“I left my life and a job I loved in Lisbon, to accompany my husband to Brussels, where he is currently on military duty. Logistically speaking, moving was not hard for me. Everything was planned ahead and organized. However, that is not all one has to keep in mind.
Back in Portugal I used to be a teacher, so I was used to having a lot of life and movement around me. I remember the first months in Belgium, when I was often overwhelmed and saddened by the constant silence around me. After a while however, it got better.
After living in Brussels for a while, for the first time I felt that compared to Belgium, Portugal was a poor country. The standard of living here is much higher than back home, the buildings are nice and the architecture is beautiful.
Then again, at home I am used to people helping each other randomly on streets, in Belgium people seem to bit a little bit more reserved.
When talking to fellow artists and friends back in Portugal, I always tell them how much I enjoy living in Brussels. Truly, everything is available here. If you are looking for a place where they play free jazz, you will find one. If you want to discover new artistic expressions or even express yourself, there are a lot of avenues, a lot of possibilities and a lot of places to go to.
Something funny here are the kisses. In Portugal we give two kisses and the people who only give one are seen as uptight. So here I always try to give two kisses and it can lead to funny situations.
It’s the small aspects of daily life that take a while to figure out and get used to – how to take the bus or where get a haircut.
Most of all I miss the little things. I miss the sun, the beach and Portuguese coffee. I actually miss being able to go to places where you can drink coffee and have a piece of cake. In Belgium, it is usually one or the other.
Looking back, I realize that I was always afraid to move when I was younger. Knowing how enriching the experience can be and has been for me, if I could do it all over again, I would move as soon as I had graduated."