Bring on the sacred gluttony
The rain has well and truly arrived here in Northern Belgium (Flanders) and I am enjoying my first Low Country Autumn (“herfst”) with its deeply amazing colored leaves, green holding on in places amid wholehearted golds and unabashed reds and ardent yellows. But a few days ago the rain really began in earnest, and after continuing with barely any interruption for a fair stretch of the calendar I am getting a tad nervous that the only person I know named Noah lives 4843.29 miles away… (What ever did we do before the internet?) In the meantime I am learning all sorts of useful Dutch vocabulary relating to flooding. Er zijn veel celders en huizen dat onder water staan.
I am fortifying myself for a winter that can encompass half the year, but first a short break, as I fly back to California in three days for Thanksgiving. I have consciously decided to remove all limits and self restraint when it comes to eating while there. At the fancy-pants gym here I had a little fitness evaluation not long ago; they did a spot ultrasound of my arm and told me I have 10.6% body fat…we’ll see what it says after two and a half weeks of pizza, sandwiches, cheezie-poofs and Kettle Chips (even though those latter ones are actually English), frozen yogurt (heaped with m&ms), ice cream (chocolate sauce), pumpkin pie (whipped cream), caipira omelettes, tandori chicken, garlic naan, lamb souvlaki plates, Pacific Cookie Company chocolate chip cookies (from the factory shelf), and, oh yes, burritos, burritos, and more burritos. Wet, dry, vegetarian (hey, it could happen), pollo asada, and carnitas, I loves me them burritos.
46/115 degree heat is enervating enough, but it was also Ramadan, so no one could eat all day. Well, no Muslims anyway, us soft tourists gathered sheepishly in the cafes, nibbling honey-soaked msemin flatbread and hoping the locals didn’t hate us for it.
Austerity has its place, and I have enjoyed the severity of isolation and the occasional (unplanned) fast, but I am very much ready for the candid emotional warmth and sacred appreciation for the joys of being alive that I plan to find back home this Thanksgiving. Occasional and conscious gluttony is not a vice but a virtue. A very happy Thanksgiving to you all.