Thursday, May 3, 2012

2 years and counting

It's been two years and three days since I left Norway and moved to Belgium with my then-fiance Bika. Aside from my better half, all I brought with me was a head full of dreams and a suitcase stuffed with clothes, books, and papers.

Having left so much behind, I went looking for what this new and exciting country had to offer. I was not disappointed. I've met some wonderful people, including my wife's friends and family. I've discovered some wonderful places, both new and old, from the cobbled streets of medieval Bruges to the steel-and-glass facades of Brussels' European Quarter. I've learned a wonderful new language. I've attended a Flemish university and have seen how Belgium prepares its maturing generation to rule the future. I've had the privilege of following the 2010 election drama from up close. I've been robbed twice. I've eaten more chocolates, waffles and fries than I care to remember. And I've gotten married to the woman I love.

This is a thanks to everyone who's splashed the past 734 days of my life with brilliance and excitement. If you like what you've seen so far, stick around for the next adventure.


  1. I always want you to be happy :) And I'll make sure there are a lot more of these videos to come1 ;) Love you, always and forever!!! <3 <3 <3

  2. Glad you like Belgium so far! I always sort of felt like apologising for my native country because of all the political ongoings, but when seeing those architectures and beautiful images ... well, that puts it all back in balance a bit I guess :)

    Where exactly was that forest? Is that the famous forest near Kluisbergen/Mont de l'Écluse? And the beach scenes ... hmmm, could be anywhere but due to the lack of high rise buildings I assume that's Bredene?

    You got many more years of discovery left... Visit Doel while you still can before the government wipes it off the map entirely. Visit Louvain-la-Neuve, a city that is as young as 40 years but amazingly charming. Durbuy and La Roche are must see's. The Coo waterfalls too (even though it turned a bit into a theme park). For the sake of political oddities: Baarle-Hertog is a nice one. Cities like Genk, Eupen, Malmédy and Mons are surprisingly charming. De Haan is an amazingly charming coastal town with surprisingly nice architecture, not modernised despite the appeal to tourists.

    I see that you did familiarise yourself with our two most famous export products though: beer and chocolate :-)

    Wishing you many more happy years together and plenty of discovery in the tiny yet surprisingly charming country of ours!

  3. Thank you! "Tiny yet surprisingly charming" - I couldn't have put it better myself :)

    The forest would be Hallerbos in Flemish Brabant. My wife is from Halle, so we go there a lot. The pictures were taken in spring, when the forest floor is covered in bluebell blossoms. I wrote a post about it last year:

    Thanks for all the travel tips! I'll be sure to check them out some time. We may still go back to Norway some day, but it would be a shame to do it before I've gotten to enjoy this slice of the world to the fullest.

  4. Ah, Halle :) That's close to me (I was born in Gent, but since being back in Belgium I am living in the very center of Brussels). It's one of those charming places nearby to go to for a day when I want to escape the hectic rush of Brussels (although, I am Always happy at night when arriving back in Brussels... I am a big city boy ; although it is debatable whether to call Bxl a big city). Halle is nice though, I Always like to go shopping there :)

    Also, there is the provincial domain of Huizingen nearby, the ideal escape from the hectic big city and by the evening your bus drops you off home already with still plenty of time to enjoy the cultural offers of Bruxelles Capitale.

    Reason for going back to this post : I have met a very nice woman online and we share a lot of common interests and backgrounds. Now we both expressed the desire to meet. The problem is she lives abroad, about 500 km away.

    But you guys are the ultimate proof of how strong emotions can be and how sometimes no distance, no matter how far, can be uncrossable. I'm just wondering a bit how to approach this. When do you travel ; how long in advance do you book ; do you plan an itinary or just go with the flow ; but especially: how to get to know each other well enough in a relatively short holiday visit, but still have sufficient confidence whether you're being just friends or whether there is more? There is only that short visit, you cannot just say "hop in next week again" ...

    Argh, the longing for a kindred soul is a very weird emotion because you know it's a desire that you can reach only with some hurdles that have to be overcome. It's easier to be single and go where you want. And "plenty of fish in a sea next door to where you live". And still, ... emotions can be a weird thing and it's too complicated sometimes, but somehow it's also not as if you can switch off any desire or emotion.

    1. But you guys did proof that as long as it feels justified, nothing is impossible, and no distance is uncrossable.

      Glad you're still happy together and that you're still enjoying Belgium. I'm sure retrospectively it has been worth any efford made to overcome that distance ... I wish you both a lifetime together, filled with love!