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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?


Last weekend was a big weekend for Amélie. On Saturday, she was dancing on stage in front of hundreds of people as part of Brussels’ annual Jazz Marathon (which, by the way, is well worth a visit if you’re ever around when it’s on). Then, on Sunday, she was in her dance school’s end of year show. Twice. Let’s start with Saturday. Miss Amélie, in what was one of the most exciting moments of her life so far, was told she should wear a little make-up for the performance. She woke up at 7am and started pestering me to get her ready. The show started at 2.30pm. It was a very long and very naggy morning. I eventually caved just before lunch…She has a little bit of eye-shadow and brown kohl on. And a bit of blusher. That’s it. I steered very clear of mascara because I knew she’d end up rubbing her eyes and walking onto stage looking like a panda. Also, she’s far too beautiful as she is and I didn’t want to hide that behind a layer of yuck. I did spray a truck-load of gold glitter into her hair though. She is ridiculously beautiful. I’m sorry. I know I’m not meant to say that. But look at her. Sigh…It was a blisteringly hot day so we decided to be lazy and catch the metro to the top of town instead of walking. The picture with the flower was taken at Ste Catherine metro station. I’ve wanted to take photos of Amélie in there for ages but somehow have never got round to it. This was just a quick shot as a train was coming but I’m going to have to go back at some point. Will a photographer friend perhaps come over and help me? I feel really self-conscious taking pictures with people watching. Anyway, where were we? Ah yes: Amélie. I had hoped to get lots of pictures but a few things happened: 1) because of the lovely weather, the Sablon was PACKED with people and so it wasn’t easy to get a clear shot of the stage; 2) there were LOTS of free balloons being dolled out so it really wasn’t easy to get a clear shot of the stage; 3) because it was so sunny, it was really hard to get a properly exposed shot including both the unavoidable audience and the performers; 3) Amélie’s dance wasn’t very long; and 4) just as she came onto the stage and I picked up my camera, Charlie decided to choke on his drink and then vomit all over himself (just missing a mummy and her child in front of him). Yup.But look at that smile. I mean, REALLY. Ridiculously beautiful. Anyway, that was Saturday. She was fabulous. Not just “she’s my daughter” fabulous but “much better than I expected” fabulous. I loved it. And then we had to start all over again on Sunday. This time we went with sparkly eye-liner and a little bit of rouge on her lips (plus another truck-load of gold glitter for her hair – I’m a fan of shimmery hair, clearly). This was her face when I asked her to think about Hanno’s cooking.She wanted someone to be at both performances so we agreed that Hanno and his grandmother would go to the first showing and I would go to the second one. This time, they did the whole 50 minute shebang. Singing, dancing, tap. And it was brill. Just in case you’re wondering, she’s the one with golden bows on her shoes.Hanno’s gran was very impressed by how Amélie kept time and finished off her movements. I was very impressed by how she remembered all of the steps. Nearly. Despite obviously being a little bit exhausted by this point.See that girl, in the left-hand image, on the right, holding her braces? See that smile? She smiled like that for the entire 50 minutes. I wanted to hug her. I did say she remembered NEARLY all of her steps. Waiting for the second, non-tap part to begin. That’s her, right there, in the middle of the door. Looking all sad. This is the point (a little over half way through) that I started worrying about her needing to go to the loo. Don’t ask me why, I just started worrying about it. About Amélie suddenly stopping dead, squeezing her knees together and then… No, no, mustn’t think about it. And, thank goodness, it didn’t happen. The show went on.Isn’t that the sweetest line-up EVER? I know,  I know.And they were done. Hot, sweaty and tired. And so just about to be hugged and squeezed and kissed all over. My little Amélie girl: you are too wonderful for words.

2 June 2012 - 4:38 PM dom - Very very cute..... and love how much she has grown

2 June 2012 - 4:57 PM Ingrid - TOO TOO TOO..wonderful for words. xxooo What a super weekend. Makes me want to dance.

2 June 2012 - 7:37 PM Cass - Thank you Dom and Ingrid. You are both huge sweeties x

2 June 2012 - 8:26 PM Amélie { Callibella } - I loved seeing her so focused and happy to do something she loves!

2 June 2012 - 10:05 PM amanda - WOWW so bummed I didn't get to see her. Would have been amazing to know someone performing in the jazz marathon!!!She looks like such a natural!!!

2 June 2012 - 10:06 PM amanda - ps: she is beautiful in the most beautiful way

3 June 2012 - 8:03 PM Cass - Thank you lovely Amanda x

4 June 2012 - 2:02 PM melissa - YEAH, she is GORGEOUS, and awesome and amazing. i'm not biased at all; i just know it when i see it. i love that kid. xoxo

6 June 2012 - 2:18 PM Bridget Fowler - Amelie looks endearing and very happy too. I was interested in how slim her dancing-class were: if it had been Glasgow or New York I think that a quarter of them, sadly, would already be well on the way to being overweight. Enjoy them while they are young! Love, Biddy

3 January 2014 - 10:29 PM Matilda » BRUSSELS IS BORING - [...] you remember this: Amélie’s first dance recital? A year and a half ago… It feels like forever. And she looks at least 10 years older now. [...]

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