It’s official. From September 2012 I’ll be living in Brussels. Initial plans are for about 10 months, I have an arrangement with a lovely family in Brussels to be their au pair for that period. As I’m not sure yet how much time I’ll have for catching up with friends and family, I decided to set up this blog so they could at least check from time to time that I’m still around and what have I been up to. Also, I like to process things through writing, so I wanted to get this started even before I move there – I can do some research on Brussels and Belgium in general and mark things down for myself here.
Belgium has three official languages and I speak all of them quite badly. My German skills are nearly gone, Dutch is slowly improving and French needs serious revising. I’ll mostly need the latter two in Brussels: French is the most used language there and Dutch is second. All street names are in both languages. Of course it should be possible to get by with just English as well in most places, but it’s always better if you speak local languages, so I’m planning to take French lessons and start reading French literature. It’s difficult to find books in English there anyway, if you don’t want to buy books all the time. Considering my reading speed (usually it doesn’t take more than a day or two to finish a book), I’ll steer clear of bookstores there.
As much as I’ve heard from friends and read so far, most seem to think Brussels is ugly, expensive and boring. I’ll try to prove all of this wrong during my time in Brussels. I don’t care if it rains a lot, it will probably still be better than 4-6 months of snow that I usually see in Estonia. (“I don’t like snow much” would be an understatement.) I don’t care if it’s expensive – it’s probably mainly expensive in the touristy areas anyway and I plan to discover a different side of Brussels as well. And boring? Perhaps people haven’t looked in the right places. Perhaps they’re right. I’ll see in a few months.