europe thus far: one month

before i forget all the changes (read-hopefully growth) that have happened i must write them down.

thus far in europe we still can't believe that we really live here, live.
thus far in europe we've gotten lost three times.
thus far in europe i've worn the same four pairs of shoes.
thus far in europe we haven't eaten fast food, and only eaten out on someone else's tab.
thus far in europe i have to listen to hymns or i am too anxious to sleep.
thus far in europe i really love the village feel, with big open spaces like this one

thus far in europe we line dry all our clothes, and hand wash all our dishes.
thus far in europe devin has converted to sparkling water. i'm still not sold.
thus far in europe i've half-way converted to dark chocolate, devin is still not sold.
thus far in europe i've only missed three days of talking to my mom.
thus far in europe we can't get christmas of our mind.
thus far in europe devin has done 100% of the driving and purchasing.
thus far in europe we've become better friends, written higher goals, and gone to bed too late.
thus far in europe i miss the mountains, and the temple.
thus far in europe we finally feel like we've found the budget system that works for us.
thus far in europe we haven't sent or received a single text message.
thus far in europe i have loved seeing devin work, and have enjoyed working.
thus far in europe we filled up our tank of gas once (it was a 94-dollar-ouch)
thus far in europe i have read more conference talks in concentration than ever before.
thus far in europe we've worked too much.
thus far in europe i've been too scared to speak french or go anywhere without devin.
thus far in europe we feel like this is the hardest thing we've ever done.
thus far in europe we've needed the Lord more than ever before.
thus far in europe we've never seen more blessings.

i'm bummed to be missing labor day weekend, particularly for the day off work, lucky! enjoy it for me. we're making a break for the southern border and are hitting up a flea market in france tomorrow with about two million other people. until monday...here's to a bon weekend.


has been's, since's, and if only's...

...humor has been a saving grace lately, since long work days always have room for laughs. if only i was as funny as devin pretends i am.
...healthier hair has been my fortune recently, since i blew fuses and retired my blow dryer till we return. if only i didn't look like a "lion" -to quote devin's endearing description of my mane.
...devin has been joining me in running the past month, since i'm too scared to go alone. if only we could run as long as we did today everyday.
...sunshine has been making me happy this week, since clear skies are a rarity. if only i could store it up in a little monsters-inc bottle for when skies are grey.
...the dog around the corner has not been receiving kind thoughts from me, since he howls/moans/barks all night long. if only he'd stop barking.
...learning has been on my mind now, since i wont be going back to school with everyone else. if only i could've forseen the future need for french.
...my mother has been my main heart throb today, since i haven't gotten my daily talk time in. if only she could sing me my favorite lullaby i'd fall asleep better:

you are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
you make me happy when skies are grey.
you'll never know dear how much i love you.
please don't take my sunshine away.

the first glimpse from hitting the beach last week. soaking up the sun:)



while headed back from the beach, we spent the evening in one of belgium's most lauded cities. bruges. one of devin's co-workers titled it the venice of belgium. it was everything we were hoping for in a weekend outing. couldn't beat the canals, but highlights included: a huge central square dating back to the 14 century, crowds, fountains with funny statues, cobblestone streets, the tallest steeple in europe, and surplus of shopping (3 h+m's, 2 zara's, a zara kids, and a zara home in half a mile on the same street.)



...one month in our new home today. it's amazing how home can be wherever you make it. the past four weeks have not seemed like just four weeks. oh no, but boy our we grateful to be growing. here are some snippets of the weekend.

the coast of belgium is just an hour and half away. we can't resist being that close to a beach. after a hard week of work this felt like heaven, but i do picture heaven being warmer than 60 degrees. we walked a few miles along the shore, soaked up the scenery, gawked at the high rises crammed next to old houses, held hands, took our hats off to anyone who got in the freeeezing water, got free sprite, spied on millions of darling families, admired the bike riders galore, and enjoyed observing a nice sand tennis tournament to techno music.

