The musings of an American expat living opposite the Atlantic Ocean
Maybe when you read the title of this post you thought I was going to go on about how silly it is to learn a language that so few people speak and that is not so useful outside of the Low Countries. I sometimes had the feeling when I first came here, especially during the frustrating days, that I was putting a lot of time and effort into a rather useless pursuit. Depending upon where that tricky creature called life decides to take me in the future maybe my knowledge of Dutch will prove useful, or maybe not. It’s hard to know, but that’s not really what this post is about…
Along the journey of acquiring some proficiency in this mysterious little language there have been lots of laughs. Anyone that’s started out on the monumental journey of learning a second language can attest to the fact that it always challenges you to see things from a different perspective… to break out of the linguistic norms that have structured your life and thought processes up until the present and to begin to realize that not only are there many different ways to express your thoughts and feelings, but there are also many different ways of living life.Read More
Life hasn’t been too eventful in the last weeks… so I’ve decided to give you all a little run-down of the mundane but hopefully mildly interesting goings-on as of late.
Today is Sunday and we began the day by sleeping in a bit late… I was then coerced into making a trip down the block to pick up some tasty breakfast items from the bakery. I quickly readied myself and donned my hat, gloves, and scarf because the autumn air is beginning to bite your ears and sting your hands as you ride your bike these days.Read More
Visit Gent, The Ghent tourism office, has launched a fun new tourism campaign. It’s no secret that I feel really lucky to live in such a beautiful city and like to take every opportunity to encourage people to visit it. Therefore, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of the funny videos from the new campaign and inform my readers of the opportunity to win a weekend stay in Ghent to experience it all for themselves.Read More
During the last weeks I’ve been adjusting to a new schedule at university and attempting to get everything organized to pave the path for another semester of learning. As a literature student, naturally I have a lot of things to read. The reading list is quite full and just seems to keep growing. Studying literature is quite different than some other courses since the reading must be done on a certain schedule or the lectures don’t hold as much meaning as they potentially could. Here’s a quick look into a fraction of the reading I will be doing in the coming months.Read More
September of 2013 is in the running to be the swiftest September of my 27 years. It has passed me by at an unbelievably fast speed. I barely noticed it had arrived since my head was buried in text books…
The middle went by just as quickly due to the long-awaited arrival of two American guests. In an effort to pack as much punch into their short visit, we saw and did as many things as possible. A side effect of this kind of behavior is that time tends to fly on by without anyone realizing. We drove from Amsterdam to Épernay and everywhere in between, trudging on despite the characteristic Belgian rainRead More
Very happy to announce that my friend, relief, has once again made herself present in my life. She came sweeping in today as I finished my last exam. I’m sure she’ll vanish again soon enough but I’m going to certainly enjoy our time together while she sticks around.Read More
I bring you this very quick message to announce that OppositeOcean will be very quiet in the coming weeks. I’m taking a little hiatus from the blog to focus on studying. I’m really enjoying reading all the comments and messages that you all have been leaving recently. It’s wonderful to know that my stories are reaching people and being enjoyed. I look forward to bringing you more after surviving yet one more exam period. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
(Please kindly excuse any delays in responding to your comments and emails, I will get to them as soon as I can dedicate proper time to responding. Thank you for understanding.)Read More
What do Belgians know about Americans? Well… if you watch Belgian TV you might think it’s only The Simpsons (another post about the Belgian addiction to The Simpsons here), Swamp People, and country music. Needless to say I’m doing my best to change the stereotype. Anyway, I saw this artist performing this song on Belgian TV the other day and just had to laugh. I immediately recognized the music to this song and it took me straight back to my childhood when my sister and I used to play our tapes in our boombox and dance and sing on the picnic table. Can you tell which country song this is?Read More
It’s been a long time now that I’ve been wanting to write a post about Belgian beer. After all, this blog is mostly about Belgian culture and my experiences with it and beer is very much an essential part of Belgian culture. Although I really love Belgian beer and will rarely ever turn down the opportunity to taste a new one, I’m still no expert. That’s why I am very excited today to bring you the following guest post from the Belgian beer enthusiasts at Beer Tourism. I do hope you enjoy the informative introduction to Belgian beers that they have so expertly prepared for my readers and of course, I hope they inspire you to embark on your own Belgian beer adventure. It will be delicious, I can guarantee that!Read More