Wednesday, 12 September 2007

How foreigners feel about Belgium

I found this on an expat site. What foreigners think about Belgium. As you know I don't think very highly about my home country either so I can find myself in most of the quotes.

You know you've been in Belgium too long when.....

1) You always stop your car for traffic from even the tiniest little road from the right.

2) You consider breaking the speed limit normal, and honk and flash at people who don't.

3) If you have had less than 10 beers, you drive your car home, but you still don't indicate when turning or respect the speed limit.

4) If you have a car, you consider any other means of transportation as slightly suspicious.

5) You know the names of at least 10 different sauces for fries.

6) You catch yourself ordering a "Supplement Fries" with every single dish you have in any kind of restaurant.

7) You give other foreigners lectures on the difference between fake and real monastery-produced beer.

8) You don't drink the last two centilitres of a Westmalle trippel.

9) You never wear any color brighter than dark green. You automatically assume anyone who does is either
a) Dutch
b) Scandinavian
c) American or
d) Extremely rude

10) Just one day without rain even in July and August can make you happy.

11) On Saturday morning and Sunday evening of any sunny summer-weekend you accept spending more than three hours stuck in traffic jams on motorways in order to get to and from 60 kilometers of coastline that are completely cramped with high-risers 20 meters from the beach.

12) You don't mind that bouncers have to be given at least a euro when you leave a disco as a bribe for letting you in next time.

13) You consider it normal that even the train to and from the airport has announcements in both Dutch and French, but not in English. You don't react when all of the foreigners storm out of the train at the announcement of Brussels North when coming from the airport.

14) You do all of your grocery shopping in either GB or Delhaize and you don't understand anyone who shops in the other supermarket chain.

15) You consider it normal to go out to a restaurant at least five times per week.

16) You use and understand abbreviations like NMBS/SNCB, MIVB/STIB, and SMAP/OMOB.

17) You only buy the most up-market chocolate brands, and fell sorry for the geeks who buy "white products."

18) You start going to Quick instead of McDonalds and you have actually tasted the Quick Bearnise Burger.

19) You think it looks nice when the type of pavement tiles in front of each house are different, and you don't mind falling over lopsided tiles occasionally.

20) You take dog doo on the pavement as just another challenge on your daily walks.

21) You keep three colors of garbage bags for different kinds of waste, and remember which days to put out which kind of bag on the pavement in front of your house.

22) You don't mind when most streets are full of bags that have been put out on the wrong day, not even in the summer when the combination of the sun and intrepid dogs makes it a very interesting experience.

23) You automatically assume that everyone else speaks at least three languages, but refuse to speak more than one yourself.

24) You have given up on any sensible political discussion about the language divide in general and the Brussels Capital Region and the future of Belgium in particular.

25) You consider politicians and the police worse than criminals, with the possible exception of pedophiles.

26) You consider it perfectly normal when the names of towns on road signs change from French to Dutch and vice versa every 5 or 10 kilometres of motorway.

27) You have understood that the hassle of monthly visits to the municipality to obtain papers or residence permits is reserved for recently arrived foreigners who move every 6 months, and you therefore don't complain over your own annual visit where you wait in line for an hour or two.

28: You don't even complain when Belgacom overcharge you for a service you never had!

29: You automatically stop in the middle of a roundabout for fear of someone using the "Priorite a droite" rule!

30: You consider increasing your life insurance every time you approach a pedestrian crossing!

31. You're not surprised when Electrabel sends you invoices (and nasty reminders) for your previous home > 8 months after you've moved.

32. You find it a bargain when you get a 50% discount on a 700 euro designer jacket (where as the exact same jacket is available for 110 US$ or 85 euros in Macy's at Herald Square, NYC) and you think you paid more because you got better quality.

33. You find it normal when supermarkets expect your Parents to speak Flemish while they come visiting you in Antwerp from abroad for once in a lifetime, and makes you feel very obliged when they give it a try in English.

