Neuroticism and Belgian recycling
Updated: May 27, 2019
After two national holidays, I've had my second day in a third-day week. It's still pretty chilled. I met the rest of the team and I got stuck in to some translation for the English version of the website. It's really interesting talking to the team members about their jobs and reading the reports on migration the firm produces. I still haven't worked out what I want to do as a career, but studying migration trends seems pretty cool so far.
I'm learning more about Belgian-style bureaucracy. You only have to look at the city's recycling policy to see just how ridiculous it is; there is a bag for plastics and tins and a bag for paper and card, but yogurt pots cannot be recycled and you can be fined for doing it incorrectly. I am beginning to see why some vaguely intelligent people objected to the practices of the European Union.
A friend of mine who lives in Paris refuses to visit me on the basis that Brussels is simply 'too ugly', but I hasten to disagree. It's nothing on the Haussmann architecture of Paris or the ancient ruins of Rome or the terracotta roofs of Prague, but it's still rather pretty. I had previously thought Brussels had managed to skip the boat on the whole tourism thing, but it turns out I've just been walking around the non-touristy areas. I wandered into the centre the other day for a French conversation Meetup event and in the main square I almost couldn't move for people and selfie sticks. It was almost like being back in Barcelona.
Another thing I've been told about Belgium is the street art. I've noticed a few pieces here and there, but it's hard to be impressed having lived in Bristol all my life. This one, of Tintin and Captain Haddock kissing, is probably my favourite so far. Tintin comics formed a fairly major part of my childhood and there's a part of me that dreams of having bilingual children just so I can read Tintin to them.
Bristol in the home of Banksy and I love it. There's something quite satisfying about people recognizing the town you come from, especially when it only has a population of half a million. Bristol has a great music scene and I've never met friendlier people, certainly not in Paris. The Belgians so far seem friendly enough, and I think the common use of 'tu' in newsagents is a sign of friendliness rather than to be patronising.
With an evening ahead of me involving homemade cocktails and Cards Against Humanity with my housemates, it feels as if I could be in Britain. Ashamedly, I have been eating takeaways lately to avoid cooking (I was ill, to be fair) so the cucumber in my spritzer may be the closest thing I've had to vitamins in a few days.