Sunday, November 30, 2008

obelis' first thanksgiving

about a month ago, i suddenly realized that thanksgiving was quickly approaching and my grammy's stuffing was miles away. that was a sad, sad day. truth is: i love thanksgiving. i love stuffing, family, casseroles, friends, gratitude, gravy, indians, pies upon pies upon pies, and the simplicity of the tradition. i love thanksgiving.

as i sat there sulking, i thought- if i love this holiday so much, why don't i share it? after all, we are the only americans at our work. so, that day at lunch i suggested the idea of having a pot luck thanksgiving lunch at work for the holiday. nothing big- just something to share the tradition with our coworkers....i had no idea this suggestion would elicit such a positive response. the next thing we know, work is shortened to a half day, management is ordering 2 turkeys and everybody's facebook status changed to 'so-and-so is excited for their first thanksgiving!'

as we started planning the event, i quickly realized that the only idea our coworkers had concerning this holiday was what they had seen in the movies. you get together and gorge...the end. cade and i decided to really get festive and make the dinner event focus on giving thanks and a spirit of gratitude rather than just gorging. we interviewed everyone at work and had them tell things they are thankful for and then compiled these clips in with a short movie we prepared on the meaning of thanksgiving. when we finally sat down for the feast, there were no yams, no pumpkin pie, no green bean casserole- however - the table was beautiful, everybody had prepared something delicious and the turkeys only cost our management 350 dollars (seriously...they must have been glazed in gold).

everyone loved the movie we made and it really was fun sharing this tradition with our friends from all over the world. we missed our families and the fun back home- but cade and i truly are counting our blessings and are thankful for all we have learned here in belgium.

i will admit that shortly after planning our work thanksgiving, we were invited to an american's home (the moon's) where she had invited some families from the ward over to her house for a belated celebration (no work or school was canceled on thursday, or course). this time- there was stuffing, yams, 11 different kinds of pies and the whole nine yards. we were able to spend the meal with some really fascinating people who have done so much with their lives. i tuly admire what many of these american families are accomplishing overseas. we ate until we could barely move and cade had fifths on pie. fifths.

so while our thanksgiving this year wasn't traditional by american standards, we were able to spend it with great friends. we only have about 2 1/2 weeks until we come home and we are trying to squeeze every last bit of adventure out of europe. we are excited to see our families and friends but at the same time- we are sad to say goodbye to so many great people.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the beard and other forms of facial hair

ancient aztecs measured time by looking at the stars. ancient egyptians: the obelisk. here in belgium... we measure time by the beard.

for those of who who know cade best, you are aware that facial hair is nothing new. when i first met cade, he asked my opinion on facial hair. not knowing exactly how to answer that question, i gave the typical safe-dating answer and said, 'depends on the person'- (translation: i think that creepster who kidnapped elizabeth smart and osama bin laden both have beards- but i want to sound i will just give an indirect answer). as time has passed, however, i have grown accustomed to cade's continual facial hair modifications. in all actuality, i think he looks very handsome with a beard and my favorite stage is his 'well groomed third week.'

cade packed a razor when he came to europe. honest. with the razor on the shelf, however, it wasn't long before a woman approached me at church one sunday and told me my husband 'has the most beautiful beard she's ever seen.' he did his best to keep it trimmed and tidy... but the 'well groomed third month' look is a little bit harder to maintain.

thus began the detraction of cade.

fearing the world would find his head comparably small after shaving off his 3 inch beard, cade decided to make the change in stages.

the 'low cut' look

the goatee

the hulk hogan

the yosemite sam

and finally... the clean shaven cade we have all seen at least once in our lives.

perhaps my favorite part of 'the stages' was the everyday life that was going on at the same time. for example, the yosemite sam stage fell on a sunday- which meant that half the ward called cade pancho villa and the other half thought we were from snowville.

i was supportive of cade throughout all of these stages...

at least i was supportive most of the time.

for those of you who may be wondering why you just read an entire post on facial hair and are slightly disgusted by how entertained cade and i are with the subject, i am just going to guess you probably live with luxuries like: a tv, movie rental store, cafe rio and friends who live closer than 3 metro stops away. we have none of the stated items. which ultimately led to this...

