About Me

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Antwerp, Belgium
Welcome to the new, and improved version of Heaven in Belgium. I am Jientje. "Jientje", like the boys name Gene, followed by "chu"? "Gene-chu", that's how you pronounce my name. Yes!!!!That's it!! So now you know huh? I am an addicted blogger. I was born and raised and am still living in Belgium. Yeah, the "this-is- Tuesday-so-this-must-be-Brussels" kind of Belgium .. There, you see? Maybe you couldn't find it on the map, but at least I'm trying to change that a little by sharing lots of pictures. I really love to cook and create new things, like this blog for instance. I am a mother,a grandmothe and a wife too! They say I'm a traveler, and a photographer. Well that's just what they say, I love to make pictures, but I am far from professional ... If my English is not perfect, that would be because it's my second language. I do hope you'll forgive me any possible misspellings or strange vocabulary ... Now, as a result of all of the above, I get way too little sleep and my days are always much too short!


Heaven is in Belgium

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday's Fave Five, the Holiday Edition

It's Friday again, July already, and the holidays are over. Which means you're getting real live posts from me again, instead of the pre scheduled ones from the past two weeks. I want to thank everyone who visited and commented here while I was away. My favourite fun item on my to do list when I came back was to read all of your lovely comments!

So here we go for another Fave Five hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

Today I'm sharing some of the highlights from our holiday in France. Life was good there.
It always is.

1. When I travel, I want to get to know daily life, meet local people and get accustomed to local traditions and the ways of the people of the country I'm visiting. That's why we drink Pastis at a local bar just like they do, shop for our food supplies at to the local farmer markets with a wicker basket, just like every local housewife does. I want to blend in as much as possible.
I KNOW I am still a "tourist" in their eyes, and I'm never going to be one of them for real, that's true. Therefor, my most treasured memories are the ones of the special moments we shared with local people, like the "jeu de boules" game in St Rémy. We met one of the guys at the local pub and started a conversation over something trivial at first but we ended up being invited to play along! I always wanted to do a series of pictures on jeu de boules, but I was always much too shy to ask. So I usually ended up making a couple of sneaky pictures that never seemed to turn out too well. But this time, my husband played along and I got to do a photo shoot of the game. We all had so much fun!

2. Our daughter Patsy ( we have two daughters) and her hubby joined us for a couple of days before continuing their vacation a little bit further South. Another little family tradition which started out as a surprise visit almost ten years ago. We've been trying to maintain this tradition ever since. Patsy also loves to cook, so we had some fun in the kitchen together too. The picture shows the four of us on the night of their arrival when they treated us to a meal at a local restaurant in l'Isle sur la Sorgue. It was a fun relaxed evening with good food, good wine, a lot of laughter and a good conversation. We did get a little "blessing" from the swalows hunting for their evening dinner above our heads that night though, look ....

Ewww. Luckily, the gift from heaven fell on the napkin and my husband had already finished his plate anyway.
I consider it as a little blessing from heaven, a little good luck charm? Hmm. My grandmother would have said so.
Well, they ARE my favourite Summer birds after all.

3.Oh and there is something else I haven't told yet! When my hubs bought me the new camera, he actually bought two. He bought the Canon SX10-IS for me, and a Canon SX1-IS for himself. Both camera's are quite similar, but the SX1 is the better version of the SX10.
Halfway through the vacation, he swapped his and gave ME the SX1!! I'm such a spoiled brat!
The SX1 has the same 20x zoom but it is a lot faster than the SX10, and that's one of the secrets of the swallow pictures in the previous posts. In answer to the question in one of yesterday's comments, I was able to shoot them from across the street when we were having a little pastis.
I put my elbows on the table to support the camera, located the nest with my zoom, and used the continuous shooting option to get multiple shots. You could say I took my little revenge on the swallows shooting back at them with my camera, yes!

UPDATE: While writing this post, I got some comments on yesterdays post telling me that the swallow post was made Post of the Day by David Mc Mahon today! WOOT! Now there's a compliment, if I ever got one. I got mentioned once before but never made it POD!! I am so happy with this!! Thank you so much David, this REALLY means a lot to me! So after all, I guess my grandmother was right all along about the swallow poop being a blessing, wasn't she?

4. Unlike last year, we got to see the lavender fields in bloom this year! Not all of it in full bloom, but enough to photograph some breathtaking scenery.

5. My husband treated me to some very nice dinners at local restaurants this year. He saved the best for last. On the last night before we left we enjoyed the exquisite cuisine of this restaurant. A beautiful location, and delicious food, what more can a girl want?

