English = Grandmother or Grandma (or whatever nickname your family uses)
Russian = Bubushka (or "Baba" for short)
Serbian = Baka (or Baba can also be used)
Dutch = Grootmoeder (or "Oma" for short)
Chris and I are three weeks into our Dutch lessons which means that we can now have very elementary conversations.Now we know very important facts about our classmates:
Where are you from?
Where do you live?
How do you get to this Dutch class? Auto, bus, by foot, by plane?
Are you married?
Do you drink beer?
Do you have children?
Please repeat the question. . . .
I am sorry, I don't understand. (Important to know.)
I am sorry, I only speak a little Dutch.
What language(s) do you speak?
That last question is getting a tad bit lengthy for me to answer these days. Russian was the first language that I spoke growing up, but I soon abandoned it for English when I wanted to host tea parties for cute boys in daycare. Our year in Serbia left me with a basic understanding of Serbian, and now we're learning Nederlands (Dutch). Basically "ik spreek een beetije" (I speak a little bit) of a lot of different languages these days. I just don't speak anything (other than English) well. Yet.
So, back to "Me and the Babas."
Chris and I recently joined a local gym (learning Dutch and joining a gym were two our our goals for 2013), we've been making loads of new friends and getting invited to events on the weekends, and of course we have language classes twice a week in the evenings. Needless to say, our evenings are packed! Correction, my evenings are packed, and Chris' entire LIFE is packed.
While my hard working husband is at his 9-5 job, I am desperately trying to find ways to fill MY days. This is the first time, since the age of 14, that I have felt so completely lost. I want a job, but I have to wait for my work visa. I focused all of my energy on decorating and painting pieces for our new apartment. The apartment is now over decorated. I started making some great girlfriends, but they all have full time jobs. I received an offer for a part time job, but I still have to wait for that dang work visa. I begged to volunteer at the integration office for new immigrants, but I was told that I first have to obtain my work visa to even volunteer in Belgium. And then I found out that my bike is out of regulation in Belgium! At least I can work on getting my bike up to Belgian standard!
So, during the week day, it is me and the Babas biking to the grocery stores, waiting in line for a fresh loaf of bread at the bakery, and greeting each other in local cafes. I am sure the Babas are all wondering why in the world I am not at work or spending time with my kids. I work out in the morning, paint occasionally, plan upcoming trips, blog, meet new Baba friends, and spend a lot of time in cafes with the retirees of Roeselare. What a funny life season! I know this time is exactly that - a season. Some day, down the road, when I am again working a 9-5, dreaming of taking time off to see the world, and hardly seeing my husband . . . then I will desperately miss this season.
Until that work visa gets approved, it is just Me and the Babas!