The Norwegian Printing Museum

Monday 29 April 2013

Lately, I've been making the museum rounds throughout Stavanger and have been pleasantly surprised at the variety in our little city.  When the PWC sent an email out organizing a trip to the Norwegian Printing Museum, I'll admit, I had no idea it existed but I was intrigued.  The benefit of visiting with the PWC is the admission is usually discounted and they often arrange for a private, guided tour which in this case, was quite essential to really appreciate the exhibition.

As we arrived, we were greeted by an older Norwegian gentleman who explained, "Us old guys all used to work in the printing business.  Now we're retired but we'll show you around."  He won me over quite quickly. There was something so endearing about these men who had long moved on from the printing press yet still came around to maintain the equipment, work on a few pieces as a hobby and impart their knowledge to those who visited.

The building itself was beautiful in it's industrial glory.  Old wooden floors combined with steel supports enveloped the enormous iron machines and the smell of ink permeated the air.  The windows on the far wall peered right out onto the water and sent rays of light through the entire space.  It's almost hard to believe that it was once a simple storage space for the canneries in the early 1900s.

Stavanger had a very lively printing industry due to the abundance of canneries in the area (of course, the cans needed labels.)  Lithography was the trade of choice for labels.  The pictures and text were drawn by hand on large and heavy pieces of limestone.  Multi-coloured labels followed a careful process - each colour was hand sketched on the limestone, pressed, dried and then the next colour, on a separate lithograph, was applied.  In total, over 30 000 lithographs were made in Stavanger for the canning industry alone.

The rest of the museum was dedicated mainly to letterpress which honestly, was quite fascinating.  Up until the 1980s, letterpress was the main method of newspaper printing in the area and what an intricate and I imagine, strenuous, process.  Typesetting was done completely by hand, letter by letter, word by word almost as if arranging a puzzle daily in order to put the newspaper to press.  In 1900, the first typesetting machine came to Norway which basically works like a computer keyboard except working manually to put a cast together shaping a line of text in metal.

We were lucky enough to watch it all come together as the machine clunked and the metals tinged eventually forming a phrase.  The gentleman was kind enough to make a souvenir of sorts for us as we oohed and ahhed at the process.
The Handmade Typecast

It was really quite amazing to see the precision and effort that went into printing and while I love how technology has opened up so many opportunities for us, it made me sad to think of this massive industry and art that is practically extinct with the use of the computer taking it's place.

The Handmade Print of the Norwegian Alphabet I bought at the end of the tour.  
The tour was really quite eye opening for me and as a lover of the written word, I couldn't help but be mesmerized by the letters surrounding me, each of them being created with so much time, effort & care.

Our Travel Plague

Friday 26 April 2013

Dining in Granada, Spain
Joe and I compliment each other well when it comes to travel.  I do the planning and researching but when we're in country, he'll take care of the logistics.  I keep a list of sites to visit, he'll figure out the public transit.  He's more budget friendly which keeps my expensive eye in check.  Joe prefers to go, go, go checking off every attraction on his mental checklist whereas I like to slow down, enjoy a coffee and take it all in.  He's the ying to my yang.

Regardless of how well we balance each other out, we still have our own little travel plague.

The exploring, learning, sightseeing and walking makes us hungry and both of us can be pretty indecisive when it comes to food.  When the time comes, I want to find that little gem of a place where we can rest our feet, taste something delicious and refuel.  It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to be good.  This is often easier said than done.

Usually, I start to feel hungry.  (Joe never feels hungry until we actually sit down in a restaurant.)  I casually bring up that we should probably start trying to find somewhere to eat and Joe usually agrees however isn't super motivated to get to it.  An hour will pass as we continue our 5 km jaunt from one location to the next and my hunger increases.  I remind Joe again that I'm getting quite hungry and we should probably stop somewhere and he'll casually agree.  We'll take a look around but everything will look like a tourist trap or not quite what we're looking for.  We agree to walk on.  This process repeats a couple of times as neither of us will make a decision.  Eventually my h-anger sets in (hunger + anger.)

I'm well aware of it and will often warn, "Joe, I'm starting to get grumpy.  I really need to eat now."  He'll often offer an exasperated response along the lines of, "Fine.  Let's just go there," pointing to the dive across the street to which I balk.  We walk on, h-anger increasing exponentially.  Joe will continue to point out any and every place on the street that sells food which really only makes me angrier as they're usually not valid options for me.  We keep walking in hopes of stumbling across THE place.

