2018 Starts in Belgium

2018 Starts in Belgium

Do you recognize the word “Belgien“?

You might not unless you speak German, although you’ve probably guessed – given the title of today’s post. It’s the German spelling of Belgium. I’ll get to why I used the German spelling but for now, suffice it to say that Belgium is where we rang in 2018… indulging in old memories and creating new.

Walking Down Memory Lane

Sunday morning we went to the church where Liz grew up and where her parents have always been involved. It’s an Italian Pentecostal church and everything takes place in Italian to this day (although translation into French is available if necessary).

Following church we stopped at the Parc de Mariemont and went for a stroll before lunch. It’s a special place for a couple of reasons, the most important of which is that it’s where we had our wedding pictures taken over twenty years ago. We revisited the “cat fountain” and updated the memory with a few new pics to complement the original.

parc de Mariemont, Belgium

Ringing in 2018

New Year’s Eve we stayed in at Liz’s parents house and had seafood. We kept things low-key, knowing that we’d have a long evening the following day… the main reason for our trip.

Big day for Nonna…

Liz’s family always has a huge dinner together on New Year’s day. Since coming to Europe, we’d not been back for one of these meals but this year would mark a milestone birthday for Liz’s mom and she’d finally be fully retired… 3 good reasons to make an extra effort.

Here we’re pictured with Liz’s parents, her brother and her brother’s son. In the second photo… Liz, her aunts and one of her cousins.

We spent several hours at an Italian, all-you-can-eat buffet (I think we got our money’s worth).

Time with family…

Because Liz’s brother went back to work on Tuesday, we ended up doing some babysitting. Liz’s nephew is bright, intelligent and LOVES hanging with his cousins – he was excited to learn that he had Canadians in his family!

Old Friends

You may remember me saying, back in September, that I was affected by the sudden death of an old friend – Lydia – in the city of Liège (where I lived in the early 1990’s). I couldn’t get to her funeral, but we spent a precious afternoon with her family on this trip.

Isabelle (Lydia’s daughter) was my piano teacher for a year. She & Paul also have a daughter Sophie who has gotten on very well with our Sophie for years now. Whenever they get together… it’s like they never left.

Germany

Following dinner with Isabelle & Paul, we took a quick trip to a tiny little village just on the other side of the German border, Monschau (“Montjoie” in French).

This is a place where I went fairly often while living in Belgium in the 90’s but we’d not been back in about 12 years or so.

This teeny village is known for its glass-blowing factory and the picturesque buildings perched along the Ruer River. It was so nice to get back there… if only for a brief visit.

Now you understand the German spelling of “Belgium” in today’s feature pic… it was as we crossed the border coming back from Monschau.

Home again…

We drove home on Thursday and spent yesterday doing little but enjoying the quiet of our own home… We’re thankful for special moments and memories, old and new. Now we turn our eyes to the year ahead … expecting the Lord to do great things.

Thank you for being with us on the journey. You’re important!

God bless you richly in 2018!

 

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