So, it’s been about three weeks since we’ve moved back to our hometown Portland, OR in the USA and…about little more than a month since we’ve left Belgium. Yep, we are done with the Belgium chapter and traveling thru Europe for now. My apology for not writing anything for the last 3 weeks. We are slowly settling in our new home in Portland and loving every moment of being close to my family, relatives, and friends. Also not to mention, I am enjoying the fact that I can communicate with people more effectively (I didn’t speak neither French nor Dutch in Belgium, a bit hard living like that for months after months) and that I can actually read the labels in grocery stores and not buying the wrong things. Another thing I am enjoying is the fresh fruits, like Asian pears, blueberries, from my backyard…which we missed in our home in Belgium. And finally I got to eat at Taco Bell after three years…very satisfying.
But saying all those, I do miss Belgium from the core of my heart. I miss living an European laid-back worry-free life. I miss our small village, Tervuren and my kids’ school and its great community. I do want to secretly confess that if I had an option I would live in Belgium (or any part of Europe) forever. Here are 5 things I really miss about Belgium (or Europe) and I wish we had those here too:
1) I think one of the most missed things about Europe for me is the food. Fresh good quality Dutch or Italian cheese, Magnum Ice-cream bars (especially the mini ones and after-dinner bite sizes), Belgian/Swiss/German chocolates (I can’t imagine putting a Hershey in my mouth now…yuck), Belgian waffles, French crepes, and other tasteful and flavorful local produces and specialties. I am not a big eater but I do enjoy new and different kind of dishes all around the world.
2) As I mentioned above and many people who have been to Europe will also agree that life in Europe is much more relaxed and enjoyable than USA. You see people drinking beer or coffee and chatting loudly in cafes well after mid-night on weekdays as if there is no tomorrow (don’t they have to wake up early the next day?). Living in Europe for 3 years spoiled me by giving my family countless tension-free weekends and holidays where we didn’t have to think about anything but fun.
3) Shopping is another thing I miss about Europe. Yes, things are more expensive there, especially when you convert everything to Euro. But European street-fashion looks so much better than USA, no offense…just my opinion. I could find my types of clothes easily and they would actually fit me (petite size in Europe is actually smaller than petite in USA). And talking about size, another thing that is better in Europe is when restaurants say “small size”…they are actually small. Europe’s biggest size of drink is like the smallest size in USA in some cases. When I went to grocery with my dad in Baltimore couple weeks ago, the size of eggplants, onions, potatoes, breads, and all the other things surprised me. We used to get small natural looking veges in Belgium and I almost forgot how USA makes everything so big artificially.
4) History being one of my passions, I enjoyed every bit of Europe. If I could go back to college again I would have taken European history as my 2nd major. To add to that Europe also gave me a new passion – photography. Thanks to all the finest destinations and beautiful photogenic places that inspired me to take some good shots and increased my interest in photography. My camera is sitting in its bag for the past one month…I miss working with it.
5) Finally, what I miss mostly about living in Europe is the traveling. Living in Belgium was like living in the center of Europe (almost). Paris was little more than 3 hours drive, Amsterdam was 2 1/2 hours, Cologne only a hour half drive, Luxembourg about 2 hours and etc. If we were willing to drive 5/6 hours then more options opened up, like visiting Switzerland, Bavarian Alps, and London. Plan ahead and we could get good deals on air-tickets for couple hours of journey to Rome, Venice, Eastern European cities, Scandinavian countries, and Great Britain. When we were craving for a different culture or language or food, all we had to do was start driving to any direction and in a while we would be in a totally different country.
I still have many posts to write on all the places we’ve covered in Europe…couldn’t catch up with all my posts while traveling at the same time. So stay with me for more exciting places around that continent…I promise I won’t let you down. Til next time happy traveling and stay safe.