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Belgium escapades

The final moments

It has taken me a while to create this last blog because I wanted enought time to capture the - oh too brief moments with my friends in family in Belgium. Here is my final entry.

Mentioned in chronological order, so no one gets offended-

1st- My friend Danitza Lienard. She came to London with Lyndsey and I, she hosted me several nights, she is one of my bridesmaids in my wedding, and most importantly, she has been my friend since we have been in kindergarten together. Here are some pictures of her house and of us! The last picture is of her parents's house and not hers but she lives two doors down!


Danitza's house was cute and cozy and offered us anything we could have needed. I still think of how we are friends and how incredible it is that people can know each other for so long, lose touch, get back in touch, and still have the ability to get along as if no time was ever lost. You'll be meeting her at my wedding this summer. I miss her very much!


Next are pictures of my family. my mom's brother, my uncle, still lives in Belgium with my cousins. It's funny to be around them because looking at them is almost like at yourself in the mirror. Not because they look like me but because we come from the same place, the same people, and the same culture. My uncle hosted 2 BBQs so that the family could spend time together.

the 1st two pictures are pictures of everyone. People had their shirts off because it was so hot at the time and no one there has air conditioning. The last picture is of Elodie, my cousin Julien's girl with their first son, Nolan. I couldn't post a picture of my other cousin's baby, Romi and Yanis, because all the pictures of him are those of him naked splashing around in the pool.

Here are some pictures of the landmarks I grew up around:


These pictures are of my grandmother's house, her neighborhood, the tree that holds up my childhood, and the garden where my grandfather used to grow his vegetables. A long time ago that was...


These past pictures include a picture of my grandmother eating fries, the roundabouts in town, and other buildings that would only be familiar to my family and those who live there.

Next, I have pictures of my mother's cousin's family. He isn't in any of the pictures unfortunately- I didn't realize I had no pictures of him or his son. Henriette and Anais went to the countryside of Belgium to visit their oldest daughter, Gladys. The area was beautiful although we went on a rainy day. I enjoyed a great lunch with them that day and drank the most delicious hot chocolate of my life made with real cocoa chips. We also had a great girls' day out. They were gracious enough to cook us dinner twice. Both times, my grandmother said she had never eaten better in her life. Karl also served us great french wine and sent me home with a bottle which I will save for a special occasion. The following pictures include where Gladys stayed by the lake and the places we visited while we spent the afternoon with her.


I thank them again for their kindness and love, and even more for the continuous giving heart towards my grandmother.

Next, I have pictures of the North Sea, beach pictures, and our brief encounter with one of my mother's dear friends and her family. Talking to them always puts a smile on my face. Their sense of humor can get you out of any funk you could ever be in. I'm sorry I couldn't spend more time with them.


Next are pictures of more family although it is too complicated to explain how they are directly linked to us. We first met at the beach, where we enjoyed everyone's company at a BBQ. I later spent one night with Freddy, my mom's cousin, and his family. We visited Namur by night and the castle, the real citadel. Being around that family just makes you understand how much love there is between all of them.


Remi wanted to go to their fair before going home to let me taste their version of funnel cake. I have to say it blows any of our fair food out of the water. I could have sworn I took pictures of what we ate but this is the only pcitures I salvaged from the fair.


Next are just some pictures of their beautiful house.


I want to say thank you to that entire family. They remind you of how important families are. I also want to say thank you to Freddy for being one of the best examples of what a giving human being looks like. He has one of the biggest hearts I know and his children are just like him. I hope to see them at my wedding, too.

If anyone is in the running for being a great example of a giving human being and having a big heart, it is Carmella Deleu. I have a long history with them. I went to school with their daughter, Ornella. We grew up together. At one time, they almost moved close to us in Tennessee. Carmella gives to my grandmother like she gives to her own family. For that, I owe her a million thank yous and the recognition that she might be in line to be a saint some day. Here they are below.


The next section is dedicated to my godmother, Josee, her husband, Mario, her daughter, Melanie, and her son Bruno (and Peggy, his girfriend). They welcomed me like another family member, gave me more than I could have ever asked, and then some. I drink a hot milk with honey when I think of Mario, I have gotten used to immaculately ironing my clothes thanks to Josee, and I spray my Occitane perfume and put on leggings to think of Melanie. To get the whole package, I look at the picture of all of us at Park Paradisio that is posted on my fridge. To get a moment of peace, I imagine myself on Melanie's couch, reading a Mark Levy Book with the church bells ringing on a Sunday morning. I picture her serene apartment and remind myself of the conversations we had day after day which reminded me again that the reason I am the way I am is because I grew up where all these people mentioned in my blog grew up.


They took me to amazing eateries. The following pictures are from Park Paradisio- not quite a zoo but had enough animals to be considered one.


The whole park had an asian flair. It was beautiful! The pictures of the us on the bridge were fun to take because Melanie was petrified to cross the bridge!


Here are some pictures taken at Bruno's house-


All I can say is a million thank yous!

This next part is an ode to Mary Agnes- she bakes like the gods. Here is what she made for me while I was there. Yes- if you counted 5 pies and 2 cakes, you are right!


She, too, deserves a million thank yous for what she gives to my grandmother, for the listening ear she gives my mother, and for being one of the only people I know that can give as much as she does even when doesn't have much to give in the first place. Thanks again!

I got the opportunity to hang out with another friend of mine I used to go to school with. She, too, visited me for a month. Visiting her reminds me that you may think you change through the years, but the fact is, you are the same person you were when you were 5 years old, only with a few tweeks here and there. I hope she gets to move to Berkley so that I have an excuse to go to Cali and spend more time with her. I wished I could have spent more than 1 afternoon with her.


A few days before going back home, I took a nolstalgic walk down memory lane. I walked to the school I went to and down the street I used to live on.


This last picture is in honor of my grandfather. I finally got to visit his grave for the first time since his death. I wasn't trying to be morbid and I don't post this picture with sadness. I just want to give him the recognition he deserves.


I leave my final blog by saying that I had an amazing time thanks to the people who took me in while I was there. I miss those people every day and I know they don't even know it. They continue to shape my life thousands of miles away. I still hope to win the lottery some day so that I can visit them several times a year as I please. Until then, it is my goal to save my money to be able to visit them every other year. A million thank yous again-

See you soon! With love,

2nd and 3rd day in Paris 079

2nd and 3rd day in Paris 079

Posted by CarolineC 18:51

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