Our three weeks in Antwerp have come to an end. Three weeks is a long time, long enough to feel settled, to establish routines, to start feeling at home. Long enough to have specific, tangible things from daily life that you will miss when you leave.
As we get ready to go home, a few things about our life here that I will miss:
- Drinking several small cups of coffee throughout the day instead of one big cup in the morning.
- Walking everywhere (though I’m looking forward to a few days of NOT walking everywhere, and also to not walking the Langeleemstraat).
- Fresh bread from various bakeries nearly every day – and walking to the bakery with the toddler while he narrates all of the trucks, trains, cars, bikes, trees, and basically everything else along the way.
- Being outside most of the day – an artifact of being on vacation more than of Antwerp.
- Mornings and afternoons and evenings in the garden with the family and all of the cats.
- Coherent meals, often with multiple courses. Fish, veggies, dessert. Wine or a pintje, coffee. Dinner that takes as long to eat as to prepare.
- Olives or other salty snacks served with drinks. Speculaas or other small sweets served with coffee.
- Bikes everywhere all the time.
- The toddler asking for his grandma, his uncle, and other people who were strangers when we arrived, but are now essential parts of his daily life.
So here we are. It’s good to go home. It’s hard to go home. It’s good to know we’ll be back. It’s hard to not know when we’ll be back. It’s terribly sad to know the toddler doesn’t understand that we’re leaving, and that the bedtime goodbyes will have to last us for a long time.