Ok, Ok- I admit it.. it’s approximately 8:58 AM here in Belgium and I’m drinking coffee in my comfies (aka pajamas), while the two hairy-children sleep off the morning. I had my Wheaties this morning-no literally, I did, blueberry flavored to be exact- which gave me inspiration to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.. only to be discouraged by what I want to do with my life. Totally makes sense- right!?!??
So with that aside- here are the activities of recent, with a few confessions:
Confession #1: we got lost. I don’t mean we got lost and then found our way within a few minutes, I mean we drove around the SAME streets for approximately an hour. Do you want to know what for? Well, good- I’ll tell you.. DOG FOOD. This is correct. Let me back up for a moment- we did find a pet store, on purpose, but it was closed! So… that lead us to our adventure. Did I mention we have a European GPS? We also have a translation book… but in our defense it’s Dutch to English, so we really had no way of finding “Pet Store” because we didn’t know where to start. I did try to search using the name of the store we were at that was currently closed, but the literal translation was: “Everyone’s Beast”.. ya’ll can see how far that got us, no where. So we put our heads together, and the conversation when something along these lines:
I know we saw one this way
No it was over here
I know it was on this side of the street
Yep- real life and we were both pretty perturbed by the end of it. We did find what we thought was a “Hardware” store and it was of sorts- but it also has a lot of animal supplies. We got dog food, we went home, fed said dogs, and didn’t speak of the lost situation again (actually, I lied, I did- because while we were lost there was a very thrifty/antique looking store that I saw on “a” road… which road, I still can’t remember- and I’d really like to go back and check it out. Since we were lost.. it’s difficult to trace those steps.)
We did it folks, we went to IKEA in the Netherlands last Friday. It was just like the state-side IKEA. So.. what did I expect to be different? I don’t know, honestly. The prices are different- but everything else- literally is the same. Which is also good- we behaved ourselves- got a few things, made a LONG list of things to get later (depending on our needs in the house). We spent 2.5 hours walking, talking, and configuring DIY projects. Doesn’t seem super exciting- but our IKEA obsession leads us to believe anything IKEA IS exciting.
There’s a bowling alley about 15 minutes from where we are, that actually does leagues with the military!!! Bowling it’s a little different here, maybe I’m saying that because I didn’t bowl very well…
– The dots (..that help ME know where to stand) are OFF, different number of them, different placement.. it was rough.
– The lanes are the same.. obviously. With one exception- they sound completely hollow underneath the boards. You release your bowling ball and it sounds like it’s going to go straight through the boards and hit the concrete floor that must be below. I kid you not.
We were excited to go though, and it wasn’t busy at all on a Saturday! There was a mom with a few kiddos for her daughter’s birthday (I gathered intel, simply by observing, not because I knew what they were saying, AT ALL). At one point, one of their bowling balls skipped over the bumpers and onto the next lane (she actually hit pins too)– which then prompted another little girl to start talking to me… presumably about the stray-bowling-ball. I must have looked hilarious when she was speaking, because Jeff thought it was pretty entertaining when my response to her 5 minute rant (I made out the word ma’am.. that was it) was: “It’s all good.” Classy Sam, real classy. J. and I had a pretty close game- the FIRST time ever that I was that close to his score.. then he jinxed it by telling me on the 10th frame, and I blew it.. badly!
So.. J. will be mad if I don’t include this next confession.
