It’s already nearly 4 years since I arrived in Belgium for the first time during COVID, and what a hell of a ride it’s been, from getting to know a lot of people from other cultures, learning about them, and becoming a permanent part of a multicultural bubble, to learning how to develop my talents for my future career.
Mealtimes, which were always earlier than I expected, and everyone’s tendency to head outside as soon as the weather was nice were what really surprised me about Belgian culture in the first few weeks. I thought this was hilarious. When I first arrived, it was challenging to adjust and settle down because I came from such a hot country which has the tendency to put things off until the last minute. However, as I grew as a person and matured, everything went smoothly.
Every time I catch a train in Belgium, I tell myself that, if it weren’t for the numerous delays in connecting trains to Brussels or Antwerp, Belgium would have the best public transport system in Europe. I think about what a lovely country I chose to settle in and that it’s not as depressing as some people in Spain claim when I gaze out of the window on most of my train travels and visualise the stunning beauty of this nation’s towns and other places.
When you’re having fun, you really notice how quickly time passes. Life is like a highway. Even if it seems like it lasts a long time, every joyful moment spent with family and friends really flashes by. That’s why, you should constantly live each moment as if it were the last since you never know what will happen next. The best thing you can do for yourself is to routinely step outside your comfort zone, as I did. We shouldn’t let the clock and calendar dictate how we experience life. It’s important to see that every moment in life is a miracle and at the same time a mystery.
Text: Raúl Pérez Castellanos
Photo: © Raúl Pérez Castellanos