Saturday, January 08, 2011

Double Fête

A lot of you have responded to my first few blog posts with some questions; I thought I'd post some select Q & A's here so that everyone can en profiter.  So here's number one...


What is the first experience that you missed about Belgium or Bruxelles that you wanted to experience after being away?
Believe it or not, the first thing that just felt right was driving home in a tiny European car on tiny, crowded European streets.  But the first night, yesterday night, my sister Aline and I left around 9pm and walked just a block and a half to a little bar to catch up with some girl friends, and THAT is the experience that I most missed....being able to leave the house at a moment's notice and literally walk no more than three blocks before passing 2 bakeries, 3 convenience stores, a tanning salon, a movie rental store, several fresh produce marts, a barber, a pharmacy, a bank, 2 bus stops, 3 bars, a "snack" kebab shop, 2 churches, a gas station -- it's incredible how close everything is. 


My last view of Oregon for a while



Landing in Frankfurt, en route to Brussels -- a first
glance at German architecture


Tonight we celebrated two occasions: Maëlle's 8th birthday, and La fête des rois -- "The celebration of the kings."  In actuality, the holiday stems from a pagan holiday, a celebration of the Greek god Dionysus in which someone was named "king" of the party, but it was adapted by  Christians and has become synonymous with the Epiphany - the celebration of the three magis who followed the star to baby Jesus' birthplace.  Every 6th of January families make or buy tarts in which are hidden a little plastic token; whoever receives the token in their piece of tart is crowned the roi (king) or reine (queen) of the evening.  

In 2007 Laurent and I received the tokens in our pieces of cake
and were thus crowned King and Queen
This year, neither Youssef nor Aline actually got the tokens,
but here they are posing with crowns all the same.
Maëlle, setting up her new Playmobil gymnasium, a gift from the grandparents.
Laurent, Marion, and mom Michelle sip tea before we launch into a game of Tic Tac Boum, in which you must think of words containing certain sounds and pass the plastic bomb before it explodes on you.


Visiting with Bonne-Maman (grandma) whom I haven't seen since 2007

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