'when you judge someone, you have no time to love them' - mother theresa

in conclusion, cade's beard is already on the rebound. turns out our bosses at work loved his beard and tell him to grow it back almost every day. whatever the look, i still find cade to be dead sexy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

paris... in pictures

i know these days people are making cool photo collages and other neat little displays of photos on their blogs... truth is, i don't know how nor have i set aside enough time to try and figure it out. nevertheless, this post is all about pictures...
i am very far behind in posting on our adventures but that is part of the fun- we have been sooooo busy. last month, we were able to go to paris with a few friends from here in brussels. william is an intern with us here at obelis and mindaugas is a lawyer from lithuanina. we hopped in the car one weekend and drove down to paris to see what all the huff was about. here's what we found...


home of the infamous marie antoinette and other less interesting royalty (no offense louis XIV- louis XVI). after watching sophia coppola's movie about antoinette, i was sooo excited we were able to go here. in respect to our wallets, we only toured the grounds- which were more than spectacular. such interesting history...

the louvre...

home of the infamous mona lisa and other more interesting art (no offense davinci). we loved wandering through hall after hall of fascinating art, sculptures, jewels and history. it was an amazing experience. the mona lisa is awesome... my only issue is it is protected with thick glass and roped off so you can't get closer than 5 meters away. we loved wandering up and down the corridors, seeing it all.

notre dame...

home to quasimodo and perhaps the greatest organ concert i have ever been to. i loved the grandeur of this place. the beliefs may be different, but i found this place to be holy ground, nonetheless.

the city of paris...
home to so many infamous things that i will only list a few of my favorites.



the locals

and of course the eiffel tower.... oo la la!

we had some very interesting adventures in paris including, but not limited to:
1. staying in a ghetto hotel with this lady

getting one of our bikes stolen and spending the afternoon in the police station where, ironically, we met up with the utah staters who had someone break into their hotel and steal all the laptops and cell phones they could find. the picture below was taken at the scene of the bike-stealing crime. you can see the confusion as we repeatedly count and recount the bikes...cade, realizing this moment would be potentially priceless, took a picture instead of panicking like the rest of us

we saw the sights and loved it all. paris truly is a beautiful place to visit. this last weekend we were able to visit it again with my mom... but those picture and adventures will have to wait for another post.... until then!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

when the aggies came to town...

i love utah state. sure, they have managed to suck all my money (and, unfortunately, any future money i may have) out of my clenched fists, but i still just love being an aggie... and i especially love other aggies.

similar to the south america study abroad cade attended the summer we met, usu has developed another great business program where students travel around and learn and so on... this semester, the participating students are lucky enough to travel around europe for a little while listening to speakers and studying business things. well, we were pleased as punch when we heard that many of our friends would be participating and that one of their stops would be right here in the fun capitol of the world: brussels!

being the seasoned residents we are, we gave them the grand tour- everything belgian. first we ate cade's favorite meal: dirams with andolouse sauce (turkish, not belgian- but since we have only ever eaten these meaty wraps here, we associate them with belgian culture). we thought it would be such a treat for them because we enjoy them so much- but then we found out that because dirams are the cheapest way to get full in europe, they had eaten like 20 of them already. they still manged to snarf them down with a smile.

next stop: grand place and the chocolate factories. we stopped off at neuhaus for a taste of their infamous chocolate. it is sooo good.

after the chocolate, we continued on to further famous sweets. a trip to belgium wouldn't be complete without a belgian waffle fully equipped with strawberries, chocolate and cream.

cade decided to save a little for later....

at the waffle shop, we introduced our fellow aggies to a typical belgian drunk. he sure loved to giggle, so heather, annalise and i agreed to take a 'giggle picture' with him. cade, the comedian, secretly took a video instead of a picture.

we all got a good laugh out of this guy, but he was kinda creepy and we were looking to ditch the drunk... but to our surprise, as we quickly started walking away we could hear the little giggles of our friend following close behind us. eventually he gave up and we were able to continue on the tour.

next we took them to see manneken pis, one of the most popular tourist attractions in town. this was our first visit to the peeing boy as well, and considering all that we had heard about it, we were expecting something a little different. the boy is only about 2 feet tall and guarded by a large fence, but it is still a great piece of belgian history.

the next day, some of the utah state business administrators came to obelis to discuss future internship opportunities and to see how cade's work is going (i am not a business student, thus they don't ask about me). this picture is taken at out work with our two bosses, doram and gideon, and two usu administrators, liz and krystn. our bosses must really like us because they let us take off for lunch with the usu students.

it was held at a nice hotel in the downtown area. we really were so glad to be there. the food was great and we got to chat it up with some fellow aggies. after lunch, we attended a lecture given by a nato representative...not really my area of expertise, but we managed learn a little bit and were glad to be out of the office on such a gorgeous day. the weather here has been so great for us thus far.

it was so nice having our friends come and visit. life in the states didn't seem so far away and people got our jokes. now that we have had a little practice giving the belgian grand tour, we are even more excited for our next visitors: my mom and her best friend, marilyn who are scheduled to drop in next week!