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Feb 27, 2018

Just about the time that I consider giving up sugar, I visit Belgium(1). It wasn't good timing! I wouldn't have missed my day in Brussels for anything, of course. However, as I walked around the shops near Grand Place, everywhere I looked, I was tempted. The Belgians like their desserts, and desserts are made with sugar.  Belgian chocolate is known all over the world for being one of the best. I expected to see some elegant displays of chocolates, but what I didn't expect was the amount of shops that were bursting with sweet treats. It was like edible art. Chocolates, pastries, and the famous macaroons were arranged beautifully to draw visitors in to buy. I ended up being one of those visitors. How could I not go in?(2) I only had one day in Brussels, so I had to experience all that I could while I had the time. Thankfully my pancreas works well, so I decided that that day would be my day of cheating. Sugar would still be my friend for one more day. I had sheltered in a coffee shop in the main square for about half an hour just to warm up because it was so cold outside, and I didn't have a hat. But then I decided to eat something. I bought a few pastries that were put in a very pretty box, and then I went to a waffle shop. There were so many to choose from it was almost ridiculous. I ended up(3) ordering a banana, nutella, and cream waffle with tea. It was delicious, of course. I do believe that chocolate, banana, and cream are one of the best combinations ever. I couldn't finish it, though. It was too much for me, but oh so good! Food is one of the many interesting differences to experience when you travel to a country for the first time. It's a shame that I didn't have enough time to sample more food. The next time I go to Belgium I would like to try their famous 'waterzooi' which is a very substantial and creamy vegetable and potato stew with either fish or chicken. Mmm, the thought of it is making me hungry.

1. 'Just when I consider giving up sugar, I visit Belgium.' Notice that this is in the present tense, even though I'm talking about the past. It is common in conversation,  especially when you are emphasizing a major event, that you use the present tense even when it is understood to be in the past. It makes it more immediate.

a. We get lost three times on the metro, finally arrive at the Louvre and its closed!

b. Our flight is delayed so we go for a quick coffee. When we come back, the plane has left!

 2. 'How could I not go in?' In this case, I really wanted to go into the chocolate and pastry shops. Instead of making a statement like, 'I really wanted to go in,' I wanted to write something a little more interesting, so I used a question. Another question I could have written is, 'Why wouldn't I go in?'

a. We were given tickets to the museum. We left immediately; why wouldn't we go?

b. She offered me some of her famous chocolate cake. How could I refuse?/ How could I not accept?

c. The new cafe was giving away free espressos. Who would not want that/one/some?

3. 'To end up' I know I have covered the use of this phrase before. It really is so useful, and sounds very native indeed. Remember, it is usually followed by a gerund 'ing'.

a. After trying to contact several mechanics, we ended up fixing the car ourselves.

b. The children in that class are from many different countries, so they end up learning each others' languages and customs.

c. The government ended up allowing girls to go to school because they realized it would benefit the economy and society in general.