Sunday, December 28, 2008

late - but worth the wait

warmest holiday wishes from the taylor family.

Friday, December 26, 2008

we're home!

it is true! we are finally home in utah. we already miss some of our very favorite brussels memories and it was hard to say goodbye to all the people we got to know so well, like the lady at the bakery...

or the guy we bought durums from every friday...

our friends at work...

and our friends from the ward.

we had plenty to get done before we left, including some serious shopping. cade was really hoping to buy a nice european colar shirt before we came home- but lucky for us the osario family had a spankin new shirt they gave to cade right before we left.

thanks osario family!!!

we had a few goodbye parties and get-togethers for chirstmas but then it was back on the plane. i honestly thought i was going to cry when we left- but i think because we were going home for the christmas season and we were both so excited to see our families, we managed to leave in high spirits.

we are so glad to be home and we have had a blast with our families so far this season. soon enough we will be headed back to usu for our last semester and we are so excited to see what adventure awaits us there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

loved, loved, loved london

for our final hoorah here in europe, cade and i decided that we needed to see london before we journeyed on home to utah. let me tell you- i am sooo glad we did. i loved it! i know i say that about all the places we go but mostly i just do that so i don't sound ungrateful. but london, oh london! i am already plotting out how cade and i will live there someday. (disclaimer: this extreme love of london may, in part, be a result of a serious lack of english throughout the past 4 months. we loved asking for directions, ordering food and reading advertisements.)

we put off going to london for so long mostly because it is SUPER pricey to get there from belgium. we were looking up train tickets and then calculating how little money we could survive on once we purchased them. they were like 400 bucks each for a 2 hour train ride! luckily, our good friend william found an overnight bus route for us at a much better price. plus, you can't beat a good night's sleep on a ferry with a scarf over your eyes, your coat on because it is freezing and your bags strapped to your legs so nobody can steal them from you.

overnight bus? ok!
we shuffled onto the bus at about 11:00 at night, got off the bus to get on the ferry, and got on the final bus which rolled into london around 6 am. i'll be the first to tell you that there isn't much to do at 6 am in london except gape at all the extreme ravers who have stumbled out of the clubs and onto the streets. we managed to find a local mcdonalds and planned out the details of our trip.

after we dropped our luggage off where we were staying (a friend of a friend let us stay with them in the city. thanks hanna and dan!) we set off to see the sights.

note: if at any time you are tempted to judge me, please keep in mind i am on 2 day hair, 2 day makeup and i had slept like 3 hours total on the bus ride. this may explain our glazed looks and my hermoine hair.

first, big ben and the parliament building

the london eye

westminster abbey

double decker buses

telephone booths

street preachers

the day was packed with adventures, but we had to hurry on to my very favorite part of the trip. to mark 7 months of marriage (we look for any excuse to justify our splurges) cade got 2 great tickets to see wicked on london's west end.

the show honestly brought me to tears- but the 11 year old girl sitting behind us was crying too, so i don't feel that dumb. i loved it sooo much. cade ended up liking it too and we had a great time at the show.

after wicked, we headed off to see all the christmas bustle at harrods. it was packed with people and pricey products. for those of you who may be hoping i got your christmas present here, hope is all you've got. they had a great christmas floor that we wandered through and for the first time this year, i really had that christmassy feeling.

we spent the rest of the night wandering through hyde park where there was a giant christmas market and carnival going on. i love this time of year!

the next morning we headed off to the hyde park chapel for church. we had heard so much about this historical church building and it was really interesting to see it. the members were very kind and although we only stayed for sacrament meeting, we loved seeing this church landmark.

the sightseeing continued full force on sunday...

the changing of the guard at buckingham palace

trafalgar square (where we really struggled to get a nice photo)

the tower of london, which was a very cool history lesson

tower bridge

st. peters

and many other fun things in london.

