Life certainly takes you in unexpected directions. In the autumn of 2004 I suddenly found myself in Belgium after turning down an attractive job offer in Italy. There was a girl, you see, and she convinced me to dump pasta and pizza for waffles, chocolate and a life with her in Belgium.
Unfortunately, that giant leap of faith didn’t actually work out for the relationship. However, instead of swiftly exiting stage left (pursued by a bear), I decided to stay in Belgium. I ended up having an unforgettable four and a half years in the country. Raking through my photo archives of those times, it makes me smile to think of just how much of Belgium I got to see.
In fact, I had two home bases in the country. For almost three years I lived in the lovely university city of Leuven. For nearly two more years I was based in Brussels, a period that I look back on fondly despite never truly falling for the Belgian capital.
For better and for worse, this was a highly eventful time of my life. I found love, lost it and found it again. I also made lifelong friends and took on one of the biggest challenges of my early teaching career. In between, there were fantastic adventures exploring the country.
To find out more about my experiences living in Belgium, check out my travel articles on:
I’ve also written a short story collection called Based in Belgium.