Homesick for no reason

Its been about 5 months since we moved to Belgium. At first I didn’t want to go back to the States, because I was just enjoying this life abroad too much. But after being here for few months now, I must admit I miss my home badly. I mean, I am extremely missing everything about America. My home, my neighborhood, my work, the surroundings, familiar faces, speaking English, last but not least TACO BELL (their Mexican Pizza and chalupa) …. everything. We came to Brussels for 2 years (well, atleast 2 years, may be 3/4 years… who knows) but now it seems too long. Even my 6 years old daughter is homesick sometimes. She is enjoying her school way more than I expected here in Tervuren, Belgium. But when she comes home, she keeps talking about how she could do things back in the States that she can’t do here. Also, We have visited too many places in a very short time after moving here (we are very lucky in that sense). But even that is enough for now. I forgot some of the places we have gone to earlier this year or even middle of this year. My daughter already hates going to the airport and flying a plane. I can’t blame her. She went to places with us that sometimes don’t even interest her. Other than flying, luckily she does like visiting new cities, staying in the hotels, eating out, and buying souvenirs (just like her mom :)) Also, as everyone says, and I know it too, she is being exposed to so many different cultures, religious, and people, that it will shape her personality in a very unique way. Hopefully that will make her someone who is very flexible and open to everything.

But back to what I was saying, I am really, really missing my home in Portland, OR. Then again, that’s what happens when you move to a new place. I remember when I moved to the States in my early teen years. First couple months I liked everything about America… the school, the stores, people, the fact that I could drive at 16 years of age, all the junk food from the menu of American fast food restaurants, and finally, the freedom that came without any costs and boundaries. Then a phase came, when I was missing Bangladesh so much that I wanted to leave my parents, siblings behind and just go back to Bangladesh where I grew up. That period didn’t last for too long either. I still missed Bangladesh at heart, but at the same time I started enjoying all the things that America had to offer me. I was young and reckless, wanted to do anything and everything to see how much I can spoil myself. And America was THE place for it. Then as time passed by, the childhood time in Bangladesh were nothing but sweet memories. I missed that country but didn’t want to go back there again.

So now… I don’t want to visit new places anymore, don’t want to learn French , don’t want to memorize anymore new Dutch words, don’t want to be too far away from my home, don’t want be an ex-pat anymore… Uhhh, fortunately, I know these feelings will change shortly 🙂 I will give it about couple more months, then I know, I will enjoy living this European life again. And that will be a permanent feeling. Then a time will come when we have to go back to the States and I will miss this present life of Belgium very much. Yep, that’s life. We don’t know what future holds for us, that’s why we keep missing our past, thinking our past was the best thing that ever happened to us. If we only knew that may be, just MAY BE, future is better than the past, then we don’t have to go through this feeling of emptiness.

Ok, Ciao for now

Je suis tres excite!

Oui, I AM very excited to finally start my French class. Its a relief, because atleast now I know after 10 lessons I will be able to communicate with that lady in the cash register or ask for direction when I am lost in small villages of France much easily. Living in a country without knowing their language (in our case its plural…languageS, because in Belgium, you have to know both Dutch and French to get around) is not only hard, but its kinda irritating going to the grocery where you don’t know what you are buying 90% of the time. I still can’t find many things that I want when I go to the supermarket; sometimes it happened that I even bought wrong stuff.

Its been about 4 months now since we moved to Belgium. All this time I tried to get by with my 1 year of high school French that I took some 14/15 years ago. Few things that I still remember are Bonjour, Au revoir, Merci, Vou parlez anglais (do you speak English) and Je ne parlez pas francois (I don’t speak French). You really can’t do much with these few phrases/sentences especially when you are living amongst the French/Dutch. After all, we will be here for a while, so its wiser to just get out of the comfort zone and start getting involved with this new culture. And you can’t really enjoy a culture thoghourly unless you can interact with the locals.

I tried taking some free online courses, but it doesn’t help much with the pronounciation and doesn’t teach me any interesting facts about French culture. Whereas, my teacher (its a lady) not only corrects when I am wrong, conversates with me one-on-one, she also gives me lot of insights on this very sophisticated and rich language.

So, my plan is to first get done with this 10 lessons of French, then if I want to continue and move on to the next level, at that time may go for some more advance French classes, where hopefully I can actually read a French newspaper/magazine/understand French lyrics…WOW. Then after I am done with French, will start with Flemish (Dutch) lessons. I get too excited thinking that by the time I leave this country I will be able to speak/understand 2 more languages very well, these will be my true assets for the whole lifetime.

Ok, Au revoir (bye) for now and Bon nuit (goodnight). A bientot (see you soon)

Friday Market in Tervuren, Belgium

I love going to farmers’ market. When we used to live in Buffalo, NY, there was a farmers‘ market every saturday morning near an old church. I remember driving 10 minutes to go there and buying fresh vegetables, fruits, cheese, bakery, and lots of other good stuff. I didn’t get that in Portland. There were lots of farmers’ market where we lived but nothing really close-by nor their prices were cheap.

After moving to Tervuren, I finally found a market that is very cozy, diverse, full of friendly people, offers great price, and has variety of items. There is a lively, outdoor market every Friday in Tervuren village center. It’s open every Friday around the year from 9 am -12 pm. I have been there couple times and I am making a habit to go there every Friday and do my weekly grocery from there. I saw Dutch, French, English, German…people from everywhere in this market. Some of the vendors here are permanent while others come once or twice a month.

You can find fresh fish, fresh meat, cooked meat, fruits, vegetables, cheese, egg, fresh oven-baked breads (many different kinds), sweets, chocolates, candies there. On the other side, you can also find household items, clothes, jeans, socks, sleepwears, purses, wallets, and many more items here. And the price is unbelievably reasonable.

There are lots of other stores along the street selling interesting and fun items. Everytime I go to the Friday market, I make sure that I go to my favorite pastry shop, where I can pick up some waffles, pastries, chocolates, and fresh baked goods for the family. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but its hard to resist the mouth watering delights in that bakert. I look forward to go to this patisserie every week.

The thing that I mostly enjoy when I come to this Friday market is that there are lots of elder ladies who come for their groceries too. They bring their large trolley bags, do their weekly shopping/grocery. Then they stop at the nearby cafe/pastry shop with their girl friends for some coffee or treats. I hear them talking in Dutch or French, laughing there lungs outs, enjoying the weather, sipping their coffee/tea. I leave when my work is done there, may be go to couple shops on my way to the car. But these ladies may sit there for hours. Then when they are done chatting, they will just pay the bill and go to another restaurant for lunch. So beautiful … wish when I age I can have a similar environment to go to relax and sip my cup of tea with a piece of dark chocolate. You don’t need a perfect place to have good time, just need to enjoy little things in life that can give you some perfect moments.

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