Feliz Navidad !

31 December, 2019

Bruges, 27 December 2019 – Beveren, 28 December 2019

We are 10 days on the road now, on the road in Belgium, in our homeland, which is actually not our homeland anymore. It is a strange, trivial experience. When we landed in Zaventem, it was dark and grey, and we both felt we wanted to get back as soon as possible. That depressing weather hit right on us. Moreover, we travelled by train from Zaventem to Bruges. In retrospect, this turned out to be not so simple, as we had two large and two small suitcases, a 10 kilo laptop bag, and a handbag with us. Moreover, it was full evening rush hour, and the train was jam-packed. We just found a place to sit, but storing the suitcases turned out to be quite an undertaking as well. After barely 2 stations we had to change trains and the whole job started again from scratch. And it was raining. Not really uplifting. But in the end this is just the journey. It’s about the people we would meet, the reunion of the children, my parents, my brothers, friends, ex colleagues … We had fully booked our agenda, because we wanted to see a lot of people again. We had specially chosen to stay with friends of the G5 – our 5 best friends – for longer periods of time.

This way we could stay on the spot for at least 4 nights and relax, and we didn’t have to unload our luggage all the time and pack and unpack again and again. Despite that, we’ve had hell of a busy day.  And actually we’re very tired. Maybe we wanted to do too much, to see too many family and friends. But we also really wanted to see some extra people because they are in a difficult period, and yes, you also have to take care of yourself and dare to set limits, but we wouldn’t feel good if we didn’t do this for people who are always there for us. And so we travelled from Bruges to Zoersel, to Beveren, to Ostend, and in between to Bruges and on and off again. But tired and satisfied as they say, that’s how we feel. Tomorrow we’re going on our last day before departure, and now we’re on the train to Beveren, where we still have a couple of appointments, to travel to Zaventem tomorrow evening and spend the night there to fly back home at 6 o’clock in the morning.

They were days full of emotions, emotions of joy, worry, love, friendship, but also sadness about who we leave behind, my parents, our children, friends. It was a real emotional rollercoaster, with only a very short time to experience them consciously, and I feel exhausted. I’m afraid things will come loose at home. It’s hard to imagine what the reunion would be like after a year. But you expect people to welcome you with open arms, joy too, wild stories, and that expectation was usually fully met. Unfortunately, there have also been meetings in which I was a little disappointed to find that the saying ‘out of sight, out of heart’ does apply. That it seemed as if we were never gone and we see each other every week. That there is no interest, no questions. Where you get the feeling that you’d rather not be there, and that you’d spent your time better with people who surround you with all their love and warmth…

But I suppose that’s part of it, and that it’s pointless to take home the negative energy from that. I push these thoughts and memories of the past days away from me, and think back with warmth and gratitude to the incredibly nice appointments we had. To the exceptional hospitality of our G5 friends, who hold the slogan ‘mi casa es tu casa’ very dear. That we could experience that coming home is so wonderful. That we could put our feet under the table without any fuss, undisturbed, with my hair in pineapple haircut, just like at home.

Over the past few days we have lived through the most diverse and intense emotions, from laughter with friends and former colleagues, from foolishness, from tears of powerlessness, from sorrow, from deep friendship, from feelings of guilt, from saying goodbye -again-, from great respect, from gratitude. I am glad that I was able to visit my parents often, to see their happy faces, to talk, to cuddle, to grab hold of my children again, to experience the family feeling again, however briefly. To see how the children are making their own way, full of self-confidence. I am glad to experience once again how deep our friendships with the G5 are. That I have seen the guests of the Poppy again, that nothing has changed yet, that I have been able to yaw with the former colleagues. It were days with very intense cuddles, cuddles of real love and friendship, of saying goodbye, for a while again.

It’s the first time in almost two years that I could let go of Lavinia. Partly because we know that Frank takes good care of our domain there, like a family man. I have really been able to relax completely, like holidays are supposed to be. Tomorrow very early we leave for Lavinia. And I am looking forward to it again, because it is and will remain my new home. I long for the light, for the openness, for being outside, for the smell, the ever changing colours of the sunrise and sunset, the silence, the sun and the warmth.

But it was good. It was more than good.

Thank you to everyone who gave us this holiday feeling, with all his love, each in his own way.

Hasta Luego Bélgica

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