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Trip Start Mar 17, 2007
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Flag of Belgium  ,
Saturday, August 18, 2007



We spend a month in Belgium. At 'the girls'. You saw them in Belgium previous time.

Lucky you: I will not write a story for every day. I will divide them into 'happenings'. Will my friends already forgive me, when you are not mentioned (enough). I really have to make a little summery.

I'd like to start with home. This home used to be my house and in my heart , it still is. Because of the people living there, not because of the stones I once owned.
Those people are Greta and Ann, 'Our' girls.



What to say about them? Those people take us in, whenever we are in Belgium. For weeeeeeks. And it is not easy to put up with us for weeks. They picked us up from the train station (tears of happiness) with a bottle of champagne and 4 glasses and we drunk our first glass on the platform of the station.




At home the celebration lasted the rest of the day.






They left on holiday themselves for a week. In the mean time: I adopted a cat for them. Jr. You'll hear more of him. The only thing we can say about them is: we can never thank them enough.




These are the girls.







Ann (AKA Annie and BBE,
short for Beautiful Blue Eyes),American











And Greta (AKA Broekske and Ja) Belgian







They are both powerful business women but never 'show' this to anyone.


The next day, after the girls left: party again, this time with Wes, Michael and Ageeth.


Wes, American of Jamaican origin, a captain and our former neighbor AND very good friend.

Michael, German with a political career and Ageeth, AKA Springmuis or SM, manager at Telenet. In my dialect a 'springmuis' is a jumpy young girl. She IS jumpy and only 20something and my best friend. She and Michael get married soon and that is the reason we HAD to come home.




But the wedding is for later!

You can already see the 3 girls all dressed up
and ready to go to the wedding.









How does the saying go? If the cat is not home, the mice are dancing on the table? Well here it is: when the owners are not home, the guests are sleeping in their bed, WITH the cat.







I will go on with my very small family.
My parents and my oldest brother passed away year ago.
My youngest brother is 18 years older than me. I could say a thousand things about him.
But I'll be brief. He was devoted to our mum and took so good care of her. He always watched over me without playing 'dad'. And believed in me. I took quite some strange decisions in my life and he always supported me. He loves me with an unconditional love. The kind of love parents have for their children. I am sure he was not very happy when I quit my job. But he accepts. He is smart and funny.

He is married to Monique and they have a dog and a cat.




Brother, Sister-in-law and their zoo.







My brother has a son of his previous marriage.
My one and only and favorite nephew: Kris, with his wifey, Annick and their daughter Elise, my nieces.
Kris is funny, clever, a bit naughty and a smartass, sometimes a softy, just like his dad.
Annick is no softy, she says what she thinks. If she does not like you, you'll know, she loves cooking and hates bananas, in other words, a person to my heart.
And Elise is, of course, the prettiest, smartest and sweetest baby in the world.





I am almost as proud of Elise as her mum. Almost.
She is 8 months old.










Elise learning Australian already!












Leaving her behind for xx months again...







On her own carpet with her own dad.

She also has a virtual cradle:

http://elisecortvriendt.be/






But, in fact, we were only 2 days home in my story, afternoon friends at home; in the evening stamcafť.












Rudi, AKA Evil Belgian of EB.

Bad character and good heart, he says.








With Margriet.
Want to know who she is?
Check it out:

http://www.margrietje.be/

You will find us here and there, too





Speaking of which, next weekend it was ... party time or what do you think? This time at Margriet's place. The weather was even almost nice.


Far right: Micey.
Far left: Conny, you'll meet her again later. She is the neighbor of Michael and Ageeth and s good friend of us all.
The rest you know already, apart from Jo.







Three times lime green.
Between Margriet and me is Jo. He does not like it when I call him my colleague, not even ex-colleague and he is right: he is my friend. We both quite our shitty job. He is young, smart, sweet and .... handsome. Is also important!












SM, my best friend, you already know.





These are Tony and Didi.
Tiny Tony to know
the difference with my big Tony.
They are my 'oldest' friends.
They go back almost 25 years.
He is English, she Belgian.
They live in England
for 20 years already.




