Week Two

Our week started out well. The kids and I were finding our way around the city, locating which parks are good and which parks are a little outdated or above the current skill level.
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We stumbled upon Parc du Cinquantenaire which was a wonderful place to run free like the little three year olds they are.

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Within this large park there is also a large museum called Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History.

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The instant Zane saw what was inside he demanded that we had to go in. Fortunately it has free admission, however they looked at me like I was crazy bringing two children into this particular museum.
I have gotten used to these looks however. It seems children are rarely seen and definitely not heard in this city. Especially loud, independent, strong willed children such as I am blessed with.

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Lily was unimpressed and only wanted to know which plane we would be taking to the beach and which plane we would be taking to go skiing.

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Zane however was in little boy heaven.

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Lily said we needed to take this picture for PawPaw

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And this picture of my children leaning on a bomb was right before we got kicked out.

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You see, when a little boy sees airplanes and tanks and such, it is a natural instinct to take off running with arms open wide zooming about the place. However, a child running is not tolerated here and results in a large man with a badge yelling at your child in French while demanding all must leave at once! Lesson learned.

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Which left this sad little boy not understanding what he did wrong.

And then the week turned.
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I had such wonderful plans for the kids on Thursday but I found myself unable to get out of bed in the morning. I felt terrible, nauseous and weak. The dull yet still intense pain in my side told me that my kidney was mad at me and wanted me to know it. After not being able to eat anything or keep anything down, late Sunday night I took myself to the ER.

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Well this was an adventure. The staff luckily spoke some English but were not happy to do so. One nurse insisted that I thank him for speaking English to me. I get it, I’m in their country, using their health system…but there is no reason to make me feel lousy about it.
There is no HIPAA here, that is for sure. In the waiting room a large nurse appeared and said, “Valérie Hawzorn? Peepee in theeze cup now.” as he held up a clear specimen cup and pointed to the bathroom door. When I was taken back to my room various nurses shouted down the hall in french asking each other why the american girl was visiting. One suggested that I probably wanted drugs, the other one said I was probably pregnant. I may not speak french well but I can sure understand it ladies.

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Blood was taken, CT scans performed, urinalysis completed…kidney infection with a blocked ureter from a 6mm stone. IV antibiotics, anti nausea meds, anti spasmatics, and some fluids and I was sent on my way with prescriptions and future appointments in hand.
When you move to a different country, you plan your adventures, not the Spanish Inquisition.
I still feel lousy and weak and just want to feel better.

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The things you learn when you are all alone are ones that seem to sink deep. I had no idea how brave I was until I had to seek out a hospital, walk two blocks at freezing temperatures, at midnight, alone in the city to try and get help. I shook from fear, pain and cold, but I got it done.
Being alone in a new city is something I think everyone needs to do once in their lifetime, I did it in Miami, and I’m back here again. When you have no one to call for help, no one to come watch your kids so your husband can come with you, no one to help you communicate, you envy those with friends and family at their fingertips. (And then the next morning you wake up and smell the bread from the bakery down stairs and things aren’t so bad)

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18 Responses to Week Two

  1. Amie says:

    Hey girl,
    The exact same thing happened to me…I passed out in a governmental building of some sort while standing in line…moving abroad is hard, but life changing and it does prove that you are a strong resourceful person. I hope you feel better soon. Also, for mommy support start looking into Yahoo groups “expats in…” or “moms in…” it has helped sooo much!
    You are tough, you got El Paso in you 🙂 Have fun on this new adventure in life!!! expat hugs to you my friend.!

    • 104wks says:

      Thanks for your nice note Amie. It’s funny because I consider our Miami stint and expat assignment because it met all the qualifications. Different language? Different culture? Crazy stuff everywhere? Check check and CHECK. At least here I speak more French than Spanish.
      I’m sorry you passed out, what happened?!? I’ve been looking around for friends but it’s funny the last thing I want is a moms group, but I will take a cinema group or cafe creme group! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Karen Bourque says:

    What an adventure! I’m hoping that you are feeling better. I had to visit a hospital while in another country (granted, it was St. Maarten, but it was still another country) and it was then that I realized how lucky we are here in the States. Feel better soon and keep up the posts. They are a blast to read!

