Des premieres impressions

We’ve been here a week already and it’s struck me a few times how there are some similarities between Brussels and the places we lived in in Asia, Beijing and Mumbai. Some things are also different, of course, very different.

Random observations:

  • You know you’ve been living somewhere with almost no precipitation when you return to one of the wettest, most dismal places in Europe without an umbrella. Or a raincoat. Or in fact anything that was not designed for bone dry temperatures of minus ten. I have no idea what we were thinking when we packed. And I was in charge of packing. So there we are then.
  • The traffic is so staggeringly well-behaved here. There is hardly any honking. Everyone goes along in an amazingly orderly fashion. Cars actually stop before you get to the curb to allow you to cross. And everyone else waits for the light to change before they cross. Ha!
  • There are still, however, shamefully large numbers of potholes which rival those of Mumbai after monsoon.
  • And WHY does Belgium have the priority to the right rule when driving? It’s ridiculous.
  • My god! The prices of things here! Was it always so expensive? I almost fell over when I learned the price of a load of laundry at our apart-hotel.
  • Belgium has caught up with the “bring your own bag to shop” movement. Our good habits picked up in Beijing have come in handy.
  • It is a novelty to buy fresh milk. I love being able to drink straight from the tap although I probably won’t cause  Mr B pointed out that it doesn’t taste so good.
  • The pavements are tiny and still covered in poop.
  • The food markets are great. I love cheese!
  • I am feeling light-starved. Is it me or is it ridiculously dark in the mornings here? Is it really not going to be bearable until May?

Friends of ours who’ve also done the Asia-Europe shift have advised us to think of fun things we can do in Brussels that we couldn’t do in Beijing and do those to remind ourselves about what is good about where we’re living. This is not proving easy. So far it involves eating cheese, vampire teeth sweets and divine Pierre Marcolini chocolates.

There is a cliché oft-repeated amongst expat wives that postings are what you make of them. I am trying very hard.

One response

  1. Hi,
    These are really interesting posts about life abroad.

    I just started this travel blog for women and I’m collecting photos from women abroad. Submit a photo of yourself in Beijing and some tips for other women travelers who are going there, and we’ll link back to your blog.

    Visit our blog: and get in touch at:

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

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