The next day, we go to the exhibition of Norbert, who is in fact our rollerblade teacher, just 65 years young, without whom I would never have rollerbladed on Miami Beach. I am STILL not good but hey, I move! He is also a gifted wood carver. Look:

http://users.telenet.be/norbert.bauwens/index.html

You see us round one of his works. To our shame, we did not go to the lessons. Amongst the many other things we were planning on doing.




We picked up the girls at the airport later that day. To their surprise there were: Tiny Tony and Didi who indeed came special over for the BBQ, to see us and spent the night. They sail/fly over if they can to have a party with us. Their daughter, Tina, too. This time, she had already something on. Everybody should have friends like that; the world would be a better place. Skippy, they know.

Party time, maybe?


Ageeth and Michael jumped by too. Ann guitars were taken and we sang together. I am the only one who sings loud and very badly. I get paid to shut up. The others are OK to good to divine, like my Tomcat.

Ann and Tiny Tony are good musicians.



For insiders, there is 'something' with this picture. There is a kitty sitting on Dr T's arm.



The girls have 2 cats:

Suus,
about 14, found at the back door, you might remember him from a previous entry.









We also have the Blackers,
a very special about 5 year old cat, also found in the garden. She looks like a kitty and adores Ann. Dislikes everybody else.







But, what is that? Greta saw 'it' from the second she steps into the house. Euh, ... that is Junior. 'And what is Junior doing in OUR house?' is the next question. Euh, ... again. OK, we made up a good story, explaining it was nobody's fault that there was a kitty in the house. Really good story. In less than 5 minutes, I confessed: I brought him.

The real story of Junior coming home.


The first week, we go for a meal in our favorite restaurant with Wes: the Nostelgem in Nossegem. I tasted everything on the menu already, since I go there at least once a week for years already. My favorite dish is very Belgium: meatballs in tomato sauce and mashed potatoes.







Sitting on the terrace, Dr T asks Jesse (our favorite waitress) whether they adopted a kitty, he saw one running around. No, one of those sad stories, it has been dumped the day before and runs around in the garden. It lands on my lap and ... I decide to take it home. But, it is not my home and it is not right to give people pets they did not ask for. Frankly, I would not do it anymore, but that is too late.



So, the kitty came home and is called Junior because he looks like Suus, so Suus Junior or Jr. We went to the vet the next day: yup: boy +/- 3 months old and healthy. He got his basic shots.



It was love on first side,
not only from me.
Where Dr T was, was Jr.
Always very helpful.









Look how tall you are!









Adored by all.










The girls were NOT impressed. But, to our relieve, he could stay.

Of course, he is young and sometimes a bit wild. Suus does not care but Blackers is not happy with the, oh so cute, kitty.


Leaving him behind broke my heard.


Godmother Jesse came and visit him before we left.










I already mentioned Wes: see 6th picture on this entry. When Dr T and me moved into our apartment, 3,5 years ago, we were having a beer on our terrace, when a car pulled up onto our neighbors driveway and a handsome, dark skinned man stepped out. Tony, of course, called out: 'Hey, mate, fancy a beer?' 'Sure, I'll be up in 5 minutes' was the answer.' We already knew 3 things: this is our neighbor, he is a pilot (recognized his uniform) and his mother tongue is English. What we did not know then, was how many beers, bottles of wine AND champagne we are going to have together in the coming 3 years.

We became close friends and had contact almost every day. Wes and me also went to the fitness together, the last year. He is the kind of friend, who says: 'where ever you are in the world, whatever you need, call out and you have it.' AND he means that. I miss him so!

Legendary were our champagne brunches, which in fact were a whole day happening.


This time, Wes took us to the company restaurant.
And show off
the Toyota Formula 1 car.


Have you ever seen a sign like that???




Wes is single. So, if somewhere out there, there is a nice, pretty woman, who likes smart, handsome, sweet, pilots, post a comment and I'll forward it to my friend!




Meet Evelyne and Iratxe, We met them through Rudi AKA EB. Evelyne is Belgian, Iratxe Basque. They are party animals and a lot to fun to be with.

