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23.11.15

In Transit - Charleroi-Sud, Brussels

While the flight was smooth as could be, my first few minutes in Brussels were anything but.


First things first, I should start by saying travelling abroad alone is no easy feat but one that I would definitely do again and again (and again, for added effect), and that I definitely recommend one does at least once in their life.
However, I would like to point out that I seldom give advice on this blog as that is not the aim (nor is it to inspire, I might add). While I can scarcely remember anything I've posted earlier than September this year, I'd like to think I've refrained from giving serious life advice on here because not only am I not trained or qualified to do so, I'd probably need to know your individual situation to attempt to do so as accurately as I am able, and while I'd love to, I don't for some of you.



My point is that, while you are obviously free to do as you please, I would strongly encourage (as I probably have before) that you not look at anything I do as remotely aspirational - like travelling to a foreign country and not telling your parents. Especially that one.

In light of recent events across the globe, it's beyond scary to think that if I'd just booked a flight to a different city at a later date, a very easy thing to do, my parents could have woken up to the news of any one of these attacks and had no idea their favourite child* was one of the casualties until the autopsies were complete. It's even scarier to think that could be happening to someone's parents right now.

I wouldn't wish that upon my worst enemy so I ask that you all be safe; and if you or your loved ones have been at all afflicted this past week or so, wherever you are, you're in my prayers.



Now, even though I have just insinuated how monumentally stupid I was to board a plane to Brussels alone with no one but my brother Suji aware of my whereabouts for twenty-four hours, I'm not going to lie and say I regret it. Because it was one of the best days of 2015 for me by a landslide.
As I mentioned here, I did get off to a rough, panicky start upon arrival. I don't think I've had that many knots in my stomach since that split second I realized I'd been walking with a family that so was not my own somewhere in Disneyland Paris for God knows how long when I was, like, five before my mum came calling, thank the Lord.
I just couldn't get the dying-abroad scenario out of my head, only at the time it felt more like I'd watched a little too much TV and less like it does now which is very, very real. I even contemplated just spending the rest of the day at the airport, pondering when I became such a paranoid agoraphobic. Although it's not so much people that get me fidgety as it is what large numbers of them tend to attract: armed robbers, terrorists, crazy gun-slinging white people etc.
And yes, I was well aware I wasn't in America but what did I know about Belgium, really? Nothing. What I did know was that I sure as hell did not want to be the casualty of someone else's heavily misguided foolishness.
I stalled at the bus station for half an hour, taking the fact that the ticket machine crashed for a bit when it was my turn in the queue as a sign before I remembered I'd forked out money from my own damn pockets for this trip so I'd be damned if I didn't at least see the Grand Place and eat a damn waffle.
Throwing caution to the wind, I caught the next bus to Charleroi-Sud and "Frenglish"-ed my way to the city centre as I'd conveniently forgotten to Google what train line I needed to get there before I left British airspace.

Typical.



Stay tuned for the rest of this too-short Belgian adventure.


photography by me



*Even in death, my immaturity runs deep. This is how I deal with matters involving dead people. I mean, my body interprets moments of silence as moments to rehash every single funny situation that has ever happened in this rib-cracking highlight reel until I've got tears rolling down my face from pinching myself in an attempt to stop from laughing too loudly. If I was to turn down a funeral invitation, it really would be for the best. I'm not ordinarily funny but when I'm at a funeral, just call me Trevor Noah because it's about to get discomfortingly hilarious, my friends.

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