We eagerly waited for the end of 2012 because of the fun international trip we had planned for a couple of months now. When we first heard that our wonderful friends, Agnese and Neil Middleton will travel all the way from Australia to Europe, we kind of figured we can make the flight across the pond and meet up with them for a few days. Then we got thinking and extended our trip to Belgium for another three days, my brother Lucian and his family moved there last year. It was just such a good occasion to see them as well, we couldn't pass it. The best part was that Wendy and Barry came up with the generous offer: buy flight tickets for my parents to fly to Belgium from Romania and spend those three days with us. That's exactly how the plan happened and we couldn't have asked for a better trip and time together. Well, maybe it was a bit longer than three days it would have been much better but we are not greedy, we will take the little we've gotten.
Another incentive for our trip was the desire to squeeze one more international flight before Alex turned two and had to pay for his full ticket. We still got away with just taxes so made the trip more affordable. Alex being the big boy he is, we had to show the passport as proof that he's still under two. We were amazed and pleasantly surprised of how well Alex did on the flight. He fussed when he got really tired but eventually he would fall asleep and Michael and I would lay him down across our laps, he was way too heavy for one of us to hold him for a longer period of time.
I will let these few photos show the good times we had. The cutest thing was when Alex got the hang of this bag, a pretty heavy carry on that I filled up with all the heavy stuff I wanted to take over as gifts. Alex pulled that carry on through every airport we made it: Dulles, Brussels, Heathrow and back to Dulles.
Not sure who's more excited about this flight, mommy or Alex...
And we finally made it!! Actually, it was a pretty short flight to Belgium, about 6.5 hours. Michael and I did not sleep at all, by the time we got comfy, checked out the movies etc. it was almost time for landing. Must say the flight went by fast. Alex slept for a couple of hours, enough to be in decent mood when we made it to see bunu and buna.
The first thing we did after kissing and hugging everyone was sit at the table and enjoy the yummy food Lili prepared. I still felt a little surreal for all of us to be around this table, in Belgium of all places! God is good on how He makes things happen. I couldn't be more grateful for this wonderful opportunity to see each other.
Saul and Pati, all grown up. I saw them for a few days in the summer in Romania but they seemed to have grown even more since then. They are such good kids, smart, obedient (most of the times:)), sweet and funny. They are adjusting very well in the public school they are attending and seem to catch very well the difficult language Dutch is.
Happy bunu and buna surrounded by grandkids, the ones they don't get to see on regular basis. Only Rebeca, Lorena and Saul are missing.
That's us taking a nice walk downtown Turnhout, where my family lives. It was still decorated for Christmas, very pretty.
When In Belgium… we had to try out the famous Belgian waffles and the beer of course.
One evening we made it to a Turkish donner place with a bunch of Romanians, some of Lili's family that lives in Turnhout as well. It was a fun and delicious experience.
The next day we made it to Brussels and visited the Atomium.
Here's our soon to expand family in front of the letter O.
After waiting for a couple of hours, we finally made it to the top of the Atom. It was a beautiful view of the city, well worth the wait especially that the sun came behind the clouds. Here's us asking another tourist to take a picture of the entire gang.
I took this family shot of Lucian, Lili, Pati and Saul after we made it back down again.
This was the next morning, one last meal together before my parents flew back to Romania. It was short but enough to make some great memories that will last a lifetime. Alex refreshed his memory of bunu and buna and by the end of the time with them he was calling them 'bumba' and 'bumbu'… so cute:)
We stayed in Belgium for one more night but then early in the morning of 31st of December caught a flight to our second leg of the trip: UK! Check out the part two of our incredible end of 2012 and the perfect start of 2013!! Alex's smile says it all.