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I’m moving! To Brussels!

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I’ve mentioned this on Twitter and some other places already, but now it’s finally confirmed: I’m moving to Brussels for 5 months in March to work for the European Commission!

Getting the whole thing set up was just the most nerve racking process. I had to run around to persuade people to let me apply (it’s funded by the sending organisation and they pay your accommodation in Brussels as well as your salary, so it’s not easy in these budget cutty times) and I got the go ahead just an hour before the application was due. And once you’re on the programme, you still have to find a job, which is done by basically cold calling these really senior people and asking them to take you. I’m not really good on the phone, so this was a bit scary! It’s quite a bizarre way to do it. Anyway, it all worked out in the end and I have a space in the Immigration and Integration Unit, which is what I wanted. My parents are really pleased, it’s just 2 and a bit hours on the train to Luxembourg!

I don’t know much about Brussels, so I’ve been reading my Time Out guide over the weekend (Time Outs are great for getting an idea of what different areas of cities are like). I think I will move into a shared flat, so I at least know some people (Dave’s not coming with), which will be a total adjustment after living with just Dave for ten years. I’m also trying to get my head round French again. I’ve loaded up the Love Film list with French films and am trying to find French blogs to read to get myself back up to something resembling fluency.

If anyone has any French language blog recommendations or has been to or lives in Brussels and has tips for going out and things to do, please let me know!

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  • Debi 28 November 2011, 8:03 am

    Congrats! That is such exciting news!!!! I’m thinking of hosting a meet-up in Edinburgh sometime in January and would love to meet you before you head off on your adventures! I’ll keep you informed of the planning!!!
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    • Franca 28 November 2011, 6:25 pm

      Oh yes please!

  • Rhianne 28 November 2011, 8:56 am

    ohhh, thats why you wanted french film recommendations 😀 hurray!!! Franca thats so amazing and exciting for you, I bet you can’t wait. I shall live vicariously in Brussels through you, haha.
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  • Daisy 28 November 2011, 9:24 am

    I don’t actually live in Brussels (nearby though), but I have in the past and I still work (t)here. Let me tell you, it’s an amazing city and you’ll love it! I’m not sure how soon you’ll move here, but I’m guessing it won’t be until after Christmas, so you’ll probably miss the lovely Christmas market. (I do love me some cheesy music, glühwein and unhealthy food)
    Should be on your to do-list: visit the Magritte museum (he was the bomb), eat all-you-can-eat spare ribs (my life is all about food -and shoes-) at Amadeus, definitely try the carbonad and Belgian fries (it’s our unofficial national dish) and definitely try a couple of beers (if you like beer, that is). Duvel is my personal favourite. I’ve had a couple of foreign friends over, and for some reason they really seem to like mini Europe (they’re closing it soon, it’s next to the Atomium), so maybe you will too. If you’re into sushi, there’s a really cheap and fresh place near La Bourse I can recommend as well.
    One of the very best features of Brussels is that it’s smack in the middle of both Belgium and Europe, so it’s an excellent base camp to visit other cities. In Belgium, be sure to go to Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges.
    If you need any more advice, have any more specific questions or just want to go grab a drink sometime, let me know! So excited for you btw!

  • Misfit Sarah 28 November 2011, 9:46 am

    Wow – congratulations Franca, that is super exciting! I’m so pleased for you. Sarah xxx

  • Danielle 28 November 2011, 10:40 am

    That is so exciting for you!!!
    It will be different and maybe hard to be away from your lovah-man… Congrats!!
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  • Penny Dreadful Vintage 28 November 2011, 2:28 pm

    Oh how exciting Franca! Best of luck with it, I am sure you’ll have a blast xx
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  • Sally 28 November 2011, 3:46 pm

    WAHOOOOOO! Congrats, my dear!
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  • Rebecca 28 November 2011, 4:12 pm

    Congratulations!
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  • Sadie 28 November 2011, 7:36 pm

    That sounds really exciting (but also a bit scary!) – hope it all goes well!
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  • poet 28 November 2011, 7:36 pm

    Good luck! I’m currently working on language data collected from the European parliament, so I’ll be thinking of you! 🙂
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  • Vanessa 28 November 2011, 8:13 pm

    Oh my goodness! What exciting news. I can’t wait to follow you and your adventures there. I’m sure you’ll take lots of gorgeous pictures that will make me want to visit Brussels ASAP!

  • Tasha 28 November 2011, 8:17 pm

    Wow, sounds like an amazing opportunity for you!! Congratulations!
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  • Veshoevius 28 November 2011, 10:21 pm

    Wow! Congrats!
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  • Red Boots 29 November 2011, 1:54 pm

    Oh wow! Congratulations! A big and brave move but it will be so much fun!

    And at least it’s not so far away for Dave to be able to come and visit you, and I’m sure he can stock up on lots of cheap Ryanair/Easyjet flights!

    Aah, I’m so excited for you – I’ve never been to Brussels but I hear it’s amazing!!

    xx

  • Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous 29 November 2011, 5:52 pm

    Congratulations, Franca! What a fantastic opportunity and adventure!
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  • Johanna 2 December 2011, 6:36 pm

    Blog Recommendation: Lait Fraise Mag, a great family/craft blog, it’s all very lovely http://www.laitfraisemag.fr/2011/11/diy-un-calendrier-de-lavent/. Enjoy Brussels x

  • eyeliah 8 December 2011, 11:08 pm

    Amazing! best of luck. I went to Antwerp for a very brief trip and loved it, would definitely like to spend more time in Belgium.

  • Cali 22 February 2012, 12:20 pm

    Another blog recommendation Belgian Waffle http://www.belgianwaffling.com Sarcastic and funny and a smidgen of outfits