I'm sure y'all know by now: I'm in Brussels.
Since the last Pubski, I – with the help of my boss – have managed to find myself an apartment for at least the next 3 months (with the possibility of extending the lease). It's a small, well-equipped apartment in one of the few large apartment buildings in the city. The views are... something else.
All that's left to do for me is to register as a foreign worker. After that, I'm all set and ready to work. I'm supposed to work on a finance app, and my boss' enthusiasm about it is contagious.
My experience of the country so far:
Everything's in either French of Dutch, and I'm only learning them so everything is barely accessible. People, on the other hand, are eager to speak English, so I'm never lost, especially in stores.
The amount of random trash on the street is ridiculous. I come from a country where people don't really care about keeping the streets clean, and that was better than what I'm seeing in Brussels.
Even cheap food is very good. Fast food is expensive but good. Ready foods – like restaurant sandwiches off the counter – are really good.
Once you have a transport pass (called MOBIB), it's very easy to get around the city. Brussels itself is small enough that you can get to a lot of local places on foot. For everything else, there's an infrastructure of buses, metro, bikes, and scooters in place and well-maintained.
The architecture of the city is incredible, especially once you go past your regular tourist traps. Grand Place is good, but it's the old houses that I'm after. Very lucky to have a very nice area around my building, in this respect.
You can buy preserved sausages in a jar.
I can buy however much Coca-Cola I want. Belgium isn't going to war with a neighboring state anytime soon, so I rest assured that my supply of Coke is not going anywhere anymore. In fact, I have a bottle in the fridge at this very moment, just in case I want some.
People are more open about expressing themselves in public. They laugh loudly, they feel free to shout, and they speak like they aren't worried that someone might hear them. This is in stark contrast with Russia. As someone with sensory difficulties, I must admit: I prefer Russia in this respect.
Local TV's basic package features channels from all over the world, including the US. That's really cool.
There have been a few times where the lock turns the other way from what I expect. This appears to be true for apartments and cheaper hotels. Further inquery required.
Going by train to Paris takes one hour. Going by train to Berlin takes 6, and a change of trains.
My boss, who's been living in Brussels for almost 5 years now, has not seen a white Christmas here yet. It's the start of December, and I'm yet to see a single snow flake. "Maybe", he says, "there will be one this year if temperatures keep dropping like that".