The Doldrums


It’s that time again.

Time for my annual bout of “I hate Belgium.”

For some reason, once a year, about now I find myself despising my current country of residence for a myriad of reasons.
Basically, whatever is annoying me, regardless of how big or small, I tend to see it as Belgium being evil and doing its best to spite me.

I left 90 minutes early for work yesterday because my bike was ready to be picked up from the repair shop and I wanted to stop for a sandwich on the way. I walked to the tram stop, got off at the grocery store ( about halfway between home and work if you go by tram), went in to the insanely crowded store (grumble, grumble, stupid Belgian socialist labor laws, hardly anything is ever open late or on Sunday so everything is always jammed on Saturdays) and grabbed a sandwich and a salad for later. Then I plowed through the packed lines of people (grumble, grumble never enough tellers and people here never move when you’re trying to get through and dammit, the self-checkout line is not that complicated but no one ever uses it but like, me and I have to climb over a store full of people to get to it), got back on the tram and picked up my bike with a half hour to spare to eat my lunch. I then proceeded to bike in circles around the station and surrounding side streets in search of a place to park that a. wasn’t too shady looking/inviting to vandals and b. wasn’t marked as a no bike parking zone (grumble, grumble, hiss, there’s never any good parking here…if they invested in a bi-weekly sweep of old abandoned bikes there’d be plenty of room to park for the bikers who actually take care of their bikes). Finally I found a questionable spot (after someone backing up the wrong way down a one way street nearly drove over me), locked my bike and prayed no one would leave old beer cans on it or call to have it removed, and went to work (where I still have to explain to people how to drink through the hole in the lid (BELGIANS AAAARRGGHHHH).

Today I went to start a load of laundry and the ant-lime tablet crumbled all over the floor right as I was putting it into the washer (stupid Belgian hard water) and then went to sort the 100 or so euro we’ve accumulated in small change so I could exchange it at work (stupid Belgian banks that refuse to take rolls of change in exchange for bills because why would a bank actually, you know, handle people’s money???)

Really, this week Belgium has made me all :

Even Tay’s presence hasn’t kept the “I hate Belgium” at bay.
In fact, he’s been constipated for a couple days, so maybe it’s genetic and Belgium is pissing him off too. On a smaller scale. Like:


5 responses »

  1. My mood darkens this time of year too. I chalk it up to the diminishing sunlight for me (I’m just not used to days where I never see the blue of the sky and it seems like perpetual dawn/dusk.) I don’t like the extended preoccupation with St. Nicholas, either. Since Halloween isn’t a real thing here, and there isn’t a Thanksgiving, I feel like I’ve been hearing about Black Peter and St Nick for MONTHS now. Barf.

  2. If you ever pass through Brussels* you can exchange your euro coins into bills for free (max 5 kg of coins per month) at the national bank, near the cathedral. I do this quite often, best of all, there never seem to be any lines.

    *I know that they will do it in Brussels, maybe also in other offices of the national bank in other cities, don’t know for sure since I live in Brussels and never had any reason to try it somewhere else.

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