After a whirlwind weekend in Amsterdam we headed to the Flemish part of Belgium, where we planned to stay four nights before meeting friends for a weekend tour of Luxembourg.
Posts tagged ‘friends’
We had a fantastic 48 hours in Amsterdam – the first stop on our whirlwind European tour – despite doing very little actual sightseeing. The primary goal for our jaunt through the Low Countries was to catch up with friends and eat and drink well, and we accomplished both aims in spades during our brief stay.
With the end of our third overseas Foreign Service tour rapidly approaching, we took one last trip before the final push to tie up loose ends at work, pack up the house, and bid adieu to Rwanda for the foreseeable future. Rather than staying on the continent, however, we went to Europe, spending two weeks in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg with a large contingent of friends from various epochs of our lives.
“For a better marriage, act like a single person,” wrote Stephanie Coontz in a recent pre-Valentine’s Day op-ed in the NY Times. She went on to cite several interesting studies measuring couples’ happiness, which seemed to point to a measurable – and positive – difference in the happiness levels of couples that maintained their pre-marriage hobbies compared to those who devoted themselves exclusively to family. Intuitively, this makes sense. We love our kids, but they can also be too much, and if we didn’t have outlets – yoga, poker, Ultimate Frisbee – we’d drive ourselves nuts.
Last month we wrote about the moving anxiety that has begun to grip our household. This week our forthcoming transition got a little more real as we attended a departure seminar at the Embassy and realized that we are fast coming up on our final 100 days in Kigali. That we have been down this road several times before makes the impending transition a little easier, but not much.
The biggest downside to D’s most recent South Africa trip was that he was away for Munchkin’s fourth birthday. D made it back for the party, but could not accompany the little man to school to mark his special day with his classmates. The little man, meanwhile, has quietly grown up quite a bit – especially over the last several months.
When Munchkin saw D packing his bags for a return trip to South Africa not three weeks after we had returned home, his first instinct was to plead with D to be taken along. Once he realized that he could neither hide out in D’s luggage nor guilt him into purchasing an extra ticket, Munchkin handed D his recently acquired Pinocchio plush toy so that D wouldn’t have to travel alone.
S has visited the Netherlands several times: first on a full day layover on her way back from study abroad in Ghana; then again for a two-week research project for her college thesis; and finally with her parents for a week-long vacation when she was pregnant with Munchkin. Over the course of our six-and-a-half years in the Foreign Service, Amsterdam has become our transit hub of choice, especially considering the dearth of flight options into East Africa. Instead of simply flying through on her way to and from Tuscany, S decided to tack on a one-day layover in Amsterdam to see a close friend and explore a bit deeper one of her favorite European capitals.