food adjustments in Belgium

After nearly four months in Ghent, I think I have a pretty good idea for what’s available food-wise and what, sadly, is not. It’s not quite the food-wonderland I imagined it would be back when we first found out we would move here, but there are lots of things for our bellies to be happy about.

First, some positives. Good cheese, good chocolate, good bread, good frites. The grocery store I go to most regularly always seems to have kale, which is such a beautiful thing. There are usually avocados, but since it’s winter, they’re terrible right now. I can deal with that.

Some other things I’ve noticed that will take some getting used to are the types of produce available. There are a lot more leeks and witloof here compared to the US or Bishkek. In the US, a “witloof” is called a Belgian endive, not just “endive” like I had previously thought. It turns out that an endive is an entirely different leafy, green thing. I had cooked with leeks before in the US, but I get the impression that they’re used a lot more commonly here (or in Europe in general). Is there some wacky obsession with potatoes that I was previously unaware of? Bags of potatoes (of which there are many many varieties) are clearly labeled with their appropriate usage and defining characteristics. I usually just grab any bag within reach.

There is always rabbit for sale at my grocery store, which has been fun experimenting with. This recipe is quite delicious.

The availability of peppers is woeful, especially compared to the Western US (where Farrell is from). Farrell’s mom, when she visited over the holiday, said that would be a deal-breaker if she couldn’t cook her usual, pepper and chile-filled dishes. My usual supermarket carries… bell peppers. Luckily, we found acceptable chilies at a Turkish market for Farrell to make his Coloradan green chile with (similar to the green chile stew mentioned here).

There is an Indian grocery store so close to my house and it is enabling a lot of obscure spice purchases. There were so few sources for Indian food in Bishkek (compared to Chinese food) and only a few restaurants serving it, so having this grocery store here is great. Now I finally have a chance to stock up on ingredients and try cooking Indian food for myself. Even back when I lived in DC, I would eat Indian and Pakistani food often, but there were so many restaurants around that I never needed to cook it.

Of course, being in a new place, even just being in a new kitchen, means I have to adjust all of my usual dishes. Gone are the mini-stores selling basic food items peppered short distances from my house, like they are in Bishkek, so grocery shopping is a bit more difficult (especially hauling around Darwin, who’s no longer a little nugget that I can strap to my chest). Now I even have to (ugh) plan our meals in advance. It feels so mom-ish. And our work and home situation is different now; with Farrell’s long commute it means that I am cooking about 90% of our meals, which is a change from Bishkek where he did the majority of the cooking.

The peanut butter selection is dismal, but at least it exists. Darwin will not grow up without PB&Js.

I’m going through a breakfast slump and this article reminded me of Vegemite! I’ve seen Marmite available (I am firmly in the Anti-Marmite, no-they’re-not-the-same-at-all Camp) but I no longer have a bunch of Aussie friends constantly going back and forth to their homeland who can bring me back a jug of that salty, yeasty goodness.

Frites have become a weekly treat for our household. While we usually prefer mayo and Americaine sauce (which has nothing to do with America, from what I understand) with our frites, Farrell was once convinced to try Samurai sauce as well (pictured above).

Other than (all of) that, the offerings seem to be pretty typical compared to any normal US grocery store in the suburbs (not my beloved Whole Foods, nothing compares to that). Some baking ingredients have been a bit tough to find, and it seems like nothing comes in the mega-packaging I’m used to in the US. Baking powder in most of the world comes in little 10 gram packets, which I can’t easily scoop my gigantic tablespoon into to make fluffy American-style pancakes. Visitors are always welcome to bring me a canister of Clabber Girl.

All in all, we’re eating quite well here in Ghent. The crazy amounts of cold, wet weather has at least had one positive outcome on Flemish culture; delicious, comforting stoofvlees.

I can’t pronounce my neighborhood



Gent + Brugge. Brugge is the Flemish spelling for Bruges, which I pronounce like “bruise” with a “zh” at the end instead of just a “z”. Therefore, Gent+Bruges=Gentbrugge. Right?


