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If the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of Belgium is Belgian chocolate, then you are in the right place!

Chocolate is definitely not a tourist trap, it is what Belgians love. Brussels is the only place I’ve ever lived where there are as many chocolate shops as there are bakeries or tortillerias.

Considering chocolate originally comes from Mexico, but was reinvented by Europeans, this Mexican girl had quite the task trying to figure out what makes Belgian chocolate so special. Here are the best top 10 things to do in Brussels for Chocoholics!

VISIT 1| The Chocolate Museum

A museum only about chocolate? Now this is my kind of place! At Choco Story you will not only learn about the history of chocolate but you can also book a workshop and learn more about recipes with cocoa pods. They will take you back to its Aztec origins in Mexico to what makes Belgian chocolates so special. If this is not amazing enough, Choco Stories also does special workshops for kids so it will be something you can do with the whole family.

Location: Rue de la tête d’Or 9-11 1000 Bruxelles

Chocolate from Mexico!

2| Salon du Chocolate – Brussel’s chocolate expo

Salon du Chocolate is the world largest international chocolate exposition. Taking place in various location all over the world like New York, Paris and most recently Dubai. Lucky for you, Brussels also hosts the event every year around February and March. This year the event will take place at Tours and Taxis from the 2nd to 4th of March and 30,000 people are expected to attend the expo. Around 130 exhibitors from every where in the world will showcase their sweet cacao masterpieces. You can read more about it here.

Location: Avenue du Port 86C, 1000 Bruxelles

JOIN 3| A Chocolate making workshop

If learning by doing is your kind of thing you will love joining this chocolate making workshop. But let me warn you, making chocolate is a tough job. Everything is a precise science from the very beginning, which makes the end product so rewarding. You will learn the right way of tempering the chocolate, how to decorate medalions and how to make pralines, Belgium’s chocolate specialty. Nothing beats the feeling of taking home your very own delicious chocolate! Learn more about the workshop here.

Location: Grand Place, 1000 Bruxelles

Just in case your pralines don’t work: you make medalions!

4| A Chocolate tour

Of course if museums, chocolate workshops or fairs don’t satisfy you completely, you can always book a chocolate tour around the capital. Visit Brussels has several options that combine chocolate, the history of the city AND beer. Good thing you will be walking around to burn those calories! Check their options here.

Location: Visit Brussels, Rue Royale 2, 1000 Bruxelles

TASTE 5| Godiva Chocolate Ice Cream

Godiva is one of the most emblematic chocolate brands in the world, it’s no surprise that its chocolate ice cream is to die fooooooor. To find the shop with the ice cream machine, you will need to walk a bit further from the city center. Rest assure, it will all be worth it. The ice cream feels less creamy and more icy, and manages to not be overpoweringly sweet. The best part is that you don’t get the sour chocolatey after taste. When they say it’s luxurious ice cream, they mean it.

Location: Place du Grand Sablon 47, 1000 Bruxelles

Imagine if this would’ve been your medicine prescription. Heaven!

6| The original Praline at Neuhaus

Can you believe that Jean Neuhaus, Neuhaus founder, started actually selling chocolate covered medicine first? He tried to make medicines tastier and he hit it right on the spot! His clients eventually started asking for the chocolates mroe than the medicines and so he switched careers and became a chocolatier! It is said that he is the original praline inventor. And thus the praline became the Belgium’s most famous chocolate trademark!

Location: Galerie de la Reine 25-27, 1000 Bruxelles

7| Luxury chocolate and macarons by Pierre Marcolini

Pierre Marcolini is one of the most recent chocolatier success stories in Belgium. His philosophy “from bean to table” produces one of the best chocolates in the world and he does this by artesanally making his own couverture chocolate, and hand picking his supplier among plantations in Brazil, Equatorial Guinea and Mexico. They produce more than 150 of chocolate per year and recently expanded to China too. Find if there happens to be a store near you here.

Location: Place du Grand Sablon 39, 1000 Bruxelles

8| Wittamer, the Chocolatier Royals love

Wittamer is the chocolatier that produced the King of Belgium wedding desserts. But what is more impressive is the fact that this company started out as a boulangerie four generations ago! Yes, Wittamer is still family run and you can still shop at their original store in the Grand Place. They have stayed on top of their game because they believe in investing in new technology and delivering high quality products. Check out their delicious chocolates here.

