Coming from Lisbon to Brussels has been a bit of a transition to say the least. Lisbon was 75 degrees and sunny everyday, and the people were just as warm, welcoming and genuinely kind. The quality of sunlight just made life feel happy and joyful. Weather can really impact how you feel about a place, and we lucked out with the weather in Lisbon.
The blast of cold air that hit us as we got off the plane in Brussels snapped us back to reality.
The weather was cold, gray and raining for the next week. My daily state of euphoria from the trip fizzled a bit. I didn’t even want to go outside. Another reason for this was that there were multiple gun-wielding, bomb-carrying terrorists on the loose in Brussels in the wake of the Paris attacks.
Three days after we arrived, the Belgian and U.S. governments advised everyone to stay indoors. Apparently they read our last blog post. The comparison to Boston's lockdown was an analogy, fellas, not a recommendation. The public squares we ate waffles in the day before now filled with military vehicles and troops with machine guns and berets, eating waffles.
Tim ventured out once on the first day of the lockdown to get some essentials (diapers and beer). On the way to the store he practiced his situational awareness, Jason Bourne style - sizing up passersby, looking for exits, memorizing license plates - until he put his foot down an inch from a steaming dog pile. So much for situational awareness.
We have felt very safe in our house and location in the city, and we don’t regret coming here. I think under different circumstances, Brussels is a city I could fall in love with. We weren’t really afraid, we were just bored. We finally decided to rent a car to take day trips to Gent and Bruges.
Walking through these gorgeous cities was a nice reminder that despite the occasional ugliness in the world, it has been built with aspirations for beauty.
Being in Brussels with cold rainy weather has reminded me of the reason I wanted to do this trip to begin with. I was sick of being cold and stuck inside with two antsy little kids. Life is better when we get to go outside and play. And with my desire to be in a warm sunny location, we have officially booked the next leg of our travel adventure.
Here’s what our next 3 months are going to look like:
- We leave Brussels next week for the US.
- 2.5 weeks in Maine/Boston visiting family and friends, going to work at my office, going to the doctors, haircuts, doing maintenance on our house, and of course Christmas parties.
- 2.5 weeks in New Jersey with my parents celebrating Christmas, visiting friends and family and organizing for the next leg of our trip.
- 2.5 weeks in Florida with Tim’s parents, going swimming, playing on the playground, riding bikes and looking for alligators.
Then… the BEACH!
- 4 weeks in PANAMA!!! Playing on the beach, celebrating Carnival with the locals, watching sunrises and sunsets, eating ceviche, drinking margaritas and making sandcastles. I can’t wait!
My dad once told me that his father use to have a sun lamp that he’d sit under to brighten his mood. I’m starting to think that my mood is a direct reflection of the weather. I love the sun, whatever the temperature, I like to see the sun.
If you don’t know much about Panama, here’s an informational video (Tim thought it was important to include this):