January 8, 2015


The new year has only just begun but I've already had the flu. I almost forgot what it felt like to be ill since working from home is like living in a safety bubble. Nevertheless I've had a few amazing days this week. Yesterday evening was spent in a near fatal sugar coma with my friends after a visit to a local ice cream place in my hometown. We just couldn't resist the delicious dessert menu! And earlier this the week I overdosed on kroketten or croquettes according to Wikipedia on my first visit to Pure Daphne - a place that only serves kroketten - in Ghent. I am headed back to California again soon, but before those bittersweet goodbyes come around I'm going to focus on the positive. So here are some of my favourite travel/expat moments of 2014, some of them small others pretty special but all of them unforgettable. 

January: a visit to Julian

In January we spent a weekend in a picturesque town in the California mountains. It was our first weekend away in a long time and to be honest, we haven't really been on a vacation just the two of us since. Julian is famous for its apple cider and apple pies (with ice cream!) ... an incredible combination if you ask me. Even though there isn't a whole lot to do there, I really enjoyed it. We stayed at a nice local hotel and drove to the desert on the second day for an early morning canyon hike. I wouldn't mind planning another trip like that!

February: getting my California driver's license

Let me tell you it's so much easier to be able to pull your driver's license out as your ID instead of your green card or passport. I have to admit, I felt like a local. Plus I passed on my first try, which is also a great feeling after all the people I saw leaving in defeat!

April: our Easter hike up Mt. San Jacinto

Since we're full on Americans and we live in California we love getting up early and working out. No plans for Easter? No problem. We decided to wake up at 5 in the morning, drive to Mt. San Jacinto and do a 'little' Easter hike. The hike itself wasn't always fun and I have to admit I almost wished humankind had extended that 'aerial tramway' all the way to the top - if not for getting there than at least for getting back down (just kidding, but still). The view was absolutely worth it though and I know you have to earn that! It's ridiculous how easily that pain is forgotten so I might even be persuaded to try it again this year... or go for San Gorgonio.

May: moving into our first apartment

Probably the biggest milestone of 2014: setting up our own little place in our first apartment. It was stressful and exciting at the same time and it didn't always go smoothly but we had a blast. I can't really believe how little stuff we had back then. Next time we move it's not going to be quite so simple.  

July: visiting home

I was really looking forward to going home after having been gone for so long. Those two weeks were a whirlwind of activities, a lot of them wedding related and very stressful (again). I'm glad not every visit home will be like that but it was perfect in a way. I literally got to see EVERYBODY again, because we invited so many people. We partied until the early hours, drank a lot of cava and ate a ton of food. Not much to complain about! Except maybe that flight we almost missed, but I'm not going to talk about that one... 

August: wedding anniversary number one!

Can you believe I almost forgot this one? 

August/September: welcoming our first visitors

There was little time for sadness after our trip to Belgium since two of my friends were coming to San Diego that summer so I had new things to look forward to. The stories are yet to appear on the blog (except for our trolley adventure around town) but I really hope to find some time this year haha! They were the very first visitors in our small apartment, which was kind of like a test and a happy reunion all in one. Also, it gave me the perfect excuse to be a complete tourist and show off my new hometown. 

November: celebrating Thanksgiving in Hawaii

It wasn't too long ago when we went from the chillier California beaches to sizzling Hawaii for Thanksgiving. I didn't reach my goal of visiting two new states this year, but that doesn't matter when I did fly to Hawaii, right? Anyway, it was a much needed break spent doing absolutely nothing except for having fun. And in December I even got to spend the holidays with both my families! 

What are your unforgettable moments of 2014?


  1. Some really lovely moments Nathalie! I wish/really do need to get my driving license sorted out here too this year!

    1. Thanks Holly! The paperwork is just never over, isn't it :)

  2. Sounds like an amazing year!! Saying goodbye after a few weeks back home is so hard, but good on you to focus on the positive.
    Like Holly said, I also really need to sort out my license!

    1. I always forget how hard it is to leave again after visiting... Good luck with sorting out your license ;)

  3. Sounds really familiar to me. After moving from Leuven to Chicago moving into our new apartment was a first highlight, followed by getting my Illinois driver's license, our first weekend away, hiking in 2 state parks, buying my Schwinn cruiser bike, starting my blog, going to my first Meetup gatherings to meet new people... Our first visitors will arrive in March this year.

    1. Sounds like you had an adventurous year as well! I hope everything goes smoothly with your visitors ;) Is it your first winter in Chicago? I'll have to check out your blog ;)

  4. Aww what a great year! Got to love some fresh Julian apple pie, YUM!

    1. Thanks Ashley! Those pies are heaven ;)


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