Sunday, November 18, 2012

Missing Belgique

I love my mountain, as you can probably tell from the way I've gushed over it in previous posts.  It's a stunning place to live, and the people who are on it make it even more so.  I am so content here.  I love my school so desperately and I know that this is where I'm supposed to be living.

And yet I have a massive, Europe-shaped hole in my heart.  I don't think about it very often, but on occasion, I'm practically slapped in the face with how much I miss it.

Sometimes I'll be walking across campus in the fog, and I think of Belgium.  The stone pathway clicks familiarly beneath my boots and my well-used trench coat hugs me tight.  I can feel the wetness in the air and my fingertips get numb with each passing moment, so I shove them in my pockets and continue forth just as I did when I would walk to the train station in Brussels.

Often, I'll hear a song from one of my travel playlists.  I won't tell anyone which songs those are because they are almost like a diary of how I was feeling at the time, but now when I hear them I get melancholy.  Sometimes it provokes a tear, but mostly I just grow homesick and bear it as silently as possible.  It's silly to be homesick for a place that holds so many bad memories, isn't it?

Isn't it crazy that I love a place so much when I so hated it at the time?  I wanted to be nowhere but in happy, "perfect" America.  I knew it would be the ticket.  And to be honest, moving here did help me.  I was able to figure myself out in a comfortable, known environment, and I'm so much happier now than I was at the time.  But now I realize that I need to experience the parts of Europe that I loved so much, but this time with my refreshed and God-changed heart.

I loved my Belgium so much.  I merely hated my situation, and I still do.  I'm not bitter anymore, praise be to God, but it is right and good that I hate the circumstances for they are ugly and broken.  But I love what the Lord has done in my heart and I want to share it.

I want to walk through those old, familiar streets and smile at passersby because I have something to smile about it.  I want to look beggars in the eye and give them a euro or two, or maybe just a hot sandwich.  I want to speak to shopkeepers in my broken French and eat all the good food I can stuff into my belly.  Maybe sit by a fire in a pub with laughter on my lips and a hot meal on my plate.

Instead of being afraid of the city and of the world, even in its beauty, I want to embrace it and fly into it full force and experience it anew.  I miss my Belgium.  And, hey, maybe it misses me.

The homesickness gets harder and harder.  I will go back.  It won't be easy for so many reasons, but I'm feeling the pull and I know I must.  I don't know when, but even if I must go alone, I will go.

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