Thursday, August 23, 2007

The end

I herewith break the silence that has been the consequence of extensive moving preparations, travel, work and social events on top of my regular general life in Belgium. It is but for a brief moment though, that I come back, and it is to say good bye: on Tuesday the 21st of August 2007 we; the boys, the Husband & I, left Leuven, Belgium and moved to Cairo, Egypt. It's a new chapter beginning in our lives, and the end of An American Swede in Belgium.

Thank you all for your patience, time and interest. I has been my pleasure entirely, I'm sure. In shallah Allah. God's speed.

By Lovain

PS. Should you be interested in the sequel, then you are welcome to visit my new blog "The Fugates in Cairo".

Monday, July 23, 2007

Foreign childen in Vollsjö; a novelty indeed

"Oh my goodness; they´re so young and already speak fluent English!" the Skåne ice cream truck sales woman burst out when we were trying to decide on what to buy from her. I had heard this joke before; my father used to say while in France on holiday "Look at these kids; so young and already fluent in French (a very difficult language at that)!" Only, I quickly realized that the Skåne ice cream truck sales woman was not making a joke - she was seriously amazed. Granted, Vollsjö is a very small village, and not exactly a tourist attraction, but it´s situated about a 40 minute-ride from Denmark, and EVERYBODY in Sweden has cable - the fact that children may speak other languages, and not all Skånska, should not appear odd. But I guess it did.

By Lovain (vacationing in Sweden)

Friday, July 20, 2007

A sign of life

I'm not dead. I just haven't been able to blog over the past month. I've been working full time. The Husband has been working on his doctorate thesis. The boys have school off. Our friends had babies, and those babies got baptised. Other friends' children had birthday parties, and in general, we're trying to spend time with our friends, knowing we will miss them come September.

Most of all though, we're moving. We're lived in Belgium for 11 years, and although we never really intended on staying, we've accumulated enough things that moving is quite a bit of work. A lot of work, actually. Not only do we have to choose a small amount of our things that we can bring (and try to get rid of the rest), we also have to pack those things very well and put them all down on an inventory list (including a list of all our DVDs by title), following a complicated system that classifies everything by durables/consumables and container. Add all the paperwork and general arranging moving entails (passport renewals, supplier notifications, address change notifications, etc.), vaccinations, sorting and one million other things that I can't think of unless I check my 4 feet long list of things to do, and you have a very busy life. Happy and excited, but busy.

To top things off, I decided several months ago - BEFORE I realized what a lot of work this move was going to be - that now would be a good time to go visit family in Sweden for 2 weeks. So tomorrow we leave, the boys and I, on a 7 am flight to Copenhagen. When we get back, I have to go back to work for 2 weeks, and then we leave for Cairo.

By a stressed - happy and excited, but stressed - and busy Lovain

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

My 4 year old's linguistic abilities

"May I please have some more chips with deodorant on?" the youngest one leisurely inquired. "I'm sorry, what?" I said, wondering where this was going to lead. "More chips with deodorant on!" he emphasized, when I realized that he meant Nacho Cheese Dorritos, which he had been eating. Dorritos - Deodorant; why not?

Later that day, the youngest one also tried on his new "hacking shoes" we got him for our hikes in the desert.

By Lovain

Pastries baked in Spain, consumed in Brussels a couple of hours later

This morning a colleague picked up some pastries for everyone at his local bakery before going to work. My colleagues often bring treats to keep the group happy, so there's nothing remarkable about the offering, however this particular colleague lives in Barcelona, Spain (he flies home every weekend). I'm sitting in an office building in Brussels having pastries baked in Barcelona this morning. It's a small world.

By Lovain

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Leuven SOLDEN (sales) to begin

Every year on 1 July the official sales period starts in Belgium. The month before has a block on sales and reduced prices, however the law is no longer respected, and clothing stores will have promotional events all through the month of June. The sales remain a big event however, since past collections will be sold at a heavily reduced priced, and real bargains can be made. This year, the sales will start exceptionally on 30 June, due to 1 July falling on a Sunday. I have, probably along with 5 million others living in Belgium, a list of things we need, and plan on hitting the stores as soon as they open on Saturday morning. Wish me luck!

By Lovain

Monday, June 25, 2007

Saturday mornings

One of my favourite moments of the week is when I go to bed on Friday night and turn my alarm clock off, knowing I don’t have to get up early in the morning and rush off somewhere. Saturday mornings are if possible even more enjoyable; still the entire weekend lies ahead of me, but I’m already enjoying it. The boys will sleep in, come and lay with us for a bit and then go downstairs to have cereal and watch cartoons, while the Husband & I enjoy an extra hour in bed, alone. On Saturday, the youngest one who had been laying in between us, got up after a couple of encouraging words to go with the oldest one downstairs, pointed at his recently vacated 2/3-of-the-bed space, said “and DON’T take my spot!” and then added “and DON’T lay on top of each other!”

How in the world...?

By Lovain