First off, happy belated birthday to my awesome little nephew! Henry turned one year old on Saturday, January 8th. I'm sure a good time was had by all including Henry, the proud parents and the even more proud grandparents. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing young Henry soon enough - pictures are okay - but now that he is one and walking around, things get more interesting!
As for life here in Belgium? Well we had a jam-packed weekend. Saturday featured a drive to Affligem for Marc's cyclo-cross race. I was very happy to finally be able to come along - it had been so long since I've watched Marc race... To top it off our friend Luc was there as well - so we hung out before, during and after the race. The weather was a bit nasty, so we tucked into a nice cafe for some tea and chit-chat before and after the race. Marc had another strong race, finishing in 4th place. Like me, I think Marc really enjoys hanging out after the race with his 'cross racing pals. It is a very warm feeling to have so many friends at the races - it really makes you feel part of the community here.
After the race and some relaxing we zipped home and quickly unpacked the car as the four of us (Marc, Karl, Alex, and I) were off to Rotterdam for the night. The Six Days of Rotterdam track racing started on January 6 so for a Christmas gift - I gave the guys each a ticket for the races on January 8. We had a blast. A temporary track is assembled in the Ahoy! center (similar to the Corel Center) and the place is packed with rabid track racing fans. At a hockey game you are surrounded with kiosks selling hockey merchandise - well at a track racing - you're surrounded with kiosks selling bikes and cycling gear. Just like at a hockey game or football game there are food kioks as well - this one featured deep-fried everything and of course french fries. Marc and went as healthy as we could with a chicken sate sandwich that was grilled - little did we know about the globs of peanut sauce that would come with it (yes, it was very good!) - Marc even got fries smothered in peanut sauce (an acquired taste!). Okay, so back to the track racing... I don't know much about track racing - but the night was still a blast. Music is blasted the entire time, the announcer does a good job of getting the crowd into the racing and after a while, we all had our favorites and were starting to understand the different races. What is amazing is the speed with which these guys whip around the track - amazing. We didn't manage to last until the last race (12:30 a.m.), calling it a night at 11 p.m.
It was also Alex's birthday on Saturday so we celebrated with some delicious cake from the Blauberg bakery at 12:30 a.m or so when we got to Blauberg. A good Saturday indeed.
Sunday was really all about the bike. (Well, I guess Saturday was as well...) Alex and I set out for an easy 90 minute ride on some of my favorite twisty Belgian roads. The weather was amazing - I was able to wear leg warmers and a cycling cap. We had a great ride - though I admit to feeling very tired at times on the bike (yes, I'm being careful). We had a lazy afternoon with all of us basically waiting until 2:0o when the Belgian National Cyclo-Cross Championships show would start. We each took a couch and flaked out for the afternoon cheering on our favorites. A great way to relax on a Sunday.
So there you have it - the weekend in a nutshell. On the reading front, I'm reading Kate Atkinson's latest novel. Now, I'm not a mystery/crime fan but Atkinson really is one of my favorites. If you're looking for a change from the usual "dramas" and want something that still has a "real life" bent to it but adds in some mystery and intrigue - I recommend Kate Atkinson. Think of it as a "gentler" crime/mystery them than Steig Larrson....
The week ahead is looking pretty good. I'm planning a trip to Antwerp on Wednesday. Looking forward to walking around this old city taking in the churches, the sites, the shops and the people. New on my agenda this week is the job hunt... Yep, that time of the year for me. I have on writing contract that brings in semi-regular work but I need to get more writing contracts or find myself a part-time or even full-time writing job. Ideally, I would love a full-time telecommute position - this gives me so much flexiblity, and personally I really enjoy working from home with no distractions. So if you are looking for a writer or editor or know someone who is - do me a favor and pass on my contact information.
Hard to believe than in four weeks Marc and I will be back in Ottawa. This trip has had its share of ups and downs but through it all, I've come out for the better. Being really sick really taught me a lot about my priorities in life and helped me realize how lucky we are to really have each new day.
Alright, I'm out of here. Time to chill out with my book for a bit. Hope you're having a good Monday.