1) Note to self: 2 heavy suitcases (seriously what did I pack?!) and a backpack are not manageable when travelling alone.
2) If St Andrews is all coffee shops and charity shops, Chaussée de Boondael is all launderettes and photocopying shops.
3) Maybe it is just in contrast to white middle class Perth, but Brussels is probably the most cosmopolitan place I’ve ever been to (and I’ve so far only walked from my accommodation to the campus and back!).
4) First impression in taxi ride, Brussels has some really ugly buildings, but they are quite quirky. First description on campus tour: “And these are the ugliest buildings on our campus, but aren’t they cool?!” First line of welcome pack: “Brussels is ugly, and we love it!”.
5) You hear French, Flemish and English all the time and you can’t judge who will speak what. The Indian family who speak Flemish, the definitely-must-be-British-aren’t-stylish-enough-to-be-French-speaking couple who speak perfect French…
6) I thought it would feel like France but it feels totally different. I’m not quite sure what the difference is (maybe the fact it’s Belgium…) but it’s definitely not like France…
7) …and they don’t want to be anything like France. “French fries?! They were BELGIAN fries first I’ll have you know…”
8) When the library computer doesn’t log you in for about the 10th time as it says you’ve typed your password in wrong, you then look down and realise that their keyboards are totally different.
9) Don’t attempt to cross main streets without following someone who looks like they know what they’re doing. Top speed motorbikes, cars, bikes, taxis, oh and trams in the middle.
10) It’s only been a day, but so far so good!