Eventually, I'll hit a breaking point.  The h-anger will capsize me and I'll rant that we should have ate 2 hours and several kilometres ago.  Joe will note that he's pointed out a billion restaurants but I won't go in any of them.  I'll roll my eyes because suggesting 7-11 is not a reasonable 'restaurant' and provides no help to our situation.  Out of sheer desperation to end the situation, we'll stalk off into the nearest restaurant.  Rarely does it happen to be that gem I had so hoped for but we'll eat, the h-anger will subside and we move on.

I try to be proactive and many times it helps.  I'll take a list of restaurant recommendations from friends and readers.  I'll do a little research, read a few TripAdvisor reviews and take note of this place or that place.  Sometimes we'll ask the concierge or a local that we happened to be chatting to and many times, we successfully eat a lovely meal sans problem.  But, sometimes it just doesn't work out.  We'll end up in a different neighbourhood than expected or we'll make our way to a recommended place only to find it full or the menu not quite what we wanted.  Sometimes we just want a little spontaneity and preplanning doesn't allow for it.

In any case, while it may look like travel is glamourous from all angles, I can assure you that it's not.  Somewhere during the course of our weekend trip to some European city, I will be standing on the street ranting to my husband while taken over by h-anger.

Do you get hangry
{Please tell me I'm not the only one!}

A Look At Stavanger's Museums

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Museums are something we tend to visit when we're away from home and they often slip from our minds when we're looking for things to do when we're not travelling.  Despite it's small size, Stavanger has a pretty great array of museums to visit.  With Jeanie's visit and the PWC, I've been able to check quite a few out but I look forward to exploring them all while we're here.

*Stavanger Museum - Housing both cultural and natural history, the Stavanger Museum has been open to the public since 1893.  Here we can learn the history of our city and see what life was like here hundreds of years ago.  It's also home to the Children's Museum.
Tuesday-Sunday 11:00-16:00

*Stavanger Art Museum - The art museum has a really great location on the edge of the Mosvannet, a lake not far from the centre of town.  The museum showcases a few Norwegian artists but it also welcomes smaller exhibitions from other artists.
Tuesday-Sunday 11:00-16:00
*Stavanger Maritime Museum - Currently closed until May 15, 2013 for renovations, this museum is next on my list to visit.  It's home to many maritime related artifacts and 2 sailing ships dating back to 1848 and 1897.
Tuesday-Saturday 11:00-16:00
*The Norwegian Canning Museum - This is a favourite to most who visit.  Before oil, canning was a major industry in Stavanger which was home to some 130 canneries.  The museum is located in Gamle Stavanger and housed in a former cannery.  Many of the machines are still in working condition and visiting is really like stepping back in time.  Guided tours are offered and they are essential to really experience the exhibit at its best.  The first Sunday of the month they fire up the sardine smoking as it would have been done in the early 1900s.
Tuesday-Saturday 11:00-16:00
*Utstein Monastery - Norway's only preserved monastery is located about a 30 minute drive from Stavanger.  Historical records date the site back to the 9th century although construction of the main building began in 1260.
The museum closes during the winter, reopening in March on Sundays and at peak times is open daily. Check the hours here.
*Ledaal - Ledaal is a mansion and royal residence built in 1799.  Originally built as a summer residence, it's now a museum as well as a royal residence and is occasionally used for official functions.  This is set to be our next field trip with the PWC.
Open Sundays mid-August to mid-June 11:00-16:00
Open daily June 15-August 15 11:00-16:00
*Breidablikk- Often visited when touring Ledaal because of their close proximity, this is a former shipowner's residence.  Apparently quite well-preserved it provides insight into home life in Norway in the 1800s.
Closed January-June 15
Open daily June 15-August 15 11:00-16:00
Open Sundays August 16-December 31 11:00-16:00

