Friday, October 3, 2008

The journey of a lifetime, part II (June 21, 2007)

Well, there we are. In Belgium. Home with my mother. Finally able to rest. We haven't scheduled many exciting things as we mostly like to enjoy the feeling of being home in Antwerp, seeing my family again and relishing the thought of 'being home'. There were however two things that we really wanted to do: go to the Efteling, where we had also been on our honeymoon for a day and attend the nearby Medieval festival. Unfortunately, my mother scheduled a family barbecue on the day of the festival, so attendance proved impossible. Still... it would be nice to see my family again, right? Well yes. It was. For the first two hours. Then they proceeded to make our innocent barbecue into a drunken riot. On their request we had put the barbeque earlier since 'people needed to work' the following monday. SInce it was logical and since family is more important than medieval fairs, my mother and I agreed. They left our house by ten o clock in the evening, roaring drunk, because my mother refused to serve them any more alcohol and they couldn't find any. They had even gone through the fridge etc. to find more bottles. From our house they went to another cafe to drink and left us cleaning up the mess they had made. Since my temper was getting the better of me, I had chosen wisely to spend the last part in the evening cleaning up and doing the dishes and handbrewing coffee to prevent me from saying something. This is the third time they're doing this. And three of them are the ringleaders. Next time I'll ask my mom to have a tea party or something when I introduce my son to the family. Whether or not he is a baby, he doesn't need to go through this and neither do I.

In the mean time, a medical problem had reared it's head. I hadn't been able to wear flightsocks during the journey to Belgium and my feet were so swollen that when we visited a friend in the revalidation center, my ankles were more swolen than hers. I know it's a common pregnancy symptom but they were getting so bad that I couldn't walk and didn't go down. Luckily, I could go to my Belgian doctor who still had all my old records, etc. Bloodpressure was normal, but I got an order to sit with my feet up the entire time. I could walk and move, but I could not sit with my feet down. Hmmm... that's becoming harder and harder to do stuff during the vacation. My favorite embroideryshop had aparently gone and closed or moved or whatever in the last six months and I couldn't find some of the stuff I had wanted to import. A minor inconvenience, but by that time, they started to add up. Luckily we did find the sugarbeans (a Belgian tradition that I will talk about later) and the little bags for it in another shop, but not, of course, the embroidery supplies.

The weather was also not cooperating and unfortunately my husband had to spend a lot of his time on the computer and the phone dealing with the insurance company to try and retrieve enough from the car to buy a new one. I developed a throat infection aside from my ankles and needed plenty of rest, so we were forced to annul the last week of our trip in England. Trying to exchange our tickets, we found out that it would cost about 300 euro's to do so, so we had to let the tickets go and rebooked on a budget airline for a return to London one week later. We also booked a hotel in Heathrow that was advertised as: right across the street from the airport. Wonderful. At least we would have no trouble on the road back, right? It was too bad that we wouldn't see some friends in England that we had missed for the last two years, but health comes first, and a stressless trip home was becoming more and more important.

Each day we monitored the weather in Tilburg, the nearest city to the Efteling. I feel profound pitty for the people who lived there, because for three weeks, they didn't get anyhting but heavy shower and storms, so we had to skip that outing too. At the very last day, of our stay, my mother had taken the day off from work to hopefully go to the Efteling, but the weather had not turned and doing a fairytale park amidst thunderstorms is just not a great idea. We gave up this threat then, although it really saddened me, as I wanted pictures there of me pregnant for my sons baby book. Instead we went to the Ardennes and showed my husband a part of the country he had not yet been to. We visited the castle of Modave and a small village called Durbuy. I was so happy. I thanked my mother for the outing, saying how wonderful it was that we could still end the journey on a high note.
I should not have said that.....

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