I’m writing this as I sit on a…wait for it, because it was 10 minutes late…a bus! I’m on my way to meet some ladies for a cinema matinee. My hope was that an American movie would provide for me the inspiration and motivation I needed to hop on the bus. Returning home to our almost cozy apartment will give me the guts to get back on! As I waited for the bus, a pretty, older woman who was also waiting asked me a question, in French, of course. I understood! I was able to tell her, in French, that this would be my premiere bus ride, that indeed, but number deux cent vingt deux  was en retard; we had a short dialogue all in French. We communicated, and just like that, one of the cultural limitations here was conquered (or at least encountered without my stammering “Je suis Americaine,” and running away). A second chain of culture was bent when I stepped up on the bus. These two little things truly bolstered my confidence and my courage.

Yesterday, Mark suggested I drive him to work, since I had my (first) hair appointment and the need to have a document notarized. As we were making our way toward Mark’s office early yesterday morning, seeing the sign, “Belgique 8 min” amazed me all over again. When I drove to the other side of the city, I saw the sign pointing to Germany. And we’ve been to France a few times since we arrived. So there was something special to me about arranging my errand for the notary, since I had to go to the US Embassy. What I was expecting when I saw the American flag waving on the property behind the barriers was maybe a warm welcome, a bit of small talk, a little “where are you from?” and “how about Donald and Hillary?” As my bag was being searched and I was escorted by uniformed men who were not American, I realized the folly of my fantasy. However, kindness was indeed employed on both sides, and, for a large fee of 50 US dollars,  my document was notarized. In one day, I drove solo through the narrow, busy streets of the city, drove on the highway, went through many roundabouts, paid for parking in a lot and parking on the street, prayed (as my hair was processing) my car wouldn’t be towed due to an expired parking pass, and visited a tiny little bit of my country.

That was yesterday. Today? Good thing I got that conversation and bus thing going, because I’m going to have to do it all again next Friday–I was a week early for the movie!



8 thoughts on “Round and About

  1. That was hysterical Diana! I’m glad you got to drive that cool car! You should have posted a picture of your new hairstyle and color. Do you and Mark like it? I know you were unsure when you left here about going European with your hair. Well as usual your blog was MDR- mort de rire. I cheated and googled lol. They use it- lol, but I like the French better. Keep them coming! Take care. Miss you! 💜 ~ Paula

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. The bus and driving adventure were truly inspirational, but the fact that were brave enough to go get your hair colored in another country speaking limited French is AMAZING and so very brave! You are my hero!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Diana – you are having quite the adventures! I’m so proud of you – the way you’re learning so much and stepping out into the world around you. I want to see the results of the hair appointment – such a significant step. I just had to change hairdressers and that’s quite traumatic. Love you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Diane, just found this. It’s wonderfully funny…. In a very nervously(?) sort of way for me:) Can so hear you saying it all. Congratulations!! Not sure I could’ve done this. How did you find out where to get your hair done?!!:) will be reading more—thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

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