A Walk in the Woods


We have bluebird skies, and seeing as how this is the rainiest December EVER on record in Belgium, it calls for an outing in the woods.

This promenade is fantastic, leaves crunching, colors bright, and when I see huskies playing in the dog run, I think the only thing missing is my puppy dog and her sister and her dad.

Back at Mimiche and Thierry’s, we mark our last meal with Papa in Antwerp with keukes and with conversations on mountains, travels, and politics. This socialism business is finicky, at best, and too much of a good thing has too many people abusing it, like here, and not enough of a good thing has too many people on the outs, like the US. Per my cousins, who live in the land of too much socialism, I hear them call for a privileging for those who contribute economically, who strive to make a living and who work hard.

I think of my conversations with Kei in London and about her explanation that in Germany, Belgium, France, and so on, familial policies focus on the nuclear family whereas where in Sweden, where she’s from, the same policies focus on the individual. Since the basic unit differs–the nuclear family versus the individual–the way society treats and imagines the family and the individual is quite different. In Sweden, the basic unit is mobilized to work, men and women equal in society’s eyes, each with equal family benefits. In the other countries, the core is the unit, so benefits have to be shared by the group, making it difficult for both parents to work, find childcare, and pursue individual goals, because, per societal policies, they are always only seem as part of a whole.

Something’s going to have to give for all of our socio-economic systems, and finding that sweet spot might just be pure fallacy, but in the interim, maybe we do need to see what it is our policies say about our goals, our values, and what we privilege.

Because, currently, I sense frustration on everyone’s behalf–too much work, too much toil, and not enough time for those who matter, doing what matters. I am cautious to point the finger at one group of people, one mindset, as I frankly think the whole system is broken, the idea of capitalism, but I’m not quite sure yet what to put in its place.

Like every theory, it’s broken because you can’t wholly adapt the abstract to the practical, and because, unfortunately, it’s not without it’s aids and regulations and legs up.

But, what I do see is friends in the US and family in Europe expressing the same concerns–working your butts off for little promise of a future, guarantee of security, theoretically worth it if at the other end of the balance is your family.








This entry was published on December 29, 2012 at 02:10. It’s filed under Belgium, Family and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “A Walk in the Woods

  1. my reaction to this post … “politics economics blah blah, OMG BABY GOAT!”

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