As for a few fantastic events within the last couple of weeks…
My sister and I ventured up to The Netherlands to visit the Keukenhof gardens, which is by far one of the prettiest places I have ever been. I believe it ties for beauty and awe with the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef. I mean, it was unreal. There are a few pictures below that can’t even begin to really represent how nice it was. For all of you who will be living or visiting Europe between April and May of next year, put this on your to-do list!
Glory and Filip surprised Joy, Kate, and myself with Disneyland Paris tickets!!!! They woke the girls up extra early in the morning and asked them to eat breakfast. The girls were really confused as to why they were up so early, then Glory and Filip handed us the train tickets! SO, we packed a little backpack and were off! We spent 8 hours there and it was just marvelous! I took the girls on the Indiana Jones ride for the first time and they loved it so much we went on it twice! Then I took Kate on the Hotel Tower of Terror and she was SO brave! She is only 6 years old!!!
BEACHES OF NORMANDY:
I just returned from a 4 day road trip to coast of Northern France to visit the Beaches of Normandy. That was an unforgettable road trip with Louise, Henriikka, Lucy, and Alisha, and we camped and sat on the beach, ate, and drank. It was an incredibly spontaneous trip; we had no plans and went with the flow (and actually had to sleep in the car one night- which had so many funny moments I laughed till I cried). We went to the American Cemetery where over 9,000 soldiers are buried after World War II, and paid our respects at Omaha Beach. It was a great closure to spend a weekend with the girls who have so positively influenced my experience here in Belgium.
Now for the sappy part. When I got home from the road trip Fillips’ parents (so Joy, Kate, and John’s grandparents) were here and I wanted them to sleep in my room so they could have their own space. Upon arrival, I was tired and wanted to sleep. There is an extra floor mat in John’s room so I slept on his floor after showering and unpacking. By the time I laid down on the floor in John’s cute little room, he was already sound asleep. Just laying there and listening to that little angel snoring had me in complete tears.
Looking around the room I saw all his puzzles, his make-believe kitchen set, tool kit, car and train track set, and his cute little books he likes to listen to at bed time. At that moment it hit me: I am going to miss every single aspect of living here, and I love this family so much.
LEARNING FROM THE BEST:
These children are my inspiration; they keep me young, honest, and dreaming. I am going to miss their random questions, their thoughts about the world, the way they hug me, the way they run in my room like there are no boundaries, the way they sing in the car, and the way they use their creativity.
When Glory’s wallet got stolen, the first thing Kate said was “well, maybe that person needed the money more than we did”.
John pretends to talk on the telephone when he has a question.
Joy always gives me riddles to figure out, and makes me laugh.
Kate holds my hand when I take her to gymnastics.
John likes pooping in my toilet the best.
Joy is always creating things (like Polly Pocket houses) with leftover garbage.
I could go on and on about how much I love these kids, but I don’t need to. Anyone will be able to tell how dearly I am going to miss them by the way I smile when I talk about them.
SO: this blog is dedicated to the most wonderful host family I could have ever dreamed of, and for more life-long friends that I met in Belgium who are going to stay etched in some of my fondest of memories forever.
As for my soul mates who are back in the states: I am REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ALL!!! Thank you everyone who has visited me in Belgium (that was incredible to have so many fantastic visitors), written me letters in the mail, kept in touch with Skype, e-mailed me, Facebooked me, and called me. I appreciate your support and your time. I am looking forward to catching up with you all… but after I give you a 20 minute hug!!!!!!!!!!