Far have I travelled, much have I seen, a life I have lived that was fairly unseen.
My life has mainly been about experiences. What I have not known or what I have not done - that is what has intrigued me, what has motivated me, what has kept me inspired. The more exotic, the better. So, now here in Brussels I face new experiences again but something is different. I feel uneasy. I feel like I'm at home but I'm not. I'm in Europe and that is the culture shock.
For an European, living in most of Europe is fairly easy. The mentality of the people, the values in life and the way of living are more or less similar. I can even eat exactly the same food here as I eat back home. The problem is that in my mind I'm abroad and it should be difficult. It should be a battle about avoiding being ripped off and stepping on cocroaches, putting on sunscreen every morning, waking up to people yelling on the street and buying breakfast from a shopping cart at a street corner. Here I have none of that, it's like I'm in Finland. That is the culture shock.
Still, some things are the same as in the exotic places.
The weather has been absolutely incredible these two weeks. It's summer. This week it's been around 24'c with the sun shining bright and me sweating. I came prepared for rain, wind and cold. Where are my summer dresses when I need them?
The people are nice as well, as they are everywhere. The few people I've gotten to know here I could easily have as friends. Among them are the interns at the representation that are girls only. We're a somewhat homogenous group of international, confident and motivated young women getting started with their carreers.
Last but not least, the men are the same. It is actually more a cultural thing but as Brussels is very international, you have everything here. This story includes Mhamed, my dear flatmate, as well. On Wednesday Mhamed had a Moroccan friend coming over, a ladies man, he said. This Mohammed (don't Muslims seriously have better imagination than naming all men after the prophet??) kept on/off looking at me all evening. When Mhamad started listening to his prayers, I had already gone to my room. In comes Mohammed who wants to use the bathroom that's in my room. In stead of returning to Mhamed, he sits on my bed and gets way too friendly. Urgh. Thankfully my "I really need to sleep now" get's the message through and he leaves. Mhamed was sincerely sorry for what had happened. So tonight that Mhamed left for work he told me not to open the door because this Mohammed had gotten some "ideas" regarding me and would maybe try and meet me. So much for the message getting through.. Conclusion: I still smile way too much, especially to men that tend to think too highly about themselves. I can't keep up with this nice girl mode, it's getting me in trouble no matter where I go.
So, all in all, I'm good, all is good. I have food and shelter, a job and a social scene, entertainment and time off. Feels like I've been here a month already.