- Travel and Places
There are brilliant differences when it comes to efficiency in Belgium. When grocery shopping, you insert a 50 cent coin into the cart you are going to push around, but receive that exact coin back when you return the cart to the proper place behind another cart after unloading your bags. And grocery bags are reusable forever after the first time you buy them. Eggs in the store are not found in the refrigerated section. They are always fresh. Milk isn’t either. People here drink UHT Milk, which has a shelf life of about nine months before being opened. I didn’t know it, but that technology has been around for fifty years. There are no preservatives or additives in almost anything. I am able to enjoy foods here that I couldn’t in America, even chocolate! My soy allergy has miraculously flipped the on switch off. Probably not, its just that the food is hardly processed. There are three types of garbage: food waste, regular garbage, and recycling. Each are separated and taken out on different days. It is a law to recycle. Even at a carwash, water is reclaimed and then treated for reuse. America is so spoiled because it’s so commercial. I really feel like I will fit in here. People here don’t care so much about social status. A decent wardrobe is more important than a classy car. And things are not so hustle and bustle. People show patience with things. There are no complaints from the man waiting ten minutes in line for a sandwich. The family I am staying with is absolutely great. Pranav, my boss, is a knowledgeable and practical man who lets me be independent to get the true experience. His wife, Amisha, is very open, intelligent, and calls it the way she sees it. Both are welcoming and have a certain guile about them that is almost inspirational. Their two children are Rani and Raj. Rani is a diverse 7 year old girl, and Raj is a vocal 5 year old boy. Both are nuclear balls of energy. They don’t mind invading your space, and I don’t mind them doing so. Their name for me is Tejbhai. Raj says...“Tejbhai, how did the baby cross the road?”...“He comes on a plane”...That was his joke. I bet my jokes at 5 were worse. I bet mine now are too. Unless he somehow meant I was the baby that came here on the plane, then it’s comic genius. Pranav said they would be annoying, but I think they are awesome. I’ll give it time. There are some not so brilliant differences here too. Like some roads not having smooth paving and only one lane for driving. Also, the parking spots are tighter than a pair of skinnys on a Belgian woman. I am sure there are plenty more, but from an optimist’s eyes the impurities are always harder to pinpoint. My first day as a contingent validation engineer went smoothly. I met some people and got to know them. Klaas Snip, Allan Mohepat, Yos, and Martin are all in my group. Guess which two have last names I can’t spell? All are married with at least one kid. Allan Mohepat is someone I am going to be working alongside a lot with. He was born on the island Trinidad but moved to the U.K. when he turned 19. He is older now, but he hasn’t looked back since. He is a very bright guy. In twenty minutes of talking to him, you get the sense that the man is going places. I have been assigned two main projects, Maximo and Blue Chello, already. Tomorrow will be more involved, which means I should get sleep-involved right about now.