From record breaking heat to spring – at least they can breathe easy now.

Today started with my waking up around 4, but not actually getting ready till closer to 4:30. I managed to leave at 4:55, walked for an hour, before returning to the house so Greg and I could go to the airport. We were there on time (even though the plane landed early and we left later than planned) and everything went well. When we arrived at the gate the luggage hadn’t been unloaded yet so we went to get a drink at the grocery store. They had a machine with oranges and empty bottles. Push down on the lever and it cuts and squeezes the oranges right before your eyes! Talk about freshly squeezed orange juice. Does this impress anyone other than me?

We met Jean-Go and Valou and I got my camera out, but forgot that I had it set to movie. When I finally saw my family (i had wanted to take a picture of them walking out the door) I accidentally turned off my camera and when I turned it back on I again forgot to switch it to picture and I was all flustered. I didn’t get a picture then, but we took a few afterwards.

Aunt Wendy, Mom wants me to say you can tell Grandma they arrived and are all safe ^_^. Well, almost. One of the maple syrup jugs didn’t make it :(. My Mom noticed that she had syrup on her suitcase, but when she opened it up to find the offending container nothing was broken. There was confusion all around until someone noticed that there was a syrup puddle forming under my Dad’s suitcase. Thankfully all his clothes were in a vacuum seal bag, but the walky talkies weren’t protected and were covered in syrup. One for sure doesn’t work which makes them useless. We were going to use them this week when we’re driving from here to France, then from France to Switzerland, and finally on to Germany. Lisa got a plastic bag from her backpack and we put the jug inside that. Jean and Valou found a big garbage bag to put in the trunk of the rental car because Dad’s suitcase was still leaking syrup everywhere. Actually, those two disappeared at one point and we didn’t notice until we had already started going towards the rental car. Jean joked that they just followed the syrup trail to where we were. They were all relieved to leave the airport and get into some fresh hair. Not only did they leave record-breaking heat in Canada, but the plane was hot. And for my Dad that just does not bode well. So we can all be grateful for the slightly chilly spring-like weather we’re having right now.

Once we found the car and got things packed up we organized how we were getting home. Dad didn’t have a GPS (he’s going to buy one tomorrow which they’ll leave here for me to use and then they’ll use it again when we come back for the wedding next year) so Greg had to go over with me which direction to go. Mom went with him, but they had a little ways to walk to where Greg was parked so we ended up being ahead of them quite a bit. Greg said to follow the highway signs to Liège. Okay, I could do that. Except that when we pulled out of the airport I didn’t see anything I recognized. I sort of knew (based on where we were and some guesswork) where we didn’t want to go, and went from there. I didn’t see any signs for Liège and was getting a little nervous. Plus there was construction and I was trying to explain to my Dad the rules for passing on the highway. Finally I just thought to exit somewhere and kind of ‘start over’. That’s what was going through my head anyway, I’m not sure if it even makes sense. I just thought, if we could find a place with more signs, maybe I could find the one I needed! So we exited somewhere and I don’t know where we ended up, we still might have been on a highway/speedway of some sort. Not long after that we got back on. I can’t remember if I actually saw a sign I wanted to or if I just said let’s try it. Thankfully I also remembered that in Flemish Liège is Luik. Because all the signs for most of the trip were in Flemish and a lot of city/town names are different in French and Flemish. Sometimes they sound similar with different spellings and sometimes they are really different. At least Liège/Luik start with the same letter…

We had made a deal with Greg that at the first gas station we would stop and meet up so we could follow him the rest of the way. Funny thing though, after that gas station it was super easy and we wouldn’t have needed to follow him. So anyway, I realized we were indeed going in the right direction and all of a sudden I look to my right and see a gas station that looked familiar. It was one we had passed on the way there and indeed the one we were supposed to stop at, but we were already half past it by the time I noticed. Silly me. So I called Greg (they were just getting on the highway at this time) and said we’d have to try something else and so we decided the next gas station we’d stop. So we did, we met up, and all was well.

