A note about diet and exercise...
Antwerp is a chocolate lover's paradise. As I mentioned before, even the healthy cereals have chocolate filling or chocolate flakes. We were presented with a lovely assortment of pralines, or filled chocolates, when we arrived at the apartment. We've had chocolate croissants and chocolate Special K.
We have also found a great selection of really affordable beer and wine (sadly, I'm not that into beer, though I will likely have the occasional Belgian white beer since it's such an institution...we even saw a man having a juice glass of beer with breakfast in a restaurant we passed this morning).
Finally, if you like specialty meats like salami, knockwurst, sausages, etc., and if you like cheese, Antwerp is for you.
Can we eat all this stuff? Well...yes, actually. And we don't have to worry too much about the consequences. Why? Well, without a car, we get everywhere on foot. Just getting the girls to school, coming home, and going to get them again at noon means 5 miles on weekdays, and that's not counting grocery shopping or sightseeing. Frankly, by mealtimes we are ravenous!
I really enjoyed a lot of the Dutch foods we had on our trip last weekend. Even the names are fun. There's a sandwich filling called kip-sate, which is basically like a chunky chicken satay in peanut sauce that you can put on bread. The girls enjoyed poffertjes (like pohffer'-chyes) which are cute little pancake puffs. Our friend R made a delicious pasta meal with spicy salami and tomato sauce. And we had stroopwaffelen, sweet flat waffle-like cookies with a yummy syrupy filling. M says on Thursdays you can get them fresh from the oven and they're still warm and gooey...mmm!
All continues to go well so far. Perhaps the novelty will wear off in a few weeks when the girls realize in a more concrete way that we are not just here on vacation, but at least once a day JieJie (the harder one to please) says "Mommy, I like living in this apartment!"
So do I. It's a great life and we are thankful every day for the opportunity to experience it. The university students arrive next week, so this is our last "quiet" week as far as program responsibilities go, but then again when the students get here, we'll have a ready supply of babysitters so we can try some of the great restaurants we keep walking past.