Ecrire la vie ordinaire comme on ecrit l'histoire ~ Gustave Flaubert
From the time I was a little girl, my family spent time in the beautiful city of Brugge, Belgium. My grandfather fell in love with Brugge and bought a house on the spot in the late 1960’s. It became a touchstone first with me and my mother and later with my own children.
Many life decisions came after a few months in Brugge. Why? I’m not sure. Perhaps it was the opportunity, however brief or long, to be out of the frantic pace of regular American life.
Every time I returned to the States, I was glad to be home. I love my country. But a part of me always missed some intangible elements of life there and I longed for that something I was missing. Some aspects of Belgian life touched me deeply in my soul and I have longed for it every minute of my life. Food was prepared and shared as an art, not frantic fuel dished out between obligations. Socializing was as simple as some good wine, fresh bread and cheese from the shop on the corner and a selection of olives from the Wednesday market “olive man”. Homes are modest in size and order and cleanliness were more important that size and stuff.
2002 was my last trip to Brugge. I took my kids to spend the summer preparing the houses for sale after Pa’s death. Though they were 9, 5 and 3 at the time, they all still remember it vividly and it left an imprint on them as well. The last decade has had its share of triumphs and tragedies. Last summer, as my oldest graduated high school and time continues to march forward, the longing for Brugge came in waves even more suffocatingly. I knew I simply had to find Brugge in my every day life right here in my own home in quaint New Jersey.
As 2013 begins, join me in my journey to find Brugge in every day life. I know that I can find ways, both large and small, to bring the harmony I found there into how I live my life. Going forward, I am finding Brugge.