Tantrum in the Woods of Belgium


We are enjoying our time with our host.  We have interesting conversations together at each meal.  Of course last night the topic was gun control with the recent speech by Obama.  I am amazed how much Europeans know about American politics, since it seems we know relatively little about theirs.  We were able to watch Obama’s speech, in English, live on Belgium television, then it was translated into French for everyone here.  Could you imagine watching Belgium politics live on U.S. television?

Michel, our host, has been educating us on everything from Belgium politics, Belgium food, immigration of birds through Belgium and the village of Roly, where we are staying.  The village dates back to Roman times and there is an old Roman path through a cemetery and the woods leading to the next village.  Michel was excited to give us the topographical map, so we could walk the same path as Jon’s very, very distant Roman relatives.

We ended up missing the first turn to see the cemetery but eventually found our way to the open field described.  The ground was a mix of frozen mud and patches of ice.  We were doing okay until we got to a densely wooded area.  Jon was trying to figure out which path to take when I noticed a sign posted on a tree of the path Jon was walking down saying Private and an image of a man with a shot gun.  “Jon, get out of there!  There is a picture on this tree of a man shooting!  That is definitely not our path!”  Jon got up to the sign closer and it was a hunting notice of some sort.

For obvious reasons we stayed on the main path.  We were walking for a while with no end in sight.  I was thinking, if my outdoorsy SCNM friends could see this WASPY debutant, mucking her way through the frozen mud and ice they might just fall out, or be incredibly proud, not sure which.  While I was finding this whole experience quite fun, Jon on the other hand was silently cursing me out.  He may not have been making a sound, but I could hear him loud and clear, “Are you F-ing kidding me, this is not my idea of fun!”  Grumble, grumble, grumble.  Which of course resulted in me cracking up.

Jon: “What is so funny?”

Me: “You.”

Jon: “I’m glad you find this amusing, because I don’t.”

Me: “I know, I can hear you cursing me out you know.”

Jon (smirking): “Are you really enjoying this?”

Me: “Yes, I am.  Hey, how would you describe this sound it makes when I’m walking?”

Jon: “Like you are walking on thin ice.”

A few minutes later Jon forgot about being upset, because we came upon the next village.


 Finding the next village felt like a minor success for our day.  We decided to go through the village and take a different path back, that was slightly more defined on the map.  Everything was okay until we came to a fork in the road.  Naturally, Jon wanted to go one way and I wanted to go the other.  We were debating which way to go and started walking the way Jon wanted to go, when suddenly horses started charging at us from both directions.  I was terrified, jumping behind Jon.  Convinced the small wire of a fence was no match for these enormous beasts.  They could easily jump the fence.  They seemed incredibly territorial and not happy we were in their area!

The more we debated the more disturbed the horses became, neighing at us and scaring me enough to want to make a decision and get the hell out of there.

I was doing my best to convince Jon to go the direction I wanted to go, telling him his way would add at least an hour on to our trip.  He was getting increasingly more agitated.  “What kind of map is this, you can’t even read it.  It’s going to be dark soon.” As he storms off, smacking his walking stick on the ground, sending rocks flying everywhere.

I have learned that in these moments, silence is the best course of action.  So I watched my husband storm off, in the direction I wanted to take.  After about 40 yards, he turned around, “Are you coming!  It’s going to be dark soon!  Let’s go!  We still don’t know if this is the right way!  We maybe turning around!”  So I did my best to follow the storm.

I on the other hand, was completely confident in my choice and was enjoying the views, giving Jon his space to cool down.  I knew he was just afraid we were going to be stuck in the woods, in the dark, with no means of communication, some where in Belgium.

When the path we were on brought us back to the open field near Roly, Jon finally relaxed and calmed down enough to breathe and enjoy the rest of the walk.  We made it back just in time to see a perfect sunset.

*I have to add that the only reason I enjoyed this was because I had wellies.  Had I been getting my shoes dirty, I would have turned around a come back.  Who knew a pair of boots could change your whole outlook on life and adventure!  Also, Jon edits everything I write, so he was well aware his tantrum was going to be published.

**Random FYI: If you are ever in the woods of Belgium, a sign with a hunter with a yellow background, is a posted date of future hunting.  A red background, means there is hunting now.

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