It looked like we were not going to make it to see each other
but it worked 5 to 12!








Work!
I saw only a couple of colleagues.







They took the trouble visiting me.
None of my real 'co-workers'.
Dr T saw none.
It was, of course not always by choice.
But for those who did come and see me: you made me very happy.






Geert, of course, is much more than a colleague:
we went to high school together.
I hope he misses our weekly coffees a bit ... .









I know that Jo should not be here,
since he IS my friend
but isn't he cute with Jr?









And there were diners, some of them in the Nostalgem again.





With my dear friends,
Hedwig and Linda.





And some friends we gathered during that day,
more or less by accident.




Jesse is there too, of course, in all her beauty.









And, there were parties. And parties. Our BBQ was NOT called the goodbye party. Said goodbye too much. It was just 'the BBQ at the girls'


Our 3th fridge. One with meat, One with booz. And this one.













Front and back side of our BBQ euh ... boy?


Feigling. These are very small bottles with fig liqueur. You need to tick them on the table. Take their top of. Put it on your nose. Place your hands behind your back. Take the bottle with your teeth. Lift it up and drink it and drop the bottle in your hand. Whoever can do this the fastest, without spilling and the bottle is empty in your hand, wins. No, it is NOT a laughing matter; serious game!


Smakelijk!












Michael and Ageeth have a party!










A cheers from my friend.










Want Ann's opinion?













Talking about them.

The reason we had to go back to Belgium was the wedding of my best friend: Ageeth, aka as Springmuis or SM. Springmuis is my local dialect a 'young lively girls' and that is what she is and that is the nick name I have for her. She is Dutch, just turned 30 and my best girlfriend. Michael is German and by best boyfriend (apart from my Hubby, of course). How lucky can you get that your 2 best friends get married?

I am going to bore you with 2 stories. I also told them at the wedding.

Michael , I know for more than 10 year. When my mum was sick, 6 years ago, I was in a training course in Luxemburg. Michael called me every evening, to ask how my mum was. She was not well. One evening, I arrived in the hotel to find Michael at the reception, with a bottle of Chablis (my favorite wine) and a mars bar: because 'girls who are upset need chocolate'. He took me out for diner and let me talk about my mum all night. That's the kind of friend he is.

Ageeth, I met a bit more than 4 year ago. After seeing her only a couple of times, we were invited at Michael's place for diner. It was a time I was homeless. Dr T and me were living in a hotel. The girl, I barely knew, offered her apartment to u for a couple of months, until we found something of our own. She would move in to Michael's place so long. That's the kind of friend she is.

Here we are. A pressie for Michael's 39th and Ageeth's 29th birthday. An evening of bowling (Michael hates bowling, we did not know) and a perfect 'all you can eat' buffet.

http://www.wima.be/launch.cfm

We had a ball. Even if you do not like bowling: it is a great place!


But, then, then, they got married!
It did not matter where we were in the world, we have to come back.
Mind you, we almost had a blind bride with the wrong dress and no veil and no guest, since the printing of the invitation went wrong.. My poor friend had her portion of bad luck before the wedding while I was laying with my lazy butt n the sun on an exotic island. She will probably never forgive me.
And then it was THE day. We went to the commune first. I already started crying when I SAW Ageeth.



At the commune she looked at me: did she ask me: 'should I ?'







They said: I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, I do !










Mr. and Mrs. Uebber, driving off. To the church.










Coming out of the beautiful church, under a sky of flowers.











Do not worry, security is keeping an eye on them!








Sooooooooooooooooooo pretty, my little Springmuis.








I am a married man!











The family posing in front of the palace. Which palace?
Have a look:
http://www.huisvandijck.be/en/index.htm
click on 'EN' right top
Then on: 'KoloniŽnpaleis Tervuren'
And see ........








Opening dance.






And a long, fun, interesting party!
We danced the night away and we left when the bride and the broom begged us to go home: they were knackered. It WAS 4 by the time we were in bed.

They dropped by the next day, on their way to the coast, they looked a bit tired ... .

And 1 day later we left: for the next leg!
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