My first post (two weeks in)| May 29, 2009
Although I've been in Brussels two weeks, this is my first blog post here at this site. On a personal blog (and before we received instructions for posting to this site), I was much more active in the first few days I arrived. To inbreed my blogs a little bit, here's an entry from Saturday, May 16, the day I arrived:
I arrived at the Midi train station this afternoon around 5:30 pm. From there it was only a 20 minute walk to the flat I am renting. After I dropped off my stuff, I set out to try and grab groceries and some other essentials so I wouldn't have to on Sunday.
To be honest, I'm not quite sure what I was thinking going somewhere I don't speak the language. Strangely, it wasn't until I arrived that I realized this is really my first venture outside of the English-speaking world. I went to Ensenada, Mexico when I was a freshman in college, but I went with a group of friends, one of whom was actually from Mexico (and Texas, but long story). Apparently his translating and local expertise sort of rendered my "foreign experience" much less of one.
Belgium's official languages are French and Dutch. It's kind of funny to see everything in two languages. (Rather than just include both languages like most signs do, placemats in Pizza Hut just alternated--half were in French, half in Dutch.) It seems that many people understand English, but certainly not everybody, and even for many of those who do, speaking it is a different story. It is definitely up to me to learn French!
My internship began on Monday the 18th, but because I always have Fridays off and Ascension, celebrated here as a national holiday, was on Thursday, I only started with a three-day work week. (I spent the long weekend doing a lot of sightseeing, including touring the nearby town of Bruges on bicycle with friends.)
While I felt like I had an awful lot of time on my hands those first few days, routine has quickly settled in over the last couple of weeks. I've found that between work, sightseeing, and trying to distract myself in a new city without my wife and 2-year-old son, I am actually rather busy.