One of my first Flemish lessons occurred in Kyrgyzstan without me really knowing it. The last names of one of our Belgian friends has a “G” stuck in the middle. It’s a long, scary-looking last name; begins with a vowel, lots of letters, a random “y” stuck in there, etc. When Farrell or I tried to say his last name, we usually did so with an overemphasized and confused tone. One day he corrected our main error: the Flemish “G” is not like the English hard “G” (like “go”), but sort of closer to the Arabic “غ” (“gh”). Hence why the English spelling of Ghent has the “h” thrown in there, because it’s actually pronounced somewhere between “Gent” and “Hent”.

So, there’s my first problem. I’m incredibly awkward at trying to strike that balance and get the Flemish “G” right. Usually I say “Gent” with my American accent and just move on.

graffitibirdseventually. I think about walking around Bishkek whispering zdrastvoyte under my breath so I could actually say “hello” like a normal person, or asking my Russian-speaking friend to slowly repeat my street name over and over (too-rooz-BEK-oh-va) so I could actually tell taxi drivers where I lived. Isn’t that the theme of my life lately? Right now, this is hard. But it will get easier. Memory of Kyrgyzstan. The end!


And this is the part where you guys share your language troubles in the comments section so I can feel like we’re all giving each other internet-hugs!

would you ever go back?


Farrell’s company is going through some major changes and there’s a small but terrifying (but not end-of-the-world terrifying, and it’s a small chance, so any family emails related to this sentence will be ignored) chance that maybe Farrell could lose his job (but it’s small, probably unlikely, but you never know). This all made me think:

Where would we go then?

Sure, we could stay in Ghent, but Europe is expensive. Personally, I think the chances of finding a job for one or two non-Dutch, non-French speakers in less than the amount of time it takes for our savings to run out is slim, but that’s always a possibility.

If Farrell were to lose his job today, the first thing I would do is cry; I don’t think I have the mental strength to deal with another move. But this is just a hypothetical exercise, so I can calm down. Realistically, I think our first options would be Philadelphia or Denver, squatting in the spare rooms of various family members’ houses until we figured out something permanent, in exchange for letting them chew on Darwin’s cheeks (those things are gold).

In a worry-free world, the one where Fearless Kirstin see challenges as exciting opportunities and not as headaches, she might want to spin the globe and go somewhere entirely new, just for kicks. Somewhere warm? Thailand has such excellent street food, and it’s best to introduce Darwin to a tough tonal language while he’s still young and can easily soak it up. Somewhere a bit familiar? Lebanon has always seemed just a bit out of reach for me (we were banned from traveling there when I studied abroad in Jordan), but Farrell and I both have some Arabic skills left. Somewhere on my dream list? I’ve had an obsession with South Korea ever since getting hooked on Korean soap operas in Bishkek and following Naomi’s adventures when she lived there. Somewhere from Farrell’s dream list? I know South America has been on his mind for years.


Then I thought, we do still have a company in Bishkek. We could find a house easily with our connections and passable Russian. We have friends (although they’re dwindling), we know where stuff is, and like I recently wrote about, at one point I had thought through a more extended time period there. Before Farrell received his job offer in Ghent, job opportunities in the US were looking sparse and we had started mentally preparing ourselves for another year or so in Bishkek. Who knows what the reality would actually be like, but I think we could’ve expanded the business and made a comfortable living for ourselves.

I’m not saying that I miss Bishkek or that I’m itching to get back to a steamy bowl of lagman, but it’s an option in a highly unlikely situation. Plus, there’s a certain special someone I’d be happy to see.


Even just for traveling, have you ever thought of whether or not you would visit a place again? It’s such a big world (and we’re not all Gunnar Garfors), would you rather return to a beloved location or see what else is out there for you?

(If I could, I’d go back to visit Iceland and Thailand before I’d go to a lot of other places.)

my history of living abroad

I’ve done quite a bit of moving around the world, some of which was never shared here or only shared in bits and pieces. I decided to write out my full history of spending extended lengths of time abroad, and maybe I’ll expand on certain experiences in more detail in a later post.

In 2007, I spent a semester abroad in Amman, Jordan. I think of my time there like a cross between college-life and expat-life. Unlike other experiences, I had a support system that was similar to college, with the staff that ran the program and various university employees who were there to help us get through those four months fairly comfortably. I had an immediate schedule, I had an immediate network of peers, I was picked up at the airport and given a cell phone and an apartment; all the basics were covered for me.

