I Only Came Here for Six Months

Belgium Brussels, Place du Grand Sablon

It’s fantastic when you discover that someone else has written what you wanted to write, better:

Living in Brussels is like living in a golden cage – you feel trapped and you dream of escaping almost every day. But you never do because you know life will be more difficult, more complicated and more expensive on the outside.

I should know. In 1993 I came to the Belgian capital to do a five-month traineeship at the European commission. Fourteen years later and I’m still here, complaining about the squally weather, lousy service and infuriating officialdom, making plans to move to Britain, the United States or the south of France but secretly suspecting that the most likely way I’ll leave Brussels is in a coffin.

I am not alone. Virtually any expat you speak to has a similar story to tell about outstaying his or her welcome. In fact, playwright Alecky Blythe fashioned a whole drama around the everyday twittering of Brussels’ expats in 2005. Unsurprisingly, the title was ‘I Only Came Here for Six Months’.

Continue reading “Slow seduction in Belgium“, in Guardian Abroad.

(¡Gracias Lola!)


One thought on “I Only Came Here for Six Months

  1. There are worse places in this world to stay then Brussels. Of course, the political situation is a joke, taxes are absurdly high, the weather is crab and the road system awful (which already Ceasar knew but this is another story). BUT, there is beer, chocolate, fries just to mention a few from the good points.
    I think the problem for a lot of people is that Brussels is not fancy. New York, London, Paris, Berlin – sure; but Brussels?
    Faut pas exagérer et faire avec, quoi :)

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