I lived in a country I loved and had all the hope in the world for, but it turned bad.
My little family and I moved to Belgium because my daughter and I have Belgian nationality. My wife…not so much.
My mother was born and mostly raised in Ardooie, Belgium until her parents- my Meme and Pepe – decided it would be better in another land.
Both my parents worked full day and I spent 5 days a week with my Meme. Needless to say I could speak Flemish better than English in those days but things change. My parents moved to a new city and I had less contact with my Meme. Eventually my Flemish was washed away by the onslaught of Afrikaans and the corroding effect of time on memory. Many of the old world Belgian ways and values have stuck though, which made me somewhat of an outcast in my land of birth.
Unfortunately I don’t fit in perfectly in Belgium either, but for some reason I feel more at home and at ease here in Belgium. I do not intend ever returning to that wretched country of birth (except for brief visits to family and friends) I must become Belgian at all cost! I need to learn how to speak Belgian Nederlands or better yet – Vlaams and relearn everything forgotten from my days with Meme.
I need to be more than a Belgian on paper. There’s already a paper that says I’m Belgian. I need more. I need to be what my blood demands. Belgian!
This is a written account of my journey as I progress and understand more.
It’s a tongue-in-cheek look and a study from a new-comers perspective on what it takes to be the most elegant and unusual animal on earth – a Belgian.