joyeux anniversaire | one year

Today marks the one year anniversary of our arrival in Brussels.

We arrived here with big hopes, and even bigger plans. Brussels would be a chance to re-calibrate. It was a promise to tip the work/life balance a little bit – work a little less, live a little more. While we have haven’t perfected that balance yet, we’ve definitely enjoying discovering our weekends again.

Looking back it feels as though this year has passed in a blur. A wonderful, fantastic blur.

Over the past year, whether by plane, train, or automobile, we have had quite the adventure. In all, we visited 14 countries this year. We discovered some new favorites (hey Croatia and Iceland!) and returned to some old. Each new place has been a tick on the travel bucket list, which seems to grow exponentially faster than we can cross off. A few places found themselves in the one-and-done category, but many we have decided deserve a second or third visit.

I know it’s hard to believe based on the content of this blog so far, but we did do some other things this year aside from travel. Although, the backlog of travel to blog is intimidating.

In our unending quest to find the best Belgian beer (if that’s even possible), we have drunk liters upon liters of beer. From the sourest of sour – oh Cantillon, how we love you – to the rarest of the abbey beers, this is a quest we are in no hurry to complete.

We ate pounds of chocolate, frites, waffles, and speculoos. We now have “our favorite” places for these lovely treats. The scales can attest.

With three classes under our belts, we are officially on our way to learning French. Although a far cry from where we hoped to be at this point, we have mastered at least one important thing: how to order a beer. And really, what else do we really need to know?

After almost a year of living with an embarrassing amount of blank white walls, we finally put some paint up. One step towards making it feel less temporary and more like home.

Looking forward, Year Two will…

…find us sticking around a little closer to home. And honestly? We’re pretty excited. We are looking forward to discovering all that Brussels has to offer.  Visiting the museums and special exhibits. Spending lazy mornings in little cafés. Finally eating at all these restaurants we keep reading about.

…find us making new friends, and reconnecting with old (yo friends – please come visit us, we promise you’ll love it!).

…be the year of family. With Jared’s parents in town next week and mine making the visit in May, we are excited to introduce them to “our” Brussels.

…see us continuing to work on that travel bucket list. On the docket? In a week we’re heading to Ireland – Dublin, Belfast, and the northeast coast. I’ve got a trip planned to Vietnam and Singapore in December. Other plans have us sipping scotch in Scotland, traversing through the blue city in Morocco, seeing the beauty that is Prague, exploring the walls of Carcassonne, and following the sun down to the coast of Spain and Portugal. Oh, the places we will go.

…have us revisiting some of the places we have fallen in love with during the past year. The pull of these places is one we don’t want to resist.

Year One has been one hell of a year. Year Two – let’s do this.

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