Saturday, February 16, 2008

Daydreaming of Antwerpen

Even though my friend Iene sees nothing special about Antwerp, all I can do now is daydream about where we can go, what we can do, and (look out waistline) what we can taste again.

I can't wait to walk up Sint-Katelijnvest to the Meir, stroll along past the shops, see again the baroque majesty of the buildings along Leysstraat, go to Nachtegalen Park on a Wednesday afternoon with friends when school lets out early, go to Linkeroever and visit the park along the river at van Eeden, hang out in the Groenplaats, explore the markets in the Hoogstraat neighborhood, visit the art museum, Korte Gasthuisstraat and the sweet little shops in that neighborhood, and on and on and on. We want to hang out at Het Elfde Gebod (the Eleventh Commandment) and take pictures this time! And I am going to email JieJie and MeiMei's former school to ask whether the girls might be able to go to school on a Friday around lunchtime and stay for the weekly puppet show, just for old times' sake. The girls rattled off the names of several people they hope to see again, not just at school but also Mr. K and his wife. We'll see the proprietors of the Highlander pub...the woman who runs 't Keizerke...the sweet ladies who sell bread at Goossens...the retired dancer who serves up great coffee and hot croissants at Chicco di Cafe...even though we were only there for four months, I have these faces in my memory...again, must take pictures!

John wants to go back to Brugge (gotta see that new movie In Bruges by the way). I'll be visiting a new business associate in Brussels--more on that later as we make our big announcement in the next couple of weeks. Because John is an historian, his half of the trip is tax deductible, and because I'm visiting T in Brussels to officially shake hands on a joint venture, my half will be tax deductible too! Unfortunately, the girls' visit to Plopsaland is not deductible as a professional expense...but hey, I thought "play was a child's work"!!! Does an established precept of developmental psychology carry no weight with the IRS? I guess not.

I have been hoping to work with more and more EU-based clients as I grow my small business, so another task on the to-do list for this trip is to open an account in euros that EU clients can transfer payments into without either of us having to pay a currency exchange fee. And really, with the euro as strong as it is right now, it makes a lot of sense just to keep some euros. If we keep traveling across the Atlantic every so often, we can use the euros while we're overseas and won't have to pay for currency exchange. Just have to check into tax liability...I'm sure there are some nuances there!

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