Monthly Archives: September 2009

Where to begin

  Hurrah, we made it back to Iowa!  After 20 hours of flying we are back in Iowa.  Before we get to how sentimental we are now about the US and particularly Iowa, we should probably go over the rest of our trip.  Brussels was wonderful.  Our apartment was very well equipped and comfortable.  It is such an international city.  Consequently a lot of the locals speak English, sort of.  Almost everybody says they speak English, but we found that most do speak but not very well and Janell and I had a hard time communicating sometimes.   On the street, we hear English everywhere because there are so many expatriates. 

                There are three very strong wards in the area.  The meeting s are held in both English and French and everyone who does not speak both languages, gets a head set for translation.  Most of the members are foreigners.  There are particularly a lot of Africans.  They make up about a third of the ward.  Additionally we have met people from the US, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Russia, Armenia, Kazakstan, Switzerland, The UK, and Denmark.  Janell got to teach the Sunbeams for a few weeks while we were there ( it was an English speaking class).        




                We also got to visit the temple in The Haag with our ward’s youth group.  (It is not actually in the Haag, but it is close enough).  It was a beautiful little temple in one of the most beautiful areas we have seen in Europe.  After visiting the temple, we walked down the street to a milk shake place and ordered a shake from a guy with a Mohawk and all kinds of piercings.  The irony of it was that he spoke great English and was one of the nicer guys we spoke with while in Europe.  Maybe that was just because we were used to rude French speakers.

The Haag Temple


                Janell and I purchased unlimited public transport passes and had many adventures taking random busses and trams.  We tasted all kinds of chocolate and decided that Belgian Chocolate is excellent, but no better than French or Danish chocolate.  Belgian Waffles on the other hand, are extraordinary.  They make them fresh on every block and they have waffle vans that cover every half block during peak hours.

                I spent long hours on an international employment law project involving input from 21 different attorneys in 21 different countries.  I had to work through and edit several pages of legal memoranda from each country and gather additional content and clarification from each of the 21 attorneys.  This was particularly hard since some of the lawyers spoke English marginally at best.  Anyway, I got a lot of great experience, but the late nights were unpleasant for both of us. 

                By the time we were finished, Janell and I were very excited to spend some uninterrupted time together in Denmark.  We rented a little euro-car in Brussels and took off through Belgium, Holland, and Germany.  It was probably the most scenic drive we have ever taken.  Everything in our path was so green.  It was supposed to be an 8 hour trip, but we took a few wrong turns, got stuck in some bad traffic, and ate at a German restaurant for an hour, so it took 11 hours.  Our little Diesel Eurocar unbelievably made it the entire way on one tank.  Janell said Denmark was the most beautiful country she and seen in Europe.  I would have to agree.  Fyn is an Island of rolling hills, straw roofed farm houses, and fields of wheat and corn.  That is the island where Ken, Sally, Robin, Thea, and their children live.  They live in a coastal town called Nyborg.  It was very nice getting reacquainted with everyone.  I now feel like I at least know who all of my cousins are.  They all seem to be doing well and Janell and I had a great time with them.    Our cousins on Fyn range from 3 to I think 15.  I am not exactly sure how old Bell is.  I have a few pictures I should post. 





We went to the pastry shop every day.  Danish pastries are easily the best in the world.  We immediately asked which pastries contained marzipan, and to our pleasant surprise the lady at the counter pointed out most of them.  I guess a better question would have been: which ones don’t have marzipan or which ones have the most marzipan.  Oh well. 

                With Mormor we went down the Copenhagen coast to Helsinger and took a fairy across to Helsingborg, Sweden just to say we had been there.  On the Danish side we saw Hamlet’s Castle from the sea, which was very beautiful and then we climbed another castle in Helsingborg.  Mormor climbed all the way with us, carrying jam and cheese sandwiches.  We made sure to buy candy on the boat as well, because it is cheaper there because taxes do not apply.  We wrote two post cards to Kessia while there.