Every Saturday I talk to someone who moved to Belgian. This week Amy tells us about the difference between her former home country the US and Belgium.
1. Could you please introduce yourself? Tell us a bit about who you are, where you are from, where in Belgium you moved to and when you made that move.
I’m Amy, a photographer from the United States. I’ve been living in Brussels (Watermael-Boitsfort) since July of 2014, but also lived here from 2008-2011. Since moving back, I’ve been working to relaunch my portrait photography business, Bela Lumo Photography.
2. Why did you move to Belgium?
I moved to Belgium the first time because my husband had a good career opportunity here. This time, we decided to move back for the same reason, but also because we had such good memories of our first 3 years here. I also believe that Brussels is a great place for me to practice portrait photography.
3. What were your expectations before you moved to Belgium and did the reality align with those expectations?
I actually didn’t have many expectations before moving to Belgium the first time because I didn’t know much about it. At the time, I was just looking forward to the adventure of discovering a new country by living in it. I had been in France for two years before moving, and I think subconsciously, I wasn’t expecting Belgium to be very different. It became immediately apparent, however, that they are two very different countries with their own distinct cultures.
4. What’s the biggest difference between life in the US and living in Belgium?
I’d say Brussels is the opposite in just about every way of my hometown in suburban, east coast Florida. Generally speaking though, size and space are the biggest differences. The U.S. is just so much bigger, with a lot more space for everything.
5. And what’s the biggest difference in mentality of the people or their lifestyle?
In my experience, Belgians seem to be more reserved than Americans.
6. What do you love most about Belgium?
There are many things… I love being able to easily explore Europe, but also to see such variety and diversity within Belgium’s borders. I also really love how Belgians seem very attached to their culture and traditions, and all the different festivals they have to celebrate them. And of course, I enjoy the food and beer a lot! There’s just so much to see and do here, one can never be bored.
7. What do you like least about Belgium?
Well, as much as I like being able to get to lots of different places quickly, I sometimes get tired of living in such a densely populated area.
8. What do you miss most about the US?
I miss my friends and family the most, but also the incredible national parks, and wide, open spaces. I also just miss that feeling of being at home. As much as I feel like Brussels is home, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel as comfortable as I do in my own country.
9. Is there something about the US that you don’t miss at all?
Having just made a visit home, I was reminded of how much I dislike the 24-hour news cycle and also how many ads there are on television.
10. Do you think you’ll stay where you are now, or do you think you’ll migrate again some day?
We will most likely move after a few years, but I don’t really know. For now, I’m looking forward to discovering more of Belgium.
11. A word of advice for other people who are thinking of moving to Belgium?
Go for it! And once you get here, try to see as much as possible. It’s a beautiful country!
12. And how about sharing some of your favorite places in Belgium with us?
- My favorite place in Belgium:
It’s hard to pick because there are so many interesting and beautiful places, but I do love Brussels. Probably because I know it best.
- My favorite place in Brussels:
I love the Parc Tournay-Solvay. Grand Place is pretty spectacular too.
- My favorite restaurant in Brussels:
There’s no way I can pick just one! L’idiot du Village for a special occasion, Eccome No for pizza, King Kong or West End for lunch, Le Pré Salé for moules frites, Nuëtnigenough for Belgian cuisine and amazing beer. And Moeder Lambic is by far my favorite place to have a beer.
Are you a Belgian who moved abroad, or do you know someone who is? I’m always looking for new Belgian Expats to talk to. Check out the X-pat Files for more information on who exactly I’m looking for and drop me a line!