*The Norwegian Printing Museum - Stay tuned for a blog post on this one - it's tied for a favourite with the Canning Museum.  This is a must for anyone interested in typography and printing presses.  Many of the machines are in working order and it's quite amazing to see the intricacies that made a newspaper and labels early in the 20th century.  Retired printing professionals keep the machines in working conditions and if you're lucky to catch them on special occasions or tours, they'll demonstrate how they work.
Open Sundays January 1-June 14 11:00-16:00
Open daily June 15-August 15
Closed August 16-December 31
*Stavanger School Museum - This one is only open under special arrangements but is located in a former school and focuses on, you guessed it, school history.
Rogaland War Historical Museum - Originally a privately owned collection of World War II memorabilia, it's now a museum housed in former Nazi camp near Sola airport.  The exhibit is in Norwegian but it's worth it to try to arrange a guided tour in English to see Stavanger's role in WWII as well as life under the occupation.
Open Sundays 12:00-16:00 May-November
Via Visit Norway
Norwegian Petroleum Museum - This is probably Stavanger's most popular museum.  It sits right on the water downtown and is really quite an impressive exhibit.  Beginning with general history as to where oil comes from, it goes on to show Norway's oil & gas history, then breaking down the process of offshore drilling and finally, it looks at environmental impacts.  The best part of this museum is how interactive it is - to scale offshore platforms allow you a close up look, interactive touch screen displays, a 3D movie theatre and you can try your hand at a few drilling tasks.  There's also a really great restaurant housed right in the museum building but it can get busy, particularly for dinner.
Open daily 10:00-19:00 June 1-August 31
Monday-Saturday 10:00-16:00 September 1-May 31
Sunday 10:00-18:00 September 1-May 31
Museum of Archaeology - As one might guess, the museum of archaeology has some really, really old artifacts in it.  It traces back life in Rogaland to the Bronze Age and really offers a glimpse into how Norway has progressed into the modern world.
September 1- May 31 Tuesdays 11:00-20:00, Wednesday-Saturday 11:00-15:00, Sunday 11:00-16:00
June 1- August 31 Monday-Friday 10:00-17:00, Saturday-Sunday 11:00-17:00

Joe has been a bit jealous as of late because I seem to do all of the exploring while he's at work so I've started going back to the museums with him on the weekends.  It's something we need to remind ourselves to do on those rainy days.

+Those marked with an * are part of the MUST group.  You can buy yearly passes which are worth the cost if you plan on visiting most of the museums.
+Tourists can also purchase the Fjord Pass which offers discounts on many museums all over Norway (in addition to discounts on hotels, rental cars and other activities.)
+Operating hours are drastically reduced outside of high season here so it's in your best interest to double check before you plan your trip.
+The Canning Museum & Printing Museum are best seen on a guided tour - check out when they're scheduled and if it's during low season, ask at the counter as sometimes they're happy to take you around on your own.

The Tiny Village of Flåm

Monday 22 April 2013

After completing the first half of our Norway in a Nutshell tour, we stopped off for the night in Flåm.  The tiny village of Flåm is found at the end of the Aurlandsfjord which is one of the legs of the Sognefjord, the world's largest fjord at 212 kilometres.  It sits amongst the sea and the mountains and is quintessentially Norwegian beauty.

At the end of the 19th century, German and English tourists came to know Flåm as a stop on their Norwegian fjord cruise and the village continues to woo visitors from all over the world.  There isn't a whole lot there - a few hotels, a few cabins, a railway museum, a couple of cafés and tourist shops & a brewery.  From the town, one can plan a number of excursions or hikes to pass their time there but we chose just to sit back and enjoy the scenery with a beer in hand.
We stayed at the Flåmsbrygga Hotel.  The rooms were basic but comfortable and every single one had a gorgeous view and a balcony.  The three of us spent the majority of our time parked in the sun, with a beer in hand breathing in that fresh mountain air.  That evening we wandered next door for a Norwegian Easter buffet followed by live music & beer at the local brewery, Ægir.

It was a quiet 24 hours in Flåm but I liked it that way.  When the high season kicks into gear, the cruise ships start pulling in and while I hear it's quite the sight to see those enormous floating buildings pull up to this tiny village, I liked that we sort of had it to ourselves.

Snakker du engelsk? Speaking English in Norway

Friday 19 April 2013

One of the 23 iron sculptures that make up "Broken Column."  The sculptures can be found all over Stavanger creating an imaginary column from the Stavanger Art Gallery to the harbour.

When we arrive in a new country that will be our home for the foreseeable future, we have all sorts of expectations, goals & hopes outlining what we want our stay to look like.  We have an idea as to how we'll spend our time, what we'd like to learn and where we'll travel.  Some of those things come to fruition while others do not.

When I arrived in Norway, I was motivated to start learning Norwegian.  I'm in a new country with a completely foreign (to me) language and out of respect & interest in the culture, I figured it would be in my best interest to take a few lessons.  Once we found out we were staying, I made a few calls in hopes of securing a tutor for Joe and I at our company's expense.  (Side note: Our company will pay a certain amount for Joe's lessons however not for mine.)  I waited and waited for Joe to settle into his new position and find some time to track down the information and paperwork needed before starting lessons.  It took forever and with that, my interest and motivation started to wane.  When we finally did secure everything we needed, our travel schedule picked up and the tutor advised us to wait until we had a more consistent schedule.

