Archive | September 2016

Land of the rising sun

The countdown has really begun now. Only 9 more days until we get up that plane to South Africa, Mpumalanga. Next Friday it’s D-Day! Then we will finally leave to see Mpumalanga, Land of the Rising Sun. What a beautiful name!

I’m so curious how everything will be there, and I have no idea what we will be doing there. We’ll just take every day as it goes and take opportunities as we see them.

One thing is for sure: I can’t wait to see our lodge! It has a  little terras outside and a view on the Kruger park. We should even be able to hear the animals of the Kruger Park. As long as there is no cheetah on my tarras, I’ll be fine I guess 🙂

I really hope to do a lot of hiking to see the beautiful nature there, go visit some typical places, go into the Kruger Park,… We also want to visit Dullstroom, Pelgrims Rest (to see how the gold diggers lives in the early years), Sabie, Graskop, Blyde River Canyon. I’m really curious about that Canyon. I have never seen a canyon and it must be  pretty awesome to see this! I also want to hike on the Panorama Route and God’s Window to see the amazing views of Mpumalanga. Maybe we’ll go visit a typical African tribe/village one day but I’m not so sure about that. I think it’s a bit sad to just march into their village to see how they live without the things we have. I’m not really sure that they like all these visits or just do it for the money they really need so I’m not really sure those trips are a good idea. Same goes for the special trips inside the safari parks where you can get a picture with a wild animal like a cheetah while you pet him. I think it’s a really sad thing because they sedate the animals just to be able to make that picture… So no I’m pretty sure we won’t do that either. I’m fine just looking at those animals from a far distance when they can just do their daily routines and not really be bothered.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor god's window zuid afrika

(Google)

Also, as I do love wine, I am curious to the real South African wines. I can’t wait to pop that first bottle an a warm evening, on our cute little terras with that amazing view of nature and safari, while listening to the bird and animal noises we probably have never even heard before…

I don’t even know what I should pack to go there… What will we need there? What clothes will we wear there? Shorts because it’s warm or long jeans because there are insects and stuff? Guess I’ll just bring my entire wardrobe with me… Just to be sure 🙂

I’ll keep you posted!

Bisous,

Moi.

 

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France – Tu me manques

France. What’s not to love about France, right? There is just so much that I love about France.

I just love it how people in the South are so much more relaxed than right here in Belgium. They take their time to get everything done and you just can’t seem to stress them out. I love the idea of how they go to the Boulanger to get some croissants and pains au chocolat in the morning, while stopping at a local café where they drink their morning café. They say some bonjours and au revoirs as they sip their café and then head home to eat the croissants and pains au chocolat in the morning sun on their terras.

And when the scorching sun indicates it is about lunch time, I love to imagine how an old village man takes his dog with him to the Boulanger once again to get a baguette while the old wifey is at home gathering some fresh tomatoes and lettuce out of their garden to make a lovely baguette for lunch. And in between of these lovely trips to the Boulanger, I love to dream of how they spend their old days under the scorching summer sun gardening, growing some vegetables and attend the daily tasks in their lovely French house.

This is exactly how I want to spend my old days when I’m old and grey. And until the day I have finally found my dream house in France I want to spend my vacations there. I want to spend every time possible there and imagine for that short time that I am living there and picture how my life would be if I lived there. And every time I leave from holiday back to Belgium, my heart will darken a bit more as I wished I could stay there forever. It will be a certain heartache because instead of going home after vacation, I will leave home where I am not even living at that moment, to go to a house that is not really our home…

And because of all that, and because France will always have that special place in my heart, I will miss it for as long as I don’t live there. And I just love it how even missing something in France has a much more powerful meaning. In France, they wouldn’t say I miss you. They say “Tu me manques”, which literally means you are missing from me. I think it is a much more powerful thing to say that France is literally missing from me because it is part of me, not just something I miss…

And therefore my dearest France, tu me manques…

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Countdown to South-Africa

I am so glad we are having a little bit of nice weather this week, with 30°C and soooo much sun. After a cold and rainy summer, I think we deserve these last bits of sunshine…

I’m also finally allowing myself to start my countdown for my last vacation this year. 16 more days and we’re off on that plane! God, I wished we were 30 September already. We are finally doing our “big trip” to the “Big Five”! South Africa, better be carefull because we’re coming for you! 🙂

I am soooo curious to the nature over there, the animals, the plants and flowers. Everything will be so much different from here. I just really hope not to find any spiders. Really. No spiders please… I swear I’ll die of a heart attack if I find one of these in my bed…

Anyways, school is starting again. So after a long day at work, I’ll be off to music class tonight until 22.00h. Gonna be a loong day…

Anyone ever been to South Africa? Around the area of Kruger Park? Let me know!

Bisous,

Moi.

Under the Tuscan sun

Yesterday we watched the movie Under The Tuscan Sun again. It is definitely one of my favorite movies. I just love how Frances leaves everything behind after a terrible divorce where she loses everything, including her house. Instead of crying and getting depressed of her situation, she chooses to live. She just follows her heart and buys an old house in Tuscany to start over. To live…

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I love how she just hops on a plane from San Francisco to Tuscany, Italy, to get away from everything. How the bus drives through the sunflower fields under the summer sun. How she wanders through these typical old Italian villages and buys grapes at the local market. And above all, I love the fact that being in a place like Tuscany (or Provence, Languedoc, …) is really helping you to get through a rough time, not only in the movie. It’s amazing what sunlight can do for the soul. There is something about those sunny places on Earth, isn’t there.

