The first impression has been confirmed. I don't like much this city, probably we don't like each other. I've discovered only yesterday evening the touristic side of Brussels, which is exactly what one might expect: kitsch shops selling kitsch object, day and night, tribes of Italian students on school trip, weird lights on historical buildings. The weather tried to show me the best of the place, gifting every day of at least some hours of sun and clear sky. No way, I envied my friends in Vienna, who were complaining for the snow in April.
My flat is in a perfect location and after buying some IKEA furniture it looks also quite cute. As a friend of mine said, it is an ideal "nest". But this does not make me forget the many defects and troubles. The first day the code for the main door, sent by email by the landlady, didn't work and I couldn't get in. Then she gave me her personal code, but I expect she will change it again without any warn! Then, trying to open a window we broke it (glass too much thin! and weak frame) and I'm afraid I'll have to pay for it. The gas heater in the bathroom is noisy and was checked less than a month ago as dangerous for the bad ventilation (CO danger!). The washbowl is cracked. There are many scratches in the old furniture (built-in, impossible to remove) and on the wooden floor. etc. etc. The landlady didn't yet reply to my message. Perhaps I'm too much picky... Well, let's think positive, at least the CO cannot accumulate in poisoning concentrations, because there are too many drafts! However, this was the best solution I've seen. Maybe it was just a matter of luck.
The bureaucracy of every beginning is long and frustrating. Here, sometimes it works quickly and very efficiently, sometimes one is stuck for stupid reasons or someone's rigidity. Probably it is not the rule, but I've observed that the flemish speaking belgians work faster than the french. Then, I hate people that do not speak any other language than their own, here for French as well as in Italy for Italian. Anyway, I managed to get almost all I need (electricity, gas, bank account, health insurance, private insurance, double email account and keys from the university and the museum, monthly ticket payed by the university, etc.), but still fighting to get the registration, internet access at home, and the contract for water. Public transits are dirty and generally not reliable, often it is quicker to walk, exactly like in Italy. Prices are generally a bit higher than in Vienna. Finally, I don't agree with the chosen music in the metro (Toto Cutugno???) and dislike the sweetish buskers.
Stop complaining! As my former boss said, one goes where the work is. So, let's talk about the job. This is the good part. Perhaps it will be challenging to deal with three different institutes and a dense schedule, but people I have to work with are very friendly. Well, I'm not anymore so innocent to believe they'll never try to cheat me, especially those who are kinder with me now, but at least we can discuss about work as a team. I'm happy to find so many geologists in this field. I'm not the only one, so I hope to learn quickly what I need and then to begin to be productive.
|organ in the basilica of Grimbergen|
And my birthday? I've celebrated it one day in advance, with my parents, without whom my relocation would have been much more complicated and traumatic. We enjoyed a sunny Sunday in Grimbergen, with local beer, market, carillon and the monks singing Plain Chant. Yesterday I've been introduced to the work, meeting people from all the three institutions. The evening was very nice, dining with a good friend, who has been and will be a great help for my settling here. Maybe, after a while, I'll appreciate Brussels like her.