Every new season reminds me of just how fast time flies by. Spring is here again, all of a sudden, with all it’s glory: sunnier days, green leaves everywhere, annoying bugs and flies, and the opportunity to wear bright colors again –thank God!
Spring is also a synonym for all things “gezellig” (Dutch for ‘cozy’): cocktail o‘clock –whenever the weather allows–, picnics, outdoor brunch, hiking; and, last but not least: “Camille and Phaedrea’s Lentefeest”.
Camille and Phaedra gathered their nearest and dearest for an unforgettably nice afternoon in one of Belgium’s most vibrant cities: Gent. It was a school day, and with our exams coming closer and closer, I think all of us really needed a study break to enjoy each other’s company, great food, and a glass –or three– of our favorite drink. I had class that morning –and the day afterwards because that’s just how great life is– but I never even doubted spending an afternoon with some of my favorite Belgians.
The afternoon started out pretty regular: everybody got settled in, put their meat on the grill, caught up with friends they hadn’t seen in a while, enjoyed a cigarette and so on. I was catching up with Camille for most of this part given the fact that I a) hadn’t seen my sister in a solid two months and b) in an attempt not to catch the earliest train possible, went straight to the station after class and left the food I bought at home. I know what you’re thinking; the word you’re looking for is “dumb”. (I did remember to bring my own drinks with me, surprisingly enough. Drinking problem much?)
After everyone was done eating, Camille and Phaedra served us some dessert, and I got introduced to yet another Belgian tradition by surprise. When the cake arrived at the dinner table, for some then unknown reason to me, there was a little goat with some strawberry syrup on top of it. I was very confused, but since I am not one to say no to cake, I chose to ignore the elephant in the room –or the sheep on the cake in this case– and eat up. Camille was however smart enough to realize that your average foreigner might indeed be confused as to why a blood-soaked sheep is sitting on top of a cake, so she was kind enough to break it down for me.
It turns out the bleeding sheep stands for an old religious tradition that’s kind of a rite of passage for children after their communion (if I understood it correctly). I’m not going to go too deep into that because I am no religion expert whatsoever and I’d rather avoid controversies, thank you very much.
But, before I lose you guys’ interest, I’m going to go back to the real reason I started this post. As happy as I am to seize the day and sit in the sun, every new season reminds me of just how fast time flies and –being the emotional mess that I am– that makes me super emotional. It also reminds me for some unknown reason, of how far away I am from home and how much I miss my loved ones; family and friends.
I’ve been lucky enough to encounter such amazing people on this side of the world, and they make being so far away from home a million times easier. There are too many names to list them all, but stick with me, and I’ll introduce you to my sunshines, one blog post at a time.
How did you welcome spring this year? I hope you had the chance to do so when it was still sunny because #Belgium, and I hope it was as gezellig as Camille en Phaedra’s lentefeestje.
Camille, Phaedra, the people who made that day so awesome, and yours truly. xo