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Monday, August 22, 2011

Homeless?


A few people contacted me, pointing out that it’s been quiet on the Under the Toronto Sun blog.  They’re right, my last entry dates back to July 22.  A dedicated blogger I am not.

In my defense, not much has been happening under the Toronto sun.  In fact, for the past two weeks I’ve been under the Belgian sun.

My father past away after an extended hospital stay.  He was 88 with a number of health problems.  Losing him was not altogether a bad thing.  He was alone after mom passed away three years ago, and resided in an old age home.  Compared to where he was, I’m sure he’s much happier where he is now.

Even with that knowledge, attending his funeral was quite an emotional affair.  As a veteran, dad’s funeral was attended by other veterans, complete with Belgian flags and playing the national anthem in church and at the cemetery.  So many of his friends were there, some of them in wheelchairs. 

 (Dad [far right) with his group of veterans)

My hometown didn’t feel like home anymore.  So much has changed, I hardly recognized the place.  Where the municipal pool used to be is now a college for the performing arts; where I used to go dancing on Saturday and Sunday night is now a hotel; and where my favorite boutique used to be is now a MacDonald's.  What a sight that was, that giant letter “M” on top of a glass and steel structure, among buildings that date back to the 1500s.

(Belfort Aalst)

While in Belgium I stayed at the Ibis hotel.  A charming place.  It might not have been a 5 star hotel, but it sure had 5 star service.  The staff, from the receptionist right down to the chambermaids, were very friendly and knowledgeable.   

(Ibis hotel Aalst)

All too soon August 15th came around and time for me to pack up and go home.  Only, I couldn’t go home.  At the airport it was discovered that my passport had expired and I was refused access to the plane.  To get back to Toronto I had to organize a new passport.

When I went to the municipality of Aalst, where I was born and raised, they couldn’t find me.  After some digging it was discovered that, because I live abroad, my file was transferred to Ghent.  So off I went to Ghent to apply for a new passport.  To cut a long story short, 240 Euros later I had such a new document.

And so now I’m home again.  Home … strange to think of Canada as home.  I never thought about Canada as home.  Then again, I always thought of Belgium as home, but it isn’t anymore.  Maybe I’m homeless.



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