But yeah, it wasn’t quite like truly living abroad. I read a brilliant concept the other day on Christine’s blog, (I’m paraphrasing) that the difference between being an expat and an immigrant is where your idea of home is, one is more permanent and lacks the idea that eventually you’ll “go back” home. I would say there’s a bit of undefinable fluidity that separates being an expat to something a bit lesser (for lack of a better word), like studying abroad. I had a set deadline from the beginning, and it was short. I hardly had time to get to know the other American students in my program, or settle down enough that I could concentrate on what I went there to do in the first place (study Arabic). I had no idea that those four months would inspire travel and living abroad quite as much as it did, but I vaguely remember telling myself that next time, next time I study abroad, I’m going to study. Next time I go abroad, I’m going to meet local people and really throw myself into the whole experience.

I wouldn’t end up studying abroad again. Originally I had an idea that I’d spend a semester in an Arabic-speaking country, a semester in France, and a semester in a French and Arabic-speaking country like Morocco or Tunisia. Then I’d be fluent in French and Arabic, right? That’s how that works? This was just before the economy went to hell and before student loans were acknowledged as being completely out of control. I told myself that I would simply take out loans and stay in school an extra year (or more) if it meant I could study abroad several times.

Luckily, I met a certain someone in my Arabic class the semester after I returned from Jordan. He helped me get an internship that turned into a job that turned into rearranging all of my classes so I could graduate a year early and go spend eight months in…

Baghdad, Iraq! By then I had started this blog, so that experience is lightly documented. There are still many words I have about this experience, but security was always a looming issue, so most of it has gone unpublished (for now).

Iraq was like boarding school. I lived on a walled compound in a converted shipping container that had one window and no bathroom. I walked three minutes from my container to my (beige, concrete, fortified) office building, drank instant coffee from styrofoam cups, worked in a media center in front of a row of giant TV screens always playing either Arab or American news channels (I sat in front of the Fox News screen, groan), and walked three minutes to the (giant, metal, fortified, windowless) dining hall three times a day for meals. The dining hall was staffed by South Asian men who served pancakes and over-boiled lobster. The compound was secured by Peruvians and Ugandans who used the basketball court as a soccer field. The shared bathrooms in the mini-village of shipping container houses (called CHU-ville) were cleaned by Iraqi men. The embassy itself was protected by Marines who were my age (I was 21 at the time), but the office I worked in was staffed by high-ranking officers and diplomats who had been on their career track for about as long as I had been alive. It was exciting in theory, it was nice to brag about and being there made me feel adventurous and brave, but when it came down to it, there were office politics, cliques, romances, and day-to-day boredom punctuated by shared care packages, surprise dinner brought in by one of the translators, a rare trip off the compound (mostly to another compound), or, unfortunately, a rocket attack or bomb blast.

In this case, there wasn’t really an opportunity to put myself out there and befriend local Iraqis. On my first day in Baghdad, my boss pointed to a group of apartment buildings across the street and told me he sometimes watched for snipers hiding on the rooftops, reminding me that if a duck-and-cover alarm sounded while I was outside, “Don’t worry about your dress getting dirty, just hit the ground.” *eye roll*

I remember by the time I left, I was ready for something totally different; no itinerary, no solid plans. Let’s wing it. I was engaged, I was planning a wedding, and we already decided, “Hey, we’re young, we have no kids and no mortgage and I want adventure! How about we move to…”

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. If you’re new to this blog, then go check out the archives. This part of my life is pretty well documented here. Now that I’m gone, I’m digesting what it all meant to me and what I learned from living there. At the very least, I got over the whole notion of becoming a local. I got over the idea of living according to how I thought I should be living my Kyrgyzstan life; “I’ll only shop at the bazaar! I’ll never go to a grocery store! I’ll only speak Russian and Kyrgyz! I’ll travel to all of the ‘Stans and become a Central Asia expert!” (poor, naive Kirstin.) I took my time to get settled, but I’m not sure if I ever found my place in Bishkek. I made great friends, I took cool photos, and I have some interesting stories. But, let’s face it, I was never going to stay in Bishkek forever. We were convinced we’d moved back to the US once one of us found a job, then the universe threw us a curveball…


and that’s how we came to Ghent, Belgium. I’m just over three months into this new living situation and I have experienced oscillating emotions about it. Although, that could be attributed to the combination of being home with Darwin all day, on my own, in a brand new country where I don’t know the language, plus the rain, plus all of the general new-expat feelings. Plus the rain. It rains a lot.

