Not a good day. The plan was: go to Brussels for a day of ‘networking’ and more job hunting. Yes, I have some language teaching and probably a lot more lined up for next year, but what I really want to do is work in politics in some capacity. If I don’t give it my best shot in Brussels I’ll come to regret it. I know I will.
So, got the 9.09 train to Brussels. Was off to the 11.30 session on a talk about European Healthcare and the prospects for a European wide common set of standards, organised by a think tank I want to work for. Not everyone’s cup of tea but sounded fascinating to me. I get to the right Metro station ridiculously early, as always, and then decide to slowly make my way to the venue, with the plan to stop off for a coffee along the way.
Well, it takes me 15mins to find the first street I’m meant to go down. Luckily, the trusty Rough Guide shows me the way. Then I spend the next 30mins just walking and walking and walking down an unbelievably long boulevard. The trouble with the streets in Brussels is that they’re just so long and the street names are usually so high up you can barely see them. I know I’m going the right way because in me top coat pocket is my scrunched up bit of paper with all the street names I need to be going down. Thank you Google maps. Have only just discovered it.
But, I reach the end of my second street which should then turn seamlessly into my third, but of course it doesn’t. I have a little hunt around, then go back on myself, then left, then down a different street. It is now 11.10 and it has started to rain and it’s windy. I have my brolly, of course. Already noticed how few Belgians actually carry an umbrella with them. They must know that they live in a very wet country but that doesn’t seem to bother them.
I then get a text from someone I’m meant to be meeting at 4 for job advice to say he’s off sick from work and has had to cancel our meeting. It is now 11.25 and I have absolutely no idea where I’m going. I pretty much come to a standstill. The venue is probably another 15mins away, and I can’t turn up late. After a final bit of left turns and right turns I decide that I’ve had enough. I’m going home. The rain then gets heavier and my feet are starting to get wet. I’m pretty fed up.
I quickly go down a couple of street which are meant to have temping agencies but of course they’re no longer there. A pretty shit morning which then gets even worse as I inexplicably go the wrong way heading back to the metro station. I say inexplicably because it only involved walking down two very long streets, but that is obviously too much for my brain and my appalling sense of direction to handle.
Two and a half hours of walking, a missed talk and possible networking opportunities, a cancelled meeting with a useful contact, wet trousers and soggy socks. And I just know I’m going to step in dog shit eventually. You can’t keep almost missing the stuff without finally succumbing to the inevitable squelch under-feet. But, amazingly I do (miss it).