Location: Place du Grand Sablon 6-12-13, 1000 Bruxelles

Yes, chocolates comes from trees!

SUPPORT 9| Choose fair trade chocolate

Look for the fair trade logo on the product you plan on purchasing. Although it can be quite tricky to find sometimes, there is a new chocolate brand who’s done it all. Belvas is everything you think modern chocolate should be. It’s organic, fair trade, gluten free, sweetened with stevia and delicious!

Location: Färm Ste Catherine Shop, Quai au Bois à Brûler 43, 1000 Bruxelles or on their online store http://www.chocolaterie-belvas.be/en/

Ceci est un arme: this is a weapon. But for good.

10| Help chocolate do good

Did you know that a shortage of chocolate is expected in a not so distant future? Chocolero’s mission, an organic Belgian-Colombian chocolate company, aims to help former cocaleros (how coca farmers are called in Peru or Colombia) plant cocoa beans instead. With the help of micro credit and fair trade prices they plan to turn the growing drug trafficking problem into peaceful and productive solution. Every bar sold will protect 1m² of cacao-producing land for a season, at the expense of growing coca.

Location: Online shopt at https://www.chocolero.com/

SAVE THIS MAP FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP!

The post Best top 10 things to do in Brussels for Chocoholics appeared first on The Sunny Side of This.

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Before January ends, I will like to update you on my blogging goals for 2018. I was on a motivational high from all the new year energy back when I wrote them!

Now that high has worn off, and I find myself struggling to start even the simplest of tasks.

I feel that what is pushing me back is the fact that my day is quite unpredictable. Some days I get more sleep than others or I have more energy or things don’t actually run late.

But we all know humans are not a perfect machines and that our lives don’t look the same every day. So why am I stuck trying to achieve the unattainable?

It was so refreshing when I heard about ThirdLove’s campaign to encourage women to think about the new year in a different way and I wanted to share the anti-resolution I want to keep. The bra and lingerie company has always had a large focus on empowering and inspiring women, which fits right in with the goals I’ve set for myself this year.

What am I sick of promising myself that I have never been able to accomplish?

I want to stop avoiding things that I want to do just because they are hard or scary. I tend to avoid going into the unknown because I am afraid of failing or because I feel I don’t have what it takes so I don’t even try it out.

I think that a big problem is that I don’t think I will ever get there. Like I see my goals and dreams as this huge tall mountain that I will never be able to reach.

My best friend from Mexico pointed out something really interesting when I told her this. She said,

“You are seeing this as the ultimate destination. You think that by accomplishing all your dreams you will finally find happiness. But it doesn’t work that way. You already have happiness in this moment, you just don’t hold on to it. Working for what you want is continuous process that never ends.”

I need to put my feelings in a bag and get to work. If it were easy, then I guess everybody else would be doing it. Right?

I just really want to change my life around. And I am starting by doing something I have never done before.

By admitting that I have fears, that I have failed before, and that I don’t have things figured out. That anything that I have ever done in my life that was worth while was actually really hard. That there are other sacrifices that I need to make. And that I need to let go of what is easy and comfortable to finally do something that I will be proud of accomplishing.

What are you letting go of in 2018?

The post In 2018, I’m letting go of… (goals update) appeared first on The Sunny Side of This.

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Brussels hosts some of the main bodies of the European Union and various International organizations like NATO. And compared to other major European capitals, like London, Amsterdam or Paris, Brussels is rather affordable. These factors make it a buzzing and attractive city for expats.

We feel very lucky of being part of this International community but, like in any expat tale, our immersion to Belgium has not been without difficulties. Here are some of the things we expected of Brussels before moving, but we kind of changed our minds about after living here for a year. Expectation vs. Reality: what is it like living in Brussels as an expat?

1| EXPECTATION: Belgian treats are the best

Belgium is known for its waffles, fries, beers and, let us not forget, its amazing chocolates! As soon as you arrive to Brussels, you want to have the ultimate foodie experience and taste every single specialty that crosses your path. Only to find out that after a couple of days, your pants will start to hurt a little bit in the belly area.

REALITY: They are but will make you fat.

Yes, Belgian treats are certainly unique and delicious but also loaded with carbs. Fries (which originated here and not in French by the way!) are deep fried AND covered in different flavored mayos. Waffles are whisked with loads of butter and sugar. And even though those hand crafted chocolates are amazing, you might want to limit yourself with a couple of pralines a day.