this was us all smiles before getting back on the overnight bus for a long journey back to brussels. don't worry, those smiles quickly faded when the guy in front of me found out his seat was broken so it leaned back even further than the other seats do. i also forgot to thank him for draping his long hair over the seat so it would wisp across me as i tried to sleep. what's not to love about the midnight express?

we are all smiles again as we prepare to come home tomorrow morning. we are busily packing (aka i am on the internet and cade is taking a nap) but we hope to have everything squared away by tomorrow. we are excited to get home and see our families for christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

medica 2008

the day after my mom and mar left, cade and i were off to dusseldorf, germany for medica 2008. medica is the largest medical device trade show in the world. while obelis doesn't manufacture any kind of medical device, our goal is to make every company at the show our client. since day one of the internship, preparation and execution of the medica show has been my main work assignment. it was fun to finally see all the work pay off.

this show was gingantic... the venue contained 17 halls FILLED with thousands of exhibitors, which is the same as like 4 or 5 south towne expo centers. huge. the picture above is one of the smallest halls and you can't even see half of it. we split into teams of two and went booth to booth to find clients. by the end of each day, we were pooped but we had a blast.

here are some highlights:

we had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world... cade took this picture during a meeting with a potential client. this picture is funny to me because nobody takes pictures at these meetings. but little cade, bless his heart, couldn't pass up the opportunity to document his experiences. i am sure this guy was so confused.

i got to play bartender for a night. we hosted a cocktail party at our booth one evening and we had a grand time schmoozing all the guests.

another big highlight was seeing what the medical field is coming out with next. there were so many crazy contraptions, live demonstrations (like 3D ultrasounds, oxygen therapy, and exercise equipment) and free samples.

on the day cade and i were paired as a team, we tried out a bunch of things. my personal favorite was this jiggle jive machine from korea. the lady told me to stand on this platform and them she turned on these vibrations that made me jiggle all over. yes, this happened in front of a crowd of people. the machine is supposed to flex unused muscles in your body and this supposedly leads to weight loss and toned muscles. in my opinion, the only reason that thing helps with weight loss is because once you see your body jiggle like that, you never want to eat again. yikes.

cade loved all the massage chairs.

he also thought this was funny. apparently, so did i.

it was fun seeing all these new inventions and technologies. we got to see surgery videos, speak spanish and japanese, and we even stocked up for back to school by taking all the free pens we could.

plus, we got to wear these sweet shirts everyday. lucky for me, they only ordered size small for all the girls- which definitely didn't help me when i was on the jiggler.

cade worked really hard on all the marketing material for the show.

here he is with one of the banners he designed. he made flyers, banners, catalog cds, powerpoints and the huge backdrops you see in our booth. he did a really good job and the booth looked fabulous.

we had a great time at medica. being an intern for obelis has taught us so much and we are so glad we have had this opportunity.

Friday, December 12, 2008

this just in: trust = world peace

no need to panic- belgian police just arrested a group of terrorists they believe were planning on attacking the european summit happening about 5 minutes from our apartment. read the article here. things like this help me sleep at night. thanks, al qaeda!

the news made me start to think that in just a few nights and we will be home in safe, little utah... then i read my friend kate's blog and realize nowhere is safe!

we have had a few experiences lately that have really made me stop and think. i can't believe all the craziness that is going on around all of us- and more, i cannot believe how fast bad seems to be breeding.

let's go back to the basics:

if you can't buy your kids a wii for christmas this year, don't kick in your neighbor's door and take the things they work hard for. get a job- or a second job if buying stuff is that important to you.

if you want to do drugs, go ahead. but if you can't afford this expensive habit, don't sneak your little fingers into somebody else's back pocket for funding. instead, get a job- or a second job if buying drugs is that important to you. or perhaps you could find a nice, less expensive hobby.

if you don't like the policies and procedures of another country, don't strap a bomb to your chest and run into a building. get involved in politics and government and see what using your brain while you are still alive can accomplish in comparison to suicide. others will take your message much more seriously when they think you are sane.