In the meantime, it became evident that most everyone in Norway speaks English.

Norwegians start learning English as early as Kindergarten and they continue throughout their entire schooling career.  By the time they graduate, most Norwegians will speak excellent English.  (The teacher in me finds this fascinating particularly coming from Canada where our commitment to French language instruction has failed miserably to produce a bilingual country.)  Obviously, in larger cities with more exposure to foreigners, English is more widely used and there is a bit of a generation gap but even in the rural areas, most Norwegians will have a working knowledge of the language.

Of course, the official language of Norway is Norsk thus signs, advertisements, labels and the first language most people will speak in day to day life will be Norwegian.  Movies & TV shows (with the exception of cartoons) that come from North America and the UK are left in English with the addition of Norwegian subtitles and are very rarely dubbed.  Official government documents for visas, taxes & healthcare are generally in Norwegian although with an influx or immigrants and expatriates, it's not hard to find an English version.  It's pretty common to hear Norwegians move between English and Norsk seamlessly even within one conversation amongst themselves.  It really is quite impressive.

In the beginning, I faced some challenges with the language.  As opposed to Gabon where I had a lot of French vocabulary to assist me, I didn't know a single word in Norwegian and the language looked and sounded completely foreign to me.  There were moments in the grocery store where I was guessing when buying 1%, 2% or skim milk and a bit of difficulty when researching mobile phone carriers as the websites were all in Norwegian.  However, when someone speaks to me in Norwegian and I apologize, "I'm sorry, I speak English," they immediately switch over without hesitation or judgement.

To date, I've picked up a few words.  I can do the checkout at the grocery store without English, as long as they stick to the script.  I know that "kylling" means chicken and "jordbær" means strawberry.  I can "hei, hei" in greeting and "ha det" in closing with the best of them.  I've nailed "tusen takk" and "ja" and "nei" and I now know that although "pose" and "pølse" sound similar they don't mean the same thing (bag and hot dog respectively.)  I still sound ridiculous when sounding out words as I often try to impose English sounds on Norwegian words and I keep my home address written in my wallet because no one seems to understand my street name no matter how hard I try to say it correctly.

It appears that English has once again allowed us to get by without learning another language.  This always feels like a blessing and a curse.  It certainly is convenient but it also allows us to lazily take a backseat in the language learning department.  I haven't fully abandoned the idea of taking Norwegian lessons as I do still consider it important to learn and to make an effort but I'm just not exactly sure how that will look for us.

Somebody Got A Makeover

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Mere months after my last blog design (May 2012) I started craving something different.  I'm not sure if it was the move to Norway and being surrounded by Scandinavian design but I wanted something simpler in colour and feel.  I held out as long as I could before I asked Ana from BlogMilkShop to whip up this custom new look for me and I must say, I'm feeling at home in my new abode.

Take a look around and make yourself at home.  If your reading this post via email or reader, click on over.  There are some updated & new pages added which you can find in the sidebar under my photo.  (I'll be working on the Voyages page in the weeks to come making it easier to navigate our travel posts.)  With the new design, there may be a couple of quirks particularly while we try out different elements on different browsers.  We'll be trying to get everything working seamlessly but if you happen to notice something not quite right, please let me know!

And finally,

Thank you for your continued support.  I'm honoured that you keep coming back, commenting and following along as Joe and I navigate life abroad.

{I feel like this is probably a good time to tell you, in case you didn't already know, I'm on bloglovin so with the imminent disappearance of Google Reader, you can follow me here.}

Five Things

Monday 15 April 2013

I'm a little late to the game but what the heck...

+Joe calls me his "Little {expensive} Hippie."  I don't like chemicals (I've never owned a bottle of bleach), I listen to weird (his words) music, I'm passionate about Human Rights and I do yoga & meditate.  However, I also have an eye for luxury hotels & expensive clothes.  It's a bit of a dichotomy.
+I'm afraid of birds - not afraid as in I think they'll harm me but afraid as in I don't like them anywhere near me.  I can't judge their distance from me when flying thus am often ducking and dodging birds when they're no where near me.  This is problematic in Europe with an abundance of pigeons.  On a similar note, people who feed birds drive me nuts.
+I danced competitively my entire childhood.  It was my life 4 nights per week throughout my adolescence and while I enjoyed it, when I got to university I completely abandoned it and haven't taken a class since.  I'm now convinced that I would be horribly awkward if I picked it up again although I will occasionally attempt a few pirouettes in the kitchen.
+My first name is not actually Jay although it is my middle name.  I've never been called my first name so I don't really identify with it.  In fact, when it's called at the doctor's office I sometimes forget they're talking to me.
+I grew up with a lot of food allergies that basically surrounded anything that had any sort of mould.  This included all milk products, certain yeasts and my personal favourite, leftovers.  I've grown out of most of them although if I have too many milk products in a day, my stomach isn't happy and I've been known to throw out a, "I'm allergic to leftovers," on occasion.