2| EXPECTATION: I will go to ALL museums

One of the major perks of living in a city like Brussels is the amount of International expositions happening all year long. Plus, its museums are specialized in particular areas of the arts and they are concentrated in its majority at Mont des Arts, Brussel’s art district. Quite the scene for art lovers and connoisseurs.

REALITY: ‘When is the free museum day? Oh, yesterday.’

Well, the museums are not cheap. Good news is that some museums are free all year round (though they are quite specialized and in my humble opinion not so interesting but hey! Save them for a rainy day). Other museums are free some days of the month. You can check the FAQ of Brussels Museums here.

3| EXPECTATION: I won’t let the rain bring me down

Everybody warns you that it rains a lot in Brussels. In your mind, you are ready to adapt. Surely they sells umbrellas and you have your trusty raincoat with you, right? If people live and go to work there every day, it must mean that it is not impossible to bare.

REALITY: Only goes out if extremely necessary

Rain gets old pretty quickly here in Brussels. You have two kinds of rain in Brussels, one that lasts the whole day and another one that will sort of caught you off-guard because the weather forecast didn’t register it but it will be a small cloud that just drizzles for a while and leaves. But rain is not so much of an issue as the wind is. Sometimes extreme winds come together with rain or snow making it extremely annoying and even dangerous at times.

4| EXPECTATION: I will taste all the amazing Belgian beers

Did you know that Belgian beer is listed as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage for humanity? Belgians treat their beer seriously and so. The choices are endless and unique like the Lambic beer, which is made from wild yeast of the region, Flemish red beers, and Stout beers. Some beers taste sweet, others will give you a sour aftertaste. But every one is unique in their own way, from the ingredients to the manufacturing process, to the way it is served! Think of Kwak for example.

REALITY: One beer will give you the worst hangover ever

Beers in Belgium have a lot more alcohol than most wines. I’m talking like 14%-20% alcohol in some extreme cases. But since the beer tastes strong but refreshing, you don’t really realize that the alcohol level could be compared to those of strong liquors. I once young and naïve once and didn’t think much of the consequences of drinking lots of Belgian beers, please learn from my mistakes.

5| EXPECTATION: Being the European Capital, in a bilingual country, surely most people will speak English too

Belgium is divided by the Flemish-speaking in the North and the French-speaking region in the South. Brussels is the capital of the country and therefore bilingual. It hosts a lot of American and British companies besides the well-known International organizations like the European Commission, European Parliament and NATO. One of the biggest perks is actually finding great healthcare services in your mother tongue, because several clinics are founded with foreigners in mind. For example, there are German-focused facilities (German is also an official language in Belgium) and even Japanese, Italian, Polish, Russian, Russian doctors gathered in their own language speaking clinics. You can even find doctors and therapists who speak Spanish. At the hospital where I gave birth, despite French being the dominant language, most students now speak English and Spanish too. I don’t know if you can find something so special like this anywhere else in the world.

REALITY: Most people only speak French

Despite the fact that a lot of the major governmental and private services are in English, I find it very odd that people in the restaurant industry – other than those who work at buzzing city center- don’t speak English. Particularly in the European Quarters sector. If you don’t speak French is hard to navigate stores to be honest. I also find it odd that a lot of schools who offer English in the curriculum don’t speak English themselves. What is good though, is that most people don’t mind if you don’t speak perfect French and will help you out if you don’t understand something.

These are some of the major reality checks expats living in Brussels will experience in their first year in the city. Join me today on my Facebook Live event to discuss even more funny stories and experiences. I would love to hear about your cultural shocks!

It will take place tommorrow, January 27th, at 9 pm UCT+1! Click here to follow the Gacebook page and join the fun!

See you then! xx

The post EXPECTATION vs. REALITY: The honest truth about living in Brussels as an expat appeared first on The Sunny Side of This.

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Nothing like a goal post to start off the new year right!

Unlike this time last year, where I didn’t have any solid plans for the blog, I find myself inspired and excited for what lies ahead. I actually have a couple of big projects I want to undertake (which make me both ecstatic and scared at the same time).

Besides having a brighter outlook on things, this time around, I also have a plan.

I call this plan: “Less Talking and More Doing”.

