Escape to the neighborhood

I was looking forward to a nice, calm and relaxed Sunday today. Our neighbors had a different idea. They have just bought the house, and the renovation is on full swing during the weekends. Now they are killing the floor and apparently some of the walls with great passion.

My ears were ringing and I was getting irritated. So was Waffle.  Some browsing later we took our way to escape to Hamme, a small town a bit further up the river from us, with plenty of calm countryside walks. It was a beautifully chilly, sunny autumn day, so why not go out?

We arrived close to sunset, and the colors were stunning. There was frost and a bedding of brown leaves coloring the ground and a sea of reeds waving in the quieter waters as a golden fuzz. It’s been long time since we last did these short hikes around our own home. You don’t always have to go far to find things beautiful and interesting.

 

It was good to be out together. We had time to get silly again, I love his brain, refusing to get adult and serious, always looking for ways to do something silly. I think I tell that to him way too seldom.

The autumn air was getting our minds working on more smart things too. We spent a good amount of time planning. There is this dream of a “home extension”. A thing to be built that would bring quite some new aspects to our weekend travels. Waffle’s father is also in with the plan, which is great, because the two of us don’t necessarily have all the knowledge needed to do such a thing. (Irritating isn’t it, that I don’t let you know what it is? You’ll find out soon enough, trust me).

The walk chilled our cheeks and noses and gave a nicely wintery feeling. It feels so good  now to be back in the warmth of our home. The neighbors have stopped and the local marching band is still sober. Now over and out, with my glass of glögi off to the sofa.

 

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A Cacophony in Dutch

elgiumOh, after the weekend my brain was a wreckage. I entered a complete zombiemode on Sunday and Monday came as a relief. It would at least bring some order to the cacophony.

Compared to normal, we had a surprisingly social weekend planned. There was some relaxed campfires and a couple of birthday parties to attend to. As on the go we needed to plan the whole trip to Romania, which is only a few moments away.

Well, it all started very nicely. We camped with our dear friends at one of the bivak zones they have here in Belgium. We chose the one in Stekene in Stropersbos, since it was the only one close by with no forecasted rain. There were a whole bunch of Dutch people too around the campfire. They were apparently hoping to get a glimpse of the lunar eclipse that was meant to happen that night. So we chatted over very very inappropriate topics, laughed from the bottoms of our bellies and completely missed the eclipse. partially thanks to the clouds, partially because we were afraid of someone turning into a werewolf. After a busy week of working and studying, we all went to bed at a respectable hour.

The bivak in Stropersbos is a very pleasant camping spot. It is a short walk away from a road and nicely in a middle of a nature preserve. They also heard semi wild Galloway cows and horses there. One of those ruminants were seeing us off, in the morning. Lovely, huge black beast.

On the Saturday morning we needed to get fast up and going. Waffle had finally hunted down the map for Retezat park in Romania and we needed to pick it up. From Ronse, a small town in the Flemish Ardennes.

Saturday had also a birthday party lined up for us. One of Waffles good old friends got older and a celebration was in order. This time without fireworks, oh thank the lord. We arrived into a garden filled with young families. Loads of laughter and noise. We were literally the only couple with no kids, nor any plans of having kids. The reality of those people was so far apart from ours it was even a little scary. Many of them were somehow expecting that me and Waffle would have also a very clear picture of our future, a five year plan on life, with a set of determined steps and all that. They were having difficult time in finding out, that we do not. I was feeling like a bit of an alien.

Well, it was a lot to take in, that evening. The conversations were all in Dutch, loud and quick. I was doing my best to understand even some parts of it all. Difficult! I could hear my brain popping while it was working and trying to find meanings to the words and understand the complete sentences. I was absolutely finished after the evening. And don’t get me wrong, the party was fun, with music, dancing and helium, the normal things, you know.

We returned to Waffle’s parent’s, where we had earlier brought our tent. We thought it would be a nice idea to sleep outdoors, since the weather was great. It felt heavenly to crawl into the sleeping back, snuggle with Waffle and fall asleep with the cool air of summer night tickling our noses.

