Monday, May 8, 2017

The Stilted Generation

Pic of the week

Two this week actually, taken at a stilted street parade through Mechelen over the weekend. 

I've always loved the street performance culture in Belgium. A lot of the time they arrive unannounced too, like these drummers and butterflies that marched through town during the annual kid's festival, adding a welcomed element of surprise and unexpected entertainment. 

What street performances come through your town?

The Stilted Generation

The Stilted Generation

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

O Captain! My Captain!

Pic of the week

O Captain! My Captain! - The Travelled Monkey
A weathered portrait of Tin Tin and Captain Haddock stuck in an embrace - Brussels

O Captain! My Captain! was the name of the poem Walt Whitman wrote after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. But I don't think Old Walt would have a problem with it used in this context.

For more Walt Whitman, check out my first ever blog post from back in 2014, Salut au Monde!, in which I tried to stay a bit closer to what the poet intended.

Have a good week everyone!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monkey face

Pic of the week

Monkey face - The Travelled Monkey
Hi there - it's been a little while since I last blogged. Did you miss me?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Rounding the bend

Pic of the week

The Travelled Monkey - Rounding the bend
While driving in the Belgian countryside this weekend, we crossed paths with a road race that was happening in the area. Here's the leader, with a peloton of about a hundred other cyclists tight on his heels.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Skol bus

Pic of the week

The Travelled Monkey - Skol bus
An American school bus used to bring union members to Brussels this week during the national rally. There were thousands of marchers and, as you can see, they like their beer. The train strikes this week also slowed down travel quite a bit around the country, and it looks like they will continue into next week. Even the teachers at my daughters school are striking on Tuesday. Well guys, skol!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Brussels Jazz Marathon

Pic of the week

The Travelled Monkey - Brussels Jazz Marathon
Funk, jazz, gospel trio including Brussels vocalist, Soul T, performing Friday night at L'Archipel

Friday, December 25, 2015

Trees of Christmas Past


The Travelled Monkey - Trees of Christmas Past
Weaver family Christmas tree

When I was a kid, after the holidays ended and the new year had begun my dad would often take our Christmas tree out in the yard and plant it somewhere near the house. Once in the ground, however, these trees which had occupied a magical place in our home and our hearts were soon forgotten about, lost in a landscape with a thousand other trees. 

It sounds a bit sad, this Christmas amnesia. But maybe that’s when the real magic begins. 

The Travelled Monkey - Trees of Christmas Past
Weaver family Christmas tree

Think about it. Independently of our care and love, the trees continue to grow, taking on new proportions of size and strength, their warped and natural beauty forged by winds of time.

In the house, our Christmas trees contort to our wants and wishes. Outside, they are free to grow wild. Inside, we believe in their promise of good things to come. Outside, our myths have little consequence on what tomorrow might bring.

The Travelled Monkey - Trees of Christmas Past
Weaver family Christmas tree

There’s a Christmas story here.

The fir tree doesn’t lose its needles, symbolizing the enduring, everlasting power of Love. It’s a Love that sustains, takes away, and gives new life – and it’s completely outside our control. But what happens when we bring this Love inside? Suddenly we remember, and even celebrate, something beyond ourselves. We act differently until a short time passes and we inevitably forget to pay attention and stop seeing it for what it is.

And that’s when, like the wind that shapes the trees, the real magic quietly begins its work on us too.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Pic of the week

Christmas lights on the Bruul in Mechelen

Reading list: December 6-11, 2015

Good reads

Here’s a list of articles, stories, news and other scraps of unique things happening in the world that I thought you might also enjoy. Please share any reactions or other interesting links that you’ve come across in the comments section. I’m always curious about what others are curious about!

Once you go black…
Saint Nicolas’s sooty little helper, Zwarte Piet (“Black Pete”), continues to cause controvery in Belgium: Flemish Minister Rejects Racism Accusations After Blacking Up

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Con-men, grifters, liars – call them what you want, we can all be duped by a scam. Find out why we were all Born To Be Conned

America: Made in China
There are Chinatowns across America. But did you know there’s an Americatown in China? Jackson Hole, China: A new frontier for the American West, in the Far East

Should I stay or should I go?
America might not seem very welcoming to foreigners right now, but new research suggests that For Immigrants, America Is Still More Welcoming Than Europe

Right at the museum
How one Dutch museum is looking at the language used in its collection to right wrongs from the past. Rijksmuseum Removing Racially Charged Terms From Artworks’ Titles and Descriptions

A labour of amore
If you’ve ever tried to learn another language, you’ll know it’s not easy. This is a beautiful essay about the process of change that anyone that takes on a difficult task and succeeds undergoes. Teach yourself Italian

Speaking of fake Italian, the American pizza chain, Papa John’s, announced this week that it’s planning to open stores in a number of European countries, including in Belgium.

Aren't we lucky? For those not yet acquainted with Papa John’s, here’s a little taste:

(If any of the links on this page don’t work, please let me know and I’ll try and correct it.  - Thanks)