When I left Ghent, Belgium at the end of July, I knew I’d be back. I knew I’d miss the good food and the inviting swing dance scene and the truly remarkable group of people I’d met. And, so, it’s entirely appropriate that here I am: back in Ghent, celebrating my birthday.
It all started at midnight on a polished wooden floor with a birthday swing dance. Somewhere around 2 a.m., I happily fell asleep.
Then I awoke to pancakes and hot tea, took a stroll through town, enjoyed some fresh strawberry lemonade at my new favorite coffee shop, and returned to the house to don my fancy red dress and tango shoes for an epic dinner in Fred’s garden.
And when I say epic dinner, I mean melt-in-your-mouth risotto, homemade pasta, sweet, perfectly prepared carrots, and a dessert that makes just about everything else in life seem superfluous.
Of course, there was also sparkling wine and homemade liquor (pear and cherry and really delightful).
And then there were the candles. Dozens and dozens of candles.
At the end of the night, Fred lit a fire and we all gathered round, wrapped in blankets, sleepy, happy, and full of utterly delicious food.
In other words, it was a completely perfect birthday. The best one I’ve had. Possibly ever.
Thank you, Belgium. You continue to floor me at every turn.
* Photos were taken with my camera by several other party attendees, including photographer Bobby Bonsey.