About me

It is all very cliche, it is and because of that it is all very true. A New Year means to a lot new beginnings. Honestly, I think our lives just move on, it is just another day. Another day of being you, so the New Year should not be a reason to have good intensions, every day should be. Every day you get the chance to live your life you should go out there and do so. The routine of life gets in the way sometimes they say, but on the other hand that is ok.  We get up, shower, get dressed – ask a few times to get it moving because we are going to be late for school – go to work, get home, homework, dinner, … You know the drill. Weekends, our weekends are – since we moved here – quality time for the 4 of us. Our boy loves his egg breakfast – our girl loves nothing more then a piece of chocolate on her toast, but still routine. And I LOVE it, I NEED it, I need things to proceed as routine, yet I love to change routines to keep going. But this year got me lost in my routines, got me lost in where I am and who I actually am.

I had to fly back home 3 times this year, once for 9 weeks, once for 1 week, once for 6 weeks. And every time I was there, despite the pain, heartache thrown at me there, I could just pick up where we left off – now – 2,5 years ago. Belgium stays home, it is where I lived my whole life, where I started the routines, where we adapted our routines and where we took our start on life.

Every time I was there I enjoyed how home it feels, I did not need navigation to get me from A-B and my people are there. And with my people I mean, the ones who know me by looking at me, by showing up when they sense I might need it, by standing by me when I lost a piece of my roots.

And yes, I do have a few “my people” here too, although it is different and that is ok. I am lucky to have “my people” all 2 sides of the ocean. And I’d like to believe there are some between those very bright stars up there.

There are only a handful of people in life that have your back when your world as you knew it shreds to pieces. And in a huge way, my life as a child, teenager comes with a lot of questions, uncertainties, for always to remain like this. I thought that over the years I had come to peace with never fully knowing the why’s and the because’s. I guess I have not. I have to keep breathing, it hurts so badly, so deep, so so much pain in my body. It is literally growing inside me.

I am not seeing the things trough my pink glasses, I am not making what was good better and what was sad, happy. I am not, I will not ever, I will stay true to myself. I think it would be easier to see it trough my pink glasses, it would be easier if I did not care so much. I DO care and for the right reasons.

I’d wish she had a better life, a warmer life, surrounded by her good memories, not in hiding from the sad ones. I’d wish she and I had a better life, that I could say what I now know, that I could ask one more why and get the answer and that I could be at peace with it. I’d like to go to the Zoo with her, I’d like to text her to let her know how much Ibe & fien are evolving, …

I’d like to think, no I know, that the last 6 years of her life where those warmer and better ones. A steady job, seeing my brother and me proceed with our lives and become a grandmother to my children. She adored them, gave them her all. And she said once that trough them she’d wanted “to make up” for what she could not give me. I told her I knew, I told her it is ok, I told her she did not have to do that, I knew, it was ok. And it also were my last words to her “het is ok mama, het is echt ok, laat maar los” (it is ok mom, it really is ok, let it go)

But all that, all this, it has thrown me out of my routines, big time. It made me forget even more then before, it has taking away my patience for some things, more then I dare to admit. It has made me anxious, more then I was before, it has made me worry more about my people, even more afraid of losing them. And aging, it has me petrified about aging. Not the cute grey hairs I see popping up but the physical part of aging. It scares the *** out of me. Should I get a gen research done? For what? Knowing what and yet not being able to do anything about what might come up?

And yet, I feel that some things just mean less and less to me. I am me, I am the emotional bitch, the one that loves to dance in the living room for no particicular reason, the one that needs to organize her cabinets during our lazy Sundays – which annoys the *** out of Bjorn-  the one that will take advantage of every moment to be around my loved ones. The one that cries sometimes for no reason at all and when she sees her children all of the sudden growing up, changing, developing their personalities, … I care for the well being of my people, home and here – our home away from home – but also, why should I keep investing in relationships that – for me – do not have a future anymore? The ones where I’ve put a lot of energy and a big piece of my heart in and not gaining anything back from it, not anymore. How does one handle that? How does one move on from that?

I have a few things that I say when it comes to life choices, when a new route has to be taken or when I am forced to go into another direction.

” you only can write your life story once”


” if only we got instructions to live our lives”


“treat the people around you how you want to be treated”

All of the above are ideals right? Well, yes, that is also me, I love ideals, I believe I work hard to – with my very sweet, patient, husband – to reach my ideals.

If one day my life is over I’d like to be the one they laugh about, saying how stubborn I was to hang on to my ideals. And the memories we share, keep them as our memories, don’t look trough them with my beloved pink glasses but as they were. They are just fine as they are, those that will follow, will be just as awesome, I promise.

I want to thank my people, here and there, there and here, for standing by me when I get anxious, when I am petrified, when I am dancing in your living room, when I am crying on your couch – or over the phone- when we are singing along – totally off key – on our road trips. I am there for you, for all the same things, for when you can’t breath anymore, for when you don’t see the end of that tunnel, for when you want to dance, for when you are forced to take another route, for when you need me.

