Everyday it is going a bit better. I stroll around on my crutches. I am staying in the 'Bartholomeus Gasthuis' in Utrecht. This is quite a unique place, in many ways. It was the second place my insurance company offered. It was not hard to decide to go to this place. Almost exactly a year ago I was here for the first time, because I went to a special retreat-weekend, a weekend with... David Brazier... I met David for the first time, here in this 'guesthouse'. In recent years David has been invited by Zentrum Utrecht, a zen center, to give a weekend retreat in this place. This year David canceled his weekend because of his illness, but now I am here to recover from my hip operation, in the building where I met David for the first time...
A year ago I was already surprised because of the nice concept of the Bartholomeus Guesthouse. This is a home for elderly people, but also a rehabilitation hotel. Downstairs in the heart of the building there is a public cafe cum restaurant. People from the neighbourhood, in fact anybody, can eat here too. And the people who are living here get their coffee , lunch and dinner served in the restaurant. The employers in the restaurant seems to have a key function in this house. During the day, the restaurant (which has a lovely garden too) is a social place where people can meet each other. In the hotel are lots of activities. Upstairs there are rooms for rent. Once a week there is zen class of Nico Tydemann, I already joined one lesson. The last couple of days I have eaten my dinners with three nice ladies. They are a bit older then me; 83, 84 and 91. One of these ladies is happy that she has finally met a Buddhist in this house. She has been practising Zen meditation for many years by herself. The more I start to know them, the more I discover the young girls in their older bodies. The whole guesthouse seems a vivid and busy company with a very kind and bright atmosphere.
And I am glad I am making some progress. My energy is rising. Today my stitches were removed, and... I went up the stairs with my crutches. This is a big improvement. I can lift my leg again and the fact that I can walk stairs (very carefully) means that I can return to the monastery soon. Today I made the appointment to return on Saturday. And... the big news is; I hope to return to Eleusis on 23 June!!! I am looking forward so much to my return! It fills me with happiness that I know when I will return. I muse a lot about the day I step out of the car and put my feet back on the ground of Eleusis (probably still with support of my crutches) and of course finally feeling David's arms around me again... Still 16 days to count.
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