But why on earth were we sleeping in a tent in Waffle’s parent’s field? Well, there was yet another birthday party. Waffle’s father had turned 70 and the children had bought him a grand gift of a safari in South-Africa! Waffle’s dad was so very happy, he couldn’t stop thanking people.

We had a lunch with grilled nibbles. All the children with their spouses and grand kids were there. I was again faced with a cacophony of Dutch.  The center for language in my brain over heated, packed its bags and walked out of my ear.

We finally got home to the sofa, I was hugging a pillow, restoring my capability to think.As our TV showed us something pointless.

Monday came, back to school I went, for the only day for this week. Tomorrow a doctor is going to go all wise and smart on my wrist and we’ll find out whether I’ll hike with or without cast. Wednesday we are off to Romania, Wheee!!

 

 

Fears, Nightmares and Heatwave

We are having a heatwave here in Belgium. The mercury is climbing up to 33 degrees during the days. That is making my brain melt and I am starting to look like a piece of butter someone forgot on the sofa for a day; I droop. Good thing the computer is still functioning and keeps me entertained with all sorts of stupidity.

Having my hand plastered has also given me time to get my melting brain working, as much as it can in these temperatures. So here you have it, a very useless blog post:

I have the habit of seeming fearless. You know, all that stuff of moving abroad, getting into new things and going alone into places, climbing mountains and what ever not. To be honest, I am often scared to bits, as I think every normal person is. The thing is, that the will to learn and curiosity are often so much stronger that I end up doing and going. It is not so much about not feeling the fears, it is about what you do with them.

One thing is the moving abroad part. I was scared. Oh so very scared. I was only moving to Belgium, not really a completely strange culture or environment. Could have been Saudi Arabia, you know, but still. I was afraid, irrationally, to stay in Finland, but at the same time I was scared of moving. So I ran through things. I think I thought that our relationship was either going to work out or fail, it didn’t matter if I moved sooner, or later. So, the heck with it, I chose sooner, didn’t want to waste time. Plus, there was less time to be petrified that way. All ended well, so risk worth taking. Now I am just scared of Belgian roads and traffic, the sissy that I am.

One of the other things is the buggy sport that we do. Almost every time I am a little nervous, if not scared, to climb in and drive. But often the sessions that make me poop my pants also give out the most. Those are the days I learn from. I think that is quite often the case when you hop on and do something even though you are afraid of doing it, no? You also may end up breaking an arm, but never mind that.

Sardinia, Hiking girl, Top

On top of the world, well, close enough.

Oumph, nightmares then. I don’t really sleep well in the smoldering heat, our house is one of those old ones, that turn into baking ovens at some point of summer, and so, nightmares come!

I am floating a little at the moment, when it comes to future. The only certain thing is that I need a new job. Some of you might remember how I was determined to go and study myself a psychology degree. Well, to do that, I need money, turns out, it is not completely cheap to study. Then there is the massive uncertainty, of where we are going to be within the next few years. Oh dear, living here, in Finland, somewhere in Europe or in the back bush of Australia, who knows. So, it is rather difficult for me to make the decision of where to start the studying. Time to start learning some long term planning, maybe… Waffle is being so great, being his loving self and standing by my side through all this, as I have not really been the best of girlfriends lately.

Related to future views, there was this occasion of me writing my CV and application letter in Finnish for the first time in maybe 3 years. That is a long time to live without using your mother tongue in an official context. So, I got my good old friend of a nightmare visiting me again. I think it stems mainly for my living abroad, outside of my native language. The nightmare drops me off to a situation where I am fast to realize I can’t speak any English anymore, nor Finnish. I am basically mute. It is an absolutely horrible feeling to wake up to, especially if it pares up with those days when your head jams and you are literally unable to produce a complete sentence in any language.

While writing this I had to pop into the shower twice, to cool down my feet. I destroyed the remnants of an ice cream bucket (oh, blobbery life, I am coming!) and shoveled down some very nice home made iced mint tea, mmm! So, how do you guys tolerate heat? Does you brain go for a holiday on the beach, or does it jump onto over drive of useless pondering?

I’ll continue melting and marathoning through Six feet under.