I am not there yet, I am not, but I am getting there, because of you “my people”

Love, Elisa





Bedankt – Thank you

En we staan weer klaar om te vertrekken, ja, het is cliché, tijd vliegt. Zoveel mensen we graag nog wilden zien, zoveel mensen waar je nog wat langer tijd met wilden doorbrengen, agenda’s die niet matchen, tijd tekort, afstand, … Lijken excuses maar weet, niet omdat we jou niet zagen, we niet meer aan jullie denken of jullie niet belangrijk zijn voor ons.

De meesten weten dat ik onder nogal moeilijke omstandigheden naar België ben gevlogen. Mijn gezin achter gelaten en hier toekomen in een grote onzekerheid, het doet wat met een mens. Maar vandaag mogen we dankbaar zijn. Het gaat al stukken beter met mijn mama en ondanks ze nooit zal genezen ziet het er op dit moment redelijk positief uit. En hierbij toch een diepe buiging aan de mensen hier die me opvingen, de steun die ik kreeg hielp me om te proberen sterk te blijven staan. Me komen vergezellen in het restaurant van het ziekenhuis, me optrommelden om even binnen te springen als de Sint ging langs komen, … Ja, tuurlijk ook van alle lieverds aan de overkant, die me berichtjes stuurden en samen met mijn schoonouders voor Ibe en Fien zorgden. Hen een leuke Fall Break te geven. Dank u, ik zal dat nooit vergeten.

If life trows you a curveball, just hit it back, and learn from it. 

Eens de rust wat weerkeerde kwam er wat tijd vrij om door te brengen met vrienden en familie en tijd met mijn kleine gezinnetje die ik een maand moest missen.

Nuja, rust, rondrijden, afspreken en tegelijk proberen wat routine te houden in het leven van Ibe & Fien, niet zo evident. En dan de feestdagen die zo plots voor de deur stonden.

Afscheid nemen elke keer opnieuw is lastig, is moeilijk, is verscheurend maar tegelijk ook hartverwarmend. Het doet me deugd, al klinkt dat raar, dat ondanks die grote afstand, banden sterker worden, intenser worden. Het lijkt alsof je net meer respect hebt voor de tijd die je samen kan hebben. En net dat, maakt het tegelijk dragelijk en hartverscheurend.  Want nu laat ik jullie weer achter, nu moeten onze kindjes weer enkele maanden zonder die knuffels & kriebelpartijen. Maar de technologie staat aan onze kant, we kunnen dagelijks berichtjes sturen, mailen, facebooken, snapchat, Face Time, Skype, … Dat helpt, bedankt aan die slimme nerds die dat voor elkaar kregen!

Het nieuwe jaar is reeds 2 dagen bezig maar ik wil jullie allen toch graag nog wat wensen. Gewoon veel warmte, liefde, respect, vertrouwen en gezondheid, niet alleen omdat het nieuwe jaar is aangebroken, maar eigenlijk gewoon altijd, elke dag. Je oogst wat je zaait, dus neem niks vanzelfsprekend.

Always stay humble & kind. 

Bedankt aan iedereen. Het cliché “uit het oog uit het hart” werkt niet bij ons.

Liefs, De Smetjes

I’ll try to translate a bit for my Tuscaloosa peeps who like to read this too.

We are ready to leave our Homecountry, time flies. So many people we wanted to see, wanted to spend more time with, distance, schedules that did not seem to match, sounds like I am making excuses, but it is not easy being everywhere.

As many of you know I rushed over here, because of health issues of my mom. It has been very hard, but today we can relax a little bit. She is home, much better and we are looking to the future. I’d like to say thank you to those who helped Bjorn and my parents in law with Ibe & Fien, to give them a great Fall Break, to offer help if they needed it. I’ll never forget all of your support.

Saying goodbye is hard, heartbreaking, it kills me almost every time but at the same time it is heartwarming too. It may sound strange (and y’all know I am strange)  It is like because you do net get a lot of time together that you appreciate it more. It has a bigger value, you enjoy it more. It is hard to know that we take Ibe & Fien away again for a few months, they will miss the hugging & tickling moments. But, technology is on our side. We can message every day, FaceTime, Skype, snapchat, Facebook, … It helps, thank you to the smart nerds who made this happen!

The New Year has begun and I’d like to share a wish with you guys. Actually just love, respect, happiness, honesty, trust and health. Not because the New Year has begun but always, every day, forever. Do not take what you have for granted, it can all disappear in one split second.

Thank you to all of you. The cliché “out of sight, out of mind” does not apply on us.

Love, De Smetjes

What a summer! (so far)

Our summer started on may 27th. The week before that Oma Sonja & Martine arrived. We had a moving up ceremony for Ibe and that was it. School was over. Unreal how fast it all went. But I wrote about that already, so will not bother/bore you again on that subject.



European mommy’s!



The best teachers I could hope for in this transition


Just love it!