I tried to plan ahead for this move. I wanted to feel settled in a way that I never achieved, but always wanted in Bishkek. I wanted the house we moved into to be the one we would stay in for a while. I wanted to fill it with familiar things and decorate it. I wanted to set up a comfortable place to get me through the initial period of adjustment. I think we’re pulling that off.

Here in Ghent, I wanted to give myself permission to slow down. From my past expat experiences, I know it takes a long time for me to get into a routine and feel “at home”. In Bishkek, I had my routine worked out. I had my friends, my cafes, my walking routes, my parks, my daily trip to buy ice cream, and my different grocery stores for spinach, brown sugar, soy sauce, etc. If we had ended up staying there for a few more years, I think I could have mapped out a solid plan of action for us. I had resources and friends who could help me with being a new mom and navigate things like playgroups, schools, pediatricians, etc. We had professional connections and a steady amount of work. It wasn’t a bad spot to be in. It took three years to get there, it took three years to be moderately comfortable with Russian, so I told myself (and still remind myself) not to expect much progress in Ghent for a while. Despite the reminders, it’s still a struggle. I get antsy and restless not knowing where to find things (fabric shops in Ghent? Anybody know?). I’m shy telling people about how long I’ve been here (“Three months and she still doesn’t speak Dutch?” they’ll think).

Looking back on all of these experiences makes me realize not only how different they all were, but how different I was during each of them. I was a college student in Amman and got myself into situations that make me cringe now. I was a contractor on a secured compound in Baghdad, sealed off (mostly) from the reality of the city. I came of age in Bishkek; I was a newlywed, a small business owner, and pushed myself far out of my comfort zone for some unique opportunities and events. In Belgium, I’m (for now) a stay-at-home mom trying to figure out daycares, preschools, and how to entertain a little human who is not content to binge-watch the Wire and subsist on cereal all day, all in addition to non-mom things like finding a job, sorting through Belgian bureaucracy, going to Ikea for the 37th time, and cooking dinner.

Every time I leave a place, even if it’s just a short trip somewhere, I try to replay the preparation, the successes and wish-I-thought-of’s. I try to be better prepared for the next time, wherever that happens to take me. There are little tips that sometimes stick, but the big lessons never seem to be able to translate from one point in my life to another. That’s not really what I set out to write about, but that’s the lesson that keeps striking me as I wrap this up. What do you know, you’re a different person at different points (and places) in your life.

Let’s see who I become in Belgium.

GoEuro Travel Trivia

This post is sponsored by GoEuro, a new travel planning website that combines searches for all transportation options, along with transparency of any potential hidden or extra costs, to help you plan the trip of your dreams around Europe.

From the GoEuro website:

“GoEuro came to birth after the extremely overwhelming experience of trying to plan a four-month backpacking trip across Europe. While the trip was (really) fun, planning it was complicated, time-consuming, and much more expensive than it could have been if we had known about other options and hidden costs beforehand. Thus, was created to give travellers more knowledge, transparency, control, and power over trip planning. We want to make trip planning easy, while providing the most convenient way to compare and combine travel modes in Europe.”

That is an idea I can definitely get behind, now that I’m settled in Ghent and ready to explore my new continent.

Another cool thing about GoEuro is their Tumblr, which they regularly update with interesting travel-related tidbits superimposed on a beautiful photograph (with a good font too, I love a thoughtful font choice!). GoEuro contacted me and asked if I’d like a unique Travel Trivia piece for Ivory Pomegranate, and I’m happy to share it today!


(original CC photo by Flickr user jepoirrier)

This Travel Trivia was created by Madeline Sinclair, part of the team at GoEuro. They post new Travel Trivia throughout the week on their Tumblr. Make sure to check it out!

Ghent Christmas Market

Is it just me? Or does January, despite how great it feels to get back to your normal routine, despite how full of promise and potential it is for shiny new resolutions, despite how it inches closer and closer to Spring, feel like a bit of a bummer? New Year’s Day comes and the holidays that stretched on for so long are suddenly done. Poof. Gone.

Let’s not say that I forgot to post these photos of the Ghent Christmas Market. Let’s say that I saved them for a bit of extended holiday cheer.


