Au revoir Bruxelles

when even my friends will ask me what a time in Brussels and in the EU institutions is like, I won’t be able to give them an accurate answer. And what might seem to be a weakness in reflection skills, could much rather be a humble take on the individual paths which brought my life to this very moment.

because there’s this weird wholesome mixture of first job experiences, a multi-layered green and federalist family onion wrapping itself around the European Parliament, there’s the conjuncture of civil society-, party-, & youth-activism with my actual day-to-day work. Maybe, this mixture makes up what one could call my profession. And unfortunately, that’s not something I could teach easily. But there’s an upside to that:

while I was learning how to lead and represent youth groups and children in youth associations, we were always curious how it would be done professionally, and what grown-ups do when reflecting, leading, mediating, advocating. only a few years later, I realise that literally everybody is actually just trying to figure things out. and that most youth organisations are probably even better at that than a lot of officials working in institutions. that’s not the fault of the officials though, it’s the fault of the power-hungry stone-age dinosaurs steering them.

The European Parliament has changed me. Brussels hasn’t. Except for the fact that I know how to be grateful for proper cycling infrastructure again. it’s weird how you can live in a place without being there. I’ll never admit it anywhere again, but I never felt so German as in the last four months. Even though I built an initial connection to the city during the first summer months in Elsene, after moving to Schaarbeek and accommodating myself for a longer period of time the special vibe and rhythm faded out. I thought my French would improve – oh damn, was I wrong. j’ai accepté que apprendre des langues peut pas être une priorité quand on doit travailler toujours, hein ? Quand même chaleuresement merci au bidet, qu’a m’accepté et adopté. Je vous aime !

constructing these lines while walking through the Parliament on a tuesday night, and writing them down from my desk at work is probably not what proper reviews look like, or what anyone who’s valuing a healthy work-life balance would like to imagine. but it’s me. and after all epso-test offers thrown at your head, cheesy truisms clustered up on your friend’s social media feed, and self-doubting rants about those damn people who are always happy, that’s what counts.