October 18, 2015

EXPAT LIFE: SISTERHOOD OF THE WORLD BLOGGER AWARD

A picture from my very first flight - to Madrid


When Irene from Away From Tenerife nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award I was on a little break from this blog so I hope she won't mind the delay! I have been following her blog for quite some time now and I feel like we bonded over our connection to Antwerp from the start. I really enjoyed reading her answers to these questions, so here it goes. Thanks for the nomination Irene!

1. Why did you start blogging?
I had a blog before I ever started this one, because I love writing. But I was always most productive when blogging involved travelling, like during the semester I spent studying in London or my first visits to the US. It's still nice to look back at those posts and relive the memories. Snowflakes in California was born in much the same way after I moved to California in 2013 and felt the need to write about this big change in my life. Writing it all down strangely does make it easier to process.

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 
Gosh, that's a tough one. Up until recently I would have said London. Without a doubt. But moving to this big country with lots of nature (and yes I realize the California I've been living in might not necessarily be considered as the big open space, but compared to what I'm used to it is) has made me fall in love with and cherish the ruggedness you can still find here. More importantly it has made me realize how many more places there are that I'll never be able to fall in love with. So choosing is very difficult; maybe somewhere along the Oregon coast? Or in the middle of nowhere in beautiful Scotland (even though I've never been there)? Or just in plain old Flanders along the river where my grandparents used to live?

In Cologne

3. What is the best piece of travel advice you have ever received? 
Do what the locals do. It's my mom's motto - next to never keep all your important documents in the same place! - & it's solid advice. You'll find the best places in town and avoid all the tourist traps. Although, with smartphones and the internet nowadays it is a bit easier to look up where to go or what to avoid compared to when she was younger.

4. Where did you have your best meal ever?
Honestly, it's been almost four years since I met the other love of my life: the famous California Breakfast Burrito. And I'm still hooked. But the overall best food I ever had was the one served at our wedding prepared by a chef from San Diego. Best $$$ ever spent.


5. What is your most memorable holiday or trip? That would have to be my first visit to London. Apparently I was already seventeen (!!) when I first visited that amazing city - I just found that out by looking at the pictures. It was rainy and warm (worst combination if you ask me) so my hair looked horrible in every single picture. Oh, and my purse was stolen, so we spent half of the time at the Belgian Embassy. But it was worth it. A close second is the road trip Nick took me on during my first visit to the US. Both trips really changed me.

6. What is the one thing you cannot live without when travelling? 
A camera. Not that I have a good one (thank goodness for smartphones) but I was always the 'photographer' of the family. And luckily Nick has a decent one that I can steal borrow when necessary.

7. Is there a souvenir you always take home from your travels?
Not really. I really wish I had some sort of tradition when it comes to that. My mom used to bring my sister and me a pair of earrings from a local shop whenever she traveled somewhere for work. I always really liked that idea.



La Jolla


8. Who is your go-to travel buddy? 
Nick, the one who puts up with all of my chaos and crazy demands. I usually pick cities, while he picks hikes. But it always works out perfectly. Or at least he hasn't complained so far...

9. Are you a spontaneous traveler or do you prefer to plan everything in advance? 
Definitely spontaneous. Not that I necessarily want to be, but I'm just really bad at outlining where I want to go. I usually miss some important must-sees or I discover places I would have wanted to see after we've returned, but at least it gives you a reason to go back!

10. Where are you traveling next?
Hopefully Belgium again! I'm planning on doing some more discovering in my home country, because there's never enough time for that. It's the never ending expat conflict I guess? I would also really like to plan a trip to Colorado or Alaska in the new year, we'll see!

I don't exactly know what the rules are here, but I'm guessing it's my turn to nominate some awesome bloggers to answer these questions:


Holly of Full of Beans and Sausages
Emily of Em Busy Living
Jae of Scatterbrain
Marla of A Weekend Crossing

Hope you had a great weekend! 

September 24, 2015

NOT YOUR AVERAGE BLOG HIATUS: I'M BACK & WE'RE MOVING!


I don't really know where to start with this post. 'It's been a while' feels like an understatement. There have been so many times over the past couple of weeks that I wanted to write a blog post and didn't. A lot has happened over the summer and eventually also felt like an enormous amount of information weighing down on me. It's like seeing a good friend again and you don't know how or where to start. But if I'm being really honest I have to admit I also needed some time away from the blog. I felt uninspired, unsuccessful and unsure of what I wanted to do with my little corner of the web...

Distance does make the heart grow fonder however (gotta love those cliches), because I just can't don't want to give up on this yet. Ok, I missed it. There, I said it. And the more I started thinking about blogging again, the more excited I got, which leads us to where we are today. Even though I won't be able to tell you the whole story of our summer yet (baby steps!) I can tell you that it involves a move and a new job. Not very original, I know, it seems as if everyone in the entire blogosphere moved somewhere new this year. So who am I to stay behind?

Now, those of you who follow me on Instagram probably have a pretty good idea by now of where we're headed. And those of you who are pretty curious (which means this is working) better go click on that link! Just kidding, we're moving to the Bay Area!

That's about all I can reveal for now, but even though this move is in the works I promise you'll hear from me more often again. I'm really looking forward to discover new parts of this beautiful state - any tips? - but leaving San Diego is bittersweet. Also, is it crazy to be happy we're staying in the same state because now my blog name still makes sense? Dodged a bullet there!

So how have you been?


PS: I'm sorry about the comments I left unanswered, that's the second thing on my list after hitting publish on this post!

July 2, 2015

#TBT: A SUMMER'S DAY IN BRUGES


I can't believe a month has passed and it's already time for another flashback to my days in Belgium. Because of the current heatwave in Western Europe I thought it only appropriate to take you back to my first (yes, you read that correctly) visit to Bruges almost exactly four years ago. Despite the fact that it's a number one on many a tourist's list - it's also the first thing anyone mentions when they hear I am from Belgium - I had never been there. I simply never felt the need to go there. Enter Nick visiting and you have the perfect opportunity to be a tourist in your own country. So on a very hot day at the end of June we decided to take the train and cross this city off our lists.


One thing you need to know about taking the train in Belgium when it's hot, is that you might want to avoid going towards the coast altogether. Unless you want to see what a zombie apocalypse might look like. Roads and trains alike are packed on days like that. I should have thought of this, but didn't. On top of that it was also one of the first weekends of the summer break so literally everyone was headed to the seaside. Perfect timing for trains to break down, if you ask me. Bottom line: instead of two or three trains going to Ghent and/ or Bruges every hour we only got one. And everyone in Belgium was on it. Joy! 


The train ride was definitely a nightmare (and trust me, the way back was even worse) but at least we arrived safely in Bruges. I never really realized how small the city center is until that day because we could easily walk around. We didn't have any clear plans or goals except for enjoying the sights and having a nice cold beer. It was definitely too hot to climb the many stairs of the Belfry! 

We did indulge in one tourist trap however and took a boat ride along the canals. Definitely worth it and very refreshing in those temperatures!


All in all I was really glad I finally got to pay this city a visit - and was able to go back home in the end. Thank you Gods of Public Transportation! But I have to admit that it didn't leave me mesmerized as it does many visitors. Could it be that apart from those beautiful canals it does look like a lot of a ton of other Belgian cities? Maybe I'm we're just spoiled!

Are there any famous touristic areas in your country you've always wanted to visit? 


PS: Nick took a lot of these pictures but I'm claiming them for my blog. I'm just being nice and giving him the credit.
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