The international crew – BE – Guatemala – Colombia



Colombia – France – Greece – BE


End of school year Spring Fling – under supervision of Martine & Oma Sonja


Proud Oma Sonja

This is our 2nd summer but last year was different, not knowing anybody. That changed too, so don’t think we will be bored!

Right after the last day of school we drove to the beach. Oma Sonja & Martine were visiting, so they have had to see our beach. And they loved it, just like we do. Who wouldn’t? White squeaky sand, blue water. Well, we have to be honest, this time we had green water, because of the algue. That happens every year, one week, it was the week we were there, but I did not mind. It’s nature, all good! We had a house with a pool, so when Fien had to take a nap, we could find the refreshment in the pool. And that was also good for Ibe, to learn how to swim. Before we moved he followed swimming lessons, but he could not finish them anymore. So, after a week of pool, he could handle the water pretty well, swimming under water, like a diver, as he said so himself. He got it! It took Fien 4 days to finaly go in the pool. And then we could not get her out of it… Oh my… And then she had no fear at all! Just jump and float around… Turning, chilling, … She loves it!


All in one car! Ready to go!

Our “pets”


Meet Rocky, Ibe’s teeny tiny frog.


After that holiday we had a week of T-Town and then we flew to Belgium. Together with Oma Sonja. Bjorn had to work a bit longer.

Arrived in Belgium. After a long trip, but with children who did really well! Catching up with everybody, it was good to see our friends, family. Talking, going to the Zoo with Oma Mie, going to our beach with Opa & Oma, going to the woods with Oma Sonja, friends, Meter, Lotte, Mats, Wout, Fleur, Seeing our “old” neighbors… A spa weekend, going for a drink, diner, … Going to one of my fabricsuppliers, wished I could have gone to all of them.

So many people to see, so little time.

Fieldtrip with Oma Mie

Our beach on a windy and cold day – with Opa & Oma

Our beach on a warm day – with Oma Sonja, Nonkel Benj, Meter, Lotte & Mats

Things will never be the exactly the same. Everybody changes, we stay the same but yet we change. Difficult to explain. I found going back hard. I thought I could pick up where we left off, and with some people that worked out just as I hoped, or even better, what made it even harder to say goodbye again, with other people I felt that I missed out on something. Which is probably more than normal.

We went to Ibe’s school to say hi and his friends were so enthusiastic, going wild when we arrived. That was so amazing to see. And Ibe went to school for 2 weeks. Even Fien went! She loved it! The morning were with tears but Juf Ilse told me she really did well. They did not have to go, I was by meself all day, Bjorn still in T-Town, fiends and family out working, but they wanted to go. And therefore a special thank you for St Janneke, the teachers, thank you for accepting us back for these 2 weeks. I missed St Janneke.  And to be completely honest, if the company should have said, you can stay here now again, we have a job for you here now. well, I would have stayed. I was living our live again there. Except for me going out for work, everything else was pretty much the same. That was tough… I really had a hard time digesting from our trip to Belgium. While I loved seeing everybody, while I loved catching up, while I truly miss(ed) so many of you, it felt like starting over when I was back here. I don’t know if you can understand. And I felt bad that I only had 3 weeks, but I can not be everywhere at the same time.

Going to Belgium was also very good for Ibe and Fien’s Dutch. Really, they talked Dutch better and better. Being back I told myself keep up the Dutch and I really try. But Ibe plays and speaks English. Back to his life here. Don’t worry, we will keep practicing. Never forget where you came from!

Ibe and Fien just went back to their lives here. So, I tried to click that switch and told myself to get over it. And what better way to get over over then by planning Fien’s 3th birthday? Uhu! Full speed ahead! Last year it was only the 4 of us, with a cake that we could eat of for a week. So, this year I wanted to go all out! Invite friends over, just like I would do in Belgium. Birthdays we have to celebrate. Actually, everything good in life is worth celebrating. There is already so much pain and heartache in life.  I’ve said it zillions of times before. You can only write your life story once, so go and do it they way you want to! So, that means, bouncing house, balloons, water balloons, cakes, … in pink! Off course in pink! I’ll miss not having family around tough…

She is not a baby anymore. Little bossy lady! Her mind is law! Yes, very conflicting with my mind, but we try to compromise! 😉 She is now in a classroom, which she really loves. It was hard to drop her of after 7 weeks of not going, tears, hysterical drama, … Really heartbreaking. But she likes the classroom and teacher and is learning so quickly now.

A rapport about her party you will find on my other blog. (beginning of august)

So, What else did we do (are we going tot do) this summer?

We were invite by friends to their lake house in South Carolina. Awesome! A 5 hour drive later, we were there. A weekend with friends, water, boat, relaxing time. We loved it!  Thank you Alma & Michael for this great weekend.


Lovely sunset, lovely day, lovely people – thank you for your friendship and guides in this expatlife!

The days in between we did the household, went for playdates at the pool(s) of friends. Yes, it sounds as we are living the most luxury life but really, it is so hot out here that either you stay inside or you go to a pool/lake. We are not complaining. Soon, school will start again and routine takes over. Which is welcome too, spoiled kids and no more tricks in my book to entertain them!