Because for the longeeeeeeeest time, I only talked about where I wanted to take this blog but never did a single thing about it. Obviously, becoming a mom and being an expat puts a strain in the amount of time I have during the day but I will stop making excuses for myself, roll my sleeves and get to work.

Procrastination, it was nice to meet you. But this girl is going places.

WHY I WANT TO ATTEND THE BLOGGERS’ RETREAT

Imagine my delight when I saw that The Travel Hack and Twins That Travel announced this year’s dates for The Bloggers’ Retreat. The place to learn all about what it takes to make it in this industry.

I would love to learn from the best while meeting inspiring bloggers who, I can only imagine, are in the same boat as me. Feeling hopeful & energetic yet confused and overwhelmed. I miss the camaraderie that working on a same project brings. I learn best when I share and listen.

What’s more, they opened a competition for a chance to win The Golden Ticket to the event, which means that you will get to attend the whole event completely for free. And this is my entry for the event! Send me all the good vibes!

I think The Bloggers’ Retreat will give me the right tools to launch the next stage for this blog. Particularly with the projects I want to accomplish.

BLOGGING GOALS:

So now to the good stuff. What can you expect from The Sunny Side of This in 2018? (BTW, you are welcome to hold me accountable at any time after reading this!)

Embark on what challenges me

It’s super easy to get caught up in the social media game. Although I agree that numbers and diversifying to video platforms is important, I need to remember why I even started this in the first place. And it was to write. Even though being a Youtuber is the coolest thing right now, I know that I will use it as another excuse to not sit down and do what I meant to do all along: which is to write a book. I’m not saying that starting a YouTube channel is not challenging, or that I might not do it in some future, but since I only have so many hours in the day, I will concentrate on doing what I know best and taking it to another level.

This includes photography as well. I want to capture more moments and less Instagram type images that end up looking like what everybody else is doing. I want to look back and remember the reasons why I had such an amazing time. Like when you look back at your parents pictures, and the minute they see them they know exactly the feeling and story behind it.

Write more in-depth posts, consistently

This is one of the things that I very excited about actually. I want to write more of my expat stories and observations. But since I don’t want to generalize things, I want to do more in-depth research for things like traditions, food and culture, and feminism.

I get asked a lot in Mexico about what is it like to be a woman in Europe, since it is perceived as a more equal society for women. And although I have A LOT to say about it, I want to take a more journalistic approach to the matter. Mainly because a lot of you guys might not know about the particular issues Mexico is facing at the moment and I don’t want to paint the wrong picture. The main topics I want to touch upon are: safety, education, career and motherhood. If you want me to tackled on a specific topic let me know.

Produce high quality travel guides

It’s been a long time coming but I need to share with you all my knowledge about Slovenia and Sonora, Mexico. I did a mini Instagram poll and a lot of you would like to know more about traveling to the driest state in Mexico and I am all for it.

Since it is particularly hard to find information about it now, I’ll make it my mission to make it as accessible and knowledgeable for you. It’s been on my mind to publish one since I stumble across several Lonely Planet guides that said “it is really dry and there’s nothing to do, skip it if you can”.

Saaaay what?! Listen, I know it is not the cultural center of the Universe but there’s a lot to discover in a state right in the middle of the most diverse deserts in the world!

I am happy to announce that they will be available in Spanish too. I hope that by going to The Bloggers’ Retreat I get the chance to learn how to make and launch my own product. It is actually the class that I am the most excited (and ready) for!

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson  (fellow travel writer FYI ;-))

In the era of immediate gratification, patience is the most expensive virtue. I intend to make a daily habit of celebrating the small victories whether or not the external forms of validation recognize it or not a.k.a the Instagram Algorithm.

I want to take this daily practice to every other aspect in my life also.  And I will come back to this post when I feel overwhelmed or defeated. Because there will be obstacles and life can get crazy. I want to wake up every day and do this whether I had a good night’s sleep or the perfect day planned out ahead of me.

Let’s get to work. Thank you for making it at the end of this post!

Promise to keep reinventing and delivering value to this tiny space that started as a diary in my room back at home, to a project that’s been help me achieve some pretty amazing things.

The post My blogging goals for 2018, and why I want to attend The Bloggers’ Retreat ✍️ appeared first on The Sunny Side of This.