Not bad if I do say so myself. I wasn’t even really nervous or freaking out. A little nervous, but not too bad. I knew that eventually I would see a place I recognized and a direction I knew we had to travel and that we’d make it to a familiar place eventually. It’s funny because I’m not even that confidant driving around the airport in Toronto. I’ve never had to do it by myself of be the navigator so maybe I was just calm out of necessity. For someone who spent most of my time in vehicles with my nose in a book and didn’t know how to get anywhere when I first got my license, I think I’ve come a long way. And in a foreign country no less!

Like I said before, brunch was great. Valou had to eat and leave early for work. So it was her, Jean-Go, the Tack family (duh), Dominique, Stella, and eventually Aurore and the girls. We had pancakes and the managed to actually save a lot of the maple syrup from the cracked jug, but we still had to hose down Dad’s suitcase because it had collected sticky puddles. So pancakes, sugar bread, mini croissants, mini pastries with chocolate, fruit salad (which was awesome!), bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese, meat, veggies. It was quite the spread.

After everyone left Dad, Mom, and Lisa went for naps. Lisa in my room, Dad in Sylvain’s (which is where my parents are sleeping), and Mom on the couch covering up with my snuggie. I decided then would be as good a time as any to braid the top of my head (in little cornrows). It’s not really summer if I don’t do this at least once. Sometimes the braids will be so small I can get 20 from ear to ear. I stop them just at the crown of my head and the rest of my hair hangs loose. This gets bangs and hair out of my face and is great when it’s hot. Except that it’s not really hot right now over here. I only have 12 braids now, but I tried to do it differently than just straight back like I normally do. Sometimes I think it makes me look too young and maybe I’m getting too old to do it, but I still like it. It took me about 1h 35m. For 12 braids straight back it wouldn’t have taken that long, but because I had them going in different directions and trying to get the parts and widths right it took longer.

I want to send a special shout out to the amazing crew at Ontario St. McDonald’s in Stratford for the wonderful card! It made me feel all warm and fuzzy. ^_^ And to VG who lent me a couple of books! I’ve already read the one and with all the travel time I should be able to finish the other and send it back with Lisa.

I made supper tonight and I think my parents were a little impressed. Lisa and Mom already have plans to make spaghetti, garlic bread, and Cesar salad. My Mom even brought the Campbell’s cheese soup to put on the noodles. As per usual I’m sure I’ve forgotten something I had planned on mentioning, but I should really get to bed. Lisa’s already asleep as far as I can tell and if she didn’t have her headphones in I’m sure the sound of me typing would keep her awake!

Ahhh! They’re really here!!!

Leave a comment


  1. Krystle

     /  July 23, 2011

    🙂 Holly, I just want to let you know that I’ve been keeping up with your blog posts. And I completely love the way you write. It makes me feel as if I am experiencing everything with you! The Campbell’s cheese soup on noodles reminded me of the time you were at my house. That’s the ONLY way my family will eat spaghetti from now on. So, thank you 🙂

    • Amazing! I’ll have to tell my Mom. must say, I miss playing poker with your family, because you know, 4 of a kind’s lookin’ pretty good right now. Thanks for the comment on my writing. I know my aunt said it seems like she’s there talking to me when she reads it. Sometimes I feel as if I don’t give enough detail because I forget so much stuff, I’m glad to know that isn’t always the case! Thanks for reading and commenting and tell your hubby and family that I say hi!

  2. Stu & Wendy

     /  July 22, 2011

    I bet everyone reading the “maple syrup” incident laughed louder & longer that those at the Brussels airport !!! Grandma knows everyone is safe in Belgium.

    • I bet! It wasn’t funny at the time, especially since the walky talkies don’t work, but looking back, I think even someday my Dad will be able to laugh at it! ^_^


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