Back in BXL

I have been back in Brussels for nearly one week, and I’m already itching to leave.

My visa problems are not going away any time soon, though. After two trips to two different communes, I have realized that I am probably not going to obtain my official Belgian ID card for at least two months. The paperwork is all done, of course, but the waiting game persists.

This is disconcerting.

It’s not that I need to start traveling again, but the freedom I felt on the road this winter has been unmatched in my lifetime. Little tastes of independence, small dosages of other cultures and memorable encounters with new people are always going to tempt me now. Even with these issues of legality, and even with ISA telling me “No, No, No,” all I want to do is hop the next train out of Belgium.

Maybe one quick trip will help slowly flush the travel bug out of my system.

Maybe. Or maybe I’m infected forever!

But in the mean time, I’m enjoying my surroundings. I’ve moved into a new home-stay in Watermael-Boitsfort, a gorgeous and quiet commune far from the city center. It’s convenient for my daily trips to class, and the strip of student bars by cimetière d’ixelles is real close as well. If I walk three minutes I’m surrounded by everything I need — supermarkets, a butchers’ shop, a fancy patisserie, restaurants, a hyper-organic cafe and artisan ice cream.

Even better, I’m surrounded by trees.

Half of Watermael-Boitsfort is covered by the Forêt de Soignes (Sonian Forest), 12.9 kilometers of life that I’ll likely only skim the surface of.

And there are garden cities — public spaces that I wish I could explain further, but I really need to see with my own eyes first — and normal gardens. The Tournay-Solvay park, for example, is a beautiful stretch of growth and polished orchards, with an old castle sitting in the center. Rumor has it that roses dot the park each spring, and I’m sure the entire commune will radiate color.

Maybe I needn’t go far to escape my city woes after all.


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