I'm not sure what I expected when I moved back to Belgium, but it wasn't this.
I thought I was coming to reconnect with my past, to become Belgian again, to see some crucial friendships renewed. And while there's an element of some of those things happening, what I'm connecting with seems mostly to be my future.
Perhaps it's being away from the craziness of London, from the craziness that Church life could be there at times, that has created the space in my life for the rediscovery of some dormant passions: the writing of my childhood and teens, the politics of my late teens and early twenties. And, bizarrely, it seems God has used a TV programme - what was it called again? - to remind me of both of those things, and to create in me a new interest: like David Sedaris with Paris, Brussels, it seems, is where I have come to dream about America.
I came to rediscover my past; it seems to have opened up a whole new future. I came to rediscover my Belgian-ness; I've realised how deeply British I have become. I came to start up a new language teaching business; I've diversified, discovered writing. I came to immerse myself in French, my mother tongue; since I've been here, and in particular since last summer, I've experienced a deep hunger to read and read in English, to fill the deep chasms in my knowledge of Anglophone literature. I came, thinking I would perhaps settle here; now dreams of New York and Washington fill my heart.
I came, never once making the link between Belgium and writing that should have been obvious when I look back at my life. But God knew. God hadn't forgotten. God has taken a long-buried thing and brought it back to life, when I least expected it. He does that, you know.
So it seems that Forrest Gump was right with his box of chocolates analogy: in life, you never know what you're going to get. I came for the marzipan chocolate (Cote D'Or do a great version), and it's here for the taking, but apparently I've ended up with those yummy orange cremes instead, if that's not stretching the analogy. And when I go back to London, I buy a lot of Cadbury's. Which has, incidentally, just become American.