“You have another 20 minutes, if you want to stay a little longer”, the lady at the Eurostar check-in said kindly, as I wiped my eyes and nose. But goodbyes are horrible and I had just cried into my boyfriend’s mouth, so I had to go. The wiping was futile, so I took ownership of my pink face and other possessions and joined the queue.
It’s been a lovely week in Brussels. I was apprehensive of what it would be like to come back, as I left a few days before the 22 March bombings and had followed everything from Ireland via news reports and Facebook updates. There was no doubt that I would come back, this is my home, but I was worried that something would have changed.
I needn’t have worried. The city has suffered a terrible tragedy, but the scars are healing and the mood is defiant. Maalbeek metro station reopened this week and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who got off the metro there just because. Place Jourdan, my neighbourhood, is currently being dug up for some drainage reason or other, but dust and terrorists are no match for the Bruxellois love of sitting with a drink in the sun on a terrace.
I got to spend time with friends and my love in my city, consuming too many carbohydrates and accepting rain as a reason to be lazy indoors. Being in Brussels was a little holiday in itself.
Now that these garbled thoughts are out of my head, I can relax and look ahead. I’m really starting the Big Trip now. This time tomorrow I’ll be heading to Heathrow to fly to Vancouver. This time next week, I’ll be on Vancouver Island. And so on.
For now, goodbye to Brussels and all it holds dear to me. When my trip is over, I’ll be back for more domesticated adventures and I can’t wait!