6 Months in Review; Part 2

It’s hard to believe that our EPIC year abroad has come to a conclusion. Brian and I have been having some serious snuggle time with our puppy dog and settling down in our new Adirondack digs. Reflecting on the past year, we had some thoughts:

Things we have learned

Bonnie:

  1. FaceTime is a wonderful invention.
  2. I have a strong marriage.
  3. How to say “thank you” in about 10 languages.
  4. We are amazingly blessed.
  5. People are generally good.
  6. I can live with my mother-in-law (at least for a month!)

Brian:

  1. Being homeless makes it possible to travel the world. I’m glad I don’t own a house.
  2. Not owning a car for a full year and only using public transportation is relatively painless, easy and cheap – at least in Europe!
  3. I’ve (mostly) successfully taught Europeans how to use an American credit card, as we don’t have an electronic chip in our cards.
  4. I’ve learned that seafood isn’t so bad when it’s caught locally that morning.
  5. Every country in the world has some form of delicious dried meat and some cheese – all very different, all very delicious.

Things we have done that have made me overwhelmed with joy and appreciation

Bonnie:

  1. Standing on the Dune of Pyla with Brian’s arm around my waist, watching the sun set.
  2. Watching a little boy thank a police officer by offering him a piece of candy in Paris.
  3. Eating a crepe under the Eiffel Tower.
  4. Hearing our wine guide say the name “Eleanor of Aquitaine” in Bordeaux.
  5. Sharing our wedding anniversary with a couple on their honeymoon.

Brian:

  1. Staying on the houseboat in Amsterdam was pretty rad.
  2. The evidence of Christianity throughout the world has reaffirmed my beliefs, such as seeing incredibly well preserved 1st century prayers by people who had met Paul etched onto rock tablets in the catacombs under Rome.
  3. It was pretty cool to stand on top of a sand dune in France and stare out at the Atlantic Ocean.
  4. It’s amazing how wonderful people are, all over the world. From toasting with a British couple on 4th of July, sharing our honeymoon with a couple from Denver in Brugge and hanging out with a fun (and very funny) Swiss-Canadian in Nice.
  5. I’m overwhelmed with joy and appreciation for all the things Bonnie does for me.

Foods:

Bonnie:

  1. Delicious Morraccan food from a restaurant in Bordeaux.
  2. Amazing mussels on the coast of Montenegro.
  3. Yummy kebabs in Athens – with french fries on top!
  4. Gross pickled onion soup in Budapest.
  5. Also gross; mushy, slightly cold, deep-fried frog legs in Paris.
  6. Raw oyster shooters in Arcachon, France – ugh.

Brian:

  1. Pickled Herring in Copenhagen.
  2. Fois Gras in Paris.
  3. Mussels (a big step for me) in Nice.
  4. Pate in Bordeaux
  5. Hungarian Goulash and spaetzle in Budapest.
  6. Some of the best chicken wings I’ve ever had in Dublin.
  7. Bangers and mash, and fish and chips in London.
  8. Cask ale in London
  9. Spicy kebabs in Istanbul, oh sooo good, uhhhh.

Best souvenirs:

  1. Free Hup Holland Hamsters from our grocery store in Amsterdam.
  2. Bonnie’s scarf collection from; Athens, Paris, Rome and Istanbul.
  3. Brian’s Germany Jersey from Cologne.
  4. Beer glass from Delirium in Brussels.
  5. Apple spiced tea from Turkey.
  6. Adorable sundress from a French boutique in Nice.

Places we would go back to:

  1. Belgium (but probably not Bruges or Brussels) - just for the beer.
  2. Munich – because it will always feel a little like home.
  3. Ireland – because there is still so much to see.
  4. Greece – because I want to see summer there and check out the islands.
  5. Budapest – in twenty years to see how the country is progressing away from communism.
  6. Paris – to not be a tourist and just enjoy Paris.

Places we liked, but would probably not go back to:

  1. Lisbon – It’s not that big.
  2. Bordeaux – we just aren’t that into wine.
  3. Dublin – it’s a small city, I think we did it all.
  4. Dubrovnik – way over touristed.
  5. The Vatican City – I might go back to Rome, but I’d probably skip the Vatican.

Best musical experiences:

  1. Hearing the St. Patrick’s choir doing warm ups before mass.
  2. A German pop band singing ABBA – in German.
  3. Listening to angry Amish rappers at Distortion in Copenhagen.
  4. Rocking out to jazz along the Promenade in Nice.
  5. Street performer in Brussels performing “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol.

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