Monday, September 21, 2009

The One-Year Mark

J and I have officially lived in Brussels for a year as of today, which seems like good enough of a reason to break out of a blogging funk. One year in, some likes, dislikes, and random opinions:

+ As a city to live in, Brussels really is easy, comfortable, and manageable. That being said, what provides the ease and comfort can also become a downside: at times it feels outright boring.
+ The possibility of having a gorgeous apartment for a fraction of the cost elsewhere, again ameliorating the quality of living.
+ The open-air markets and the fresh, unprocessed food they provide.
+ The quality of the healthcare.
+ The opportunity to speak French.
+ The wackiness. Which actually usually comes disguised as inconvenience and frustration until some time (like, a year) has passed.

- The sheer shabbiness of it all (without, sadly, much chic to speak of). Brussels can really feel like the neglected, redheaded stepchild of Belgium. And the rat-like graffiti . . .
- The racism, which could actually be more of a Europe-wide phenomenon.
- The lack of interest in commerce.
- The fact that most main courses at any decent restaurant cost upwards of 20€.
- The pigeons on our terrace and elsewhere, who seem to have followed us from NYC.
- The fact that one can easily be run over by a car while stepping in dog poop on a sidewalk - given the high probability of each event separately.

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