A few weeks ago I wrote my “Au Revoir MUBXL” post. It was sad to say goodbye to all my classmates, but I knew I wouldn’t be leaving my city quite yet, so I was okay.
Yet in the blink of an eye, here it is: the big bad goodbye to Brussels and Belgium.
It certainly hasn’t been a picture-perfect semester here. There were an uncountable number of mornings that I woke up to dreary, sticky rain. And there was that one morning that I woke up to bombings.
It hasn’t been a picture-perfect semester, yet I have hundreds of amazing photographs, enough #tbt’s for a lifetime. I’ve got a handful of new friends that I don’t know how I survived without. And I’ve got a much bigger world to explore.
But I digress…this nostalgia is getting to me. Sitting here writing this post, I don’t want to cry (which I will do later, I’m sure.)
Instead, here’s a list of my favorite things about Belgium*, in no particular order:
1) The people- Brussels is a weird city because over half of the population is not actually Belgian. As a result, I’ve been able to meet people from all over Europe and the world.
2) The beer- I ignorantly thought that I wouldn’t gain weight in Europe because I don’t like beer…haha. I’ve been lucky to escape the “Study Abroad 15” thanks to the crazy amount of walking we do here. But I really like beer now. I can knock back a Jupiler likes it’s Natty Light and sip on a Chimay like it’s (insert good American beer name here, I don’t know any). Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing…?
3) SWIFT- Call me a nerd, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an intern this semester. Who would have thought that this four-month communications internship would have taught me so much about Blockchain? What’s more, my coworkers at SWIFT made my study abroad experience that much better. Despite being several years older than I am, they treated me like a friend and an equal, not as just another intern passing through. I’ll miss the morning commutes, evening drinks, and consistent loving-harassment at our SWIFTLab table.
4) Brasil sauce- Belgium created frites (NOT France, okay?!), so it’s not surprising that they have damn incredible accompanying sauces. My tried-and-true, ride-or-die sauce is Brasil. To be honest I don’t know what’s in it but wow it’s so good.
5) Flagey- I’ve said it before, but it deserves reiterating: Flagey was my favorite place in Belgium. Something about sitting on my bum with a can of Hoegaarden in hand whilst journaling just made me feel like I had everything figured out. Thank you to all the weird birds who kept me company.
6) Manneken Pis- It might seem weird that one of my favorite things about Belgium is a statue of a peeing boy. Quite frankly I don’t think I can justify that weirdness to anyone who hasn’t seen Manneken Pis, but let’s just say that I’m huge fan of this cutie’s rotating outfits. And the fact that he’s the original water source for a city that I’m obsessed with.
7) Waffles- I know, it’s cliché. But get yourself a true Belgian waffle and you’ll know what I mean. They’re indescribably good.
I’m not even going to deny the fact that I ugly-cried all over the Brussels sidewalk the day I left. I fell so hard for this city and this country, and leaving it nearly broke my heart.
You haven’t seen the end of me, Belgium. I’ll be back ASAP, that’s a promise!
*Just to be clear, this list is not exhaustive. Stay tuned for a “Things I Miss About Europe” post when I’m settled back in the greatest country in the world: ‘Murica.