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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?

Brave

When we were in England, we were treated to a day at the zoo by my dad. It was a truly fantastic day. We saw lots of very cool animals (including these parrots – and I will be boring you with more animal pictures in the near future). We got to feed exotic birds. We were fluttered by butterflies in the butterfly house. We were chased by roaring dinosaurs. But best of all, we got to watch Amélie being very brave indeed. The zoo has a huge skywalk (called ZooRopia). As soon as Amélie saw it, she started pestering to be allowed a go. It was really high up though and I was a bit nervous. Unfortunately, being a tall monkey, the minimum height requirements didn’t thwart her determination. And my dad’s generosity put paid to my “it’s too expensive” argument. So she joined the queue, just behind 3 big teenagers. And off she went.

Well, actually, no she didn’t. Because, having climbed up to the start point, one of the big teenagers in front of her had been overcome with fear and frozen. The ZooRopia staff had to climb up and help her down again, before she’d even taken her first step. All the while, I was standing at the bottom thinking “if she was that scared, how is Amélie going to feel?”. And sure enough, when she was eventually allowed up, she looked petrified. It really was very high up. But then a steely look of determination came across her face and, after a moment’s hesitation, she was off. The route went from platform to platform with each section presenting a new challenge. As I watched her from the ground, I could see her going from apprehension to stubborn resolve to exhilaration and pride at each stage. By the end, she was whizzing along, motivated somewhat, perhaps, by a sudden need for the loo. The only thing slowing her down were the nervous teenagers in front of her.

As she zipped down the zip-wire at the end of the course, with a gigantic grin on her face (and her legs tightly crossed), I was filled with pride. Neither Han nor I are very brave and I love seeing her doing better than us. As a mother, of course, I want her to have a healthy sense of danger – but I also want her to be able live life to the full, confident in herself and her abilities, unhindered by doubt or fear. I love you Amélie x

(all pictures taken with my 100mm lens)

20 May 2013 - 11:29 AM amanda - Oh my brave Amelie!!! I have done that before and it is terrifying!! Someone in our group also needed to be rescued. Love the look of determination on her face in that first pic! xox

20 May 2013 - 12:24 PM erin - aah!! she is SO brave! i had a chance to do a little rope course in the trees when i was 12? i climbed halfway up the tree and froze.. and cried. and begged to come back down.

20 May 2013 - 4:15 PM Tara - I so proud of her!!!! The little monkey!!

21 May 2013 - 9:18 PM amelia - what a cool brave girl!!

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