Easter Weekend with Norway in a Nutshell

Friday 12 April 2013

One of Norway's most popular trips is the Norway in a Nutshell tour and while Joe and I had never done it ourselves, when we found out that Jeanie was coming, we thought it would be the perfect way to spend Easter long weekend.  Jeanie would be able to see more of Norway outside of Stavanger and Joe and I would explore a region we had yet to visit.

Norway in a Nutshell is basically a fully customizable package that arranges travel within Norway, particularly Fjord Norway on the West Coast.  Trips can start from either Bergen or Oslo, they can stretch anywhere from 1 day to several with possibilities of extensions and generally include trains, boats & buses as a means to explore the area.  Now you probably know that I'm not much of a 'tour' person but this was really convenient and I appreciated the flexibility with the travel planning.

With the extra long weekend, we decided to drive to Bergen from Stavanger.  The trip itself is just over 200 kilometres but because of the jagged Western coastline of Norway littered with mountains and fjords, the trip takes just under 5 hours and includes two ferries.  After staying the night in Bergen, we caught the first train of the Nutshell tour early the next morning.  Having the entire weekend, we had arranged to stay one night in Flåm, a tiny village at the end of a fjord, before rounding out the trip back to Bergen with the fjord cruise, bus & train.

The entire trip was really great.  Booking everything was really easy and as I said, customizable to your liking.  The timing lined up really well, the prices reasonable (for Norway anyways) and it was a great, stress-free way to see the area.  Being that we were travelling in the low season, it was relatively quiet and we weren't bombarded with tourists.  On the less positive side, it was a little chilly in April, particularly on the fjord cruise, the scenery was beautiful but I imagine it to be more stunning in the summer and it's still a tour made for and full of tourists.

I'm excited to be able to do it again this summer when my parents visit and Norway is green and alive but I'd also love to try it in the Fall with the abundance of colours.

-While the trip can certainly be done in one day, I think it would have been too rushed.  Stay a night in Flåm if you can.
-If you do plan on staying over night, you can buy a Fjord Pass for 150 kroner which gives you discounts on hotels along the way as well as museums and car rentals all over Norway.  (The savings on our hotel was more than the cost of the pass.)
-Pick your tickets up the day before - we left it until the morning and were greeted with a long, slow line and a bit of a scramble to make our train.
-We brought along a bag of snacks which was really handy to have on the train and in the hotel with us especially being that everything (including grocery stores) were closed on the long weekend.

An Intolerant Guest Post

Wednesday 10 April 2013

For such a small city, we have quite a few restaurants & cafés in Stavanger and while it's certainly not very affordable to frequent them daily, I do like to make the rounds and try them out.  In fact, one of my favourite weekday activities is meeting up with friends for a latté and lunch downtown.

Today you can find me over on my friend JoAnna's blog, For The Intolerants, talking about one of my favourite spots in Stavanger.  Check it out here.

A Friend Come & Gone

Monday 8 April 2013

I felt a bit of anxiety the month leading up to Jeanie's arrival in Norway.  She was spending quite a bit of money, flying all the way from Western Canada and using her much-needed and appreciated Easter vacation to visit us and none of that was lost on me.  I wanted her to really enjoy the trip and Norway and that led to a little bit of pressure to make sure the experience was a good one.

Stavanger is a small city and I was concerned that we might find ourselves bored.  We planned 4 days away North of Stavanger over Easter, arranged a second car to allow us freedom to head out of the city during the week while Joe was at work and I started a list of possible activities and day trips that I thought we might enjoy.  Even so, I worried that it might not be enough for my well-travelled friend.

Funny enough, we weren't bored at all.  We visited museums, wandered the cobblestone streets downtown, chatted over lattes and chocolate, ate dinners out and cooked at home, browsed the shops and spent many hours on my terrace reading and talking.  In fact, we never once used the second car because we were easily occupied with what was accessible without it and looking back on the list I had prepared in advance, we hardly even touched on all that we could do in the Stavanger region.  In the end, it was a lesson learned; one doesn't need a big city to find interesting cultural experiences and activities for tourists.

