And then they made a year

Brussels, Belgium via MontgomeryFestAnd to celebrate, we invited special friends over. Sweet, sweet friends that a year ago, it would have been hard to imagine such a group together at one tiny dinner table. Side, but important note: that might be high on my list - the fact that, as expats, we're living outside of our comfort zone, which has become the comfort zone. Outside of the box, ya know. I get all sappy when i think about this stuff because on one hand, I love it. I freaking love it - the people, the atmosphere, the new perspective on the world. But on the other hand, it makes me sad because we are so distant from the people and life we left a year ago. They don't understand how we live, they can't understand how we live. When we talk about life lately, you can hear the tone of - 'Oh, but in America,' which I've moved so far away from that mindset that it makes me cringe to think about. They can't understand. This perspective of two continents that we have first hand. Hmmph. And then we live in Europe and I get over it.So! Back to the party? Goodness. Justin made his epic mussels and I scooped some fries from Frit Flagey avec sauce andalouse (duh) and we had ourselves a perfect little Belgian event. I even made a brussels sprouts dip, which is pretty much spinach and artichoke dip with brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are not exactly a Belgian specialty, but they kinda are, you know? So, anyway, it fit the theme. And we ate and drank snobby Belgian beer and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much that evening. I got to hold my favorite little five month old who smiles at the blink of a look. It's precious and I looked forward to the event the entire week because I knew I'd get to see her smile. I'm 28. Things are a-happenin in the baby department even though I (we) don't want it to yet. The whole thing is very annoying, and it doesn't help that my itty bitty friend is so perfect and her adorable two year old big sis flirts with Justin and kisses him when he asks for a hug (!!). And then my favorite part - it's Winne's birthday coming up and we have to miss it (that's definitely not my favorite part) due to a particularly spectacular double date in Paris previously planned, so we tried to make up for it a tiny bit and pulled out waffles from the oven and threw a candle on top, J flipped the lights and we started singing "happy birthday" (thank you, Roy. I wanted to, but didn't want to force guests into a sing-a-long) to our fab friend, when big sis looks up from the couch with the biggest 'hold up. I know this. I got this. This is my jam,' look you ever did see before she ran over to join the celebration. Presh.Good thing this isn't a mom blog. Sheesh, Turn the channel to sappy, much?The night was a favorite. We're so grateful for our friends here. Except we forgot to take photos.. Dangit.

A few things that are the norm these days:

We use olive oil in ev.ry.thing now. And have, in turn, become snobbier for it. That was a joke. But it kind of wasn't.We cook at home, a lot. We don't even know what we were doing before but we love being in the kitchen now.We live more simply, mostly because we left a bunch of our sweet stuff in a storage unit in Dallas...On the pay-to-pee front, we've gone from 'I am NOT paying to pee' to 'don't be so cheap' cheep, cheep.We walk almost everywhere.We have a car for J's work. And even with that, I feel inferior to my dutch friends who have never driven...in their life. My measly year of public transport is nothing, but really it's something and it's contagious and I always want to live in a city that I can walk everywhere...especially to palaces and such.But on the topic of cars, J is a total European driver. I love it. Living on the edge.