written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Having a Belgium Feeling

It’s cold and dry and bright, unlike in Belgium. I feel like being in Belgium. Not sure what that entails. Maybe I can come up with something later tonight. In Belgium they are 8 hours behind.

I once saw this bizarre, but lovely Belgium movie, Rosette, about a chubby, but pretty girl who lived with her mom in a trailer park on the periphery of an interstate and warehouse/factory district. It was constantly drizzling in the movie. In some scenes there was drizzle on the camera lens. She wore rain boots all the time. She lost her job at a factory for being late or generally incompetent, can’t remember. She got a job making waffles in a trailer outside one of the factories, which I believe was under the arch of the interstate overpass. As such, she was constantly eating waffles, holding them with only her woolen gloves. In my favorite scene Rosette was making a single hard boiled egg. The scene lasted as long as it takes for the water to start boiling and the egg to float to the surface, which, if you didn’t know, is indication that the egg is done. Rosette attended the egg for the entire duration of the boiling, constantly stirring it and changing the heat settings. She then dipped a ladle into the boiling water and greedily tried to remove the shell, which was (obviously) too hot and delicate. So she set it in a cup of water in the sink and stirred the egg around. Once it was cool she removed the shell in a single peel. She then rushed to her bed, got under the covers, and ate it.

In Avignon, France on the first official day of my bike trip last March. I met a Belgium tour bus driver in the foyer of this old hostel. I was putting together my bike. It was cold and late and the hall light was on an energy-saving timer. I constantly had to set down my bike and tools and press the button that is until he arrived and eagerly offered his assistance. He manned the light switch as he watched me assemble the bike. We began a long conversation via a pocket dictionary, which would stray into the night. He told me he is renovating a house in Belgium, like major renovation, but that the process has taken years since he is only home for a short while at a time in between Bus tours. He offered me some tepid Belgium beer, Juliper. We drank it in his hostel room, which was filled with cigarette smoke. He told me to be very careful in the south and in Italy. He told me I was brave, but he said what I was doing was wonderful. I was supposed to meet him for breakfast in the mess hall the next morning, but I overslept, I was afraid I hurt his feelings.

In another scene, Rosette is filling two buckets with water from an outside spigot. As she is carrying them back to the trailer a person she does not want to see arrives in front of her house. She drops the buckets and runs away to a nearby marsh and trips into a muddy pool of water. I imagine life in Belgium can get be pretty bleak if you’re chubby, a little slow witted, and unemployed.

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson