Not so long ago (what an irrelevant piece of information in a blog!), I had a small Ramallah reunion, as I’d like to call it, in Brussels. Was it as eye-opening as my time in Ramallah? Can’t say so. And yet, it was eye-opening in this one particular respect that I would like to briefly tell you about, in case you are in the same situation.
That situation is: having no interest in Western Europe. As I was telling people, I got so spoiled by Asia, that now, if I think of proper traveling, almost (but only almost) no place in Europe seems so exciting. I know, hard-core arrogance alert, please. That’s why I went to Israel for the first time instead of hitting some European city on my way home during my winter break, and that’s why I wanted to come back to the Middle East to see more of it.
What Belgium did to me, essentially, was shook up that arrogant approach pretty hard. I was secretly wondering why so many of my uni mates want to go to Brussels on an internship: why would you choose Western Europe when you can choose…ehmmmhh some “exotic” (here’s the missing ingredient of racism for you) place? In fact, I was trashing this place I had never been to pretty hard! And then, some months ago, one of my best friends said to me something that was a baby step to getting rid of that arrogance described: “You know, Juste, I understand why young people want to go to Brussels. I’ve done my internship there, too, and it’s a pretty cool place with lots of young people, it’s very international and vibrant.” It did make me think, but, of course, a comment is as convincing as a comment can be.
And then, when I hit Brussels myself, it didn’t even take me much time (well, OK, maybe because of some pretty damn good company) to sort of formulate a quasi-apology in my head, directed to…a huge part of Europe. “Hmmm maybe they don’t have Thailand-like beaches or food as cheap as in India, but, damn it, it’s not that bad!” was my careful thought. Ha, I did such a grown-up think to do (although, sadly, this thing doesn’t come with age necessarily): allowed an image of something that I had for quite a lot of time in my head to change.
The image changed for the better, brought even more confusion to my already confusion-intense life, and resulted in this, now when I think about it, highly uneventful blog entry. Oh well, maybe I have to let go of the image that I have in my head that all my blog posts are awesome, who knows.