The last five days have been some of my best in Belgium, and maybe even the best since I’ve been in Europe. Last Thursday and Friday were public holidays so we had no class, and the whole city finally relaxed a little to stop, smile, and take in the sun. Honestly the city looks completely different in the sun. After months of gray and rain the green, flowers, and sun was the exact remedy for the Belgium gloom.
I had three term papers due last week so for a week solid I was writing and cursing VECO for their lame education. However, all three papers taught me something and now I realize they weren’t the worst topics in the world. My last paper was turned in by Wednesday afternoon so that left me time to nap and prepare for a celebratory night out. My housmates and I decided to get all dress up, as opposed to our normal slobby college student garb, and go out. We meet up at a friends house and then we went downtown to Mappas, a really chill Cuban bar. After a round we were off to a Irish bar/ disco for happy hour. My friends host moms (awesome lesbian couple Elsa and Iria) met up with us to dance. Then they took us off to another disco and we twirled the night away. By 4:30am I was ready for food and home, but Elsa and Iria wanted to keep going. I just couldn’t keep up haha. I went off for a Kabab snack and then home.
Thursday was May 1st which is labour day. The socialist party was out in full force and threw a party just down the street from my house. Lauren, Elena, and I joined in and danced to awesome jam bands with horn sections. I wore my bright red hat and enjoyed just people watching. I stood and took in this scene that could never happen in the United States. It felt like I was breathing in freedom, and thoughts of the US felt claustrophobic.
Friday I woke up early and caught a train to Amsterdam. I was suppose to spend the weekend there with Keziah, but it didn’t work out. Now I think it was for the best because I had such a good time on my own and in Brussels. I hit the streets by noon and wondered. The city is completely different in the sun. People everywhere just basking and taking in the day and all the sights. After finding the perfect coffee shop I went to a sidewalk café and ate a beautiful lunch in the sun as I watched the spectacles of Amsterdam street traffic. Then I was off to wonder some more. Sat in squares, along canals to write and just breath in this city. By 8pm I was on the train back to Brussels completely contented with life.
Saturday I woke up early to catch a train to southern Belgium. 12 of us went kayaking. At first it felt like any other float trip I’d ever been on. But when we turned a bend and there was a vertical rock face with a castle on top I had a “We’re not in Kansas anymore” moment. Just gorgeous. It was a moment that I will never forget. It was perfect and I felt like I was in a fairy tale. It was mostly locals and boy scouts on the river. We seemed to be the only ones so impressed with this sight. After all, the castle was there before them and will outlive them. Americans don’t realize what old is. By the end of the trip we were exhausted but so happy to have this once in a life time.
My head want to explode this weekend was so much fun. My days in Belgium are on a count down now, but I’m going to get the most out of each one of them.
Love from Brussels,