In the grand scheme of things, twenty seven months isn’t that long. But within the context of one’s life, it is or can be a long time. And lots can and does happen during twenty seven months of Peace Corps service. There are deaths, births, marriages, family get-togethers, and many other major life events which don’t wait for our return. Life goes on without us, and we can never get back the time we lose. And for those of us who come from healthy families and relationships, missing out on these things is perhaps the most difficult aspect of Peace Corps service. So, when I learned my nephews would be in Belgium visiting their grandparents, I had to go see them. It was a great two days, but I miss them already.
This is the main reason I flew to Belgium for the weekend. The little guy was born last July, and this was the first time I had seen him. His big brother turns three in August. I hadn’t seen him since December of 2008.
When I last saw Alexander, he looked something like this.
He looks a lot different now. Not surprisingly, he didn't recognize me at first. Hiding behind his grandma, he reluctantly peeked around her leg to check me out. About ten seconds later, after deciding I was okay, he was all over me. Head butting me. Jumping on me. Pulling at my eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Chasing me. Running from me. Looking for me. Hiding from me. He didn't let up the entire time I was there. Thinking about him makes me happy. And sad.
Alexander plays golf just like his dad. He swings and misses far more often than he makes contact, and, when he does connect, the ball usually ends up in the woods. He also putts like his old man, typically blasting the ball past the hole.
He's not much of a green thumb either.
Alexander and his grandpa.
Sebastian ... or the baby, as Alexander calls him. I have a feeling he's going to be a little brother only in terms of age.
Beef is hard to come by in Bulgaria, and I'd been craving it for some time. More than anything, I'd been craving a real burger. Lucky me, after a lunch that included two cheeseburgers, there was even more beef for dinner. Steak, medium-rare, plus homemade fries, and a mixed green salad. All washed down with several glasses of wine.
No trip to Belgium would be complete without a Brussels' waffle. Belgians tend to eat them with nothing more than butter and powdered sugar. I had a few the Belgian way, and several more with strawberries, bananas, chocolate sauce and whipped cream as well. Yes, I love to eat.
Nectar of the gods - a glass of Hoegaarden - just one of several different Belgian brews I enjoyed during my weekend visit. Why can't every country have at least a couple beers that taste like Belgian beer?