Jeanie departed on Saturday and it's back to regular life for Joe and I.  I was a little sad to say goodbye to my friend but after having met on 3 different continents, it's got me thinking... where to next?

{EXPATRIATED} Jess from Jess in Belgium

Friday 5 April 2013

Sometimes I get the impression that people think we are crazy for leaving all that we are familiar with for a life abroad but we aren't the only ones who have chosen this lifestyle.  In fact, there are a lot of us and many of us blog about it.  Expatriated is a series to introduce you to other expat bloggers.
I'm so happy to have one of my favourite bloggers on Expatriated today.  This week you saw me on her blog speaking about favourites while she's off touring South Africa and today, we'll get to learn a little bit more about her life as an expat.  If you haven't already, meet Jess.

Where are you from and where do you live now?
This seemingly straight forward question is a hard one to answer! I usually answer Minnesota, though I have lived in thirteen states and my parents do not live there anymore. But it is where I went to high school and I loved those years. I now live in Brussels, Belgium.

How did you end up in Brussels and what inspired you to make the move?
The short story is I was following my boyfriend at the time. But what has kept me here is actually the more relevant story. I was a French language and government major in college and had studied abroad in Paris. I was dying to move back to Europe and wanted to live in London or Paris (one of the “dreamier” cities if you will). Finding a job in Europe from the States was impossible back in 2003 (and I imagine has to be even harder these days). So I signed up for a bi-lingual Master’s program in International Politics in Brussels. I had connections in Brussels and some delightful family friends offered me a tiny attic apartment to live in while I got on my feet. The intention was never to say longer than the year-long Master’s programme… but I lucked upon an internship…which turned into several jobs…and nine years later, I am still here! 

What is the best part of living overseas?
The weekend trips. Belgium is very well connected to the rest of Europe (which is convenient whenever its inefficiencies are getting to be too much). I have taken my car to the UK and hopped on the fast train to Paris. I have woken up in the morning and decided to drive to Northern France to visit the WWI battlefields (despite the rather flowery nature of my blog… I fully admit to being a history nerd). But there are also flights to most European capitals from Brussels airport.

What do you miss most about home (besides friends & family?)
The familiarity and ease of finding things out. My apartment has had some unfortunate plumbing disasters in recent months and urgent, basic tasks like finding a plumber can sometimes be the biggest challenges when living abroad – even when you speak the language. If your experience is anything like mine, you end up relying on other expats.

What was the most difficult thing to adjust to in the Belgium?
{Disclaimer – before I answer this question, I would ask any Belgian friends I have to stop reading…I am going to answer this from the perspective of a customer-service spoiled American} INEFFICIENCY. I personally think Brussels suffers from the fact that so many foreigners live in it. This is also going to be my answer for another question below because I simply haven’t gotten used to it almost nine years later…

Any funny 'whoopsies' while adjusting to your new life?
Oh so many. But those moments are what helps you bond with your new country as well as with other expats. 

Saving graces? 
The fact that so many other people in Brussels (especially in the “EU bubble”) have stories like mine. It often unites expats here because we are all from somewhere else, and I think we all find Belgium amusing and oddly charming.

What is the biggest lesson you've learned from your time in Brussels?
That Americans are spoiled when it comes to administration. Everything takes ages here and the sooner you “go with it”, the easier your life will be! I’ve learned to get away from the touristy spots (though the Grand Place is lovely!) and often find myself wandering around the gorgeous Bois de la Cambre on weekends. And perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that fries are better with mayonnaise…

If you had the chance to move elsewhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I honestly don’t know. Check back in with me again once I am back from South Africa in two weeks! But I have a very big soft spot for London and its arts and culture scene…  

Any advice for the newly expatriated?
Patience. And get out there and explore.


Fries are definitely better with mayonnaise.

Thank you Jess!

Jess' blog is full with great finds be it videos, articles or pictures of beautiful clothes or homes.  Currently, she's in one of my favourite destinations, South Africa, and I can't wait to hear all about it in the weeks to come.  

If you're looking for other editions of Expatriated, you can check out...

Some Favourites

Wednesday 3 April 2013

One of my favourite bloggers asked me to guest post about my favourites and I don't know about you, but narrowing down the list has got to be one of the hardest things to do.  With that being said, my favourite trip is a given and Jess happens to be exploring that very location as we speak.

You can find my post here.
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