Musings: How weekends should be

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s I write this, the husband is trying to get the kid to take an afternoon nap, it’s 30 degrees Celsius outside, the bed sheets are hanging on the line to dry, the whole country is perhaps sunbathing on the beach or in their gardens and I’m hiding from the sun in my study room writing a blog post. Bliss, pure bliss.

It’s been a while since I had such a relaxing weekend. It’s the Easter holiday in the Netherlands and I took Friday off from work, giving me a total of five days to rest. I didn’t mind that I have to squeeze a few work related meetings in between as long as I could lounge in a deserted terrace somewhere baking in the sun.

On Friday I sipped orange juice at the terrace of Sol Food in Rotterdam, reading Francoise Sagan in Dutch, then moved to a nearby square when the lunch crowd arrived. On a bench under a shady tree, I allowed the summery heat to burn my exposed legs and the gentle breeze to cool my skin. An hour later the kid and the husband arrived, we played by the fountain, ogle at furniture in a home shop, then went home and took an afternoon nap.

On Saturday we went on a day trip to a nature park. The kid loved being on a boat, however short the ride was, spotting seahorses in the lake water she calls the “sea”. I taught her how to shade her eyes from the blinding sunlight using her palms, which she perfectly imitated while being in the shade.

It took us 30 minutes to walk a distance of 500 metres, looking out for birds, flies and a caterpillar, playing with a sports watch and dealing with tantrums. A friendly bus driver finally offered us a hitch so that we could have lunch in a hotel restaurant called Herberg, where the guard dog, a German Sheperd, sent my heart palpitating.

We walked 3.5 kilometers on the way back, the kid slung on a carrier in her father’s back. We spotted birds, planes, butterflies and flowers, grazing Highlander cows, ponies and ducks, and lots of yachts. The kid couldn’t contain her delight. Father and daughter had ice cream, we baked in the sun some more and headed home, tired, sun-burnt and blissfully satisfied. In the evening I prepared a delicious butternut squash dinner and excitedly marinated pork belly for Easter Sunday’s barbecue brunch. It was time to break my meat fast.

And feast I did. On Easter Sunday, at 10:30 in the morning, after a 10 kilometre run, I heartily ate grilled pork belly, dipped in spicy vinegar on top of steaming white rice and drown it with dark beer. Then I went to sleep. I woke up just before one in the afternoon.

I ate chocolates, drank coffee, spent time with the husband, folded the clothes, cleaned the bedroom, cooked dinner and made us a spicy, hot chocolate drink to end the day.

It’s Monday. After breakfast at 8am, I read poetry, read them aloud to husband and kid, Shakespeare, Green, Neruda. My heart is brimming with happiness and I’m freezing time in the only way I know how, by writing about it.

It felt like a long time ago since I was this happy. There’s only been but dark clouds engulfing my family in the last 6 months. Since December, the weekends were surrendered to running and mourning, to work and stress, to storms and pain. I don’t wish that all weekends be like today, because monotony is never my favourite vice. But weekends like this are always welcome.

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