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So we arrived back safe and sound the other day from our trip around Paris and Belgium. Both Scott and I feel so refreshed from our time away. I feel stronger, happier, more peaceful, and more centered. My anxiety and depression do not linger so close and I hope it stays that way. So let me recap for you our last couple days . . .

Day 9: August 9 had the prompt of “in my bag.” Below is a picture of what I always carry with me while traveling abroad, or anywhere new:

IMG_20140810_092942[1]I always have my camera and my gorilla pod. I love taking low light pictures and can use it to get pictures of both Scott and I together – you never know when you’ll need it! Also chap stick and hand sanitizer are a must. And always, without fail, small papers and nicknacks find their way into my purse while we travel. I love getting home and finding out what has found its way into my bag. At this point in the trip I have a La Chouffe label, flags from breweries we visited that were used in the cheese we ordered, maps, and brochures from Bruges, Ghent, and Paris.

Day 10: On August 10 the prompt was “Drink.” As you already know we were touring many breweries – one of which was La Chouffe (one of my all time favorites!). On this particular weekend, La Chouffe was having their annual Choufferie! An all day event full of food, bands, beer, and fun! All their labels and marketing includes different gnomes – and their McChouffe is a Scottish gnome! It’s kind of their thing. While at the Choufferie, you could buy a hat and be a gnome yourself! Well, you know I wasn’t passing that up!

IMAG1104[1]But, remember, the prompt was drink. While at the brewery I found out that they make a cream liqueur which I had to try! So here is the drink and some other goodies we got at the Choufferie . . .

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Day 11: August 11. At this point we had made it back to Paris. While driving from AChouffe to Paris the GPS took us off of the highway for a while. We were pleasantly surprised when we came across and huge tractor parade in a small town in Belgium! Seriously there were more than 50 tractors – all different models, some even looked almost antique and all with families sitting on top enjoying the day! Even the rain didn’t spoil any smiles!

IMG_20140810_180856[1]This of course made me homesick. As some of you know I have lots of farmers in my family and I can honestly say they are the most hardworking and dedicated people I have ever known! I like to think that my family back home was thinking of me on that day, cause I know I was certainly thinking of them. I kept thinking I would see my uncles, or cousins, or grandpa coming around the next bend!

So, once we arrived in Paris we headed straight for the relaxing Jardin du Luxembourg and caught the lovely evening glow:

IMG_20140810_225226[1]But of course none of these pictures or events related to that day’s prompt, which was “handwriting.” While in Paris, I stopped in at the famed “Shakespeare and Co” bookstore, and like any tourist who is visiting Paris and an English major, I had to purchase a copy of Ernest Hemingway’s book “A Moveable Feast.” Published posthumously, this novel is Hemingway’s recount of his time living in Paris in the 1920s. We stayed right in the area where he lived so I was constantly reading about places I was seeing and knowing that Hemingway had once walking those same streets. He wrote a lot about his writing style in the book as well. So for this prompt I decided to write down one of my favorite quotes from the book so far:

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My other favorite quote from the book: “We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.” Really enjoyed reading this book!

Day 12: August 12 – our last day in Paris. We visited various sights and did a lot of walking. We wanted to soak in all of Paris one more time before going home . . .

IMG_20140811_184957[1] IMG_20140812_200608[1]Honestly our favorite way to enjoy Paris was in the parks – especially the Jardin des Tuilieries that extends from the Louvre. I remember, back in 2007 when me and my friend Heather visited, this was also one of our favorite places. We spent a lot of time in front of the Louvre and in the gardens – it’s a peaceful place buzzing with life and nature. I had to include this throwback picture for you all – we were so happy to be exploring and taking in all of life – two good friends seeing the world together . . .

Paris. . . and I am so happy that Paris still holds the same wonder and excitement as it did back then! The prompt for our last day in Paris was “on the table.” Often while in Paris a table for Scott and I consisted of using one of the iconic green garden chairs. We would have our morning coffee and pastry in the gardens, and sometimes a lunch or dinner on these chairs. A good way to soak in life – and the best way I could capture Day 12’s prompt:

IMG_20140812_195450[1]Sadly that ends our trip in Paris and Belgium. If you want to continue to see what’s happening with the daily August Break prompts, feel free to follow me on Instagram – and it’s not to late to join in yourself! I am planning on doing a couple more detailed posts about our trip. Before I go I will leave you with one last picture of Scott and I waiting early in the morning to take a train to the airport and then fly home to the UAE. This was the first time in our two years of living in the UAE that I was excited about returning. Our new apartment is a new home for us and we are so hopeful about this next chapter in our lives . . .

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