Also, I will admit that I feel like I missed out on taking full advantage of the holiday season since I was still such a fresh resident of a new country when December rolled around, so I’m stretching out the holiday-themed posts for a bit longer.

I thought the Christmas Market was lovely. There was an ice skating rink and carnival rides, plus booths to buy cheese, truffles, hot chocolate, sausages, Thai food, booze, booze, tupperware (weird), and more booze. Some of it was hokey, but most of it was charming, and I’m glad we braved the cold to check it out.

What about you, is anybody else a bit sad that the holidays are over?

2014 Resolutions

As a millenial and a twentysomething woman, I feel it is steeped in my cultural upbringing to admit for the billionth time that I love writing lists of goals, resolutions and things-to-do, then blog about those lists and potentially not follow through on most of what is listed on those lists.

So here we go again.

2014 will be the year when I settle into a routine. This is our house, this is our city, this is where we live for 2014. 2014 will be the year for relaxing at home, welcoming visitors to our home, and getting used to the idea of a home, rather than a temporary shelter solution. I can’t predict what this year will be like for traveling, I suspect that there may be day-trips or weekend trips, but nothing huge. Farrell has to replenish his stock of vacation days at work, and frankly (if this wasn’t already incredibly obvious), I’m just a bit worn out (still!) from 2013’s constant movement.

2014 will be the year when I focus on activities. I just received a sewing machine for Christmas from Farrell (omg!!!), which now makes it possible for me to tackle the long list of sewing projects I’ve been dutifully cataloging for the past few years.


Stuffed animals, clothes, accessories, quilts, etc. I am excited to have a machine of my own. I never shared it on the blog, but back in 2012 when I was sitting around my mom’s house in the US, waiting for my never-ending pregnancy to end, I sewed a doll for Darwin.


We call him Mister Man; he has a receding hairline and is sort of shaped like a tooth. I enjoyed making it, and I enjoyed seeing the end result and thinking of how the next version could be improved.


I also enjoy writing, I enjoy blogging, I enjoy taking photos (digital and film), and I recently started playing around with cut paper designs. I think I might like to dabble in watercolor and digital filmmaking (I’ve been wanting to dabble in that for years now). The toughest part is that I know I will only really enjoy spending time on any of these activities if I feel like I’m making progress and that I’m going to, one day in the near future, be good at it. But I won’t know unless I try.

Therefore, this will be the year for trying.

This didn’t turn out to be so list-y after all. I do have a Master To-Do List open on my desktop at all times (I use Workflowy to keep track of that stuff) with smaller lists of DIY or other creative projects I want to try, blog posts I want to write, and some more vague ambitions that I want to keep within eyesight. Most of these things have coherent steps lined out, I just need to get the motivation to carry them out.

So, what do you say? 2014; let’s do this.

P.S. – I guess I did have another resolution; I’m taking a break from Facebook for a month. Obviously, I have to announce it to the Internet, and then I’ll probably blog about my experience after the month is over. I’m hoping to become less preoccupied with social media, which would leave me more time to explore all my hobbies. Let’s see how it goes!

the most shocking culture shock

(so far)

There are tons of things to adapt to about living in Ghent/Belgium/Europe that are different from the US or Kyrgyzstan. Little things, like discovering that my favorite mascara costs 11 Euros here (compared to $5-6 in the US) and taking the minuscule step of buying store-brand make-up from a chain I’ve never heard of. Bishkek didn’t have chains, at least, not ones that sold their own brand of make-up, so I always just stocked up in the States. Obviously, this is trivial change in my routine.

But then there’s Zwarte Piet, and I’m pretty conflicted about him and this tradition. (Why couldn’t they just have Krampus instead?)

Zwarte Piet is Sinterklaas’s sidekick. Sinterklaas gives presents to good kids (or oranges?) and Zwarte Piet takes the bad ones and puts them in a sack. Or he doesn’t. I really can’t figure out this whole thing. Zwarte Piet is zwarte (Dutch for “black”) because he came down the chimney… or because he’s a Moorish person from Spain. He’s naughty or he’s mischievous or he’s playful.

I don’t know the details. I’ve been in a few discussions about him with local Gentians, and it very much reminds me of the discussion of bridenapping in Kyrgyzstan (not the action itself, duh, let’s not even go down that road). There’s a lot of talk about tradition and culture and misinterpretation and “We don’t mean it like that” and “You don’t get it because you’re not from here,” etc. The United Nations has even made statements about their disapproval of the tradition, calling for the Netherlands (and Belgium, I’m assuming) to just stop the whole St Nicholas tradition.

