April started off with a visit to Wales to see the family. I hadn’t seen them since Christmas, so this was a welcome break. I’ve not really experienced homesickness before like I have during my time in Belgium, even though I haven’t really lived at home since I was 16. It was a bit jarring initially because I’d always thought of myself as someone who just doesn’t really get homesick. Not because I’m not close to my family, but more because of the fact that wherever I’ve been before I’ve known they were only a phone call away. That’s no different in Belgium, but it takes a fair bit more time, effort and money for us to get to each other when there’s a big body of water between us; something that’s been painfully obvious at certain points, so a week with the fam was much appreciated and enjoyed.
When I got back to Belgium, my manager was away for a work trip, so it was just me and the new member of staff in the office. This felt a bit daunting because all of a sudden, I was the most experienced person in the office. Never the less we muddled through and made it until the boss got back without any major catastrophes… I call that a win!
April was also one of those months where I seemed to do a lot of admin. The organisation’s website was finally back up and running so I had a whole load of updating and uploading to do. It sounds boring even to me as I’m typing it, but I actually quite enjoyed it. I’m far from a computer nerd (I don’t even really know what coding means) but I like playing around with things online that aren’t too out of my grasp and I found the process of updating things and getting the website looking better really satisfying. I did other things too, I attended another EU conference and wrote a guide for future EVS volunteers, but my prevailing impression of April work wise is all about the website.
The best thing about April was my travels. A friend from the UK has recently moved to Antwerp so I had the perfect excuse to visit. There wasn’t much to do in the way of visiting notable landmarks or discovering much history, but I spent one afternoon enjoying the sunshine and some beers in the park, and another evening with good friends in a quirky bar. Antwerp is somewhere I’d go again for a good time.
I also spent a weekend in a small rural village called Thuin with some other EVS volunteers and their friends. This was another lovely weekend but a bit more relaxed than Antwerp. Jazzy definitely preferred our long walks through the countryside and forest. We used Air B&B and stayed in a gorgeous typical Belgian house; very tall, with three stories and basement, looking over a fantastic view of the hanging gardens. It was a beautiful, very tranquil place and I’d recommend The Frites Club, a small friterie right opposite the train station, for really good typical Belgian chips.
That’s about it for April. The weather gradually got warmer, but my raincoat was never far away because of typical April showers. I didn’t get around to writing an April post until now because May has been manic from the get -go, but that’s a story for another post.
Until next time…