Tag Archives: Belgium

Learning a New Language

This year, I am turning 45 years old.

In celebration of me-because that should happen all the time and not just at my birthday. . . and those who know me, understand that I’m only partally joking with that statement-we’re taking an oversees trip that hasn’t happened since we bought a house almost 15 years ago. Once we bought our first house, all our travel money disappeared into the pit of paying for improvements and general upkeep of a two hundred year old house.

Scarlett is going to 8 years old this month and COVID is manageable at this point so we’re taking this milestone to travel again. We’re going to Belgium for a week and in an attempt to not be a stupid American, I’m attempting to learn French and Ross – bless him – is learning Dutch. We’re both using Babbel and the little snippets of learning are really helping me not get overwhelmed because I always have a lot of crap going through my mind at all times.

However, I have discovered that I do have to go back and do lessons again beause they’re so brief that I’m not sure I’m retaining the intricacies of the language. Also, I’m having a hard time keeping straight which letters/endings are not necessarily pronounced. I spent five years studying Russian in college and you pronounce every damned letter, so dealing with the letters in words that aren’t necessarily pronounced is hard for me to remember.

I’m hoping that I can just slur some of it and maybe they’ll forgive me. Maybe they won’t notice because these lessons are just going to get more complicated and I’m old now, so learning new things is hard.

I remember things visually. When I learned Russian, I had a table that I created with endings across cases and pronouns. I could pull that table up in my brain to find the right ending for what I wanted to say. In fact, if I try, I can still see that table. The endings…yes, the cases along the top…not so much. Its fuzzy, but its still there. Babbel doesn’t have any of that and as the lessons start conjugating verbs, i have a feeling my brain is not going like that very much.

Everyday, there’s a tiny lesson and hopefully I’ll get better by the time we leave in August. Wish me luck!

Woodpeckers Ruined Everything

For my 40th birthday, we were supposed to be in Europe. We got our passports renewed. I’d looked up where we were going to stay, the prices, things to do. For Christ’s Sakes, travel books were purchased. I was ready.


Woodpeckers. What do woodpeckers have to do with your trip? You might ask. Well, woodpeckers bore holes into you house, leaving large round openings and it’s illegal to kill woodpeckers in Ohio. So until we figured out that it was the carpenter bee larvae that they were digging for and treated for that, they kept drilling holes into our house. Honestly, it might be time to treat for the bees again because I’m pretty sure I heard knocking the other morning. The side of our house looks like Swiss cheese on one side and that, of course, is the side that faces the street.

Again, what does this have to do with your trip to Europe?

Well, in order to repair the damage and repaint the house, this blows my Europe budget out the window. And not just out the window, like across the street and in the neighbor’s yard out the window. Europe is so far out of reach, I was looking on if there was a return policy for the $250 I spent to get our passports renewed. There’s not, by the way. Fucking, stupid woodpeckers. Also, adulting sucks!

So, instead of real Europe, Ross and I took a much more cost effective trip to fake Europe. That’s right, as many of you know we went to Las Vegas.

We visited “Italy”…

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We visited “Paris”, kinda…


And we visited “London”, actually we just rode an even bigger London Eye. We’ve now been on both but here’s the conversation that followed:

Ross: How many people do you think have been on both the London Eye and this thing?

Me: Probably alot. More importantly, how many people do you think have been on all of them?

Ross: Are there more?

Me: Probably. They probably have one in Singapore or some place like that.

Ross: Why Singapore?

Me: Cause Singapore is like that. They all kinds of shit.

Guess what the Google machine told me today…Hello Singapore Flyer

Anyway, we had a good time and I don’t miss the tourist death march of WWI battle fields that Ross would have taken me on through Belgium. There are only so many grassy fields that you can look at before you go bonkers.


Birthday Trips

I was supposed to go to Belgium this summer for my 40th birthday. But, alas, that is not to be. Due to woodpeckers, wood rot, and carpenter bees (yes, carpenter bees!), Ross and I will not be spending the money to go abroad.

Instead, we are spending 4 lovely days in Las Vegas! I’ve already paid for it. We’re going! There’s no going back now. Not the #TreatYoSelf I’d been hoping for, but awesome just the same.