- Our dear friends Jenny, Mauro & Leah as well as Maria & Daniel visited us for a long weekend in the middle of January. It was especially wonderful to have Jenny and her family here as they live in Brazil and don't come to Europe that often but this time they are in Sweden for three months and thus had time for a trip to Belgium as well (and we met them briefly in Sweden at Christmas). Isolde and Leah (20 months old) fought about toys from time to time but most of the time they really enjoyed each other's company.
|Isolde wasn't too keen to let Leah try her bike|
|Nice lunch at one of our favourite brasseries (since it has both an indoor play area and a playground outside) while two out of three children were napping.|
- We were invited to a raclette dinner at our friends and neighbours P & O but they couldn't find the raclette :) Fortunately the food was still delicious and the company a pleasure as always. I'm so glad they are our neighbours! At the moment they are in Sweden for a couple of weeks and we miss them!
- The following day (Sunday) O. and Peter went to the annual (?) Brussels car show and spent nine (!) hours there. We have the opportunity to buy a car VAT free here in Belgium and many auto dealers also offer "diplomatic discounts" and we want to take advantage of this of course. Peter is now doing very serious research with comparisons in excel and what not so it will be a well-informed decision once we take it. We will sell our current car once we have received the new one, no need for two cars! At the moment we are learning towards BMW, Volvo and Volkswagen Passat (our current car) but we're also looking into SUVs or other cars that can take 7 passengers, which would be useful when we have visitors here in Belgium.
- I celebrated my 38th (yikes!) birthday last week. It was a Tuesday and a work day (I wish birthdays were always a day off!) but we had a dinner (and overnight) guest actually! My cousin Fredrik was in the country for work (he has a new job since a few months back which usually takes him to Zeebrugge near the coast) and decided to come a day early to celebrate my birthday and see where we live, so that was nice.
|Cake from one of the local bakeries.|
- The day before my birthday my friend and former colleague Mette was in town for work and came over for dinner. She's coming back in March and then we'll probably go out for dinner instead. Last week was a week when I was going to be away on a work trip in the second half of the week and Peter would be alone with the kids for two days, including three evenings, and I felt he didn't need an extra evening on his own on top of that.
- The work trip was my second to Sweden since I started in September (and next one might be in March if it happens) but this one involved much more planning and preparation on my part as well as active participation by me during the actual visit. We had quite a hectic meeting agenda but I had one free evening that I spent with a group of friends at one of the newer restaurants in town, Nosh & Chow. I can really recommend it, both for the food and the atmosphere including the decor.
- While in Sweden I just had to have a semla of course, and I had it at one of the new cafées in our old neighbourhood.
|Semla at Karla café|
- I caught a cold just before heading to Sweden unfortunately. It wasn't that bad during my two days in Stockholm but then at the weekend my nose was pretty clogged up and on Monday I stayed home to recuperate with the result that on Tuesday I was much better. I'm glad I didn't get the cough that I usually get when I have a cold. Perhaps the higher humidity in Belgium helps?
- The day after returning from Sweden we attended our friend's Chris & Jacqui's daughter Emilie's baptism at their local (Catholic) church (where Jacqui also sings in the choir and lowers the average of the choir with about half..). It was a nice little service followed by champagne, tea and cakes at their house.
|I like that they invite the children to be a part of, or at least come closer during, the ceremony.|
- As for the children, Harald has started walking! He prefers to crawl still but he walks more and more and also at his own initiative to get to one place to the other.
- It looks like we have secured a place at a crèche (nursery) for Harald from July! We will visit on Monday so I will know more then. But it sounds like a good place (comes with recommendations) - it is just next to Isolde's school and the staff speaks English and one of them even Swedish!
- What else? Isolde had a haircut (much needed as it was getting long and matted), we got a new fridge/freezer as the old one was leaking and we're very happy to have a cleaning lady who comes once a week (she isn't perhaps as thorough as I would want her to be but she's a nice girl, and most importantly, we don't need to quarrel (as much) over cleaning.
|At the hairdresser|