i know now how glorious and needed weekends are. maybe you, like me, are already planning this upcoming one:)

sorry the pictures look grainy. silly blogger.


three parts

this post has two parts:

part i. a realization:
i have a uniform at work. the last time i had a uniform was ballet class in 11th grade. therefore, whenever we go out and i get to choose what to wear, i always pick a skirt or dress. realizing that i've only worn skirts and dresses since we've been here led me to think about how great it is that the distinguishment between men and women on public bathroom doors-which carries across all languages and is understood in all countries-is, essentially, a skirt. a little triangle thing for a dainty distinguishment. thank my lucky stars for them.

part ii. the difference between a belgian ladies' room and an american ladies' room:

i think i make my point clear without much explanation...
...except look at the skirt! it's plaid.
...oh and since when are bathroom lady's in color, have hairdos, and wear heels??
...my favorite thing about her may be her full figure.
...one last thing. make any difference that this sign is from the ladies' room at our church? does for me:)

part iii. a story:
it was in this bathroom that i had my first french experience alone. this is how it went down.
.me washing my hands after using the restroom.
.woman comes out of the next stall to wash her hands.
.she says something to me in french.
.i smile and walk out.
you guys i'm awful!

family night first

before i recap on the weekend i have to mention FHE tonight:
a generous and capable family in the ward invited us to their house in waterloo. they have two daughters one of which is my age. they speak superb english. their house is utterly perfect. they served us our first belgian french fries-yum. we were so grateful for the invitation, grateful mainly for what people are doing for us here because it is instilling in me a deep aim to be generous and capable and invite as many people in my home that may be in need.
for the lesson we talked about faithful friends. while living overseas my gratitude for the church has reached a whole new level. i've more fully appreciated that, as a whole in this church, we have opportunity to be a friend for Him. it seems like devin and i are witnessing people being His friend for us more than ever, and our hearts are full. essentially, i will let Elder Eyring say what i've been trying to:

"We become His friends as we serve others for Him. He is the perfect example of the kind of friend we are to become. He wants only what is best for His Heavenly Father’s children. Their happiness is His happiness. He feels their sorrow as His own because He has paid the price of all their sins, taken upon Himself all their infirmities, borne all their troubles, and felt all their longings. His motives are pure. He seeks no recognition for Himself but to give all glory to His Heavenly Father. The perfect friend, Jesus Christ, is completely selfless in offering happiness to others.

In the next few days you will have many opportunities to be a friend for Him. It may be as you walk on a dusty road. It may be as you sit down in a railroad car. It may be as you look for a place to sit in a Church congregation. If you are watching, you will see someone carrying a heavy burden. It may be a burden of sorrow or loneliness or resentment. It may be visible to you only if you have prayed for the Spirit to give you eyes to see into hearts and have promised to lift up the hands that hang down.

The answer to your prayer may be the face of an old friend, one you have not seen in years but whose needs suddenly come into your mind and heart and feel as if they are your own. I’ve had that happen to me. Old friends have reached out to me across the miles and the years to offer encouragement when only God could have told them of my burden."

awful picture i know. i was too scared to snap a pic of their dream house, so this is the neighbors:)


intro to our town/village/home:

-we live in a 'city' combined of five different villages
-there is a population of less than 9000 people, over an area of 26 square miles.
-86% of the land is farm land
-there are three post offices
-one mickey dee's, a pizza hut, and the 'walmart' of europe.

-our neighbors(obviously speak english or i would not be writing about them. praises.) own a merry-go-round because they can be home more often and, "it is good to have happy kids". hows that for living the dream?
-i saw their two year old chasing their little dog around and heard the mom yell bella. i assumed that was the girl. it's not. i cannot pronounce or spell the girls name.
-they let us borrow their battery to charge the car, and told us they are home all the time and not to hesitate if we need anything.

it is nice to be home away from home.

shots from within five miles of our place:
a favorite
we turned the corner from the post office and found this baby. it was a real home. unbelieveable.