Waking up …
It’s been sunny, humid and hot (by Belgian standards; Phoenix and UAE not so much). This morning was gloriously gray and breezy. I sat on my balcony, reading, sipping, and taking in the beauty of a workday morning that I don’t have to work. The rain splashed me with the scent of wet roses, earth and masonry. School children and their teachers became a symphony of voices in the old courtyard over the brick walls that separate us.
I, on the other hand, do not need to go back to my own din until August 10. It is once again summer break. I love that my job has its seasons that include blocks of time off. There is a clear beginning, middle and end to my work. Closure is a good thing.
And, God help us, may that also mean we’re nearing the closure of restrictions and “wtf now?” stress. Europe is waking up again. It’s not fully open, but it’s getting there. We can do things with friends in public now — woo hoo!
Our weekends have been busy, which is why I haven’t been posting. We’ve explored the area of La Roche-en-Ardenne, La Chouffe, Lupulus, and all the goodies to be found there.
We also got to spend a night in Brugge. Better yet, we got to eat and sip in public — and spend the night in a hotel room versus renting a cabin. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to be able to do this again. The next day we did a self-guided six-hour vespa tour, which took us through beautiful countryside and coastal towns. I discovered that I’m petrified of dying via vehicle. My poor crew had to wait at every intersection for me while I put put puttered my way, but it’s all good. There was beer and wine at the end of the journey — and lots of laughs. The next day we enjoyed a lovely walk along Nieuwpoort, a charming coastal town.
We’ve also had our fair share of outings on the Grand Place. The street musicians are back, the waiters and their trays full of booze and food are back; the streets are bustling again. There are still restrictions, but we humans are inching closer and closer to life the way it was again.
Last weekend we had fun at a friend’s house while Belgium won its first match in the Euro Cup. Red Devil fever is alive and well. The beeps, cheers and assortment of horns blared well into the wee hours.
I also got to go on a Van Gogh hike. Before going to asylum and before painting his famous flowers and stars, Van Gogh spent six months working with the people of the Borinage, a mining community west of Mons. In one of his letters he said he wanted to come back. He seemed to love this area. Unfortunately, his time here did not end well since his odd behavior (blackening his face with dirt to be more like the miners, sleeping in the woods, giving up his comforts to the poor, forgetting to eat, doing what he felt was truly God’s work) was reported to his superiors and he was fired from ministry work. It is said that his time here was his transition from following his father’s footsteps into theology to making his own path in the art world. Regardless of what his intentions were, his mark is all over the Borinage, and our tour guide is passionate about preserving this history and sharing it with the world.
My newsfeed is full of friend’s posts leaving the country to visit much-missed family and friends back home. We’re not leaving for the states until July 1 because friends of ours were supposed to visit. Unfortunately, Belgium is not yet open to American tourists. That said, Europe reopens to tourism on July 1. There’s a vac pass for people in Europe, but I’m having issues getting it to work for me. My vaccine was through the American clinic, and I’m not a normal Belgian resident. My protocal id isn’t the typical legal resident card since I don’t have to pay local taxes (don’t worry I do still have to pay Arizona and US fed taxes, so I’m not living tax free). Long story short the kinks are still being worked out. Fingers crossed, we can get the magical QR code into our phones before our return later this summer.
Joe and I have a mini trip planned for next week. I’ll post all about that later. And, we plan on enjoying our time ‘home’ before we finally get the chance to go home. Three days prior to our flight we’ll get the Q-tip jab, so that we can board a plane, and then, finally, we’re flying again. I haven’t been in an airport since my return from Venice a year and a half ago. I’m curious to see what flying during Covid will be like.
Until then, I’ll be doing plenty of walking, sipping, reading, inhaling my time off.
Badger did a little blogging today too … https://badgerdoesbelgium.wordpress.com/2021/06/17/523/