A Pinterest “Vision Board” in the Works

With each week that goes by, my heart becomes more and more torn at the thought of leaving Belgium. I would place myself in the denial stage of grief at the moment; I refuse to believe that I only have about a month and a half left. On some nights, I feel as though I am shifting into the bargaining stage as I research potential internship opportunities in Brussels for the spring, play with pushing my flight home back by a few weeks, and make lists upon lists of things I NEED to do and places I NEED to see before my time inevitably runs out. It is on these nights that I realize I could genuinely, potentially, maybe, truly, hypothetically see myself moving to Belgium in the future.

Wow, I am really downplaying the situation. I act as if it was just a fleeting, impulsive thought. Well, I actually have put a little bit more time and consideration into this possibility than I would prefer to admit. I have my top four gorgeous dream apartments saved on HousingAnywhere for future-Adriana to consider. I have an album of photos on my phone of street signs for when I need to remember which neighborhoods in Brussels are perfect to live in. I have the locations of flea markets and cool vintage furniture stores saved in a note on my phone for when I potentially move to Brussels and can allow myself to buy furniture and interior decor for a permanent home. The truth of the matter is that I hope Brussels can eventually become more than just a semester-long-study-abroad-home for me.

The dream I have whipped up in my head for future-Adriana to follow when she obviously considers moving to Brussels goes as follows:

Where would I live? Easy: the neighborhood of Saint-Gilles. It is by far the coolest area in Brussels, with tons of artsy cafés and restaurants, plenty of fresh food markets each week, the BEST Belgian fries stand in the whole city, the most interesting architecture- I could go on forever! This neighborhood is also walking distance to the center, walking distance to the main international train station of Brussels, and walking distance to my second and third choice neighborhoods (Ixelles and Etterbeek). This neighborhood, in my opinion, feels the most alive, and this feeling of liveliness is one I missed out on growing up in a mid-sized, suburban town in Pennsylvania. Now, I know city-life is not everyone’s cup of tea, but Saint-Gilles offers the perfect blend; it is high energy yet also not overwhelming and loud. Ugh, just writing about this makes me want to go on HousingAnywhere again to search some more for the perfect apartment.

As my goal post-undergrad is to go to law school, I have my sights set on becoming a lawyer. I always knew I wanted to tackle law at an international level, and Brussels fits perfectly with these professional goals! Brussels is the hub of European law, with the EU headquarters just a 5 minute metro ride away from my current home. There are also so many international firms with offices in Brussels, so the opportunities for a career as an international lawyer here are plentiful. Yet another reason I should come back to Brussels after law school!

Living in Brussels for these past few months has also seriously improved my health. From all the walking, the fresh food options, and the difference in food quality, I feel the healthiest I have ever been even though my diet did not change drastically. I buy the same foods, make the same meals, eat just as much (if not more!) as I did in America, but somehow I feel better health-wise. In Europe, many preservatives and additives are banned for food products, while in America, they are allowed. In Belgium, people eat according to what foods are in season, and they typically opt for fresh local markets over supermarkets. My health is extremely important to me, and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle in America takes some serious effort, while in Belgium, it comes naturally! It’s the status quo, the default! Another reason I should come back to Belgium as a permanent resident…

Thinking about moving to Belgium to live here does, at times, make me realize how much I would miss America. Thankfully though, Belgium is such an international melting pot of a city that there are plenty of American-ized things to do when I miss home. There are American sections in the supermarkets with imported American snacks, cereals, and condiments. There are American bagel shops and milkshake diners. There is also an American community within Brussels; I hear so many Americans when walking throughout the center. Knowing that I would have these points of comfort if I were to move to Belgium makes the idea a whole lot less intimidating.

For now, I guess all I can do is wait to see what the future brings. And perhaps create a Pinterest vision board titled “Future Life in Brussels” for some inspiration.

An American bagel shop in Brussels! 10/10 recommend!
Best Belgian fries in Saint-Gilles!
Fresh food market in Saint-Gilles!

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