Thursday, January 31, 2008

Back to Brussels

After 3 lovely months in the Southern California sunshine, I have ventured back to Brussels. During my time in the States, I kept a running list of things I wanted to take back to Belgium. You know, those things that we can't find in Europe (electric blanket), those things we refuse to pay obscene prices for (sweaters and sweatshirts), and those things that I can't live without (spanxx and foot petals).

As Dan and I were having lunch in Atlanta, right before our flight took off, I was priding myself on my amazing packing job. I had managed to fit almost everything on my list (the Godiva and Creme de Cacao didn't make the weight cut in San Diego) into two pieces of luggage and two carry-ons. Seriously, I was just about to tell Dan how Eddie Bauer should hire me to teach classes on how to pack duffle bags as part of some sort of public service campaign, when I realized that there was one, tiny, weenie, itsy, bitsy thing that I forgot -- my residency card. You have NO idea how hard it is to tell Dan, after bragging about remembering crushed red pepper packets, that I had forgotten the one thing that allows me back into Belgium! For those interested, he didn't take it so well.

So, my return to Belgium went pretty much like my previous re-entries -- me standing in the passport control line, wondering if a pack of smokes and some big lady named Colette were going to figure predominately in my future. I was desperately trying to figure out the best approach to take with the customs guy (truth vs. lie, lie vs. truth) when he called me forward. Dan stepped forward with me, which turned out to be my saving grace.

Dan had his residency card out and ready for the inspection. [I would insert something here about Dan being a smug little bastard, but, under the circumstances, I think I'll just let it pass.] The customs guy sees Dan's residency card and says, "Oh, so you live here. What part of town?" When Dan told him where we lived, the customs guy was dumbfounded. His exact words, "But Americans don't live in that area." I took that as a euphenism for "WTF! You live WHERE? On purpose?" He quickly followed it up with, "Most Americans live in Waterloo, Tervuren or St. Gilles." To which Dan replied, "I know, but she (personally, I think he put way too much emphasis on the word "she" and we could have done without the accompanying eye roll) wanted to live in the city center." While I don't like to think of it as a "mercy" stamp, I'm pretty sure that is what I got!

Anyway, I'm back. I'm blogging. And, I'm waiting on FedEx!


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