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Antwerp is like Brussels’s cool younger artsy sister. You know, the kind of girl who can make mom jeans look effortlessly chic. Even though Antwerp is obviously still a big, buzzing city, you somehow feel a much more laid-back vibe that than of the capital. It doesn’t need the official title as the capital of the country. After all, it is the fashion and diamond epicenter of Europe.
I’m sad we only got to spend a day in Antwerp because it has a lot to offer for a city break. But if you are short on time like us and want to experience some of the charm and cool vibes of the city, I got your back. This is a mini guide of what to do in Antwerp in a day.

BRUNCH
Guzzi’s – Italian Piadina Bakery
For a cozy morning coffee and brunch, head here first. Their dough is made in-house and they serve both sweet and savory treats. Plus, they are locate right next to the city center and they have an amazing view to the main Market Square. Not only is everything fresh and delicious but their staff is super friendly and they easily accommodate to your preferences.

SIGHTSEEING
Market squareRight on the middle of the Market Square, you will find the Brabo Fountain depicting Antwerp’s most famous legend, the mythical hero Brabo. According to the legend, the giant Antigoon demanded a high toll for each ship that wanted to enter the city. If the ship’s crew did not want to pay the toll, their hands were cut off. The hero Brabo fought the giant, cut its hand and head and threw the hand in the river. The fountain’s statue depicts Brabo throwing the giant’s hand in the river Scheldt and symbolizes the free passage through the river. This legend is meant to symbolize the win of Antwepians over the Dutch ruling on their river. And it is said that this is where the city takes its name.

Stone castleAlso around the city center, you will find this medieval fortress alongside the Scheldt river. It is the city’s oldest building and the different layers of color show the renovations made through time, meaning that the white stone place on top of the gray tiles was added later. Antwerp is still one of the biggest ports of Europe, imagine how important was this castle back then! It used to control the access of ships to the mainland and it was also a prison for some time.

St. Charles Borromeo ChurchThe church is quite average looking from the outside, but inside to admire this stunning painting. Fun fact, a unique feature of this church is the original and still functioning mechanism above the main altar used to switch the paintings from below the ground and the church was build back in 1615.. now that is some clever engineering!

Hendrik Conscience SquareThe church is located in this square, named after Antwerp’s most popular poet and novelist Hendrik Conscience. His peculiar pose makes him the target for some students’ practical jokes. Let’s just say they like to cover him up with scarves when it is cold or share a beer with him over the weekend. Below, and not pictured, you will find tiles placed in the shape of the four card suits: hearts, ace, diamonds and clubs. This is because back then, the square was a popular spot for people to get together and play cards.

VlaeykensgangOne of the city’s best kept secret is the Vlaeykensgang alley. The alley dates from 1591 and connects Hoogstraat, Oude Koornmarkt Pelgrimstraat with one another. The city used to be built this way before its present day modernization. Navigating through it now feels like you are back in time. Now you can find cute cafes and stores inside.

NelloNello is a relatively new statue, but it’s already the most photographed one of the city. Nello is the dog from a famous tale called story A Dog of Flanders. The story is very sad but oddly enough had more commercial success in Japan. Actually, the statue was made by the Japanese government because flocks of Japanese tourists come to Antwerp just to visit the places the story mentions. Some even cry at the sight of it! Once you read the story you will understand why.

Antwerp’s Little RascalMeet Brussel’s Manneken Pis little cousin, Antwerp’s little rascal. And much like his little cousin, not a lot makes sense about this statue other than they’re just mischievous boys. Some people say rubbing his butt brings good luck but hmmm, I didn’t want to try that out. Anyway, it adds to the collection of weird things to see while in Belgium.

Cathedral of Our Lady and Rubens Statue
Even though this Cathedral is massive, it’s still pretty much unfinished with only one of the towers standing. In typical Gothic style, there should be two towers but wars interrupted the completion. It hosts painting by Peter Paul Rubens, one of the most notable and prolific Flemish artists and pictured above. During his lifetime, he had his studio in Antwerp. He is most-known for painting “full-figured” women in typical male-gaze style. He was also known as a womenizer and the pose chosen for this statue certainly shows it (it looks like he is grabbing someone’s butt).

