We also had a little uptick in our social life last weekend. Brett's colleague, Monika from Germany, invited us over on Saturday. She has a little 18-month-old son named Idriss whose dad is from Cote d'Ivoire. She fed us chicken with African spices, rice and white-wine ice cream for dessert. Yum. The little guy was the best eater I've EVER seen and it was fun hanging around a toddler for a few hours.
On Sunday, we hosted Bryan and Sabrina whom we met at our cultural training class. Sabrina, who is German, works for Brett's company in the Marketing Department and is stunningly beautiful--tall, skinny, young and gorgeous. "The full catastrophe" to quote from Zorba the Greek. Her husband, Bryan, is from Ireland. Also pretty adorable. And together, they've lived in Houston, Singapore, Ireland and now Belgium. Sabrina and Bryan are the first people I've met who are dying to live in Houston. Sabrina lived there as a teen-ager and she loved it. Maybe it was youth.
We found "spare ribs" at our neighborhood charcuterie. However, they had been soaked in a marinade that was very reminiscent of spaghetti sauce. Brett washed them off and rubbed them with the good old "Smokin' and Drinkin' BBQ Rub." He also made some of his prize-winning chicken. He fired up the barbie and then we were able to Skype into a service at our church.
Other discoveries include finding a Pilates class. It's an exercise which I like a lot because it seems like you get good results from little effort and you don't have to sweat that much. I also had my first pedicure in Europe. I couldn't figure out where to go or how to ask for one. Today, I found a place on my way to Pilates. Very different experience than in the US. I was laying on a massage bed kind of thing (no soaking) when the pedicure dude, a cute guy in his mid-20s, did the pedicure. They put on some kind of magic stuff to dry the polish in 5 seconds, but no soaking, no massage or hot towels, no "pick a color." They only had a few color choices and I chose red. A good old American, i.e., Vietnamese, pedicure is on my "To Do" list for our trip back in May.
Finally, we just met a very friendly Belgian guy in line at the grocery store. He struck up a conversation in English. I thanked him for English but said I really need to practice French. He invited us to visit him in his "bureau" (office) around the corner where he spends most of the day and told us his friends would like to practice English and meet Americans. His office turned out to be the main bar on the square. He's unemployed and just hangs out there all day. Sometime next week, we plan on joining Lucas (our new friend) at the pub to practice our French. The place looks pretty lively, but I never thought I'd fit in there. I hope they like us. We'll see how it goes.