August 1, 2015
On a Train to Bruges
Happy August! To be honest, I have no idea where July went. I am on the train to Bruges right now. A nice lady helped me find the correct platform. She was really helpful: she took out her phone and started looking things up for me! Then she told me that she commutes 2 hours to work every day (she works at a restaurant in an amusement park) and that soon she will be leaving for in Aunt’s wedding in New Jersey (where she will also stop in New York). I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since New York! (Sorry for the colour change — my pen died and I had to ask the lady across from me to borrow hers). Well, it was a nice summer’s night when I arrived in Belgium. The Belgians were outside enjoying it.
Anyway, it is 11:52am and I’m just about to arrive in Bruges. I will probably have to give this pen back and I don’t know when I’ll be able to write again. Until next time! Wish me a fun day exploring Bruges!
Later – 5:11pm
Oh, what a nice day this has turned out to be! (Oh yes, I managed to get this pen from the lady I bought art work from (Yes, I bought artwork)) I spent the day mostly walking, but it was very pleasant. Nothing on the agenda; only glancing at the map every once in a while. I bought 5 pastries for £5 at this outdoor market this morning and I think I ate too many sweet things. Tomorrow I am excited because I am going to buy Belgium fries and waffles! Oh, and chocolate too.
At another market while I was looking for art work, I met these two girls behind one of the art tables. (I wanted to buy some of the art but I didn’t have £40). Anyway, they have been best friends for 12 years and Esther (one of the girls) told me she likes drawing horses. She showed me a book of her art work that she had to make for school which consisted of pictures of the things she has sculpted: horses, legs, a pineapple (that I think was a memory of her and her mom). It was really neat of her to show me her book! Her friend, Pia, was also an artist. Her advice to other aspiring artists is that you have to stay true to your heart and what you love because if you only listen to what other people say, you lose track of where you want to go. I think that is wonderful advice. Then they showed me some non-touristy places to go in Belgium and then they invited me to a hip-hop party in Bruges which unfortunately, I can’t go to because I am going back to Brussels tonight.
Well, I think that Bruges is charming and quaint…one of those cities where you can’t imagine anything bad happening. It seems so different from a city like Vancouver; there is a quiet calm here. No need to hurry through anything. I kinda like it — it’s nice to take a step back and just stroll through life for a change instead of running through it. Oh, what a nice day!!
Later – 6:47pm
I just spoke to a very sweet couple from the Netherlands. The lady, with her white capris and pink shoes, sat down beside me and her husband, with his red suitcase and magazine, sat down beside her. I asked the lady where she was from and we ended up speaking for quite a long time. I told her my story about Berlin and travelling and she told me she and her husband came to Bruges for the antique show happening tomorrow. When I told her about aupairing, she asked if I spoke German and I told her “a little”. “But you are learning another language, a harder one in your book — we saw you writing!” she says. Her husband leans over. “Is it arabic?” he asks. For a minute I am really confused and then I laugh. “No, it’s English,” I explain. “I just write small.” They also look confused then and then they joined in my laughter.
They begin telling me about their son who used to live in Chicago for 10 years. They would go visit him, his wife from Bombay, (a physiotherapist) and their three grandkids (6-12 years old) two times a year but now they are happy because he has moved back to the Netherlands. “It’s so nice because we are always eating together and taking care of the kids now, “ she says. “It’s hard as a parent to have your children away from you”. When she said that, I felt a bit guilty — and I can only imagine how I will react as a parent when my children go off to see the world one day. But you can’t stay at home forever, right? My parents left their homes too. There just comes a day when you have to leave…
Later – 8:59pm
On the train back to Brussels! Now that I am sitting down, I’m really starting to notice my tired feet. When I get home, all I want to do is take a shower and go to bed. I will need to wake up early if I want to have enough time to explore the city and make my flight back to Berlin at 5…I think it is at 5, I will have to double-check. Perhaps I will set my alarm for 7 and be out of the house by 7:30. I think that shall give me enough time.