Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wanderlust: France and Belgium

Every once in awhile I find myself wanting to just drop everything and travel around the world. I have been so spoiled in my life with some of the most amazing opportunities to see some pretty cool places. 

I remember coming home from school one day in the 8th grade and telling my parents about a French exchange program called Junior Diplomats. I really thought they would tell me that it sounds like a cool program and that would be the end of the story. Well, praise the Lord that is not how that story ended!

My parents thought it was a great idea and signed me up for the program. I was assigned to the most amazing French family and their daughter Julie came to stay with us that summer. 

Summer 2003
That picture above is proof that I love y'all. It should be burned and never seen again but hey... we all go through that awkward stage, right? This is where you tell me "Oh yes, definitely!!" to make me feel 1000000x better about my awkward stage.

I met Julie 11 years ago. Eleven. Years. It is really hard for me to believe that was only 11 years ago because it feels like she's been one of my best friends my whole life. Her family has spoiled me and taken me to some of the most amazing places. Whenever I become wanderlust I think it's because I miss them and all of the amazing times we have had together. Get ready for a quick trip around Europe with the most amazing French family ever...

I can't seem to find any pictures from my first summer living with my family which is a travesty. Really. They took me to my favorite place ever that year (2004), Normandy. I'm going to have to go dig and find those pictures.

Le Touquet, France 2006
Ahhhh, the summer of 2006. I was a new high school graduate and France was playing in the world cup. Julie, Mathilde (my other French BFF) and I went to stay at the family beach house for a week. By ourselves. We were 17. My children will never do this. Ever. BUT oh boy was that week a blast. France was the runner-up in that World Cup and we still don't talk about that travesty of a Final. Terrible. 

Brugges, Belgium
If you ever get to go on a EuroTrip do yourself a favor and go to Belgium. Just do it. It's one of my all time favorite places and it is always over looked. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have heard someone say they wish they had worked Belgium into their itinerary for more than one day. Go to Brugges (Venice of northern Europe- it's really called that) and Bruxelles. You will not be disappointed. AND just in case you need more reasons to go- Belgium is the birthplace of french fries, Belgian chocolate is all over the place and Belgian waffles. Now I'm drooling.

Bruxelles, Belgium 2011- just landed and went straight for a waffle. As you should.
Who knows, maybe Belgium will become the place the man who will become your husband will tell you he loves you in the middle of La Grande Place...

One picture from that fateful night in 2011...
Back in France you'll take selfies with two of the people who will always hold some of the best memories of your life before selfies were a thing...


You'll fall in love with the streets and the amazing architecture ...

Lille, France- my other hometown
You'll find joy in the simple things in life. Like spending an afternoon wandering around your French family's new town and indulge in French delicacies...


You'll find your favorite days are wandering around the French countryside learning more about WWI and WWII history with you French parents who love to indulge your nerdy side...

My French daddy
My French momma- Site of the first battle the Canadian army ever won outside of Canada (WWI)
You'll go back to your French hometown and still fall in love with it every single time you walk into the main square...


You'll make sure to enjoy a French beer with one of your best friends and talk as much as you can because you know it will be years before you see each other again...

Mathilde
And last but certainly not least, you will step way outside of your comfort zone and try new foods for your French dad just because it's Father's Day...

Just missing Julie, her brother Aurelien and his wife
Alright, that didn't cure my wanderlust at all. I am ready to pack up and head back over to France and Belgium. Who's with me?!

1 comment:

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