“Some people wouldn’t recognise a good thing if it waved a dozen flags & shouted in their ear”

24 07 2007

The title is a quote from the Lonely Planet for Switzerland and describes how some people feel about Geneva… It could as well have been a description of Brussels!

I overheard two Swedish women talking about life in Brussels today at lunch time. Have you noticed that it is really easy to tune out when somebody speaks a foreign language around you, but almost impossible if they speak your mother tongue? Anyway, that is my excuse, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop and I even tried to concentrate on reading my book but I couldn’t help hearing their discussion.

So, two Swedish women – one living in Brussels, one in London, both with good jobs; it seemed that the woman who lives here works for one of the European Institutions and she was the one complaining. “Brussels is such a boooring city”, “In Stockholm you can at least go to the theatre” (hello, there is theatre in Brussels too – and if you don’t happen to speak French, there are English / American / Irish theatre groups and lots of other kinds of cultural activities) “the job is so boring” … I’m thinking “why don’t you just leave then if your life is so miserable here???” and then she says “oh, but maybe I should just stay here a bit longer to earn some more money” and “my apartment is so nice”

HA! There we have it, people LOVE complaining about life in Brussels (and Geneva) but in the end they love their salary too much, especially those working at the European Institutions (or at the UN in Geneva). It’s a comfortable life style, you earn good money, you can travel all over Europe on the weekends (Paris in 1,5h by train, London 2,5h etc) and you can live in amazing apartments for less money than in many other capitals in Europe. And c’mon, the weather is not much worse than other northern European countries…

What I want to tell all these people is that nobody (I hope) is forcing them to live here (or in Geneva) – just go home if you are so miserable! There are lots of other people who would love to take their jobs.

Oh well, I have been trying to tell colleagues and friends this for more than five years now (first in Geneva, then here in Brussels) and maybe I should just accept that it is a human characteristic to always complain and never be really happy??

Just some Tuesday thoughts from a Grass Widow in Brussels… (have you ever wondered why it is called grass widow? I finally googled it and found the following explanation – check link!) O has gone to Hamburg on a business trip until Thursday, I’d better get used to it as it is now official: he bought his plane tickets today and he is moving to Puerto Rico the 7th August!! I will stay here and work until mid/end of October.

 PS For the record, I also complain of course every now and then, but I try to see the positive aspects of the place where I live.


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6 responses

24 07 2007
Desiree

Visst är det trist med personer som bara klagar. Jag tycker att man bör försöka se mer på allt positivt man har i sitt liv och runt omkring sig. Vissst kan det vara männskiligt att klaga då och då men det viktiga att bli en sådan där neggo person som bara klagar hela tiden. Det är inget kul i längden att vara kring sådana personer.

Oj då blir du gräsänka i några månader framöver. Kommer du att jobba i PR eller hänger du bara med och tar tjänstledigt?

26 07 2007
Anne

Jag håller med! Det är urtist med folk som bara gnäller och klagar, speciellt när man flyttat till nytt land och stad (som de här du hörde) så tycker jag nog att man kan försöka bjuda till lite mer och ha en mer positiv attityd och inställning till där man lever och bor.
Intressant läsa om ordet gräsänka (jag klickade på länken du så pedagogiskt skrivit ut).
7 augusti, det är snart! Och så flyger du en månad senare, visst var det så?

26 07 2007
petchie

Japp, först blir jag gräsänka och sedan ska jag bli desperat hemmafru… Men, jag ska läsa spanska i Puerto Rico och förhoppningsvis engagera mig i någon slags volontärorganisation, hoppas jag.
Desirée, jag har inte fast anställning på Kommissionen och jag kan inte jobba längre än till den 15/06/2008 (6-års regel för icke-tjänstemän) så jag har helt sonika sagt upp mig från den 15/10! Jag flyttar i slutet av oktober så det är lite mer än två månader som vi kommer att vara isär, men det får funka. Jag tänker passa på att umgås intensivt med mina vänner här innan jag flyttar till ett ställe där jag bara känner två personer förutom Oscar…

28 07 2007
Mehdi

Thanks for the very interesting definition of the grass widow, I had never even heard the term, allthough it fully applies to Cécile at the moment : she is back in rainy France while I continue working in the blazing Dubai heat..
There is a reverse expression applying to men in some french speaking african countries with large french expat populations such as Senegal or Côte d’Ivoire: the month of July is referred to as “Le mois du Blanc” by the indigenous ladies..normally, “Le mois du Blanc” in France is January and refers to the month where you buy all your homelinen and bed sheets. In Africa, it refers to the month where white males “enjoy” the time when their “grass widows” are away with their maids or local mistresses. Je te rassures, il ne se passe rien de tel ici à Dubai.

28 07 2007
petchie

Mehdi, I didn’t know that you had a special month for buying bed linen in France! Interesting that it means something different in Africa…
We say grass widow in Sweden (gräsänka). Two of my friends will be grass widowers in two weeks just when O has left so we will be “grassing” or something together, hanging out on Plc Luxembourg and checking out the singles’ attempts to pick each other up!

29 07 2009
Marianne

Du behöver inte svara på den här kommentaren så långt bak i bloggen!

Haha, en vit månad är alltså inte samma sak i Frankrike och i Sverige! Inte heller i Afrika!

Och visst är det trist med folk som gnäller över platsen de bor, oavsett pengarna tycker jag de ska packa sig därifrån!

KRAM!

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