Der Weg ist das Ziel
I just got back from a week long trip and it’s been fantastic. I’ll try to cover what I did and saw and thought to the best of my ability.
Brendan got here on Saturday evening, we trotted around Antwerp all day Sunday and ended the evening in total bliss, having dinner in my very own backyard (Technically it belongs to my parents if you want to get all legal about it). What a beautiful, relaxed place Leuven is on a warm summer night. On Monday, he went to Genk to see our good friend Hilde and I took care of some business here (and by business I mean buy shoes) and had a quick lunch with one of my oldest friends. The conversation, as have many talks over the past few days, turned to “What am I going to do with my life, man?”. It really feels like I’m at a brand new stage in life where I have to start up new things. New classes. New hobbies. A new place to live. And in order to make good choices, you have to be honest with yourself. Which is pretty hard. It feels like I have to shake my own hand again, introduce myself and think about what it is that makes me tick. What really makes me happy? Now that my drama training is over, should I join a theatre group? Why did I stop playing music? Why did I stop going to art classes?
We set off on our journey on Tuesday. The very first impression of Amsterdam this time around? The smell of pot. Obviously. We walked down to Waterlooplein where we were met by Dewi, a friend of Renee’s. Seeing as Renee’s still exploring Canada, she graciously offered Brendan and I the use of her room and asked Dewi to get the key to us. Very friendly girl, and eerily similar to Renee in mannerisms, body language and intonation. It was like seeing our Toronto appear before our eyes! Good times. We found the room no problem, and at about 500 degrees. So we quickly threw open the windows, turned on the fan and left for dinner. We stumbled upon an Indonesian place and joined one of the long tables set up outside for some babi pang pang and nasi goreng. A lady sitting next to Brendan struck up a conversation – she had just gotten into town as well, for a business conference. Gabi – age undisclosed – was from Innsbruck, and worked as a manager for Lush, the organic soap chain (don’t think they exist in Belgium yet, but Toronto and Amsterdam both definitely have outlets). She has a husband, who's German, and a son, who's 12, and a career history in fashion. A pack of Gauloises Blondes on the table punctuated the conversation which, again, turned to “what one is to do in life to get ahead professionally”. She was very strict with me: “You can’t study something without knowing what you’re going to do with it. I have so many students working for me who don’t know, who just study whatever without a goal and it’s terrible”. Oh yeah, and what did you study? Medicine, you say? Huh.