Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Easter in Brussels

We decided to take a last-minute jaunt to Brussels for Easter, the main reason for which was that we wanted to attend an English-language church service. There was an Anglican church in Brussels that had a traditional service, so we decided to go there. It is only a little over an hour by train, so it isn't a bad trip. This time, I booked a hotel near the church instead of way out as I am prone to do, although it probably would have been better this time to just get a cheaper, far away hotel. Anyway. We stayed at "The Hotel. Brussels," which was a pretty fancy place. They were out of rooms with big beds, so we had to go Rob and Laura style, but that ended up being fine. They also had a little baby bed for Sadie, which she mostly didn't mind, although she ended up not sleeping in it.

When we got in, I was starting to get a bit of a headache, and although I thought there was some aspirin kept in the diaper bag, there wasn't, so I went across the street to the pharmacy. In Brussels, they speak French and Flemish (or Dutch? is there a difference?) so I was excited about using my French. I asked for a mix of tylenol and aspirin, basically, and what he gave me was tablets you dissolve in water and drink. What is with these European medicines? Anyway, I took some and we headed out to see a bit of Brussels.

First stop was the Delirium Cafe--basically a beer bar. We had a few beers and Sadie managed to hold it together for most of the time. It really helps when we can sit outside. While Belgium doesn't seem to have quite the obsession with running the radiators that Germany does, I think she does better in the fresh air. After we had a few drinks, we headed to an Ethiopian restaurant we wanted to try. We generally get Ethiopian food in every city we visit, if possible. The place was really good, although I ran into a problem with languages: basically, I would start a sentence in French and then slip into German by the end. And I couldn't stop saying "bitte" instead of "s'il vous plait." I don't know how people who know multiple languages keep them all straight! Anyway, the restaurant had some of the best ketfo we'd ever had. Sadie had a little bit of lentil and did really well. Hunter mentioned that it was one of the best travel days he'd had. That was all about to change.

As we headed back to the hotel, I was on my last legs. My headache hadn't gotten any better and really had gotten worse. I took a bath and tried to take some more of the aspirin and then just got into bed. This migraine was kind of a wake-up call. Spring is coming, which is a time when I always get more headaches. I think last spring I missed a day of work almost every week because of headaches. Now that I have a baby, I can't afford to just lose days of life--it isn't fair to Hunter or Sadie. I've lived with headaches for so long that it seems so normal to me. It's hard to imagine there are people who haven't experienced them. Just to give an example of how it feels, if you are lucky enough not to live with this: I looked at a staircase and wished I could fall down it so I would be knocked out and possibly taken to the hospital, so they could take care of me and I wouldn't have to function anymore. I saw this satirical magazine cover once, saying that the cure for migraines was like, eating kittens or something and I was like, that's no joke. I'm pretty sure any migraine sufferer would eat a live kitten if they knew it would just make it go away. So anyway, that night was pretty rough because in addition to me being basically useless, Sadie was not in a very good mood. She seems to be teething, and also had caught a small cold so Hunter was really stepping up and taking care of the whole family. She likes looking in the mirror, so Hunter did that to entertain her a bit. A picture:

We woke up the next morning, and while I didn't feel amazing, going to the church was the whole reason we made the trip, so I got myself and Sadie dressed and ready. Sadie wore a pretty pink dress that Hunter's dad gave her for Christmas. I got a few pictures of her in the baby bed before she got it (the dress) wet/dirty.

People are always commenting on how pretty her eyes are!

I was hoping I could get something to eat/drink before church, but that didn't work out, so I definitely wasn't feeling great. Add to that Sadie's desire to constantly make noise and the church experience certainly wasn't ideal. I actually got up to take her out, but a deacon (or something, I don't really know how Anglican churches work) told me not to worry about it. It was pretty hard to hear though, at least for us, so eventually I did get up and just sort of paced in the back to keep her quiet. We were able to take communion, and the--priest? Do you call Anglican clergy priests?--was super nice about Sadie's noisemaking. It wasn't the optimal church experience, but I'm glad we went. We grabbed some pastry on the way back to the hotel room, where I needed to collapse back into bed. I wasn't sure if I'd be up to doing anything else, but decided to sleep a little bit while Hunter went to find a store to get some Belgian beers. It turned out to be closed, but he did bring back a big box of Neuhaus chocolate. When I got up, I decided I felt well enough to go to the "Grand Place," have lunch, and take some pictures.

We ate at one of the restaurants right on the square, which is obviously a more expensive option but the square is really pretty so we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful view and sit outside.

It was quite crowded; there were a lot of people and even some scouting groups. After that, we walked around the city a bit more. There are a bunch of museums and things, but we just stayed outside, looking at the architecture. It was a really nice day to be walking around. I hope we can go back, and I would like to see the Magritte museum in particular, but just admiring the city was fun for this trip. One thing we saw, which is a weirdly famous attraction, is the "Manneken Pis." Basically, it's a statue of a kid peeing? It was super crowded but we did manage a picture:

We sat down by a fountain where Hunter got some pics of Sadie and me.

I think this next one is in front of the old palace--there are just so many nice buildings I can't keep them all straight:

We also walked through a park and then it was time to get our bags and head back to the train station. I was glad I had felt well enough to walk around and see a bit more of Brussels. Although anywhere you go you can probably use English, it was fun to practice my French. I did slip into German sometimes, but usually people didn't just respond to me in English, which made me feel pretty good. I'll be going to Paris next month, so I'm hoping to be able to use a lot of French there. 

And now, some bonus pics of Sadie opening her Easter presents (which we did on Monday):

Happy Easter, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Deacons, Priest/Presbyter/Pastor/Rector (head clergy of a parish - paid by the congregation)/Vicar (rare; a clergyman who is the bishops representative - paid by the bishop), and Bishops. Sorry about the migraine, but hope you guys are doing well!