LA! YES YES! LA baby! In a week from here we leave for LA(Venice beach) & Joshua Tree. We are meeting up with family there. Indeed, pretty cool! Looking forward to that.

And a very short notice, last minute trip to beach is planned. Thank you Bjorn for babysitting our kids. Good luck! Although they will probably listen better to you then they do while being with me, every day ,all day, … 😉

I don’t know if people really read this blog. But for those who do, hope you like it as much as I do. I like to write, write of how I feel, think, love to share my life, our life. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, proud of how Bjorn is working on his career, proud of how my, our children have done so well. This is not to show off or making people jealous about the sunshiny weather we have here and the benefits that come with living the expat life. Not everyday is glamorous, not every day is fun fun fun. It’s not easy being here by ourselves. But we chose this life and we make the best of it. And that is what I want to share.



Out of sight, but for ever in our hearts…




One year!

At the end of this month, we moved here 1 year ago. As the cliche says, times flies when you are having fun.

Well, most of the times this year has been fun, fabulous, enriching, friendships where growing. But other moments where exhausting, emotional, discouraging. I do believe that can happen in your comfort zone as well. So, yes overall, we are pretty happy here.

I shared on Facebook how extremely proud I am of Ibe, how he started his journey here. Just woke up, went to school, made friends, learned the language, learned how to count, how to read letters, how to do everything he is doing now.  At the beginning of the school year he asked me to come inside with him. Waiting in the lunchroom was a bit scary, so I could walk him in. After a while he said, only to the door mommy, and then later he said, stop! Only to the blue line! And no more kissing mommy! Well, I was not ready for that you know! But, letting go is letting grow I believe. So, with a limp in my throat I waved and said, see you this afternoon, the first few times he still turned around and waved back, that was gone soon as well… Luckily I still have my Fien Fien, as the call Fien here at her daycare. After we came back from our visit in December her steady teacher has quit and  Fien was a bit lost. So we decided to let her go back to the previous age group and all things considered it was a good thing. Also she was going full time for a few months to give her the stability and routine. Fien struggled a bit more then we were expecting. By going full days and moving a grade down, her confidence grew and she was my little happy girl again. She is loved by all her daycare teachers, even Ibe’s teachers wanted to keep her for the day, and if she could, she would stay! She seduces you with her most honest and shy smile and shows everybody her true colors. Also when there is a storm coming, crossing her arms, head down and frowning eyebrows… She can do it all!

Ya’ll will see when we are there in a few weeks, they have changed.

I can make lists of things I miss from our home country, also things we most definitely do not miss. Same counts for this place. A lot of things I believe are better here and then again absolutely not. Nobody is perfect, no place is ever perfect.

So the past few months I’ve started up my webshop, slowly but steady people are getting to know EldFluga By Elisa. Needs still a lot of work but it has been nice. My first market was nice, actually want to do those more often. Being asked to do hemming or making a dress for a special occasion,babygifts, …  I love it. Time to short to do it all at once. But step by step, day by day! And I have the help of Bjorn, my back office employee 😉 My kids as my models and “ginnypigs”, they do not complain!

Things have been going pretty well at the company for Bjorn as well. No, we do not know what our next step will be. As soon as we know, we will share.

During this first year we have had a few visitors. This was nice too. Going to explore Tuscaloosa with them, seeing new things here, the beach, the science center, later this week we will go to the Aquarium in Atlanta, …

You know, when you move into a new house, people come over to look and congratulate you or even help you make the house a home. I wanted to have a home when everybody came to visited. Still do not have my wall of fiends and family here, haven’t had the time yet to execute my DIY ideas yet. Just know, it’s not because you are not in a frame on our wall here, does not mean we are not thinking of you anymore. Actually, almost everyday I think, “I want to share this with … and that with … Oh I have to tell … this,…” Not always easy knowing I can’t share the way I was used to.

Building new friendships as an adult can be very challenging. So I mirror myself to Ibe, just do as he does. Go and talk! And it works, for which I am very grateful! I am somebody who needs people around her, love to cook and bake for people, do things after school – happy kids – happy mom.

We do not have a back up system here. When your child is sick, either of us is sick and the other one has to go to work, it only you. The only thing you can do is being creative and figure it out. There is nobody to call and help you out. I am of course working from home, which gives you more flexibility. I am not a relationship adviser, far from, nobody has all the answers, but I can tell you that moving away out of our comfort zone has been good for us. Honestly, I could recommend it to people back home or anywhere else for that matter, to go back to just you and your partner. Of course it can go both ways, either you fight all the time or you realize that together you can overcome all obstacles. And as I said before, nothing is easy.

