Guestblog by Charlotte Davies: made in England, living in Belgium

20 Nov

Charlotte Davies is de Britse vriendin van mijn goede vriend Jan. Sinds anderhalve maand woont ze met hem samen in Baal (Vlaams-Brabant) en ik was benieuwd naar haar ervaringen als ‘nieuwe Belgische’. Speciaal voor Chit Chat schreef ze een guestblog. Mij bracht hij in elk geval érg aan het lachen en ik hoop dat jullie ‘m minstens even leuk vinden.

‘If you had said to me ‘Charlotte…In 2011 whilst you’re in Australia, you’re going to meet a very nice Belgian man. You will live together in Brisbane, travel around South East Asia together and finally, when all of that comes to an end, you’ll move to his home country, Belgium’, I could believe the part about meeting a nice Belgian man. I could happily accept the idea of living and traveling together. However the big move to Belgium is, quite simply, something I wouldn’t have considered. Or believed I would ever have the guts to do.

Nevertheless, good old cupid shot his arrow and has brought me here today. I often think about it and laugh. I had never been to Belgium before, so I was 100% jumping into the deep end, the unknown. Trusting all the good things that my Belgian man was selling me. Would I even like it here? My friends are not a ten minute drive away. How would I communicate with people? I’m in a country that speaks all the languages I don’t! And would I even be capable of driving on the opposite side of the road (the wrong side *Wink Wink*), I didn’t want to get the back to front feeling whilst driving a car… Despite my ongoing doubts, over the six weeks I’ve been here I’m slowly slipping into life ‘Belgium Style’.
Here are just few things which have made me laugh in my one and a half months of being here.

First of all, I have noticed that there is clearly an obsession with any form of food deep fried from the local ‘Frituur’. I’m not complaining about that. ‘Stoofvlees’ with chips has hit a soft spot with me, it’s one of my favourite dishes. These places are totally unavoidable, they are in every street you turn and seem to be cheap as chips (excuse the pun)! My challenge now is to find the best one.

Another thing which totally amuses me about Belgium is how you have vending machines for absolutely everything (or near enough)! My favourite being the ‘Brood Automaat’. I was purely amazed and also slightly baffled that you have 24/7 bread machines! It makes sense I guess, when the shops are closed you need some bread late at night, you can drive to your nearest ‘Brood Automaat’ and purchase your desired loaf. (Because everyone needs bread before bed… right?) It may seem the ‘norm’ to all of you locals but we have nothing like it over the channel. I should take this idea back to the UK, there is definitely a hole in market!

And finally my most recent discovery. After looking at all the festive chocolate in the shops, it came to my attention that the ‘Father Christmas’ I know and love doesn’t look quite the same as this mysterious chocolate man I have been seeing around recently. After a long discussion over dinner I’m now familiar with this mysterious ‘man’ or should I say ‘men’, ‘Sinterklaas’ and ‘Zwarte Piet’. What makes me slightly jealous of all you Belgian people is that you basically get two Christmases, and the rest of the world (other than Spain) get one! Until now I had absolutely no idea that they even existed, another thing we miss out on in the UK. If I had known this 20 years ago, I might have persuaded my parents to move here, or maybe not. Surely it’s not that hard to ride your horse over to England… come on ‘Sinterklaas’ sort it out, share the Christmas spirit!

I have my list of differences, doubts and worries. The good things, the bad things, things I miss about home, things I love here, things I could live without and some things I just wish would make my life easier here. However I knew it would be a challenge living in a totally different country out of my comfort zone, but it’s a challenge I’m happy to accept. I look forward to what 2013 has in store for me whilst living here in Belgium.’

3 Reacties to “Guestblog by Charlotte Davies: made in England, living in Belgium”

  1. Charlotte Elizabeth Davies november 20, 2012 bij 4:05 pm #

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is… and commented:
    My GuestBlog For chit chat. X

  2. Evelien PR november 20, 2012 bij 9:44 pm #

    Cool! Tis idd is leuk om zo is te weten hoe en wat er hier zo anders is enz! Goe idee Birte (meer van da)!! (jakke, gij vertaalt het wel he) 😉

  3. Robby november 21, 2012 bij 1:49 pm #

    Yeah but the vending machines are more like a Kempen thing 🙂
    They got them in this part of the country too but over there, they are obsessive with it.
    Innit honey? 🙂

    PS Sinterklaas is the real santa!

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