It’s an easy step from last week’s subject to this one. Not in kilometers though. I guess the Champagne region is almost 1500 kilometers from Brindisi, Puglia.
So we just returned from a short but sparkling weekend in the Champagne. Belgians are said to be bon vivants, and I truly believe this… While the European Union is trying hard to be united – which isn’t working out so well I am afraid;-) – the license plates still betray where you come from. Guess which license plates dominated in the Champagne? Right! Belgian ones.
Do you need some cheering up? If you are not living in this grayish, rainy country, you might not.
We cannot complain–we had some good weather in the fall. And yet, these first dark days make my mood swing.
Best therapy? What helps for me:
I am writing only a small part in English today, because I am talking about a book that has been published in Dutch. The subject though is very universal: surviving poverty. A good friend wrote this book. She talked to eight people who lived or are still living in poverty. She wrote down these strong testimonies, careful to remain close to their voices. While walking through dazzling autumn scenery, we talked about how deep poverty cuts into your life. How time consuming it is, having to count in the supermarket, biking to the library to get internet access. Issues that many people take for granted in their daily life become heavy barriers if you are poor. And the one conclusion we can draw from this collection of stories is that there is never just one reason why someone is drawn into poverty, it is always a combination of many unfortunate circumstances. And it is terribly difficult to get out of this vicious cycle.
Well it sounds familiar, doesn’t it: Asbury Park. It first made me think of an amusement park. Or something eccentric…
Yes, I was lucky once more, that week in the US. It was not in the planning, but the last day, both Debbie and I left for the coast of New Jersey, where Jenny lives.
Again, a such treat and so different from the other places. Asbury was a place to be for vacationers and music lovers till the seventies. Then it became less popular. It only started booming again about ten years ago.
It is also known for a major disaster: a big cruiseship caught fire just in front of the coast of Asbury in September 1934. SS Morro Castle was an ocean liner of the 1930s that was built for voyages between New York City and Havana, Cuba. The ship was named for the Morro Castle fortress that guards the entrance to Havana Bay. On the morning of September 8, 1934, en route from Havana to New York, the ship caught fire and burned, killing 137 passengers and crew members. The ship eventually beached herself near Asbury Park, New Jersey, and remained there for several months until she was towed off and scrapped.