DRINKS
Elfde Gebod
The name of the bar literally translate to the 11th commandment. Pretty clever name for a bar, lol. Before living in Belgium, my husband used to come to Antwerp every year for work. One of the traditions was to grab a drink at this bar every time they were there. So I was relived that I finally got to experience it too after hearing about it a million times. It is really a peculiar place. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place like this. I guess it is the kind of place you go when you feel like not going to church on a Sunday :)

Antwerp is filled a fun, quirky legends and places. And it has lots more to offer like the Diamond museum and epic fashion streets, both established and upcoming independent designers. And it is nothing short of boring!

Welcome to another edition of #WanderfulWednesday! The link-up where you can share your expat and travel highlights and musings with us.

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I hadn’t realize how different my life seems to other people until going back to Mexico. People assume that I’m alone the whole day, and while it might be true to some extent, I’m definitely not lonely. Not only do I see familiar faces every day, like my neighbors’ or my classmates at the gym, I also have started to build some kind of social life.

For the moment, I am putting some effort in building a community of mommy friends. Even though it is not easy because you can hardly finish a conversation when you’re taking care of your baby, everybody’s on the same boat as you and it so refreshing and fun to relate. Let me take you on what a day in the life of an expat mom in Brussels looks like!

I guess Max is not a fan of Mondays!

MORNING

Our day started at 7 am with the sound of Max’s sweet wake up calls :) They are these discrete baby cries that say something between the lines of “mommy, time to wake up! I’m bored!”. So then I get up, change his diaper, play with him or snuggle a bit and then I give him a bottle. After that, I make coffee and he helps me get breakfast ready. After my husband is ready, we have coffee together. After he leaves, Max and I play some more and catch up on our favorite Youtube videos or play some music. Lately, he’s been loving Feels. A beat he couldn’t get enough of in Mexico!

At 9 am, Max is already ready for his first nap of the day. And it usually lasts around 40 min. This time though, went on until 10:00 which meant we were a bit late for our play group date. But since this one is an unstructured playgroup, it is more flexible for those of us with smaller children. The playgroup we were attending is one of the many activities planned by BCT-Brussels Childbirth Trust. Over the summer, I signed us up to this club for international families settled in Brussels. They ran several parental support groups, playgroups, courses for their members like First Aid Care and job seeking workshops. They also even publish their own magazine filled with useful information about fun events going on in Brussels and the area. Our commune has a weekly morning coffee, and I also attend the playgroups at one of their locations, which is where we were headed this time.

The club is so well organized and there are always tons of activities that for lack of organization I keep missing, but now all of October’s events have been added to my calendar. They even have a Spanish Speaking group that gets together once every month and apparently there will be a Halloween fiesta this year. Definitely check them out if you are in Brussels!

He always loves these playgroup date because he basically has the chance to play with toys he doesn’t have yet, lol. Which also helps me decided which toys are worth investing in. For example, back when I was thinking of getting him a baby gym, one of the girls who hosted one morning coffee had one and as soon as he saw it, he couldn’t get enough of it. We purchased one similar and he has loved it ever since! He also loves meeting new babies like him, and is just now beginning to interact more with them. It is very endearing, and sometimes so mind blowing to see how fast they grow.

He had a snack there and immediately felt asleep after. Luckily I was with my carrier,so I stayed for a little bit while he slept. I played it cool while everyone sang nursery rhymes in English because I basically don’t know any of them. Okay, maybe a couple from when I was in kindergarten but I don’t remember them and plus he was asleep so I had the perfect excuse.

AFTERNOON

We were back home by lunch time and some more play time before he felt asleep again for his proper second nap of the day. The last one was more of a snooze because we were home pretty soon after he fell asleep. After I ate, we both fell asleep for like two hours straight. He really sleeps more comfortable in his bed and when everything is dark and quiet. After that, we woke up to the unfortunate events of a poop explosion. I remember a time when I was disgusted by the amount of time new parents talk about poo. But now that I am a mom, I realize how normal it is and how much poop rules your life.

Anyway, after a good hour cleaning the mess and bathing him and everything, it was back to play time again!! We usually go for a walk around this time, but then again, life got a bit hectic and by the time I wanted to go out it was pretty cold to go anywhere. An hour really makes a world of a difference to the weather in Brussels!

poop, what poo mom? why are you divulging this information about me on the Internet?! I never poop or do disgusting things like that!