i really do hate feeling like i can't trust other people. i think a lack of trust leads to selfishness and further corruption on both sides of the relationship. just like when i was growing up, the main reason i chose to do the "right" thing when i was confronted with a sticky situation was because i knew my parents trusted me. i knew that losing that trust would be the worst possible outcome, so i worked hard to keep it.

so, even though i think it is sometimes hard, i am going to trust in people to be better. deep down, we all know what is good and what is bad. i am going to trust that everyone is trying to choose good and hopefully al qaeda and the sugarhouse bandits will fear losing my trust so much that they will seek a more noble means to an end.

in all honesty, i know the power of my trust may not bring world peace- but for me it is start.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

adventures with mom and mar

one day while i was at work here in brussels, i got an email from my mom asking me what i was doing next weekend. no specific plans yet, i replied... which was shortly answered with the flight plans of my mom and her friend mar who decided last minute that they should come see us. we were glad they did- we had one swell time and one extremely busy weekend. the mass amounts of pictures are to please my dear mother who still hasn't seen most of these... here are our adventures...

i forgot my mom and i bought the same coat last christmas. you wouldn't think this is a big deal because you probably all know someone who has the same shirt or sweater as you (thanks, downeast!) but here in europe- there are no repeats. exclusivity is totally in this season... matching green coats: totally out. despite our faux pas, we lived.

cade and i had work the day we picked up the two, giggling women, so we left them to sort out the time change with a nap at the apartment while we were gone. we managed to get out of work a little early and explore the nightlife of brussels... for some that means all night techno parties. for us that meant shopping.... while sight seeing along the way.

it wasn't mr. satisfaction or mr. perfection- but it was delicious nonetheless!

mannekin pis. the smallest tourist attraction. seriously... why is this so famous?

mom's best friend who made her a special waffle so she'll never forget belgium. turns out, special=huge.

grand place

parc cinquantenaire

the next morning we stopped off at a local women's christmas market with my friend megan. yes, we dragged cade along too. he had volunteered as the weekend photographer and that meant attendance at the market was necessary. plus, none of us dare drive in brussels.

after a few purchases, we were off to bruges. cade and i had never been to bruges so we were so excited to go with my mom. we had heard so much about it- and sure enough, it was more than what we expected. it was the cutest little belgian city.

the next day, we woke up early again and set out for paris. it was an early morning drive and by the time we reached versailles we were starting to wake up. we were out of gas, so cade pulled into a station to keep us on our journey. we have rented lots of cars here in belgium and each car is carefully labeled on the inside of the car which gas type the car is: diesel or gas. we looked all around and could not find anything telling us what kind of car we had. we figured- if it doesn't say- that must mean gas, right? WRONG. we filled a diesel car with gasoline and didn't realize how in trouble we were until we puttered into some random gas station down the road. oops!

the car towed, a 120 euro taxi ride, and 3 hours later, we got into our second car and continued our journey. we thought this blunder was going to cost us somewhere around 800 bucks, but in the end, the car rental company forgot to include the charges before they closed the account and we didn't have to pay anything! we explained the story to the employee who just laughed and told us how lucky we are nobody caught that billing mistake- a paris miracle!!! seriously- how does that happen?

we had a great time in the city. we were able to see it all...

the louvre

cade's really into posing lately, if you couldn't tell.

cade decided not to go into the louvre again and opted to stay out and take pictures in the park. he was right on time for pickup when we were finished.

the eiffel tower

notre dame

arc de triomphe

you'll have to forgive the blurriness of some of these photos. my mom got a new camera the day before she came out here and we were all trying to figure out how to use it...

we really did have so much fun!

it took us a few days to get back on a regular sleeping schedule after giggling well into the night with you two, but we want to thank you for coming and seeing us! we ate like kings and loved all the shopping! we love you and we'll see you again before you know it!