January 16, 2013

A Blessed Birthday

In typical Lydia fashion, I started celebrating last weekend and ended the festivities the day after my birthday. What can I say? I love birthdays!

Last Saturday Jon and I went to Antwerp. Antwerp is one of my favorite cities in Belgium, and I like it for shopping!
The train station in Antwerp... It never gets old, it's gorgeous!
The skies were a beautiful Belgian blue, but it was heel koud! (very cold)
(This post is pretty long, so I'm adding a jump.)

I picked up a few craft supplies at one of the very few craft stores here in Belgium. Unfortunately, they were pretty picked over and low in stock due to the holidays and the January sales or soldens. But, I was happy with some Modge-Podge and a paper trimmer.

Even though we have just come back from Paris, I was thrilled and excited to learn that Ladurée had plans to open a shop in Antwerp. I couldn't find any indication that it was open, or even an address. Some savy internet sleuthing turned up an address, and all I had to do was find it and hope it was open.  I felt like we were on a treasure hunt! I was so excited when we found the store - I might have squealed out loud. I've decided to try every flavor. I'll start a record the next time I go.
Look at this gorgeous box! Truly a treasure!
Next stop was De Burgerij.
They are as good as they look. 
So far this has been the best burger I've had in Belgium - though not the best burger in Europe.  I had to go to Paris for that.

It was unfortunate that my French exam was scheduled 7 pm the day of my birthday. I, in typical Lydia fashion, left the cramming studying to the very last second.  So, the days leading up to my birthday were uneventful - though I did learn a lot!

It was the night before my exam when I looked at my phone to check the time/weather and saw this:

Hooray! Snow on my birthday! I looked out the window and it was so beautiful! I talked Jon into a walk and couldn't get out the door fast enough! It was awesome! What a great way to start MY special day!
Photo by Jon.
This might have happened:

After about 4 hours of sleep, I got up and hit the books again. I really wasn't expecting anything - I was just freaking out about focused on my exam.  However, my sweet, wonderful husband made me coffee, breakfast, did the dishes and even stepped out to get a few things.

He managed to do this:

And serve up some nice cheeses and tarts with candles mid-cramming.
It was really nice.

Then I was off for my exam!

It took TWO hours, and that was just the writing portion! The stress was awful, and I hope I never have to do that again. I *think* I did ok. I'm hoping I passed, I'm sure I passed. But I won't find out until the 29th of January. I still have to take the speaking portion - 30 minutes of conversation with my French teacher... 

After my exam was over, all I wanted was some nice warm cocoa, but my favorite place for cocoa was closed. So, we settled for friets instead.
Two sauces, 'cause it's my birthday.

Today, I was able to get to DeWerf for some D.I.Y. hot chocolate.
I topped off the evening with friends, more macarons, and even some more burger schwag.

It was a really great couple of days!
I'm a happy Belgian camper. 

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