At around 5pm it’s dinner time for him. He loves eating his fruit and veggies purees, but his all-time favorite is the one with banana and apples. This puree is his favorite thing in the whole wide world. That worried face he has on the picture on the left? It is basically him being sad with 1 second that has passed since his last bite. The first time he tried it, he jumped up and down with joy and was basically begging for more. He always wants to lick the plate after eating it. Honestly, this doesn’t happen with the other purees I’ve done. Then again, those include zucchines and well, I guess this option is much better!

EVENING
My husband usually arrives home at around 5 pm, and since I haven’t renewed my gym subscription (oopsie!), we have dinner together quite early and play with the baby. Yesterday, we were trying to teach him how to give things. Let’s just say he is better at taking them, lol. We then do Max’s bath time together and soothe him at around 7-7:30 before going to sleep. We dim the lights, turn off the TV  because he gets distracted and  overstimulated it is hard to make him go to sleep. We give him a bottle and it’s bedtime for him!

night night, precious little munchkin!

NIGHTTIME
Now this is Mommy time! Right after Maximilian goes to bed, I get “unready” for the day. I remove my makeup, clean my face with this Rituals cleansing moringa cream and brightening face exfoliant. After that I took a bath, washed my hair and once I was done, I put on my much needed Louis Widmer eye cream and a little bit of this amazing Skyn Iceland blemish gel. Then I spray some of this Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Miracle mist on top of my face and hydrate my skin with Sweet Almond Oil (for my stretch marks) and Dove DermaSpa Goodness body lotion for the rest of my body.

After this, my husband and I spend some time together either by watching Youtube, a movie or a TV series.This time we watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and it was okay I guess. I was basically an anxious mess yesterday after I heard about what happened in Las Vegas. I thought of all the families that have been devastated by this senseless tragedy. I also thought about the times I strolled around those streets without a care in the world, and of all my friends and family who have attended concerts there. That could’ve been us.

And maybe it is because I am a mother now, but if I used to feel these things a lot, now I feel them a while lot deeper. How can make a better world for him? How can I protect him, us? What kind of world will he grow up in? What kind of tools will he need to have in order to navigate this world? And maybe it is also because I am an expat mom but, how will this affect our lives abroad? Our travels? Can we move to an igloo?

On a more positive note, I never thought I would love routines and find joy even in the most mundane of things, like riding the tram or dealing with poop explosions. I still love adventure and spontaneity, but there is something about building a home and bond together that makes my heart burst with happiness. It feels a thousand times better than catching those after party sunrises at the beach. And man, that was my favorite thing in the whole world.

Did you liked this day in the life? What else would you like to know about the life of an expat mom?

From Brussels with love,
Isabel

Welcome to another edition of #WanderfulWednesday! The link-up where you can share your expat and travel highlights and musings with us.

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Max’s 1st time in Mexico was a huge success! Every day was a small party with lots of people coming over to meet him and snuggle and kiss him and pinch those cute cheeks. There was no shortage of sunlight, baby giggles, afternoons by the pool, and cake (lots, lots of cake).

will never get enough of this photo!!!

While we were there, we celebrated three main events: his 6 month “half birthday”, my 27th birthday, and Mexico’s Independence Day. It was also the first time he dipped his feet in the sea, something he loved, and also the first time he tried papaya, something he truly hated.

this is him after his 1st bite of papaya, not pleased, not pleased at all

Oh, and he also traveled over 20,000km just to surprise his grandfather! No biggie! (a plan that by the waaaaay got ruined because someone I know told my dad about this “surprise trip” but I love this person so I can’t be really mad at him for long but let’s just say revenge is coming – and no it was not Miha #youknowwhoyouare)

traveling is so exhaaaausting

Max seamlessly made his way into the hearts of everybody. Something that was hard not to do, specially when he is always smiling and laughing with you. Since he is basically with me 24/7, I was concerned all these new people will scare him but he loved every second of this new attention.

loving his abuelito snuggles <3

He did so good on the plane, basically sleeping the whole day there. I credit this by the fact that we traveled at night, so during the big chunks of traveling it was his nighttime. Of course, I could’ve just gotten lucky. It took him almost a week to get used to the new timezone which didn’t seated well with mommy on the weekends when she went out with her friends. But babies don’t care if you are hangover. Also post-baby, you can get a hangover just by having 3 beers #imsomuchfuntobearound.

tough times

In other non-Max related news, I tried three new restaurants which I loved and grammed. Luckily, we will be going back to Mexico in December and I’ll make more of the effort to go out and try new places. I debated my whole time there whether to go out or have some home made food. And my mommy’s food won most of the time, duh.

