So I have had some news to share for a while but wanted to wait until things were finalized. Now that they are, I can finally share that I will shortly be moving to Brussels to start a new job. While neither Alessandro nor I are keen on going back to long distance dating (something we were hoping we had finally put behind ourselves when I moved to Rome in 2012), it was unavoidable even before I was offered this great opportunity in Brussels as Alessandro has to move to Turin for work this summer. At least we are used to the long distance thing already, having survived years of it when I was still working in London and Alessandro was working near Milan (and hopefully it is only a matter of time before we are back to sharing the same flat).
I have actually lived in Brussels before, working there for six months a few years ago (back when my sister Helena still lived there as well). Over the years I have been back there quite a few times for various seminars for work, usually extending my stay to spend the weekend with Helena. It will be interesting to move back to this city that I associate so much with her now that she lives in London. Either way I am quite excited – unlike most people, I really like Brussels. Aside from the weather (something I think I will struggle to get used to again after having been in Rome for a while), I love the architecture, the international atmosphere, the abundance of amazing chocolate shops etc. It is also a great hub for travelling and is only a 3h train ride away from home (and the high speed train just started stopping in my hometown!), so I am looking forward to more impromptu trips home to see my family as well.As for the food, Brussels is certainly not Rome and Belgium is not Italy but rumour has it Brussels has more Michelin-starred restaurants than Paris. In any event I am already looking forward to decent Asian food, something I have missed dearly in Rome, and not being frowned upon for ordering a cappuccino after 11am (and Alessandro is looking forward to the Belgian version of sausage and mash called ‘stoemp’ and consisting of mashed potatoes mixed with mash root vegetables, sausages and gravy). It will also be interesting to see how my French holds up given that the last few times I was there, I seriously had to fight back the Italian every time I opened my mouth, but I am sure I will get used to that as well (and thankfully it is easy to get by in English).
I have a few weeks left before I start my new job and am trying to make the most of it not only to get settled in Brussels but also to get in a bit of travelling. In between looking for (and finding!) my dream flat in Brussels I jumped on the train to spend the weekend at my parents and say hi to my grandmother. This weekend I am heading to Zurich to visit my dear friend Laura and finally have a good look around this city – despite plenty of transits in Zurich’s airport and spending an entire week in Zurich for work a couple of years ago, I have never actually walked around the city. And, most excitingly, Alessandro and I just booked a trip to Laos, leaving in just over a week! I have never been to Laos and it was quite a last minute decision (we had our eyes on Burma but could not get a visa at such short notice) so I have been studying guidebooks like mad, browsing the internet and speaking to friends who have been before to try and come up with an itinerary for us. I cannot wait for our trip to begin!