Yesterday the STIB (metro, bus, tram company) went on strike for the second time in two weeks. I’m not sure what they were striking about this time because not speaking good (read: any) French or Flemish I never read the local news. I was late to work in the morning anyway because I needed to tidy up a bit in the morning (Rasmus goes away for a few days and I turn back into a messy teenager apparently) so the metro was not crowded.
But in the evening I got down to the metro platform to a disturbing amount of people waiting for the metro. They were only running every 12 minutes or so through the Friday evening rush hour so you can imagine how frantic everyone was to get on. I did my usual trick of standing right at the front of the train (always less people there. always) and managed to force myself into a non-existant space next to the door. But I got half way home and was fed up of having so many angry and sweaty people standing in my personal space so I forced myself off the metro and walked the rest of the way home.
Which was actually lovely. The sun was out but it’s still a low in the sky blueish light sun which made the city, even the many shabby parts, look beautiful. I walked down past Grand Place and then past St Catherine church which is currently covered in scaffolding which honestly fills my heart with joy because I love that building and the site of trees growing out of the stonework half way up just made me want to cry.
I really do enjoy this city so much. My walk home took me past most of the bars, boutiques and restaurants that we visit regularly and I realised again that despite not speaking the language or understanding much of the culture, this place has become home. That that is even possible is bizarre and yet I really do feel comfortable in this part of the city. I know places, I recognise people.
I stayed here beyond my initial 10 month internship because I was so tired of moving around so much and having to start over in each new place. I haven’t lost my itchy feet and we won’t stay here forever. But I am enjoying the experience of feeling like a local.