  3. Mom says:

    I will Skype inbetween classes around 10a (5p to you). I’ll have around 20 min to talk. Hope you are feeling better today. Sounds like a scary time was had. Yikes!!!! Love you

  4. Laurie Anderson says:

    Valerie, I hope you are feeling better! That is pretty miserable!!!! My husband had a kidney stone and got rushed to a hospital in Japan, and they didn’t want to talk to the “American” either. They however did give him some excellent pain relievers that he threw away before he got on the plane to come home….wasn’t sure if they weren’t an opium-based derivative! Will be thinking of you and praying for a quick recovery!

    • 104wks says:

      Thanks Laurie, this is my sixth stone and I’m not a fan. Poor lily has already had one so there is something awry. I wanted pain relievers so badly but after the drug seeking comment when she asked if I wanted pain medication I sheepishly said, no thank you. Who has too much pride???
      As an update you will notice Zane and Lily are not in school. They did not get into the spring program at ISB but are accepted for the fall. I’m going to an international Montessori school tomorrow for a tour, interview. Hope it sits well. These kids are really missing school and they need somewhere to go until fall.

  5. Nina says:

    Yay new blog. Boo the kidney stones have followed you to Brussels. Ever picture your adventures as a movie and who would play you? Janeane Garofalo would be me. Biting sarcasm. She speaks out loud my internal dialogue.
    Glad the kids are so happily adjusted and you’re sticking to your promise. AND love living vicariously in Brussels. Thanks for sharing! Miss you!

  6. Aunt Nana says:

    That explains why you were heavy on my mind, Val. It is scary, but we girls are a tough breed. I so wish I could have been here to help you. I will set up Skype on my laptop (as soon as I know how) and hopefully be able to talk to you. You 4 are always on my mind and in my heart. I love you guys.

  7. shirley branham says:

    Val, I am so sorry you have been sick! You are one strong girl or you were so sick you couldn’t think about what you were doing to go out in the night in a strage city and try to find a hospital! Bless you, girl! You didn’t need that, did you? Will send an email with some more details! Excited about our rapidly increasing family!!! How great that you have “set the stage” for them so well and made the whole prospect of twins less daunting! Hugs to all, GG Shirley

  8. Aunt Mary says:

    ooooh that just really sucks Val. I’m so sorry you went through such an ordeal. It’s odd how we motor through situations, head down at a full pace and then stop, look back and shudder at what we faced afer the event. I know you are strong and can make it through most anything – but I also understand feeling occasionally like you’d just like someone to take care of you when you could use it and take care of those you normally take care of! I so wish I could have been there to help in any way – including being your advocate at the hospital and shutting down those rude people. I am sure that soon you will make a few local friends and have someone to lean on and be the same for them. Hugs your way. love you.

  9. Kyle says:

    Wow, not the way to start exploring the brave new world Pocohontas! I like the Zaner getting kicked out of the museum, sounds like they don’t allow fun over there. Now I understand!!
    Hope you are feeling better.

  10. Laurie Ann says:

    Oh, Val — kidney stones! YUCK! I’ve had 8 so maybe we should start a club, support group… You could be president (having 6th in foreign country trumps any number at home). LOL! Hope you are feeling better. Hate that they don’t let fabulous children have fun and explore their environment. Poo on them! We miss y’all! Sending love to you all!!!!!

  11. Angelique says:

    Hi. I got your link from my friend Shannon. She thought I’d be interested in hearing your stories because my husband, two kids and I are currently living in Alexandria, Egypt for the next five months. I enjoyed reading your first two posts. I could relate to getting kicked out of the museum, because the same thing happened here to my husband and kids. My two and four year old were getting too rambunctious at the gallery in the Bibiotheca, and the guard said “you leave, now!” It is also embarrassing, because that’s where my husband is currently working. No child under the age of 6 is allowed in the library, but they are allowed in the gallery downstairs. It makes no sense.

  12. Rebecca Modisette says:

    Val, seems like should be a movie or book in the works based on your adventures. I’m impressed and relieved that you walked to the hospital by yourself in the cold at midnight and arrived safely. Being a former researcher, I’m sure you’ve been looking for clues on the kidney stone recurrence. Nitrates in white wine are always to blame for mine. Love your blog. Take care of yourself and your beautiful family. Are you sure Shankar didn’t prank you and write that in the snow? Sure sounds like something he’d do.

  13. Rebecca says:

    Val, so glad you got a car so you won’t have to walk in the cold to get to s hospital jn case tou develop more stones.

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