In a few days we leave our home away from home, to come and visit and send some time, build some new memories, bring up some old ones, … I am not coming to talk about our life here, I wanna here all about yours! Not only ours has been moving on, but yours too! I wanna know all about it! I truly miss catching up, spontaneous dates because the weather is good or we need a break from being a mom and a wife/partner and an employee. 3 weeks to do those things! Be ready! I am coming! 😉


Looking forward to see you soon my dear friends!


Elisa & co


Even overvliegen voor de feestdagen. Iedereen zien, bijpraten, hoe jullie leven de voorbije 6 maand is geëvolueerd. Ik was er bang voor. Bang voor de confrontatie van wat we hier achtergelaten hebben, bang voor een versterkt gevoel van gemis, bang voor de drukte, bang voor heel wat. En dat alles was er, confrontatie met hoe groot de kindjes hier geworden zijn, hoe ze niet alleen letterlijk groter geworden zijn, maar hoe ver ze alweer staan in hun kleine leventje. En hoe ze ons dan toch niet echt vergeten zijn. Hoe sommige kindjes er zo hard mee bezig zijn dat wij zo ver weg zijn. Hoe zij hun gemis verwoorden, oprecht zijn.

Maar hoe bang ik dan ook was, hoe blij ik ook was om terug te komen. Uiteindelijk, wat zijn 6 maanden? Niks toch? Nee, echt, de 6 maanden zijn voorbij gevlogen. Ja, naar ons huisje gaan was wel even slikken. Shit… Het binnenkomen alleen al. De bloembakken die er nog staan langs de straat kant, de zetel die op dezelfde plaats stond als de onze (ja, tis niet groot, dus veel keuze is er niet 😉 ) De kookboeken van de Jeroen die op dezelfde plaats staan als waar ze bij ons stonden, de “glow in the dark” sterren die nog aan het plafond hingen in de kamers van de kindjes. Veel confrontatie. Maar ik zag ook dat er goed voor “ons huisje” wordt gezorgd, dus dankbaar.

Van ons huisje naar het ziekenhuis, babybezoek. Een baby die op de pechstrook van de E34 het levenslicht zag, ja, Kelly, sorry, je staat al op de voorpagina van de krant, dus een vermelding in dit kleine blogje zal je vast niet nog beroemder maken. Welkom Léon! In het ziekenhuis dan ook even enkele collega’s bezoeken. Van het ene gezin naar het andere, kindjes mee, kindjes bij de oma’s laten rusten, bekomen. Voor hen was de reis ook lang en dan ook nog es van iedereen dezelfde vragen krijgen. Ibe had na een paar dagen geen zin meer om te antwoorden. Lieve Ibe, ik begrijp dat.

Hoe leuk was het om te zien hoe het toch nog zo klikte met zijn St Janneke vriendjes, hoe hij gewoon zichzelf kon blijven en in het Engels en Nederlands pratend met hen speelde. Hoe zij daarop reageerden. Het was soms grappig, ook wel een confrontatie omdat ik er precies niet altijd bij stilsta wat hij eigenlijk wel al allemaal zegt in het Engels. En ons Fien, de stoerste thuis maar zo een klein hartje. Bij mama zitten, bij papa zitten, op de arm, wegkruipen als iemand haar iets vroeg. Ze is nog zo klein. Wat zou er toch door hun hoofdjes gaan? Onze eerste uren hier reden we al even vlug door Eeklo centrum en vroeg Ibe mij “gaan we hier nu ook terug een huisje zoeken” Euh, nee schatje, wij gaan terug naar ons huisje in Tuscaloosa. “Ah, ok. Moeten wij dan zoveel keer slapen bij oma Sonja” ja, schat. “Ok” Na een paar dagen en enkele bezoekjes en droppings later vroeg hij toch wel wanneer we terug naar huis gaan, dat hij een beetje moe is.

Onze vriendenkring is niet groot maar wie we konden zien, wel dat deed goed. Afscheid nemen, gewoon weer niet teveel bij stilstaan.

Fien had wat koorts, sliep onrustig. Het is veel voor hen. Te druk, teveel mensen. En dan nog kunnen we niet iedereen bezoeken die we eigenlijk wel willen zien. Sorry aan de mensen die we niet konden zien, niet denken dat we jullie niet wilden zien, we hebben geen enkele dag niks gedaan. Dus hier is een voorstel. Het is nog voor verbetering vatbaar, suggesties mogen in de suggestiebox gestoken worden (mailtje sturen) De volgende keer wij terugkomen spreken we een dag & restaurant & uur af. Wil je ons zien? Well, be there. Nog zo gezellig allemaal samen! De feestdagen maken het ook wel extra druk en tegelijk is  het ook gewoon heel leuk om iedereen terug te zien. Zoals bij alles, voor en nadelen.

Ik kan alleen voor mezelf spreken, het was (en is) fijn hier te zijn. Maar onze thuis is nu even niet hier. Our home away from home. Hier en daar. Zijn we hier missen we de tijd die we enkel voor ons 4 hebben daar. Ben je daar mis je het samenzijn met anderen. Er is geen winnende partij. Het doet je alleen nog net iets meer beseffen waar je dankbaar voor mag zijn. Een hecht gezin, voor mij heel belangrijk, zowaar niet hét belangrijkste. Waar je ook bent, koesteren wat je gegeven wordt. Even stil staan , genieten, meenemen en verder gaan.

