This week, I got thwacked over the head by a nasty cold, and, admittedly, a significant bout of homesickness. The combination of being stuck in bed with a fever and knowing that all of my friends are headed back to Mizzou lead to some serious FOMO.*
On Sunday, I got off my lazy, sick behind and went down to a local market at the Gare du Midi train station here in Brussels. The place was bustling with people looking for clothing, hygiene products, and produce. The vendors competed with each other to see who could yell their low price the loudest. It was almost theatrical.
Walking through the maze of people, I quickly noticed that a lot of them looked like me: homesick.
There are currently around 30,000 refugees in Brussels, which has posed a problem for the city’s infrastructure. The city is trying to provide integration programs for the refugees, but the numbers are overwhelming. And to what extent could an integration program deal with the homesickness?
I’m lucky that much happier circumstances brought me to this city. But I think that the refugees are in good hands in Brussels. On top of the effort that the local government is putting forth, this is a city of immigrants. Over half of the population of Brussels was born outside of Brussels. It’s a common thread that’s tied me to most of the people I’ve met here, we’re all a little out of place, and all a little homesick.
I left the market with two important things: a bag of oranges for my cold, and a whole lot of perspective for my homesick soul.