My bestie Vivian also treated me to a spa day for a manipedi and got so relaxed I forgot to put it in my Instastories, which makes me both bad blogger and friend. I also took advantage of my parent’s new home and the neighborhood club’s gym and pool which made the 41C bearable. And I celebrated my birthday with some of my long time friends and family. It was so surreal but oh so special to be all together at the same place after 3 years!

The whole trip went better than I could’ve predicted, particularly with the jetlag and traveling with him. It was not so exhausting as I thought it would be and it was the cutest bonding experience for us.

Every day started with no plan at all, leading to lots of spontaneous gatherings and sweet memories. Plus, we will be back in December with my better half and I just can’t wait!!

But guess who is now struggling with jetlag and has been up for more than 24h and just 6h of sleep ✋. This girl. So wish me luck in trying to catch up on some sleep!

From the very happy side of this,
Isabel

PS: thanks to everyone who answered the survey! I should write down your comments and come back to them when I am sad, you made my day!! The winners of the giveaway are: Sarah from Endless Distances, Karlijn from Karlijn’s Kitchen and Ruth from Tanama Tales

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Welcome to another edition of #WanderfulWednesday! The link-up where you can share your expat and travel highlights and musings with us.

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The post Max’s 1st time in Mexico!!! ✨ appeared first on The Sunny Side of This.

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If you’ve been following the news lately then you know that the past couple of weeks have been devasting for Mexico, with several earthquakes hitting the South and the nation’s capital Mexico City. Yesterday, 32 years after the most devasting earthquake Mexico City had seen, it was hit by yet another catastrophic one at a magnitude of 7.1.

I’m writing this post for anyone wondering how they can help Mexico right now wherever you are. Your help will be deeply appreciated.

FOR DONATIONS
If you’re outside of Mexico, the easiest way to help is by donating. At the moment there are two main organizations that need urgent help, Topos and the Red Cross.

Topos http://www.topos.mx/
Topos is a professional non-profit Mexican rescue team that are not only saving people in Mexico City right now, they are also still working in other of the affected areas from previous events.
How can you help?
In Mexico you can donate at:
Bank: Santander
No. Account: 92-00070929-4
CLABE: 014180920007092942
Reference: Brigada de Rescate Topos Tlaltelolco, A.C.

Anywhere else:
Paypal: donativos@brigada-rescate-topos.org

Red Cross
There are several ways you can help the Red Cross:

In Mexico:
1. You can help by donating medical kits, diapers, canned goods, baby formula and mil, basic toiletries and clothes to your local Red Cross. Please check the website here: https://www.cruzrojamexicana.org.mx/
2. You can send your donations to this local account:

In Mexico and anywhere else, you can purchase from the Red Cross Amazon Wishlist with this link: https://www.amazon.com.mx/b?ie=UTF8&node=17290014011 (It updates every few hours). Or donate directly on their website: https://cruzrojadonaciones.org/

You can also check this website for updated info on donation accounts, shelters, blood donation, and goods collecting points accross the nation: http://comoayudar.mx/.

IF SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN MEXICO AT THE MOMENT:

Here are the emergency telephone numbers they need to know:
Cruz Roja (Red Cross): 065
Bomberos (Firefigthers): 068
Policia Federal (Federal police): 066
Policia Cd. de México (Police in Mexico City): 52425100
Proteccion Civil (Civilian Protection): 52774177

Telcel opened a free wiki account they can use in case they don’t have internet. This is the info:
@icloudmexico
Red: Infinitum Móvil
User: 6865543305
Password: 21100

AT&T made all calls, internet data and SMS free for anyone in Mexico with their network as well to friends and family in the US that want to call or send SMS to Mexico.

To check the status of their flights, they can go to this link: https://www.aicm.com.mx/vuelos. They can also call this phone number: 51 33 40 00 (In Mexico City), or call their operator free toll number.

You can also use Google’s person finder here: http://google.org/personfinder/2017-puebla-mexico-earthquake?lang=en

And this is all for the moment. Feel free to share this to anyone who might need it or on your social media channels in order for it to get to the right people.

Mexico, I’m in awe on how you came together in this moment of adversity. Let’s keep being strong #fuerzamexico.

Source of featured image.

The post How you can help Mexico right now appeared first on The Sunny Side of This.

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