Tag Archives: Friends

Thanksgiving 2017

Bit of a last minute arrangement this year, decided to go visited my Czech friend this year in the Bay Area (California) for Thanksgiving. Starting off with a typical American turkey, stuffing, bacon and beans, raspberries and gravy. Great cooking! The weather during the Thanksgiving weekend was lower 60ies to higher 70ies. Perfect for some hiking and sightseeing.

Friday we visited the Golden Gate Bridge, which was cool. Followed by Muir Woods National Monument, where they have the famous Redwood trees. Many Redwoods in this national park area are 900-1300 years old, and among the oldest living things on this planet. Where their cousins the Sequoia are growing wide, Redwoods grow tall. Very tall. The Cathedrals of trees.

Then Saturday we drove to Napa Valley. Visited the Sterling vineyard. Some of the best white wines I ever had there. Also took some pictures of the 10 year old historic castle.

10 year old historic castle

To conclude the Thanksgiving weekend, on Sunday we went whale watching in Monterrey. It was awesome. We saw hundreds of seals, all kinds of birds and 2 types of whales. In total we estimate there were between 12 and 16 whales. With a total of ~50 sightings, if not more. We saw several whales breaching, hunting for food. Saw magnificent tails in the water. A good 3 hour boat trip was not the most pleasant for everyone on board, but the trips was well worth it!


Lords of Acid USA Tour 2017

15 years after getting to know the music, hanging out with several band members on countless occasions and seeing Praga Khan live dozens of times. FINALLY I got to see the Lords of Acid live.

I have to admit, I was nervous and concerned. The band is mostly new, so not really sure what to expect. On top of that, I’ve only done a handful of concerts here in the states, and the atmosphere has always been very different from what I used to know back in Belgium.

Anyhow. Concert in Atlanta at a place called the Masquerade. Though there was a shooting there a few weeks ago, it seemed like a pretty decent club that night. Bought my ticket some months early and with the concert getting closer, tried to meet up with some old friends. Turns out my old time buddy Don came over to Atlanta and had a spare VIP ticket, which I happily accepted. It was an amazing night. The concert was great, full of energy. Great band, good sound, and the best seat in the house. Meeting up with the band was awesome. Praga even recognized me when I walked in, which was cool, as it’s been a decade since we met last time.

Great evening! Thanks all involved, and looking forward to all the pics. (on Facebook, not here!)

Eclipse 2017

August 21st 2017. The first total eclipse in a century moves from West to East over the USA. 2min34 seconds of darkness at 2:34pm EST. We drove towards Greenville, SC for this event. Leaving at 6:30 am from Atlanta for fear of traffic. It was my second total eclipse. My first experience was obstructed by the northern French clouds ~15 years ago, so expectations were high.

Unfortunately, a cloud blocked the sun for about 10 minutes, including the 2’34″ of totality. Another missed chance!

Moral in our road trip gang did not improve during the 6 hour commute back to Atlanta. 3x longer than the drive up to South Carolina.

It was fun, and exciting. The darkness, cold wind, and confused animals; are worth it. But next time seeing the corona during totality is preferable. Let’s make sure to go somewhere with a 0% chance of clouds.

The US gets another opportunity in 2024, who knows where I’ll be then…


Thanksgiving 2016

The Most American of holidays: Thanksgiving & Black Friday!

(Yes, I know Canada, you have Thanksgiving as well… but let’s face it, you are just the 51st state of the USA in many ways).

Some days off, dinner with friends, The President performing his most important job. All joking aside, I do home that President Trump next year only pardons 1 Turkey and gives the other one a “You’re Fried“, statement. Just because, you know, he can. As every year, the Cowboys play the Redskins (Think about it for a second). And Black Friday has resulted again in a number of shootings and deaths. It is good to know America is still the same.

I thought about going shopping, but just the idea of having to go through the masses makes me ill. Plus, I did a bunch of game shopping this week with Targets’ 20% off deal. Checking the prices today on Black Friday, it seems I made a good deal, since most games are now NOT on sale any more. Only select items have huge discounts. Everything else is normal price. For those who are interested I can advise the following website: https://blackfriday.com/ ; and all of your Turkey related issues can be covered by calling the Turkey Hot Line: http://www.butterball.com/turkey-talk-line. If you are lucky, you got Stephen Colbert on the phone this year.

It all began in 1981 when six home economists worked the phones that holiday season to answer 11,000 turkey-cooking questions. Since then the Turkey Talk-Line has grown in both the number of calls answered and experts responding.

I took the liberty of making some changes to my blog. I updated the name. Although I meant nothing with the original title: “Niggy in the USA”, it seems my American friends cannot get used to it. So I changed it, to the very original “Living in the USA”, Although it should probably state “Working in the USA”, as I am not a resident here.

I also added a new page for Games. Since I am very much into board and card games these days.

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!


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!


Big Bend National Park

This Memorial Day weekend we took the trip from Dallas, TX to the far South of the state; to the Big Bend National Park. An 10 hour drive, including some gas & food stops, through the heart of Texas oil country and through largest Texas wind farm. 380 miles straight on highway I-20. Its the type of road trip I really like.

The Big Bend National Park is an amazing place. Desert land, mountains, cliffs, valleys, some rivers (including the Rio Grande, the boarder with Mexico), sand, rocks,… On top of that, plants and wildlife are amazing. Cactus in the wild. It is still something amazing for me. But the cherry on the cake is without doubt the wild snakes we saw (and a crazy Texan pulling the Rattlesnake out of a hole, and his teenage son playing with it using a stick (WTF?!), the wild Black Bear passing by our car (I lack webspace to load the really cool video I made) and the Vultures, eating the roadkill rabbits in the morning. Certainly worth a visit!

Tip for immigrants: Having just your US drivers license/ID with you is apparently not sufficient. Going to Big Bend national park, chances are nearly 100% for you to be stopped by the US boarder patrol on your way out. You will need your official ID’s (passports, I-94,…) to show them. I speak from experience, they did not like the fact I only had my Texas drivers license with me. “This shows me you are allowed to drive in Texas, but it does not prove you are allowed to be here”, the officer told me.

I was taken apart and had to read a paragraph of the law that basically said that the officer in charge could fine me up to 100 USD, put me in jail for up to 30 days and even deport me if he wanted to. Thankfully I got off with a warning, and have now printed my I-94 and take it with me at all times. Just so you all know…

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! :-)