Friday, 7th of December marked 3 months since my plane landed in Brussels and my new journey began. The one where I live in a new country, Belgium, with my husband and our Yorkie. Of course, I didn’t imagine things would be just the same as back home but also never expected it’d be like this…
I am sitting in our spacious kitchen, sipping my freshly-brewed coffee (love the Chemex!) and looking in the window. There are huge 5 meters-high windows in our apartment, they overlook East and a quiet street in Wilrijk, Antwerp that we live in. There’s also a fat pigeon having a bath in a puddle on our neighbours’ rooftop. They still haven’t fixed the mistakes they made while repairing it back in September so it looks horrific. Nicky, our dog, is ecstatic to see all these birds behind the window glass. She runs back and forth, barks happily and tries to catch them or at least shoo them away. Today I feel rather safe and at home but on most days there is a sticky feeling of misery boiling somewhere deep inside me. I feel lonely, unwanted and just not where I belong…
First month here seemed quite fun. I already got used to our neighbourhood, pretty much understood how public transportation works and found myself a place to do my mani, pedi and some other basic girly stuff. To be fair, the very first month was rather enjoyable, active and interesting since we spent almost two weeks traveling. Rabin, my husband, is doing consulting for a company based in Austria, and they invited us over for some real talk. We gladly accepted this opportunity to travel and collect as much memories and emotions as possible before we apply for my visa and I get stuck in Belgium for a minimum of half a year. We spent an enjoyable time in Austria and decided to throw some of the money from wedding gifts into a short trip to Switzerland. Oh, those magical 10 days, I have yet to blog more about them.
Check this out: You Need to Visit This Lake in Switzerland
Homesickness began to gradually build up but October itself was rather ok. We spent a lot of time in IKEA and Pinterest finishing our apartment and figuring out how to add more hygge to it. First time in my life I was invited to attend an event as a blogger. A local PR company from Gent invited us to an exclusive premiere of “A Simple Favor” movie with Blake Lively. We did enjoy the film and the evening itself, free tickets, snacks and drinks never hurt anybody. A couple weeks later we found ourselves on yet another promotional event, and this is where I met my future boss and we discussed the opportunity of me joining the team for the internship. I blogged a little bit more about it here.
Then, my third month of living abroad kicked in – and it kicked me right in the nuts even though I don’t have any. This is when I understood that all this experience would be a huge rollercoaster of emotions and most of the times it won’t be as glamorous as I might want it to be. My emotional ups and downs would change by the hour, everything around me began to feel very strange and confusing, I myself started to fall apart. 5-days migraine anyone?…
The tedious visa process took all the juices from me leaving me in a rather empty state of emotional and mental stability. An unpaid internship and all those long to-do lists I had to tackle only added up some extra spice to the mixture. Never in my life have I felt so unsafe and insecure.
Beginning of December
I’m on the verge of crying (in fact, I do it every second Sunday -__-) and ending my internship. I won’t do it though. My parents are finally coming to visit us in mid-January, so I hope, they will bring me more joy (and also delicious cukes and tomatoes) and faith in myself and the world around me.
What I grew to understand within these three months is a) Belgium is still stuck in stone age, which drives me bananas; b) it’s not for everyone as in if you grew up in a big city somewhere else in the world, you’ll be dying of boredom here. It’s sad, but it’s true. I do miss a fast-paced lifestyle we used to have back in Moscow and in Hong Kong. It might be hectic and exhausting but you’re always in the loop and there’s always something happening 24/7/365.
I am very thankful to my husband for not letting me dig myself a hole and hide in it all the time. He’s the only close person I have here and even though I might feel super lonely, he will always do his best to cheer me up and remind me that the hard days and low moments are natural and will eventually come to an end.
Stay tuned to see how my journey unfolds, and if you’d like to follow along day-to-day, you can find me on Instagram @zengmarie