Don’t believe a word they say…

In this case, that is, “don’t believe a word I say”.

Javier Marias in one of his books has his character Tupra say – ” the strange thing is people believe anything the first time they hear it.”

And ,to quote Damien Rice, so it is.

5 months ago presented with the chance to move my family and work in Belgium, it seemed an unbelievable opportunity. Challenges sure, but what opportunity!

Everyone was jealous, wide-eyed and gobsmacked. We followed suit.

And how we wish for it to be that opportunity, and that is the tale I  hope to tell. But presently it is no love story. Like the joke about the salesman’s talk when you are a prospect and the delivery when you are a customer, we are feeling rather short changed.

A nearby country is one thing.

A common language is one thing.

Easy rules to adjust to is one thing.

A similar schooling system is one thing.

Kids for your kids to play with is one thing.

The ability to easily stay informed is one thing.

The ability to move your credit worthiness easily is one thing.

A similar climate is one thing.

Driving on the right side is one thing.

NZ$3.50 for a coffee is one thing.

These are just some of the one things that are easily overlooked, and we have none of as we begin this journey.

And yet there is so much, and the trouble is it is all held back by those one things which each add to something rather substantial and have unexpected consequences on the behaviour of your children, your ability to move, your ability to feel normal, feel welcome, feel part of something.

So our first lesson: feeling part of the community is essential. You don’t consider this when you travel as a holiday but when you move to set up ‘shop’ the rules change. The view’s cloudy, everything has a different feel, a different taste, a different impact. Times ten when you have young children.

How long are we here for?  Until we go home.

I hope we make it a good haul, learn how to be humble and be humbled, learn how to love the world a bit more. Help our children gain a perspective which benefits them for life.  Meet friends we love and don’t want to leave except for the joys that parting can bring. Learn how to think inside, trust ourselves, put ourselves more often in others hands than we are used to. Get back our smile, our laughter, our joy.

And so it began tonight when Google translated a menu which had the Flanders word ‘pleurotten’ (oyster mushroom),and Google turned up with Fuck Mushroom!

May there be more – pleurotten pleurotten pleurotten.

Welcome to my blog, my ramblings, my contemplation and my disorientation as I try to help myself and my family through a journey which presently is like a mild version of hell.


3 thoughts on “Don’t believe a word they say…

  1. This is interesting Richard. We don’t expect any of you to be the same when you come home, we certainly weren’t.

    • hi Jeanne, great to hear from you. That is a lovely perspective to have. What you resists resists, and ‘giving in’ to the change without losing your sense of self will certainly make for speedier progress. Knowing other stories is also invaluable.

    • Also had an email from Rebecca, they now have our number and address and we may see them this weekend, really just waiting to hear back from them.

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