Binnen enkele dagen vliegen we terug en zal alle routine zal hernemen en zal het gemis even kunnen teren op de voorbije dagen. En tussendoor facetimen, skypen, whatsappen, mailen, facebooken, …

We kijken al uit naar het volgende bezoek bij ons thuis, Oma Sonja en Martine springen dan es binnen 😉

Bedankt voor jullie fijne gezelschap en succes bij alles wat jullie pad zal kruisen.

“Missing someone gets easier every day, because even tough you are one day further from the last time you saw them, you are one day closer to the next time you will meet again”

De SmetjesvanuitWaarschoot



Our home away from home, after 6 months.

It’s almost 6 months since we moved. I have said it before time flies! It’s probably also one of the biggest cliche’s in the world, but the truth.

Our house has become our home away from home. Ibe made new friends, Fien likes his new friends, we like their parents, so win win for all of us 😉

We are all still the same, although Ibe and Fien will have changed the most. Language, development, potty trained – day & night, riding a bike without the support wheels, wanting to do everything – yes everything – by herself (not always to my convenience). The children in Belgium will have changed as much as ours here. Our new nephew who was just born is already 6 months old, my new bestie also 6 months, the previous new bestie says mama already, now I have the learn her how to say “Aunti E” 😉  We are looking forward to see all the baby’s! It was really nice that the birth cards where sent to us and the pictures and the messages kept coming from all my friends. The distance is long and sometimes I was about to send a message and I received one, from the person I was thinking of. Our minds are still connected! Awesome!

Time in Belgium will be to short to see everybody, do everything we would like to do, but we will do our best.

One more night here and then we fly to you all! 2 planes, a lot of patience, entertainment, treats, …. will be needed! But we will survive as we did coming here 😉

And then we can talk in person, then we can ask each other everything, laugh, maybe cry, eat and have fun, hug & tickle the kids, … everything we used to do!

Bye bye koeienvlaai as Ibe say’s it! And Fien repeats 😉

(and now I have to start packing our luggage!!)


Kort maar krachtig – hallo daar!

Het is alweer even geleden maar hier zijn we nog es met een blogje.
Via Facebook postte ik wel al enkele korte updates.

It has been a while, but here we are, with an new little blogstory.
I did post a few updates on Facebook.

Goh lieve mensen, er is zoveel te vertellen.
Dear people, there is so much to tell.

4 maand, zo lang geleden of soms zelfs zo kort geleden zijn we vertrokken.
4 months ago, that’s how long we are here.

We zijn nog steeds het zelfde, rond & gezond.
Misschien zelfs iets sterker samen, net omdat we alleen maar elkaar meer hebben om op te rekenen, tijd met door te brengen. Het kan, zoals bij alles, 2 richtingen uitgaan. Ofwel heb je zoiets van “shit… altijd alleen met hem (of haar 😉 )” ofwel doet het je net goed. Ik dacht altijd dat wij veel te veel samen deden, in huis, buitenshuis, maar nu ook krijg ik het gevoel dat het ons goed doet. Ja, tuurlijk botst het hier es. Je blijft 2 verschillende mensen, maar je leeft wel samen je leven. En we voerden lunchdates in! Gezellig!
Dus ja, ik kan zeggen dat het Bjorn en mij goed gaat hier.

We are still the same, us, in a different country.
Maybe even a bit stronger, just because it is only just us. It can go both ways, or you think – ” really, all that time with him (or her) again or it does the both of you good. Time to reconnect even. I always fought we did to much together, inside and outside the house. But if works for us. Ok, sometimes we do argue! And that’s normal, You do stay 2 different people but you live a life together. And we started with lunch dates! Really fun & cosy!
So yes, you can say that Bjorn and I are doing good here.

Enkele weken terug had ik het wel echt lastig. Nu zullen jullie zeggen, ze spreekt zichzelf tegen, maar nee. Bjorn had (en nu nog steeds) hele lange werkdagen, zat een weekje in Duitsland, de kindjes die hem misten en daardoor een tikkeltje meer aandacht aan mij vroegen.

A few weeks ago I did have a bit of an emotional episode.
Bjorn had and still has, long working days, has been to Germany, the kids really missed him and so craved for more of my attention.

