My cousins almost have me convinced that they drove to the Zoute, a seaside town one hour plus away from Antwerp, to pick up a special gateau for us, but then I recall that for Belgians, a twenty-minute car ride is already twelve minutes too long, and so, it turns out, the gateau came from the one and only Delhaize.
Which, for you Americans, translates to the grocery store, Food Lion, a Belgian original.
We, meaning the ten Robert and Denise Van Doosselaere grandbabies, are almost all together–okay, maybe only at half capacity–and feasting on stories and the pleasure of being reunited on a Friday night in Antwerp, Belgium, a delicacy for those of dispersed families who yearn for togetherness, a major slice of home and comfort for me after four months on the road.
It’s unique, I think, this sense of family that holds us tightly together, across oceans and time, and maybe it’s precisely because we’ve never braved the banality of the every day that keeps us pleasantly close. Whatever the reason, I am loving it and it seems that so are they so happy be merry we are.
This is why I am in Europe right now–I want to be with my family for the end of the year festivities, a time, I find, when it means so much to be with those you love.