Watching this movie for the millionth time, it warms my heart and gives me hope that one day I will do the same. That I will come across that one special place you instantly fall in love with, that you know immediately that this is the place you want to spend every day for the rest of your life. And when you finally have bought the place, that you can renovate it just as you want, for as long as you want. You have time….

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And off course, just like in the movie, there will be days that things go wrong. Or when everything goes wrong. And there will be days that you wonder why on earth you bought that house, and wonder if this was a wise decision. But you will have lived every single day since you got there and you will eventually, when the storms lies down, find happiness and peace in your own house under the sun…

Maybe I should buy the book Under The Tuscan Sun for when I move to France to re-read it over and over on rainy days. Maybe I’ll buy it in Dutch as I will love to read some books in my own language, English because I always prefer the original books, and one in French to improve my French while I’m there. That’s maybe an idea for my Christmas Wishlist…

 Have any of you ever seen this movie? What were your thoughts about this movie? And for those who haven’t seen the movie yet, you should definitely watch it one day! Love to hear from you all!

 

 

Why I blog

Why do I blog? Well that is a good question.

It’s been about two weeks now since I started this blog. And I can tell you, I am thrilled to see that people all over the world are actually visiting my blog and reaching out to me with their stories.

This is exactly why I started this blog in the first place. To reach out to everyone who has done it before or who is, just like me, planning to do it: move abroad, move to France. This is so encouraging for me to know others have done it before, and are willing to share their experience, tips and tricks with me. This means the world to people who are about to make such a big step in their lives. For many people (like me) this is often a road they walk alone because you can’t tell people yet about your plans; or they just don’t understand why you would want to leave “home” or your birth country and therefore cannot help you with this journey. So everyone who has moved abroad before, tell me your story! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

So it has been a very interesting week and I learn new tips and tricks every day. I’m very curious how our adventure will go when we are going to France to actually buy a house. We know now which area we want to go to, that it should be close to Toulouse which is a thriving big city with much to do, also an airport which is very nice so people can come visit us and we can visit them. Le Gers is also a more rural area, nice and quiet but thriving and touristic as well. I think it will be a bit the best of both worlds. Also the weather there. About 300 days of sun a year, I can’t wait to live there!

But will it be easy to actually buy the house when we found the one we want to spend the rest of our lives in? How long will it take to get all the paperwork done and do we have to stay in France for this? Will French banks grant us a mortgage?  How long will it take before we get the keys of the property and it is finally ours? There are still so much questions, and so much to look into before going out there to check out houses.

But first, it’s time to end the weekend and get ready for a new work week, which for once is nice and sunny here in Belgium! So I’m going to fill up a glass of red wine, and let my thoughts wander off as I sip of my glass and dream of France…

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Sunny saturday

Finally the weekend has arrived!

It’s been a long week, but now it is weekend and we can finally enjoy our free time.

Not that I was planning on doing so, but as I was cleaning the house today I started to throw away some things. And then before I knew it, I also started to put some things in boxes I didn’t need anymore in the next few months. So I guess that these boxes count as the beginning of starting to pack for our moving day to France.

We have really made our descicion that we are really going to move to France and we plan to go out there in Februari-March to find a house. In winter time there is not really much to do so we can better spend our time packing stuff.

We are so looking forward on the house-hunting trip! Can’t wait…
But first! A popsicle in the Belgian sun on my sunny lazy Saturday! 🙂img_7410

French Cuisine #1 – Home Made Pastis

Ingredients needed:

  • ½ L alcohol 90°
  • ½ L water
  • 5 linden blossems
  • 5 ts sugar
  • Anise extract
  • 1 licorice root

How to make it:

So here is how I made my version of homemade pastis. It’s really easy actually, so it’s a fun thing to make. First of all, you need a big jar where you can fit all of the ingredients in, so a bit more than 1L will need to fit in the jar.

First, you pour in the ½ liter alcohol and ½ liter water. Whatever you do, DO NOT smell the pure alcohol. It will burn so bad in your lungs. Just don’t. Also, add the 5 ts sugar so it can slowly melt in the water and alcohol. Put in about 5 linden blossoms. I have to be honest, I had never heard of linden blossoms before. It comes from the linden tree and by the end of June you can pick the blossoms. I have read somewhere that the linden blossoms will give the pastis a sweet flavor…  But after I finished preparing my pastis I didn’t really think the blossoms  added any value to it so I don’t think I will be adding these next time…

So basically, this is what a linden tree looks like (for as far as you can see anything on this picture):

linden-tree

And this is what the linden blossom looks like:

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But I think I figured out why it wasn’t really an added value to my Pastis since the “linden blossoms” I put into my jar looked like these: (and obviously were not ready to pick yet… )

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So besides the alcohol, water, sugar and weird linden blossoms, I also put 1 licorice root in my jar. This will give a darker color to the pastis and will make it sweeter. Last but not least, you need some anise extract to give it the anise taste. I got mine at the pharmacy, it was a small bottle of 20ml. I think next time I will also put in some star anise.

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So basically, when you have put everything in the jar you just stir it well and place it in a dark place at room temperature for 3 weeks. Just shake it up once in a while and after 3 weeks you filter it to get a clear pastis.

And that’s it! Just serve this nice typical French drink with water and some ice cubes and image you are in France at that moment!

ricard