My name is Sylvia and I am a Schaerbeekoise. Or I will be, once the commune gets moving on my identity card. Schaerbeek is the second-largest commune (or municipality) in the Brussels region, so it might be some time before it is official.
So far, so good. According to Wikipedia, we are in the yuppie part of the commune (“popular for its Notting Hill atmosphere and the still reasonable pricing of real estate”), which is news to this couple. Since we moved, I haven’t really had a chance to get to know the area, due to impromptu trips to Ireland and a seemingly ENDLESS pile of boxes to unpack.
But now they are unpacked and I am free to wander at will. Above are a few photos I took today: a mural on the theme of “Brussels, intergenerational city” by the Belgian street artist, NEAM; our local fromagerie (what do you mean, you don’t have a local cheesemonger!?); the monument to the benefactors to the poor of Schaerbeek; and the line for tram 25.
The most special discovery so far has been the stumbling stone dedicated to Chana Minc, which I found on the street next to ours. Chana was a Polish bobineuse (bobbin threader), who lived at Avenue du Diamant 99 until she was deported to Drancy in May 1942. She died in Auschwitz in September that year at the age of 34, the same age as I am now.
I feel very lucky to have stumbled across her. These stones are so poignant and effective. It’s hard not to think of someone when you see their name every time you go to the supermarket.
I will try to write here more often. I have recipes to record and tales to tell of my new life in Schaerbeek. Join me, won’t you?