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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?

Spring is Here!

Blog every day in May, day 2: What is your favorite thing about Spring? What plans do you have to enjoy it?

What’s my favorite thing about Spring? Hmm… Let’s think about that… My favorite thing about Spring is that it’s not flippin’ winter (and no, winter, you don’t get a capital w. You don’t deserve it. You out-stayed your welcome)! This year, more than ever, I was yearning for Spring. My skin had turned a sallow grey color. The whole world had turned a sallow grey color! We were in desperate need of some sun, some light, some warmth. And we had to wait until the middle of April for it to come. But when it did… Oh! It was worth it. And that brings me to another of my favorite things about Spring…

The explosion of color. At no other time of year does it look quite so much like someone has overdone the saturation levels on the whole wide world. And this year we went from bare trees and muddy parks to crazy-color, lush green leaves, thick grass, pink pompoms of blossom, bright yellow daffodils and dandelions,  and fields full of bluebells, all in under a week. The air has gone from bone-chilling to warm and still and sweetly scented. People are staying out past their bedtimes (ok, my bedtime), sitting on park benches and round fountains, on terraces and by open windows, chatting quietly as the sun goes down. It makes me happy. It fills me with hope. Anything seems possible in the Spring.

Even Spring cleaning. Which, bizarrely, is another of my favorite things about Spring. I don’t love housework. Does anyone love housework? No, I didn’t think so. But I love Spring cleaning. I love starting over, starting fresh. I love getting everything out and putting it all away again. When I was little, I would periodically empty out my bedroom. To the probable exasperation of my brothers, all my belongings and all my furniture would suddenly appear on the landing, blocking access to their rooms for the day. I’d then sit with a piece of paper and make plans. Plans which were never to scale and always far more grand than could ever actually be achieved in my small room. But it didn’t matter. My imagination would carry me away. As I dreamt of my perfect home, I’d start putting my bedroom back together again (each book in its newly designated place, every small plastic bottle of Body Shop perfume preciously displayed). It would never end up quite as planned (perhaps because I didn’t have marble floors and a turret in the corner) but it would still be new and fresh enough to make me feel happy and content… For a while at least.

This need to de-clutter and start again has stayed with me into adulthood. I can’t clean by halves. If I’m going to tidy, I’m going to do it properly. I’m going to empty every cupboard and every drawer and reorganize everything. Which might explain to you, should you ever visit, why Amélie never quite knows which draw her t-shirts are to be found in and why Hanno can’t find the spices even though only he ever uses them. Yes, I love Spring cleaning, but I’m pretty sure my family wishes I didn’t!

In the photo: my beautiful niece, Lily, spring cleaning her grandma’s yard (Spring was just starting to make an appearance when I took this picture, but it was still icily cold outside).


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