Back at It!

Well, hello there friends and family!
I almost forgot how to post on my own blog! I've been away a little too long! Oops-y-daisy! My mother phoned up the other day and said, "Honey, is everything okay? I have been checking your blog every single morning, and you've been slacking. Are you certain that everything's peachy-keen over there?" 

{Mom's are just the best aren't they?!}

Mom's comment got me thinking - is everything indeed "fine" in our expat-adventure? Contrary to what our mothers may think, we have not been away on an exotic month-long holiday, we're not pulling our hair out because of another sudden move, and fortunately we aren't rotting away in a foreign prison. We're still living in the quaint Belgian city of Roeselare, and we're enjoying the sweet (and slow) transition of winter turning into spring. Life is starting to feel a little more normal these days, and maybe that's partly why I haven't posted a whole lot recently. While there are still a million things to explore in our new world, I have been doing my very best to soak up the moments and enjoy BEING where I am. 

I am also being forced to learn a bit more about patience. Hard, but perhaps necessary, lessons. 

The past several months have been a whirlwind of emotions for me. In short, after living in Belgium for only two weeks, I was offered a part-time job at an adorable coffee shop! I was over the moon excited about the opportunity! The owner wanted to introduce me to her friends, help me integrate into life in belgium, and aid me in learning Dutch. It seemed the perfect fit - until I remembered that I am not an EU citizen. Just a small detail. I had no idea how taxing the whole waiting-for-a-visa-process would be. 

To be fair, since Chris has a work visa though his company, I was able to quickly receive my residency visa based on his status. It still took five months, which to me was not "quick" at all. I think this is where the lessons in patience started to kick in. Needless to say, things had to fall through with the coffee shop - the owner just couldn't wait those five months for me to get legal. She's still my dearest friend in Belgium, and while I'm not working with her, I still spend a lot of time using the WiFi and drinking coffee at her cafe. 

So when that fell through, I started focusing on tutoring and volunteering. I currently have three students that I give English lessons to, and I absolutely love seeing them every week! I volunteer on my schedule and that has been a great fit! At the end of January, Chris and I started language lessons, and that has also brought some sort of structure and purpose to my week. In fact, we are almost through our first year of Dutch lessons! How is it already May, 2013?! Naturally, Chris is the teachers pet - mainly because he comes up with clever answers to each of her questions, and he gets a 100% on every single test (without studying), and he's just freaking handsome! The (female) teacher can't help but adore him! Should I be concerned here?

We also joined the local gym in town. Now that the weather is getting better and we can use the running trail right outside our front door, I wonder if we're wasting our money with a gym membership. At least we both know that we have the gym as an option as well as the running trail when weather permits. 

So, how are we, really? Are we "fine"? To answer that question, I have to say that we couldn't be better. I know that Chris and I are exactly where we need to be. That being said, it has been challenging trying to work in a country that is not my own. Thankfully Chris has a good job, and I'm not forced to work in order to have food in the house. I am just personally ready to begin working and putting my Dutch lessons to good use. At this very moment, I have another job offer that would be a wonderful fit, but again, I'm waiting for permission to work in Belgium. It has been a lengthy, legal process that I am ready to see come to an end. So, even when things don't seem to go my way, I am choosing joy. I am trying to be patient. I am learning to just BE.

"When you love what you have, you have everything you need." 
{- I love this quote, but I'm not sure who it's from!}

Ohhhh, yeah - we also just finished filming for House Hunters International! I guess that has taken up a lot of our time as well! Stay tuned for more stories about that whole process! What an experience!

Below are just a few pics that were taken over the past two months. I took a day-trip to Paris with four friends, we had two visitors come in for a visit over the Easter weekend and we toured Ghent with them, and we were invited to experience The Tour of Flanders with a group of friends from Roeselare. 

As always, thanks for reading and I hope that you have chosen to live in joy today.  

Pic 1 - spending a rainy day in Paris with some wonderful friends // pic 2 & 3 - in Ghent Belgium with our out of town friends // pic 4 - Chris with the Flanders flag at the beginning of the Tour of Flanders bike race // pic 5 - carting the adult beverages around for the Tour of Flanders viewing // pic 6 - people just open their garages, show the race and sell beer and food. Not sure this could every fly in America, but we loved it! // pic 7 - me and the ladies waiting for the bike riders to pass by // pic 8 - the leaders at the halfway mark. The race was 280 km! // pic 9 - the rest of the riders.