Tag Archives: friendly americans

4th of July – Trip to Denver Colorado / Rocky Mountains

Ever since I moved to the USA, I have promised my friend and former colleague (now customer) Dexter (not real name) to visit him in Colorado. Living in Denver, I refer to him as “the mountain man”, which -so I learned- is not 100% correct.

Denver is an interesting city. Being at the altitude it is, it makes you breath differently. I thought I was just going to make a fool out of myself just asking the question, but turns out I was not going crazy; Denver does make you breath differently.

We visited the arts festival, lots of weird and/or creepy things. Was very nice, and makes me want to visit more of these things here in Atlanta area (my walls are still very blank). July 4th weekend, decided to go and search for “South Park” Colorado.


I’m a huge fan of the show, and discovered that South Park is not a real city, it is a region of plains within the mountains. Funny how we could see the snow on the mountains, even in summer, just like in the show.




IMG_0297We hiked the “Colorado trail” to a point higher than any mountain in Europe. (See picture above). And found several Colorado state flowers still in bloom (which apparently surprised my guides). Very pretty and a great way to celebrate the 4th of July.

We ended my short trip to Colorado with a visit to the Colorado history museum. Learned there is still one tribe of Indians, we learned that Colorado once closed its border from the other US states (exactly what happens in Europe now), we learned that the Americans once migrated and overtook the Mexicans, we learned about the deportation of Japanese Americans during World War II. We learned a lot about today, by reading about history of Colorado. At times, scaryly accurate to today. And, last but not least, we learned that Casa Bonita (from the South Park episode) is a real place.

Thank you for a great experience!


The story of a Belgian in America: Company Blog Post

We’ve published 4 blog posts about my expat experience the past weeks. Please follow the following links to read the 4 posts.

I’ve had generally very good feedback on these, and many LinkedIn requests. However, I’ve also had some remarks that I’m not very positive about the USA in my writing. I’m sorry to say, but the people who understood that from the blog post, completely missed the point. The blog was not meant as a glorification of America. It is about the experience, the transformation, of a person moving abroad and integrating/assimilating into the “foreign” society. It is not meant to be about America, it is meant to be about the expat, the person. Things you experience, things that are different, roadblocks, etc. Immigrants are a different breed. It is something people that never lived abroad for an extended period of time will never understand. I’m not asking for understanding or (dis)approval. My intention is to give people who are willing to take the jump, an idea what to expect. Do not give up while waiting for your visa, do not stop your life while waiting. Pay attention on remuneration, comparing is difficult, it is OK to miss things, but don’t get homesick. Understand you will change as a person in every way possible and understand the people around you will most likely not understand. Just like Steve Jobs was nervous every time he had to go on stage to show the latest Apple product, so does the expat feel nervous every time he/she ends up in a new situation. And just like Jobs, the expat will come out of the situation stronger and a step closer to perfection. But, and this is a big but, it is not for everyone. You need to be the type of person who wants to be nervous about things, who wants to be put out of your comfort zone. THAT is the point of this 4-series blog post.


1) How it all started
2) The paperwork struggle
3) Discover the people, discover yourself
4) Atlanta is Home


Holiday Season


Year end, the time when families come together and celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to celebrate ‘the american way’ with two families accepting me into their homes and treating me as family. I’m sad to announce I am leaving Texas and move to Georgia, to be closer to the office, and that sadness is largely due to the wonderful Texans I have met the past 2 years.

We celebrated Christmas by introducing the Flemish tradition of “Lukken” (a type of Belgian butter waffle) and Cointreau, to my American family. A Belgian family tradition they seemed to enjoy. Thank you for the wonderful times!


2014 is here

Happy new year!

It’s been a while since I last posted here. That’s a good sign, apparently I am too busy to think about my blog.

Christmas was great. Thank you to my American friends for inviting me! It was a blast!
New Years was awesome too, spending it with the most multicultural group of expats I could ever imagine. Almost every continent was represented (except Australia), which was kind of cool. A lot of fun, and a lasting hangover on my credit card statement :-)

I’ve been here almost a year, so start to get into the ‘normal’ routine of living. Re-signing my apartment lease, changing the cable bill (which I cancelled to the bare minimum because I have NetFlix now). It is weird, because I still feel like I am on holiday here, not really living. Sometimes I do forget I am not a local, which is a proof of assimilation… I hope. I’ve been cooking a lot at home lately. Although I enjoy cooking, I miss having my out-of-town colleagues around and hang out with them. The USA consultant life, I’m really hoping for it to happen this year!

2013 has been a really great year for me, but somehow I feel like 2014 will be even better. February is very promising with lots of parties, friends, food, travel and fun at work.
Tomorrow is the ‘Big Game’, good stories may come out of that. Then we move to St Patrick’s Day, which is kind of my personal ’1 year’ mark. I have my first out-of-Dallas assignment and going to travel to New Jersey, through Philadelphia (PA). I need to get myself some additional sweaters and a warm coat to walk around there. I get annoyed these days if temperature falls below 60F. Too much of the good stuff around here.

There is much more to tell, but not things I want to share with the internet… sorry! :-)


Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season in the USA.
The great American holiday celebrating the first harvest in the New World; is probably the holiday of the year. It is the most important family day in the USA and it is the busiest day for traffic (air, train and road).
Turkey is the national dish that marks this holiday, pretty much like Christmas back in Europe. Americans love traditions, much more than the average European, so almost everyone in the entire country is having Turkey.

Being here for the first time, my mother (back in Belgium) was kind of worried about me spending the holidays alone. I have to admit, this was a concern to me too before I moved. Would America and the American people accept me in their lives? Living here now, I know Americans are very friendly and open people. Several people have invited me to their homes to celebrate all the major holidays; including Thanksgiving.

So I went to the parents home of some friends I made here in the past months. All the people (family and friends) were really nice and friendly. The food was… amazing. The common perception back in Belgium that Americans never cook and cannot cook food, is just plain wrong. The picture below, was the best turkey I ever had, and without doubt one of the better meals I’ve had since moving to the USA.


It was a really good experience and I want to thank my hosts for the invite! Another great American tradition I can tick off my to-do list.
Thank you!

My First Halloween

Halloween, celebrated on October 31st, is a tradition brought to the USA by Irish and Scottish immigrants. From personal experience, it seems that Halloween, for those around my age, is fairly similar to that other Irish-American holiday of Saint Patrick’s Day. You dress up (for the first time in 10 years in my case!), obviously, but other than that there seems to be a lot of alcohol involved…

It is amazing how much effort Americans spend on Halloween. All over town front yards and houses are covered in Halloween style, there is tons of candy for the children and people wear all kinds of cool or just very clever costumes. It is not just about the costume, it is also about the time and thought you put in a costume. Some costumes are pretty expensive, others really cheap. It is kinda cool to see how couples dress up to be ‘hot-dog and mustard’, for example. Lots of creativity and everything is possible.

Another great American experience to tick off my checklist :)

I keep fogetting…

I keep forgetting how friendly Americans are. I often find myself just observing how people interact and deal with each other, in traffic, shops, at work, restaurants,… and I sometimes forget I am part of the people too. When you buy groceries in Belgium, you will usually not talk to anyone, and keep conversation with the cashier to the bare minimum.

I was so quiet today, that the cashier actually asked me if something was wrong. Still a lot to learn before I’m a local.