Confession #2: for those of you that we told about the House Hunters International episode.. well, it happened, to me, a few days ago, while I was by myself, in the super-market. The commas are to express an implied silence for seriousness…
For those of you that don’t know our “haha-funny story” about House Hunters International- there was a family that went to Belgium, there was a stay-at-home dad, he went to the supermarket to purchase groceries and kept coming home with the WRONG milk. I feel his pain, I do, on many levels. I’d like to add something in my defense before I go on… this is the FIRST time I’ve ventured to a supermarket by myself while in a foreign country, I also did not bring my translation book (silly American girl), and this will surely go down in Jeffrey’s memory bank as a hilariously embarrassing moment on Sam’s behalf. So… milk is typically in the cold section, by the creamer, yogurt, butter… not here, I found after cruising the cold section isle(s)- yes- isle(s) as I thought for sure I was just blind and couldn’t see what was right in front of me.. so I continued to the frozen section, the dinners, the desserts. This cruise probably lasted about 10-15 minutes, no exaggeration here. I kept cruising- all the isles, then finally conjured up the nerve to ask the deli-meat associate where the “MILK” might be… she eyed me suspiciously and told me aisle number two. I was so excited, they had milk and she just spoke ENGLISH!!!!! I got to isle #2… my mouth sort of dropped open and my eyes probably glazed over a bit.. there in front of me is in-fact milk, but it’s just sitting at room temperature (WHAT? I’m NOT drinking that, unless it’s in powder form folks…) and there are so many different colors and words and colors… ohmygoodnessgracious. This experience took me an additional 15 minutes. Let me explain… there are two different way to purchase milk here (apparently): one way is to buy it in bulk, the other is individually. I didn’t know that, while my brain is processing the objects in front of me, that are liquid and not powder, as I move random bottles to conclude my fear. There are a few people that eye-ball me (YES, eyeballed me, in the she has got to be crazy kind of way), tear open a packaged set of milks, grab one and go on their merry way. The first time, I thought- “Well, she just thinks she’s special, I’m not getting caught doing that.” Then there was another person, a guy this time, who still eye-balls me, and does the same to a different package of milks. Ok, I can do this… I get closer to the massive selection of milk- then I start trying to remember what color is 1%, or what word makes sense for “light”, “whole”.. that sort of thing. Then there are weird words and I can’t decipher them.. I’m about to have a panic attack in the milk isle and all I want to do is walk away and pretend the moment has NEVER happened before. I go into my purse, reach for my cell-phone and remember that I can’t make phone calls here or send text messages to my “life-line” J. Winter. I’m on my own here, gotta woman up Sam, do it. So…. I grabbed 4 different kinds of milk, hoping for the best, and just moved on to the next isle. I did feel a bit like a rebel, opening milk packages so I could take a single milk out- but no one stopped me, and the cashier didn’t double-take while checking me out. SUCCESS. Well, sort of. I’m still not 100% sure I know what kind of milk I got, some of the words on the bottles are not translations that I can find. GREAT! We’ll live… Jeffrey also pointed out after my rant that on the other side of some of the bottles is ENGLISH. Whatever.
Side note: the milk here is UHT milk, which is common in European countries- it’s Ultra-High-Temperature milk, which how they process it. It is able to stay at room temperature until opened due to how they process the milk. The containers are small, and the fact that you can store the milk outside of the fridge is sort of a blessing, since the fridges are super small here comparatively speaking.
Yesterday we went by the house- we are officially renters in Belgium. Jeffrey signed the lease early this week and the landlords said to stop by whenever we wanted. Everything is coming along nicely- and we are getting more and more excited! They are so incredibly accommodating and nice, it’s wonderful. My attempt at using the Dutch I’ve been practicing didn’t quite work out the way I was hoping.. it was a definite shock to them that I said “Danku wel”, and “Daag”.. I’m trying!
We played BINGO with our sponsor last night on base! It was fun, we saw some people we’ve met, and J. won $5.00 for winning a round. We were close a few times, but no dice. We’re looking forward to getting more involved in the base activities- they try hard to do different things for the families.
We’ve been treating ourselves to the local beers, scoping out more of the restaurants, brushing up on our Mango version of Dutch, knitting, and just… being us. We’re enjoying everything so far! Our household goods arrived yesterday, but won’t be available for drop-off until May 2, which is expected. We are so glad they made it & hoping everything is in good condition. Still waiting on the car, but we’re managing.
This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous (50-60’F), hoping we can get out and do some outdoor stuff!