Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Getting Lost in Goes

Lukas was napping in the car, so I took full advantage of that time, exploring the outskirts of Goes by car (and finding a golf course adorned with mega-mansions, waterways, and yachts) then stopping by the canal in Wilhelminadorp to read by the water's edge. Ironically, as I was reading Paul Bennett's "How to Sail Across the Atlantic", an excerpt from The Best American Travel Writing 2006, a barge made its way past us, and the driver, a middle-aged man, had his house and car at the back of the boat, and his faithful Labrador stationed at the cabin door (wagging his tail happily in anticipation of landfall).

"What a life" I thought to myself, then started the motor and headed over to our new friend Caroline's house. The plan was to get Lukas better acquainted with Caroline and her house and family, as she often looks after children in her free time (and is incredible with them). After about an hour and a half, I decided to test it out, leaving for a bit to do some quick shopping in Goes (which is just down the street from her place in Wilhelmindadorp).

Parking in Goes can be a bear at this time of year, but after 15 minutes of searching I finally lucked out, and dutifully paid my 2 Euros at the parking meter (afterall, parking violations can amount to nearly €50 around these parts). Cobblestone streets lead the way to the city center, and as I walked, music played in the background. It wasn't the kind that you get at American shopping centers, playing from speakers hidden in potted plants along the many miles of shops and walkways... but something far better.

For the church bells it was just another performance, but here in Zeeland, they're really quite remarkable, making you want to stop whatever your doing and just listen. Entire melodies play, most of which are familiar to the Western ear (and many of which are children's songs). I'm very sensitive to those things. In fact, the sound of church bells here in Europe can easily reduce me to tears (happy tears, that is). That made my little shopping excursion extra special. Definitely the icing on the cake.

I returned to Caroline's place to find that it had all worked out just as planned. Lukas not only had a blast, but was his usual cheery self for the hour that Mama was away. I couldn't have been happier. And best of all, having someone that we can trust with Lukas means that life is about to get a little bit easier for the Kraft family here in sleepy Zeeland.

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