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


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I found this interesting thread on the small Expatica forum about my country of birth.

A few selected highlights with which I agree or that give a good insight in the country for those you haven't been there (I am not a big chips or beer fan, so I'll skip all of those) :

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

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

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.

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

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.
2. you wonder all day long where the 50%+ taxes go

3. you know many people "unemployed" working in black

4. you're thrown out of a shop at 17:45 even when you're going to buy something

8. you split all the bills in the restaurants even when there is a 20 people group and it takes 15 minutes to do the calculation

19. you never get and extra round in a bar even when you've spent a lot of money previously.
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.

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)

Here are some additions of mine :

1. You know where to find a shop open after 6 pm, or on Sunday (that is harder that it seems).

2. You lost your ID card, but don't expect your town hall to have the new one ready before two months, although it is compulsory to have it with you whenever you go out.

3. You don't bother going to the police to report a bicycle theft because you know they don't care and won't do anything about it (except maybe give you a fine for bothering them).

4. You are not surprised to get hospital bills from the previous tenant six months after moving to your new apartment.

5. You know what "Caprice des Dieux" means, and you know it's not just sort of a cheese (but also the nickname of the European Parliament).

6. In a fit of euromania you have rephrased the Latin expression to "All roads lead to Brussels" and use the term SPQB (Senatus Populusque Brusselus)

7. You can tell from which city a Fleming or Walloon comes from just from their accent or the way they dress.

8. You think it would be a good idea to impose English as the official Belgian language to simplify communication between Dutch, French and German speakers.

9. You wonder whether you should hang a Belgian flag or a region's flag at your balcony, so you just go for the European flag.

10. You have counted the number of hills and valleys on the N4 or E411 between Namur and Luxembourg.

11. You wonder how comes that other countries' motorways are not lit in bright orange light at night.

12. You got your car plate in Luxembourg to avoid speeding and parking tickets.

13. You know that "Belgian mussels" actually come from Zeeland and you pretty much can find them in meat-eating Wallonia.

14. You stop thinking that people in the Benelux are stingy, and you have indeed taken up the financially healthy habit of bringing a bottle of water hidden in your bag to avoid paying for an overpriced one at the restaurant or cinema.

15. You complain whenever you have to travel 100 km (the other end of the world), but think of an event that took place 500 years ago as fairly recent history.

16. You participate to the annual re-enactment 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.

17. You wonder with your friends why other EU countries need an embassy in Brussels considering that they all have hundreds of politicians and bureaucrats working there.

18. You understand why Tintin looks like he does, and even know locals who look just like him !

19. You think it's normal that cities only 50 km apart should have completely different fashion styles in the same chain shops.

20. You start counting Olympic medals separately for French-speakers and Dutch-speakers.

21. You want to get a job in Flanders because it's better paid, but a nice house in the Meuse valley because that's a nicer place to live and the food is better.

22. You like chocolate flavour in everything: in breakfast cereals, in cappuccino, melted on fruits, choco-spread instead of jam, or in just about any dessert.

23. You understand why everyone who can afford a car has one, even when they could get by using only public transports.
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We honeymooned in Bruges, and the things I found strange were:
-the least expensive drink is beer, and everyone acts like "Well, obviously";
-the chocolate has a warning that too much could cause a 'laxative effect';
-everyone speaks English, except one restaurant that has signs in the window stating that they speak English;
-you have to have sauce on your chips, and there are weird choices, like the sauce from prawn cocktail. 'No sauce' is not a valid option;
-you have to write a will before getting in a taxi;
-the horse & cart ride around the city cost us twice as much as the French couple that went before us.

But apart from that, I thought Bruges was a beautiful city and Belgian people are very friendly. :)
I'll add one.....

when u've been there so long that u can't wait that your newly arrived friend steps on some doog doo (well just brussels actually )

and when ur not worried anymore about ur neighbors' staring at you as a police suspect even though u've in the neighborhood for more than 7 years

u find it normal to change a gazillion public transportatin tikets if u're stepping just a meter outside the city borders

have to invite ur neighbors to a party so they don't call the police on u

the police can come to your house with a fine because u threw the trash in the wrong bin and bring some kind of thrown out document with ur last name in it as proof

think that anyone living around you that doesn't have the Euro virus should be sent in exile in the most barren lands of central asia

u always seem to see foreigners out in the streets and the belgians are out hiding out smwhere secret that only they know about
u always seem to see foreigners out in the streets and the belgians are out hiding out smwhere secret that only they know about

That sounds quite true about some areas in Brussels. :D Yet, go to smaller towns or villages and all people are Belgian (or look so, even Italian Belgians). So it's more like "You've been in Brussels too long when..."
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...You start to call your friends back home gamin, paye or ket.
...You want to watch the news at 19.00.
...You check the news for a strike before taking the bus.
...hearing the name "Kevin" brings a smile on your lips.
...You think all the French are idiots.
...You tell flemish jokes, or walloon jokes...
...You can barely see the movie behind the subtitles at the cinema.

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