.

I leave this afternoon, and won't arrive back home until Saturday afternoon...so all prayers are welcome :) I hope to post a little bit and add some pictures of my week then, but I'll be returning again next Sunday...so we'll see what shape I'm in!

Hope everyone is well...talk to you soon!


*Gracie at our friend Maite's stables meeting Magic and his friends.

Flower Carpet



Yesterday, we went to Brussels to see the Flower Carpet that is placed in the Grand Place. It was gorgeous. It only happens every two years, so we've been looking forward to seeing it for quite some time.




The pictures don't really do it justice, but try to imagine 700,000 flowers placed in cool designs...it was awesome. Our good friends Emily and Kyle reminded us that it was this weekend, so we met up with them and the Cross' to see the flower show and then head to dinner. We had such a great time! Enjoy!


Peket Mania



August 15th is a national holiday in Belgium. Not exactly sure what we're celebrating (Assumption Day perhaps), but it was Stephen and I's first "2nd Annual" festival. Can't believe that!


*Apparently, "furries" do exist!


We wandered over to Outremeuse around lunchtime and were able to see the parade and have a little Peket. We've learned that people here party from 1am-5am during these festivals, so we were confident we would beat any crowds. It was nice.


*He got Duncan right, but the colors are a little off!


Of course there were people there who you could assume were still out from the night before...but that's what people watching is all about. Here are some of the random sights we were able to see...and look here for last year's party!



video

The Art of the Bird

Same dinner as below. Stephen and I discussing "the bird." Don't ask me how this conversation started.

Me: (flipping him the bird, NOT in a mean manner, just showing him I'm capable of being mean)

Stephen: Woah...yours is pretty formal. I mean, you do it with passion. It's legit.

Me: Ha, didn't know I was so good.

Stephen: (trying to do it, with the other fingers half-bent, not all down) This is what happens when I try to do it formally. My other fingers don't know what to do.

Me: (laughing) Your hand looks pained.

Stephen: The lady that did it to me in traffic the other day did it like that. It was premeditated. She waited for me to drive up, and then she just shot it at me.

Me: Yeah, she waited for you. You obviously gave her a few minutes to get it ready...

Stephen: It's just not in my repertoire to do that. That's not something I would just think to do.

Me: (laughing...repertoire?)

Stephen: You know, I don't like repertoire. Arsenal. Yeah, it's not in my ARSENAL to do that.

Me: (dying laughing...who says that?)


*Before you ask...No, Stephen and I don't flip people the bird. Yes, we are dorks. No, we aren't white-trash, at least not completely. Our mothers DID teach us well...

Of all places....

Stephen and I went to a new Italian restaurant that opened up in Liege a few weeks ago. We had Gracie with us, so we sat outside and enjoyed the cooler weather. Our waiter came up shortly after we sat down and brought us our menus. We had pretty much decided what we would have when the chef walked up. He started vomiting French words at us, and we were following pretty well, answering when questions were asked. I guess our non-local accents gave us away because here is what follows:

Chef: Ah, flems or allemagne? (Flemish or German)

Me: No, no, Anglais!

Chef: Oh, veally. Liverpool?

Me: (look of complete confusion...look at Stephen)

Stephen: (look of utter astonishment...why Liverpool, of ALL places)

Me: No, Texas. America.

Chef: Ah, America. Bon Appetit!

So random. Why Liverpool? We laughed so hard, trying to figure out why in the world he would have chosen that city. Then, Stephen looked at me and goes, "Liverpool plays Standard (soccer, Liege team) this weekend don't they?" It all came together...

"These guys whip it out so fast!"

*Said as the Great Britain Men's Rowing Team left the start...

We're deep in the Olympics here at the Dotson house. The problem, unfortunately, is we only get to watch British teams/individuals. With the exception of Michael Phelps. They seem to have an uncanny fascination with him. Guess it's because he's pretty great. So, we'll get to watch him and a lot of people we don't know and don't care about...

RP (Stephen's dad) is in China right now. He was able to see the opening ceremonies, some beach volleyball, and he gets to watch the USA whoop up on China in Basketball. We probably won't get to see it. Sad. I'll let you know how GB does, though :)

How great are the Olympics???

WE DID IT!!


Stephen and I have been in Belgium for ONE YEAR! Can you believe it? In some ways I think it has flown by, and in others it seems like an eternity. I think it's natural to feel that way. In celebration of our anniversary here, I thought I would list a few things we have learned since moving to Europe.

  • Personal space is an American thing.
  • Deodorant is optional.
  • You get over being homesick, but not over missing those you love!
  • Dreaming of Ranch on fries is not normal.
  • The things I miss the most about the US aren't things, but people.
  • Driving a standard car in traffic is so annoying.
  • Driving a car that you don't pay for is amazing.
  • Cabin Fever is very real.
  • Cold showers before bed make nights without A/C bearable.
  • Public transport is awkward.
  • Being in walking distance to the city center is awesome.
  • I'm not as independent as I thought I was.
  • I'm not as strong as I thought I was.
  • I can ask for help, even in French :)
  • Sitting on terraces in nice weather is something to take advantage of.
  • Short days in the Winter are depressing.
  • Long days in the Summer are incredible.
  • Having Gracie over here has enriched our lives more than we admit.
  • Having each other is such a blessing.
  • Europe has so much to offer, and the festivals are pretty cool, too.
  • You can have too many frites.
  • Going to a doctor that speaks "pretty good" English is a bad idea...get references.
  • As a couple, we can do anything!!!
Thank you for keeping up with us and our past year of adventures...we are so thankful for this opportunity and thank you for your prayers and encouragement along the way!