Many more great things happened while on holiday, and the rest of the week has been wonderful as well. I'll tell you more about that later. I'll have to cut this one a little shorter than intended, because I'm already very late with today's post, and I have not been able to answer yesterday's comments or visit everyone back today. There is a reason for that. I had some computer issues all day yesterday. Mozilla Firefox had auto-installed an update and I was no longer able to use it after that. But I was not able too uninstall it either. Now I am a real computer illiterate, and stuff like this really scares the living daylights out of me. So I turned to my helpdesk in Hawaii, and my ever reliable friend Thom sacrificed his sleep to come to my recue. It's not the first time he has helped me with such issues, I have called upon his help before and he NEVER lets me down. Anyway, he managed to figure it all out for me again and together we managed to get it fixed. I'm so grateful, he's the best. Mahalo Thom. You're simply the best!


Libby's Library said...

Well - now I have another camera to add to my wish list.
I am sooooooooooo looking forward to more photo's and stories!

Pamela said...

What a fabulous post, Jientje! I love the picture of the men playing boules - it reminds me of the times we spent at the coast in Belgium and wherever there was a flat section of grass or sand, you would find a group of men playing boules. Thank you for the restaurant link; it's going into my little black book of places to visit if we ever get to France. It looks like you all had a lovely time.

Melli said...

Oh! I forgot about FFF today! Oh well... I just did the post of my field trip -- and it took me until moments ago to get posted!

Congrats on the Post of the Day! That was WELL deserved!

ellen b said...

Everything looks and sounds lovely Jientje! I love your philosophy of travel...blending in as much as possible! Those lavender fields are amazing...
Your holiday sounds fabulous!!

Wanda..... said...

Jientje...you and your husband seem well matched...nice to be spoiled...but I'm sure you're not a brat...a brat would not think of bird poop as a gift from heaven!

Kathy said...

Oh Jientje, I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Provence through your eyes, everything was just how I have imagined Provence to be. What a sweet hubby you have there and an adorable family.

What a wonderful friend too, thanks to Thom for getting you back on line or we might have missed this beautiful post, how blessed you are and quite rightly so and finally many, many congratulations on your "post of the day" recognition from David McMahon, very much deserved. happy weekend, Kathy.

Islandsparrow said...

I like to act as local as I can too - it doesn't always work but it makes the trip more fun :)

Your swallow shots are fantastic - sweet hubby to trade cameras.

Happy weekend!

SandyCarlson said...

Your post and your photos are a delight, as always. I imagine that lobster saying, "Do we really have to do this in-the-butter thing?"

Anonymous said...

First things first. Thank you so much for the shout out. That was so nice of you to mention. You didn't need to as I'm just helping a friend is all. I'll take the hug when you get her to Honolulu as payment :) Thatnks so much. What an excellent FFF. You are spoiled, getting the better camera. I don't get what the difference is and don't want to know. But if your happy, I"m happy LOL. Congrats on getting the POD. That's great. Cheers to you. I think it's also great that your daughter and hubby got to visit with you for a while. That's great. And I like your attitude about fitting in when you go on vacation. Well done my friend. Happy FFF. Aloha and Mahalo

Momisodes said...

I loved this holiday recap. I'm so glad to finally see your daughter! I just love the scenes you've captured as well as your take on how you enjoy your holidays.

Looks like it was a lovely time.

Wanda..... said...

Jientje...my heart is a little heavy...I was here earlier and was hoping you would stop by because I had a poem of fellow blogger friends
ending the rhyme with the sound of t anyway I was unaware until after you did left a comment that Jientje or T(Tracie)were not in the list...I have amended the poem...I count you as one of my admired friends...hence my heavy heart. I so appreciate your comments.

Willow said...

When we travel, we like to be as 'local' as we can, too. It's the best way! Lovely lovely photos of a lovely time.

And congrats on David's POTD! How exciting!

Susanne said...

What a great tradition you and your daughter have. Your holiday looks like it was a lot of fun. Congrats on being the post of the day!

Hazel said...

I agree with your no. 1 idea. There's so much to learn from places we visit. Have a great weekend.

Dr.John said...

Great pictures of a great week. One couldn't ask for more.

Brenda said...

Sounds like a great week. I like to try local foods and meet local people when I travel too, it makes the travel so much more authentic. Love the link to the retaurant, and I always enjoy your pictures of food!

Nessa said...

Your vacation sounds heavenly.

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