24 September 2011

Of course it's a silly idea, but....

Tonight there was a 5-minute wooden shoe dance at Waterlooplein (a 10-minute walk from our house), and somehow I managed to convince 8 other people along to come watch it with me.

I'm not entirely sure how we managed to get so many people to come! I just simply thought it'd be fun to see/do. It's the sort of silly thing that I'd never do on my own: hanging out at home on the couch is much more appealing. But it was free and interesting, and I figured worth at least some effort to get to. And if you can convince at least a few other people to join you, it becomes quickly the sort of random adventure that sticks with people. It's the sort of thing that you tell your mother you did - or you laugh about (partly because you're not sure how you ended up going in the first place!). And with enough people going, then even the walk there is fun. And as for adventure: just getting everybody out of the house on time is an adventure in itself.

I had no idea if it'd be any good - or if we'd even be close enough to see anything. It turned out to be pretty neat to watch (and most of us could see fairly well): the sort of thing that you were glad you did somehow get talked into. And even if it was a silly idea, it was the sort of silly idea that fits with a weekend in community. After all, who isn't interested in a random adventure on a Saturday evening?

23 September 2011

my four-legged alarm clock

Although more than enough is happening in my head and heart (and in the life of the Kronemeijers in general), I'm not sure yet how to put it into words. I've been dreaming and wondering about what's best in a lot of things:
- how do we best show hospitality in our new place (and what do we need still to fix up?),
 - how (much) I get involved in the community,
 - what should I spend my energy on academically,
 - is my hope of finishing my dissertation by May next year really attainable (I think so),
 - what do I do to prepare for the "next" after the dissertation (i.e., what academic projects do I get begin to get involved in already now), and so on.
 I haven't finished processing yet, and so I'm not sure what to say - although hopefully it will come sooner rather than later.

 Until then, however, I leave you with a normal incident in the life of the Kronemeijers.

 The alarm clock at our house goes off at 6:30 a.m. Matthijs gets up and showers while I sometimes read (although I often just roll over and doze until it's time for breakfast). However, I'm usually awake before the alarm clock, as I have my own personal alarm clock: one with four legs and a rather loud voice. Usually around 6 in the morning, although sometimes he waits until 6:30, the cat stands in front of the bedroom door and starts meowing. I have no idea why he meows then (perhaps we don't hear him earlier in the night, and he's noticed that, or perhaps he hears us begin to move as we enter the final phases of sleep?). The fact that I often get up and open the door for him probably would be considered encouragement for his action - but I don't generally mind. Petting the cat is a nice relaxing way to adjust to the fact that it's morning. Leaving the door open at night does solve the meowing problem - he seems to meow only because he knows we're there and he can't get to us (when he can get to us, he doesn't meow - and he usually stays outside unless I call him in). But the noise from the street (the window is always open) makes that a less ideal option, and so I'm left with my four-legged alarm clock. On the bright side, we'll probably never sleep in now - except, of course, if the cat is trapped downstairs in the sports hall or he catches a mouse and is himself sleeping in.....

10 September 2011

Saturday afternoon at the Kronemeijers

A long time ago, I promised pictures of our new house. This afternoon seemed like a perfect time for that to happen. So here are a few pictures of the house, including the men of the house....
Matthijs had a great excuse for being tired: he and I had both done a ton of chores this morning, and we'd spent the afternoon enjoying Open Monument Day (and Matthijs also went to an organ concert). As for Jerry, however, his only excuse is that he's a cat - and could sleep half the day :)

05 September 2011

When the cat's away, the mice will play...

Or when the husband's gone, the wife will ....?

Matthijs is in Birmingham, England for five days at a conference (10 years after 9-11, peace and war and disarmament). And so I'm home alone, being tempted by all the things I could do while the husband is away...

- I could spend money! Those of you who know me well know that I'm one of the cheapest people I know - I seem to be especially fond of not spending money. But I have managed to spend 20 euros extra during his absence - and I was even the one who suggested we buy the concert ticket deal last weekend along with several books... but I think it's merely a healthy sign that I'm finally relaxing somewhat when it comes to money.

- I could let the cat sleep with me! I warned Matthijs that this was the natural consequence of his being absent at night. Unfortunately for me, either the cat senses Matthijs's disapproval even during his absence, or the cat's simply only interested in the bed if the door's closed and he can't get in.

And so instead, I'm just trying to enjoy the freedom of being alone: like eating lots of pasta and letting the laundry hang too long and the dirty dishes pile up and reading lots. And using the change of pace to get around to some of those things that I've been meaning to do for awhile (which has been moderately successful).

However, unlike the mice for whom the return of the cat causes problems, I'm happily looking forward to the return of Matthijs, even as I'm hoping still to get more of my projects completed! 

04 September 2011

Present at a monastic profession

Today I was present for a monastic profession into the Franciscan order. Five years ago I don't think I could have imagined that this might be part of my life, sitting in a church filled with 40+ nuns and monks, as well as at least 3 Catholic congregations, being allowed to witness this moment in someone's life. And here I was invited, as both I and Matthijs know the deeply caring and gentle man who has taken this fitting step.

When I went to congratulate him, he told me that he was glad to be joining me on the journey of the religious life, and he named me by my official title - zuster Brenda. And I wasn't sure what to say to that: because my journey in the religious life is such that I am now giving up my title of zuster, and I'm not sure if that is only temporary.

And yet, religious life, and the journey that is part of it, is not limited to a title. My journey on the religious life began a long time ago: from a desire to help others given to me by my family, to morning prayer in college, to liturgical services and visits to St Gregory's Abbey during Seminary, to a strong desire to follow God as much as possible, to moving into the 'new' (open) monastic community here. And even before moving to Amsterdam, I had looked into what it meant to be a member of the Confraternity at St. Gregory's Abbey, thinking that when (if?) I moved back to North America, this might be a good fit for me. There was something about the daily prayers - and the mixture of prayer and work - that attracted me. And it is an attraction that has not yet let me go, nor has the desire to reach out to others and showing love in a practical way. And the desire to live a crazy passionate life for God is still there, even if it has been lethargic and frustrated at times.

It was special to be part of another's Profession event - an event made more special by my being reminded that my own journey in the religious life is continuing despite what feels a bit like a detour. It is a journey in which I've now been joined by Matthijs (as I was reminded during the Luke 10 reading during the service - the same reading we'd chosen for our wedding as a symbol of our desire to serve God together!) and a journey with many possibilities and surprises from God.