Love where you're from; bloom where you're planted. (Flophouse motto)
Brussels and I are only dating, but so far we're good for each other.
She dresses well and never puts on too much makeup. But she doesn't mind if her date shows up wearing tennis shoes. Her houses are toasty warm so you don't mind the cold weather and rain so much. You don't need a car because the public transportation is clean, efficient and trustworthy. The trams are outstanding and run mostly above ground so you can see quite a lot of the city by taking one from the first station to the terminus.
And she has the nicest way of welcoming strangers; sometimes she smiles at them, occasionally she chats with them, but mostly she just lets them go about their business. An accent is unremarkable; diversity is the order of the day.
I am living with a friend of a friend in a neighborhood called Schaerbeek near Josaphat Park. It's one quartier away from school, so I take the tram and it's about a ten minute ride. The houses in this neighborhood are lovely: tall and skinny with little balconies on the upper floors. The rents are, I think, quite reasonable - very reasonable compared to Paris or Tokyo.
I have my choice of churches in this district and I've settled on St. Alice. It's not a beautiful church, but they have a small, diverse parish, a good choir, and a 10:30 Sunday Mass in French. Not far from my school is the St. Michel Jesuit community and I think I will go to their church for Ash Wednesday (yes, Lent is near).
My school is located in Etterbeek right next to the one of the campuses of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB), a Dutch-speaking university. With my student card (and isn't it something to have a student card at my age?) I can use the facilities and eat lunch at their cafeteria: 5 euros for a simple but hearty meal.
So far I am having a fine time. I walk more, I eat well, and I spend most of my days doing deep reading and taking notes in this cozy apartment with zippy Internet access. Oh miracle, I can read the street signs without any effort, and all the languages I know work just about everywhere. I like this city.
Too bad we're only having a fling.