34. You find it a completely normal procedure that an immigrant worker cannot get a job without a work permit and cannot get a work permit without a job.

35. You have figured out the logic behind why some Belgians (who make a living out of teaching local languages to foreigners) vote for the far right wing political parties.

36. Your dress is perfectly compatible with the expected weather conditions.

37. You blindly presume that a person of North African origin has committed the crime that has taken place in your neighbourhood (even before the police have arrived - after two hours.

38. You consider it perfectly normal not to find an address in what you broadly call "Brussels" if you do not remember the exact name or ZIP code of the commune.

39. You find it normal that when you are in no rush your tram arrives right when you arrive at the tram stop. But when you are late for work, you watch 5 trams go in the opposite direction before yours comes. (just how do they get so far off schedule at 8:30 in the morning???)

40. You actually end up understanding a few of the words somebody said to you.

41. When you speak to somebody in flemmish, they actually understand you (I haven't been here long enough yet)

42. You found a place that sells rice not prepackaged in little baggies inside the box.

43. You participate to the annual reenactment of the Battle of the Golden Spurs, which took place in 1302, and think it's normal to joyfully celebrate such a bloodshed in the 21st century.

44. You think that travelling 50km is a long way, but that something that happened 500 years ago is fairly recent.

45. You wonder how comes that other countries's motorways are not all bright orange at night.

46. You understand why Tintin looks like he does - he is Belgian after all !

For the's all good...


Moi said...

Here are my thoughts about "You know you've been in Belgium too long when....."

1) I always said that there are too many inhabitants ; one could perhaps increase it? ;-)

2) Most drivers convert speed instead of the frank one (50 km/hour x 40.3399)

10) You understood that the Belgian is quickly happy

14) Lucky man, you have a GB??? We do not... only Champion and Match ;-) (it's Wallonia here, lol)

16) You forgot "TEC"

19 & 20) You have pavements??? We do not... we must walk between the cars

21 & 22) You understood that the white bags are removed once per week, blue once every fifteen days and the papers once a month - but you still pay 100 euros for this service and 1 euro per bag!

23) You understand that Walloons do not speak any other languages than Walloon and sometimes French

25) Or understood that you may give them some cute names, like my prefered: "the Witch" (you know, the one with the bow tie)

31) You have the chance that Electrabel sends you each month the amount of your monthly bill... (it's true!)

32) Basic Belgian does not know the price in NY... and New Yorkers pay a large amount to have the right to eat our delicious chocolate... it is the law of Import-Export

37) When you understood that the police will never arrive...

38) You understood that it is the law on the protection of the private life.

39) Murphy's law?

43) When you understand that it is better to celebrate a battle going back to 500 years rather than to fight the war agains countries which made nothing to you simply to create a history for your country which does not have any.

Every people I know who were living in foreign countries like USA, Canada, Australia, etc. came back a few years later and told me that they will never leave Belgium again.
Perhaps it is the proof that one is not so bad here.

Rudi said...

lol Moi...I never said it's bad here. I just don't like it much hehehe. A lot of things could be improved, but then...that goes for most countries I guess.

insanity-suits-me (Dawn) said...

Looks like I have a lot to learn about Belgium! Wow. Sounds fascinating to me... but then other countries always seem more interesting than your own ;)
PS - thanks for stopping by!

Jay Cam said...

lol that was hilarious!

Moi said...

Rudi, I think that many Belgian citizens don't like the way that Belgium is going.
But as you said, the same goes for the other countries.
What left me a bad taste are the posts 14 (our "ridiculous" Delhaize is a real Belgian entreprise that bought and saved and american company more than thirty years ago: Lion Food and I think that there either aren't many foreign groceries); the posts 43, 44 and 45.
They appear ironic to me.
But according to what you wrote, you are not the creator...
So don't believe that my thoughts are intended to you personally ;-)

Rudi said...

Nope moi.... I didn't write them myself. I found them on an expat site. I just said I agree with a lot of them ;-)