Thursday, August 27, 2009

it's done.

Preparing to leave Brussels has been very different than I imagined it being. To say I've been "counting down the days" until I go home, all summer long, wouldn't be totally accurate, buttt it'd be pretty close. However, when the countdown reached 2 weeks I knew I was as good as done and quit focusing on going home and started cramming in everything I wanted or needed to do before I left. And honestly, in the past two weeks I haven't been really anxious to go home because Alex isn't coming with me. So really, I feel like I've been pretty indifferent to the situation, until today.

Because of "goodbye parties" of sorts, two nights ago was our last meal together in our apartment here in Brussels. I hadn't thought twice about it until we sat down and Alex mentioned it in the prayer for our food. And I was suddenly struck with emotions I didn't think I would have. There were tears coming down my face! What?!
How could I possibly be sad about leaving these long, lonesome days and this very unusual city? (We've talked about if we ever want to come back here...the jury's still out.)

But I realized during that prayer that I've learned really valuable things here.

I've learned how to cook. I've learned how to be healthier. I've learned how to be I've learned that I can still be "friends" with people I can't talk to. I've learned a lot about myself - I've been spending a lot of time with her lately. I've learned that I actually hate being late! And get this, we've actually been on time here...mostly. I've learned that the posters are true - I really never am alone. I've learned to love reading again. I've learned how to paint a tiny bit. I've learned how very blessed I am to have always been surrounded by so many people that I love, even here; we've met some great ones. I've learned that writing hundreds of thank you cards has it's benefits - helping to remind me how generous people are. I've learned how to keep a house, or at least an apartment, clean. I've learned that Alex is my joy. Our marriage has strengthened in a way that couldn't have happened back in Provo - or maybe anywhere in an English speaking country. We've had to depend on each other for pretty much everything. And on more than one occasion I've thought how happy and lucky I was that it was Alex who I was spending so much time with, and not anyone else (as much as I love so many other people).

So really, the tears were ones of little sadness and much gratitude.

Alex, Steph, Dominika, Ewelina, Kasha, Carolin, Junaid, Nephi

Candy and I.

Rachel, Alex, Me, Viktoria and Brandon enjoying our daily luncheon.

Alex's high school friend Rich Nash and his wife are taking over our spot and arrived last night to our apartment. It's so fun having them here with us. With their arrival came the realization that this place is now no longer ours. And although it has never been ours to begin with, the entire city of Brussels has always felt like it kind of belonged to just Alex and myself. A place and life so "our own". A place that no one from our previous lives played any part in, except of course for the blessed visitors we received who were able to catch a glimpse of it. But it is "ours" no longer. Pretty soon we'll both be gone and it'll be Rich and Kristen's apartment and Rich and Kristen's Brussels. And I hope they have just as memorable a time here as we have.

This morning I woke up excited for Provo.
It's done now, and I'm ready to go home.

Hopefully, Alex won't take too long to follow suit.


Kellee Marie Cook said...

Yay I can't wait to see you!! and I am not surprised Al was a great husband and buddy to be in a foreign country with- he probably shared his chocolate with you every time. but I hope I get runners up for best buddy to travel with.

anyways, see you soon.

A and L said...

you will for sure want to go back. you will want get a little taste of "your belgium" again.

we are excited to have to you back again!

Mandy said...

Nothing forces you to grow together like being away from everyone you know.

Excited to see you at Monday night dinner.

Jessica Zincke said...

Hey Annie! I just found your blog, and had fun reading some of your, it sounds like you guys had such a great adventure! Anyways, I love staying in touch with old friends through the blogging world! My blog is

K8 said...


I totally found your blog. It was right there on Nicole & Dane's blogroll all along.

I hope you are doing well. I miss your smiling face!

Mama Judy said...

You came home and I forgot to read the last chapter of the Brussels blog .... and it was the best of all the game. I loved reading your insights. I love that you have the thoughtful, soft heart that allows those insights. Alex is blessed, we are all blessed to have you in our midst. You're sunshine, wherever you go. Thanks for coming back to us. Love and hugs to you both.

Emily Frame said...

annie. i'm going to need you to get back up on the blog horse now.

thank you.