In Eeklo had ik eens een oma die op bezoek kwam, ging ik na school es mee naar Els/Valerie & kroost of kwamen zij bij ons, spelen op straat met de buurkindjes,… Jill die gewoon kwam meeploffen in de zetel of achter onze naaimachines, …
Je tijd werd gebroken, je kon ook gewoon es babbelen met iemand anders.
Ik moest gewoon even op mijn resetknopje duwen en eigenlijk gewoon echt leren omgaan met het overdag alleen zijn & mama/ huisvrouw zijn.
Nu ik ben ABSOLUUT geen huisvrouw uit den tijd van toen. Al zou je het soms wel denken, koken – bakken – naaien – … Ik doe dit gewoon echt graag, de afwas dat minder 😉

In Eeklo I had a granny who came to visit, of after school we went to a friends house or they came to our hous, playing with the neighbourkids,… Jill who just stopped by and “ploffed” with us on the couch or behind our sewing machines.
You could talk to someone else.
I just had to push my restbutton and start over regain, it worked!
I am also very blessed, as you all say it here, to have Bjorn who really listens and tries to help me. So, lucky me!

Maar mijn resetknop deed zijn werk en ik kon er weer helemaal tegenaan. En ik heb ook echt geluk dat Bjorn naar mijn verhaal dan ook oor heeft. Niet voor iedere man weggelegd, luisteren en begripvol zijn. Lucky me!

Ik schreef er al eerder over, de communicatiemiddelen van vandaag zijn echt leuk om de afstand te overbruggen. Je kan elkaar elke dag horen/zien. Met sommige mensen “praat” ik zelfs meer dan in Eeklo. Met andere dan weer minder, dat is ook normaal. Nu nog een paar dagen maar 6u verschil (wij veranderen naar het winteruur op 1/11)
En soms durf je geen berichtje sturen omdat de ander het gewoon heel druk heeft. Dat is nu zo en dat zal altijd zo zijn, waar je ook bent! En soms begin je te facetimen en komt Bjorn thuis – oei… is het daar al zo laat 😮 Veel plezier morgen in Plopsaland ;-D

I wrote about it previously, but the communication tools are really fun! You can talk, see each other every day, some people I even hear more than when we lived in Belgium. And some less, but that’s normal. And then sometimes you are a bit afraid to text because you do not want to disturb them en then other times you start facetimen and before you know it, Bjorn is home and you realize it is really late… In Belgium then past midnight!

Onze kindjes die zijn echt al enorm veel veranderd. 4 maand is veel tijd en in die 4 maand is veel gebeurd. Fien was heel lastig de eerste 2 maanden, waarschijnlijk vooral omdat wij bezig waren het huis een thuis te maken en onze weg voor het dagelijkse leven zochten, maar ook gewoon omdat 2 jaar zijn, lastig is. Ik wil doen wat mijn broer doet, maar ik mag nog niet of ik kan dat nog net niet. Gooi, smijt (ook met zichzelf) Diepe zucht, dat doet ze soms nog. Maar ze is ook gewoon heel flink, ze is de flinkste in de opvang – ja, echt ik geloof het soms zelf niet – ze gaat sinds een week super flink op het potje, droog na middagdutjes en autoritjes met korte bezoekjes aan de winkel! Ik ben echt trots op haar. Ze spreekt Engelse woordjes. Ze is overgestapt van NEE naar NOOOOO – ja, echt met een lange oooo 😉
Ze is superfan van chocolade, “sjocolaatje mama?” (het zit van in haar genen he meetje Smet? )
Als ze gemorst heeft, zegt ze – it’s a mess, clean it up! Say what? Of ze staat recht, gaat om de handdoek – niet altijd vree wijs als het net “verse ” zijn – en zegt, mess he mama, clean he
euh ja schattie… Oh boy… Daar hebben we nog niet met gedaan…!

The children have changed a lot, 4 months is a lot of time when you are that small and a lot has happend during those 4 months. Fien was very difficult the first 2 months. Probably because of all the change and the fact thats she is 2, terrible two right?
She wants to do what her brother does, but she is not allowed or she can’t yet.Then she trows stuff around or even herself – just down on the ground…
But she is also very sweet, an angel even. In daycare they say she is the sweetest of all – yeah, I can’t believe it! 😉
She is going to her potty, since a week. And she does it very well, dry diaper after nap time and small road trips her diaper is dry, good job on you Fien!
Her English is also getting better. She does say English words. She changed from NEE to NOOOO, yes the ooo is long! 😉 She adores chocolate! “sjokolaatje mommy?” (it runs in her genes, right meetje Smet)
If she has spilled something she says – It’s a mess, clean it up. Really Fien? Or she gets up, takes a towel – not fun if it is a “fresh” one and does it herself. Than she says – mess he mommy, clean he” Euhm, yes honey… Oh boy, we have not seen the end of it my friends!

