On the streets of Brussels

It’s been now a couple of months that I’ve been living in Brussels and studying at Université Libre de Brussels and there are few habits that I have developed over time since I arrived. First of all, I am very lucky that I live very close to the university, however this blessing is also a hidden curse; I live so close that I am always late and I run to class 5-10min before class starts. Thankfully I always arrive right on time, but out of breath. I should really try to leave my house on time; my goal of the month.

IMG_0521Secondly, I have started to stare at the ground while I am walking. Let me explain, Brussels isn’t the cleanest city and it has lots of dangerous and not straight paving everywhere, thus while you are walking you have to watch out. Also when it snows or snow is frozen, everything is very slippery for 2 reasons: they don’t remove the snow because it’s hard to do considering the paving is not straight, and they don’t put salt on the street.

However, I have been taking the same road for months to go to the Plaine Campus and only last week for the first time did I try not to stare constantly at the ground and I realized that the wall next to me had sentences in several languages and complementary art.

Mur XL (Wall XL): There is a play on words with XL and the city “Ixelles”. The artist of the wall is Emilio Lopes-Menchero and the poet is Chantal Maillard.

The scent of grass in the morning. A pool of water stagnant at the bottom of a barrow.

Laughter is a weapon of defense. So let’s defend ourselves! Where’s the enemy?

Going away counting each step. Stunned that one has stayed put and stops us counting further.

One side of the wall or the other, what does it change if on both sides the wall separates us.

On my street, my neighbour always puts paintings on his window and one night I saw this sentence in a frame : Le bonheur, c’est renoncer au plaisir d’être malheureux (translation: “Happiness, it’s to abandon the pleasure of being sad”). (Note the interesting paradox in “pleasure of being sad”)

This week, I also saw these interesting signs, from a just-a-little-bit-angry people:
HONTE A VOUS! ET BRAVO POUR VOTRE CIVISME! RAS LE BOL (translation: “Shame on you! And good job for your civisme! I’m fed up!”).


On a mailbox, PAR PITIÉ: PAS DE PUB POLITIQUE!!! (NI DE PUB TOUT COURT) (Translation: “For goodness sake: no political commercials!!! (or any publicity for that matter)”.
I realized this week that I should be more aware of my surroundings. The world is a ravishing and interesting place and I really suggest everyone this week to look around, you might be surprised at the things you have missed. For example next time you walk from cimetière d’Ixelles to a TD party, look at the wall on your right.
Nevertheless, you should still look sometimes where you are walking…. yes you’ve guessed right, I stepped on dog poop on Sunday! Thank goodness for the cold weather (the only time I am ever going to say that I am happy that it’s freezing cold outside) and no harm was done.

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