Sunday, June 19, 2005

Wonderful friends

The emphasis on this first part of our trip has been recovering and recharging our batteries while visiting some wonderful friends.

Becca and her family lived in Louvain-la-Neuve in 1978-79 and were wonderfully lucky to wind up living next door to a 'hyper-sympa' family, the Rahirs. The eldest daughter, Maud, lived in Oregon with Becca's family for a year during highschool, and the parents Yves and Anne Marie gave us a wonderful gift by celebrating with us at our wedding last year. Maud and Albert now has 3 sons (Oscar, Igor, and Eliot) and we're in awe of the energy and patience they have. We had fun playing with the boys and were impressed with Oscar's attempts to teach Brian French. It was also very nice to catch up with Fan Fan (Anne-Francoise), Becca's partner in crime during her time living here. We were sorry to miss Thomas, but hope to find a way to catch up with him later.

It was fun to explore LLN, a town built to incorporate the univerisity into the neighborhoods and to emphasize pedestrian traffic. We learned a lot about urban planning and architecture walking around and talking about the town and Becca marvelled about how much it had grown and expanded in 25 years.

After the visit with the Rahirs, we also had an (unfortunately too short) time with Steven and Catherine and their adorable children, Sara and Nicolas. Steven was an exchange student living with close family friends of Becca's during high school and they have stayed ever since. Steven also gave us the gift of his presence at our wedding. We really felt honored to have everyone around. We really enjoyed sitting on the back patio, watching the sun set at 10 pm (??!!) and gazing out across the fields and pastures. It was wonderfully relaxing.

We feel blessed to have friends like these around the world and consider it a perfect way to start the trip before we rev up the sightseeing.


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