Onze Ibe, ja, Schrijven en lezen, hij doet dat goed. Op school elke dag al van dag 1 een groen gezichtje, dat is een soort van gedragsdagboek. Ook hebben we een app waarmee we foto’s ontvangen van de dingen die ze op school doen, gewoon omdat het leuk is te delen, maar ook om dan thuis verder op te werken.
Of om ons iets te helpen onthouden voor de dag nadien. Echt leuk!
Hij maakte vriendjes, Jack, Gordon, Dominic, Santi,… Hij voelt er zich goed en dat straalt hij uit.
‘s Morgens bracht ik hem altijd binnen in het schoolgebouw, in het begin tot in de klas, dan later tot in de refter zoals het hoorde (daar worden ze dan door hun juf opgehaald) en nu MAG ik niet meer mee! Gewoon oversteken en Bye mammie (zegt sinds kort mammie en pappie) euh… En zet ik mijn voeten iets te ver voorbij de blauwe lijn, trekt hij aan mijn hand – tot hier he – Werkelijk?!
Toch gevraagd als ik nog een zoen en knuffel kreeg, ja gelukkig wel! Oef! Toch nog een beetje mijn klein iebje.
Bjorn nam eerder deze week 2 vrije dagen en bracht Ibe en hij stond daar met zijn koekenhartje, te glunderen hoe zijne zoon gelijk al die andere grote gewoon binnenging, es zwaaien, nog es, want ja, tis pappie die hem bracht 😉 En ja, moeder hier, kreeg er tranen van in haar ogen.
We skypten eens vanuit zijn klas naar zijn vriendjes en vriendinnetjes van het St Janneke. Dat was precies wel moeilijk voor Ibe. Hij had zelfs een beetje verdriet. Hij zag iedereen daar samen, het deed hem iets.
Het was wel heel fijn om hen allen te zien!
4 januari zal Ibe bij hen een dagje in de klas doorbrengen, als hij dan nog wil.
Hij zei ook dat ze nu es naar hier moesten komen zodat ze het es allemaal echt konden zien. Uitgelegd dat dit wel heel moeilijk es en dat we foto’s zullen maken, zo zien ze ook veel. Goedgekeurd! Oef 😉

Our Ibe, reading and writing, he does that all very well. Every day since the beginning of school he had a green face on his behaviorcalender. We also have an app, to follow why goes on in the classroom or the help us remind what they should practice at home or working points. That is really fun! He had made some friends, Jack, Dominic, Gorden, Santi,… You can tell by the look on his face that he is happy. And then again, that makes us happy.
In the morning I always brought him into the schoolbuilding, even days to this classroom. Now, I am not allowed anymore, he says “mommy, I will go by myself. Ok than. I can not go to far, he pulls my hand and says, until here mommy. Euh ok sweetie, but do I still get a kiss and a hugh? And yes, I do! My babyboy Iebje!
And than, earlier this week, Bjorn took 2 days of and dropped him of. Did the same as I do and there he was, my husband, looking so proud to his son as goes in the building like one of the big boys. I even got tears in my eyes!
We skyped from his class here to his friends in Belgium. That was really nice. For Ibe a bit sad, he cried a bit. I think it was all very confusing. But then he said, now they have to come here and see my school. I explained that that could be difficult and we could send pictures. Well that idea is approved – thank you!

In december komen we dus naar België. We vertrekken hier 22/12, komen toe 23/12 en vertrekken terug 5/1. Het zal superdruk zijn, ik weet niet hoe we het gaan doen, ik wil niet moeten kiezen tussen mensen om wel te zien of niet te zien, om bepaalde avonden wel of niet met door te brengen. Dat gaat niet. En ik beloof dat we ons best doen om dat zo goed mogelijk op te lossen.
Ik kan moeilijk terug een feestje organiseren om iedereen tegelijk te zien he! 😉
Alhoewel, ik hou wel van feestjes!

In december we are going to Belgium. We leave the 22th of december, arrive the 23the and come back to Tuscaloosa the 5th of january.
It will be super buzzy! I have no idea how we well manage it all. I will not choose who I will see and who not. We could not trow another party to see everybody in one time. Although, I do love party’s!

Nee, we doen ons best om een planning op te stellen maar we willen ook gewoon een beetje genieten van de feestdagen. Ja, die dagen helpen ook niet echt aan die planning. Maar ik heb vertrouwen dat het goed komt!

No, we will do our best to have a sheduale that works. And the holiday are already buzzy. But I have faith it will all work out.

En al die babytjes die dan eigenlijk niet meer zo’n kleine babytjes meer zullen zijn, ook degene die geen babytjes meer waren bij ons vertrek zullen er aan moeten geloven – platgeknuffel – vertroetelingen en een overdosis aan Auntie E love!

And all those baby’s who by then are not so teeny tiny anymore, also the ones who were no baby’s when we left – i will squeeze them, just give them an overdose of Auntie E love!

Hmmm, tijd vliegt voorbij, cliche, maar net daarom niet minder waar.
Hmmm, time flies by, so very fast, it is a cliche, but never the less not less true.

Ondertussen in ons Fien wakker van haar middagdutje – met een droge pamper – iets minder goed gezind maar goed, ook dat overleeft de dees hier. Binnen een half uurtje Ibe halen.

In the mean time Fien woke up from her nap time – dry diaper again – a bit of a bad mood, but ok, I will survive that. Within a half hour we will pick up Ibe.

Een fijne en gezellige avond daar allemaal!
Tot snel!

De Smetjes vanuit Tuscaloosa

Enjoy your evening!
Until next time my friends!

De Smetjes reporting from Tuscaloosa