A peek into my life for my friends all over the world!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Back to Brussels

The 25th of this month it will be 7 years that I'm living in Europe. It has gone by so fast that sometimes is really weird to believe, but then I remember 7 different summers, winters, birthdays...and so many trips back home....that then it's a little more obvious to believe.

And who would believe it all started in Brussels. I went there to work for a year fulltime for AIESEC, a student organisation that I belonged to when I was at university. I lived in Brussels for a whole year...in a mixture of student and early job life. Looking back now, it was an amazing year! After I left Brussels I used to visit it rather often as I still had some friends living there and also due to the convenient fact that it takes less than 3 hours by train and that it's really unexpensive.

However, you know how things are, eventually the trips started to be more spaced between each other and eventually I realised that the last time I had been there was in June 2004 when I went to Canon Belgium for a business meeting. Luckily earlier this year I found in MSN a really good friend of mine, Queenie, and we decided we had to change that. So we planned for me to come over and to visit her.

I arrived on Friday 6th of July to Brussels north station a little over 20:00 as I took a train straight after work and Queenie went to pick me up. We drove into town and went for some dinner. First reminder: Belgian cuisine is exquisite and the value for money it's so good compared to Amsterdam! So we had a delicious meal with some wine in a nice terrace and by the time we were done we walked to the Grande Place.

The Grande Place is the main square of Brussels. No matter how many times I've been to that square- which is almost impossible to count as I've been there many many times- that place always takes my breath away! The richness of the architecture, the composition of the different buildings, the townhall....it's just so beautiful. We went there because while we were having dinner I remembered that during the summer just before dark they have a beautiful light who with music, which we went to see and that I filmed a little bit and you can see here.

A trip down Memory Lane

On Saturday morning Queenie and Roel (her boyfriend) had to go to a funeral so I decided that I would use my morning to go into town. I didn't realise that this would be an AMAZING opportunity. All the times when I've been back to Brussels I always did it visiting friends, or actually bringing friends over so they could see Brussels. I had never gone back on my own, after I left on July 2001, to go around the places where I used to go during the year I lived there.
I went to most of the touristic places where tourists would walk...but I actually made an effort to take the same route that I used to do while I was living there. You see, while I was living in Brussels I almost never left the centre. I lived in the centre, I worked in the centre, I hanged out in the centre....to be honest with you, I really didn't need to use public transport because I could walk anywhere!

So I went back to la "Rue de L'enseignement" which is the street were I used to live in and I made my way to the office walking a little over 10 minutes in "la Rue Royale". I took my time and remembered things...the places where I used to go, the places where I used to buy the bread, where I had breakfast, lunch, where I did my laundry, where I used to buy books.

I walked through the Botanical gardens which were really close to where I used to work...I went to the Royal Palace (only a couple of blocks away from where I used to live) and just followed a nice route into town passing through monuments, museums, nice buildings. And I would stop, remember things, take photos and move on.

I guess I remembered anecdotes, stories, people that had been there with me and in general the life I had with the guys that were my family while I was there: Luz (Venezuela), Jeff (Belgian), Paulo (Portuguese) and also Marta (Colombia/Canada) and Chayo (Peru). I remembered the trainees we took care of: Marcus (New Zealand), Nairo (Colombia), Andrea (Italy), Juan Carlos (Colombia) and so many more. Below just a handful of photos from my year in Belgium (00-01)...

It was just a great weekend!
I of course remembered how delicious the Belgian waffles are, how many different types of delicious "chocolateries" can be found, the beautiful lace sold in all the souvenir shops, the different types of beers....
We even went to Antwerpt towards the end of Saturday afternoon (Queenie, Roel and me)....Queenie and me chatted the WHOLE weekend. We had so much to catch up on. We had nice walks, nice food, nice Belgian beers ;-). It was just SO nice!
If you want to see photos of my weekend (mainly me taking photos of all the places that I missed so much) click here.

On Sunday, after a really delicious brunch and a nice chat, Queenie and Roel took me to North Station where I took my train back to Amsterdam.
It was wonderful to catch up with Queenie, it was amazing to see Brussels again...but even more the whole experience of going back, remembering, reflecting....it made me think how much I've changed. It reminded me of Caterina 7 years ago, and Caterina now...

Do I miss Peru? Yes. Do I miss my family? oh YES. Do I miss my friends? Yes to that too....would I go back? Just not yet....I do like Amsterdam and my life here, for the moment....I'm in Europe to stay! ;-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

se usa incluir una fotito de cuando me paseaste x Bruselas ehh, le hubiese dado un poco mas d vida al blog semanal ;) ahora te toca escribir el de la semana pasada, ya que si bien no recuerdas estas una una semanita late! dubi (doei)!