Darwin got to visit Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet a few weeks ago. Umm, he was curious.

Besides the obvious and broad questions and concerns I have about Zwarte Piet (is it racist? how does that impact the tradition? what’s a non-offensive solution? are people being too politically correct?), what am I personally supposed to do? I thought about hiding this picture. I’ve told some of my friends here in Ghent that in the US, we just don’t do blackface… ever. It’s a big deal. Then the conversation takes a turn like, “Yeah, but we don’t mean it like that though.”

But Darwin will grow up here, Sinterklaas will come every year with his horse (what) to take the beer and carrots (what what) and leave gifts in his shoe (what what what), and his classmates and friends will no doubt enthusiastically want pictures with Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet and watch when they arrive on a boat from Spain (whaaaat?). I guess this is part of being an expat, raising a child in a culture that’s different from my own; I get to grapple with confusing questions and situations where there is probably no easy solution.

Ivory Pom’s notable posts of 2013

Good bye to you, 2013! Let’s do a quick recap of the most memorable moments:

(True, Darwin was born in 2012 [just barely] but duh, he had a pretty big impact on my 2013.)


January: Preparing for our trip from the US to Bishkek as a family, we had to get Darwin his first passport. He won’t get a new passport photo until he’s five years old, so I have a constant reminder of his big, meatball baby face every time I open his passport (and with all the traveling we do, I get to see it a lot).

February: Friends donned their favorite red clothes to celebrate Chinese New Year at a fancy restaurant in Bishkek. Darwin and Farrell wore matching red t-shirts and brown cardigans.


March: YES! Finally photographed the Galactic Marshrutka!


Hitchhiking to the Karakol Animal Market with Darwin strapped to my chest takes a close second.




May: I still can’t think about the Mister Kyrgyzstan competition without getting Psy’s “Gentleman” stuck in my head, since it was played on repeat for about 45 minutes straight during the “Beachwear” part of the show.


We also went to Istanbul with my family in May, where every single person in the city wanted to hold Darwin.


June: Jade, Darwin and I took a trip toward the mountains to find a luscious poppy field, and we succeeded!

July: We took a trip to Tamga, on the southern shore of Issyk Kul, with a friend, who generously stopped the car to let me run around and photograph this strange mural along the road.


August: We went to Issyk Kul again, this time taking the train to Bosteri, which was a unique way to see the countryside.


September: While road-tripping around the US, I got around to posting photos of the dresses I had made in Bishkek out of Uzbek ikat fabric (and an adorable floral/panda fabric).


October: I posted photos from the Bishkek Block Party, Farrell’s epic last hurrah with Plov for Two.

November: Finally admitting the end of Kyrgyz Music Friday, I wrote a long (long!) guide for how readers can keep up with their favorite Kyrgyz artists on their own.


December: We haven’t done a lot since moving to Ghent, but we made our way to Brussels for the day, where I took some pretty adorable shots of Darwin toddling around the Atomium.

What a year! The end of Kyrgyzstan, the beginning of Belgium for my little family and me. Here’s to new and wonderful things in 2014, ambitions and opportunities, making new friends, seeing old friends, travel (or maybe we’ll slow that down), excitement and contentment.


I hope everybody is having a wonderful and relaxing holiday season! Farrell’s parents left this morning (or this afternoon? they have the worst luck with flight delays) and we’re working on getting Darwin back to his old routine of not being spoiled by loving grandparents all day. In the meantime, I figured I’d post some photos from November, when we hung out with my cousin, who was visiting Brussels at the time, at the Atomium.

We skipped the opportunity to learn more about the Atomium, because it cost over 20 Euros to enter the exhibit. No thanks, Brussels!

Of course, Darwin could not have cared less about the stunning cultural icon that he was witnessing (neither did Farrell, he thought it was ugly, am I alone in thinking it looks cool?), but he loved the space to run around. There are many tourists out there with photos of a small American boy wobbling around the Atomium; he drew quite a bit of attention.

Darwin did enjoy the waffle we bought from a waffle truck parked conveniently across the street from the Atomium. He is my child, after all.