B-day post + Antwerp

8 Aug

As I mentioned before, my whole family is visiting us and it’s great to have them here! It’s especially cool we were able to celebrate my birthday together yesterday, complete with surprise dessert + candles a few minutes before midnight and a trip during the day.

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Today we hopped on a train over to Antwerp:

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inside the station

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photo 4 Cathedral of Our Lady

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Doooooourrrrrr 2013

22 Jul

Summer in Belgium is total festival season, and one of the big events is Dour Festival in, as the name indicates Dour (near the Belgian-French border). Even more so this year, as the infamous ‘boue’ (mud) was nowhere in sight with scorching temperatures (well, for Belgian standards) and, more importantly, given that it was the 25 year anniversary.

What can I say… it’s been an great weekend, camping out with friends, catching a few awesome gigs and revelling in the whole Dour experience:

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yeah yeah yeah! opening on Thursday

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The Vaccines on Friday – we might’ve gone back to teenagehood in half a sec for that whole hour…

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a green-wigged Dutch artist’s work

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aaay tu primo coloraaado…

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new friends at Devendra Banhart’s gig 🙂

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 Joyeux 25ème anniv’, Dour! You were amazing

Women Leaders in IR conferences

10 Jul

This week I’ve been attending a very interesting series of evening conferences hosted by the Italian Cultural Institute on ‘Women Leaders in International Relations: Comparing EU and US experiences’, with panel discussions on the role of women in international relations and therefore in diplomacy, institutions, as well as in the private sector. The ensuing debates on questions posed by the audience raised a number of meaningful points on the reality women face in the IR world, and the words of advice of seasoned professionals were duly noted.

photo 3 opening ceremony for the first conference, ‘Promoting Women in Diplomacy’ with speakers including Anne-Marie Slaughter, Mara Marinaki, Marta DassĂą and Mari SkĂĄre

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second conference day, ‘Promoting Women Leaders in Institutions’: Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, with MEP Monica Frassoni (+ Marjorie Margolies and Hussein Kassim)

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third conference day, ‘The making of Women Leaders’: Veronika Wand Danielsson, Cristina Gallach, Valerie Biden Owens and Franco Frattini

Tonight will be the last conference and closing ceremony, and I’m glad I learned about this conference and the seminar organized by the WPSProject! For more info: WPSP site

Summer days

10 Jul

Vacation time is nearly here, and it’s finally starting to feel like summer in Brussels… Stick around, summer, we missed you!

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Weekends are best spent going for l’apĂ©ro and playing frisbee in the park with friends:

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happy faces on a Friday afternoon

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photo 2Sunday lounging and frisbee throwing , Parc du Cinquantenaire

Biker + walkers

30 Jun

It’s been a quiet weekend round here, so this evening we went out for a walk/ride and a mini-picnic at an outdoor festival behind the KVS…

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On our way back home with our friend Alex we walked through the Mont des Arts and caught a beautiful sunset:

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  Bruxelles, pas belle?

Ride in the park

10 Jun

We finally got the nice weather we were hoping for, so this past weekend has been made for lounging in the park(s), meeting friends for l’apĂ©ro and going for walks, runs and rides.

On Thursday we had François, a friend of Carlos’, over to stay with us. At midday we grabbed lunch in Place Jourdan and headed over to Parc Leopold…

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François giving Carlos a thumbs up for his culinary skills, I think…

Saturday morning and it was back to my usual park for a long stroll:

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The ride through the Bois de la Cambre yesterday afternoon was exactly what I needed to say ” ‘later” to the weekend…

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Next one will be Paris with my bestie Andrea 🙂

Almost 6-month mark

1 Jun

Can’t believe it’s June already!! The 22nd will mark the first 6 months of our stay in Brussels, and we can honestly say these first few have been great (nevermind the weather, ya know)

Speaking of which, the beginning of the past week started out sunny enough… only to last a day and a half (bummer). Here’s hoping we get to see a little more of it in the coming weeks! (tomorrow?)

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a 9 AM view of the neighborhood

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… the skyline that evening…

The real highlight of this week was Friday night, when we headed over with friends to a centric Moroccan restaurant for dinner. After what was an incredible meal (lamb tajine with raisins and sesame… mmm!), we agreed to go back sometime soon to try out a few other dishes…

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La Kasbah (rue Antoine Dansaert 20, Brussels)