Friday, December 28, 2012

American Girls in Bruges

This is Kanani in Bruges, Belgium last weekend. I could have posted a charming photo of Malanga Girl making silly faces canal-side, but her dolls are a fairly important part of our household. Many are just as well-traveled as Malanga Girl since I can't think of a single trip on which Malanga Girl has not brought a doll along. I even had to institute a "one doll only" policy a couple of years ago that was met with a certain amount of tears and protest. Anyway, I usually forget to capture which doll came where on film, so allow me this moment to eternalize Kanani's trip to the land of beer, chocolate and waffles. Truly, how could any family travel to Bruges and not be incredibly happy? Add a Christmas market with stand after stand of mulled wine and deep-fried olliebollen, fun game and carrousel areas for kids and you have yourself a truly divine place to spend the weekend before Christmas.

After the drudgery of lots of work in November and most of December, I'm basking in the just-like-in-college-or-grad-school glow of being blissfully deadline free this time of year. (So especially nice considering that I spent this time last year organizing an international move!) Besides traveling, I've been reading the thick stack of French paperbacks that had been sitting on my nightstand for months, catching up with old friends and making some new ones, trying out new recipes and reading The New Yorker magazine cover-to-cover. Oh, and exploring Paris! It took us 353 days to do so, but we finally visited the Louvre as a family today. Malanga Girl was not even the tiniest bit disappointed or perplexed by how much glass was standing between her and the Mona Lisa. Malanga Girl's face shone with admiration as Malanga Papa lifted her up so she could get a better look at La Gioconda through the crowds. And so our first year in Paris comes to a close.