02 April 2012

In the middle of "high tea" at the Hema....

My favourite part of going away with Matthijs is the adventures we bump into. It's not that our normal life isn't filled with adventure - it's just that being away together helps us better be able to explore and delight in the world around us and enjoy the unexpected more. And it is the moment when I let go of much of the stresses of normal life (and organizing everything to go away on time!) and open myself up to the adventure and renewing part of vacation, that the wonder of being away fills me. It was sometime in the middle of high tea at the Hema on the Monday afternoon after we arrived that the retreat began for me.

It's not that we didn't have lots of adventure-filled moments before then. After all,
- we'd taken the tourist route to Brugge (Bruges): train to Vlissingen (Zeeland), ferry trip to Breskens, and then bus through the Dutch and Belgian countryside to get to Brugge. All of it new, so where to get on and out was sometimes a challenge, one exasperated by our first train being cancelled.
- I'd packed a lunch in "Brenda-style," which meant no sandwiches and no food that could get squished - so in the middle of the train ride I pulled out a chocolate bar, apples, cashews and a half kilo of spiced cheese (we didn't manage to eat it all before coming home again :))
- upon our arrival, we rang the bell but no one seemed to expect us. After 15 minutes and some searching, we found someone who knew about our group. We then also received an extended tour of our section of the monastery - perhaps because we were first or perhaps because I smiled so enthusiastically.
- we sneakily moved a bed (there was nothing in the rules against it - really!) so that the one-person room became fit for two. Even with the extra bed, we still had much more room than in our bedroom at home.

And yet, despite all these adventures, it wasn't until we sat down for high tea that it felt like vacation. First, we needed to arrive and settle in - and then orientate ourselves a bit to the city of Brugge. By the time that we arrived by the Hema, I'd had time to rest from the travel and had begun to delight in the city. The only problem was that I was hungry, and we couldn't find the quick snack we were looking for: french fries. The only food we seemed to be able to find was chocolate! And hence the strange decision to go to the all too familiar Hema - we knew we could quick get something there. Yet, in the middle of simply trying to satisfy our hunger, we bumped into more than we expected: 'high tea' - reasonably priced, decent quality and ready within a minute. And with that reminder of the delights that could be found in unexpected places, it felt that the adventure of vacation had begun.

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