Destination BXL

By Jamie Tiongson

A few weeks ago, I travelled back to Europe, to visit one of my old homes, Brussels. Brussels is the capital of Belgium, as well as the unofficial capital of the EU as it as it hosts the official seat of the European Commission. I visited for about a week to see friends, attend a concert, homecoming and also managed to fit some CAS in. Overall, it was an eventful and special visit.

As my mom's job often requires her to relocate, it has led our family to move to six different countries in three continents. Before Philadelphia, we spent two years in Belgium. It was incredible to live there and is possibly my favourite country to live in. I love the culture, the languages, the food, people, and just the overall atmosphere. Belgium is mainly known for five things (not in any specific order):

  • Fries
  • Mussels
  • Chocolate
  • Waffles

And I can vouch for all four.

Belgium is part of the EU, which makes visits to other various EU countries extremely accessible. So as one can imagine, I was upset when I found out at the beginning of summer that I would be leaving Belgium, as well as Europe.

The purpose of my trip was mainly because one of my best friends bought tickets to Justin Bieber for both of us, as well as my other best friend. It wasn't ideal to fly all the way to Europe and miss school for this concert, though due to holidays, my parents let me fly back. My mom also felt bad about the sudden move here.

The day I got there, my two best friends and I went out to a nice restaurant to celebrate two birthdays; mine and one of my best friends' (Alberte). My birthday was on the 28th of September and Alberte's was on the 1st of October. My other best friend is named Emma, she was the one who bought all of us the Bieber tickets. After dinner, we met up with friends.

The second day, Sunday, I went to Brussels to drop my friends off at the Brussels Marathon. They were going to run 5km for an organisation called Missing Children Europe. I was supposed to meet a friend of mine though due to complications I didn't and thus, had nowhere to go. Spontaneously, I ran the 5km with them. I was inappropriately dressed, wearing jeans, a bulky backpack and the wrong shoes, but I managed to finish.

On Monday, I visited my old school. It was nice to see my old friends and teachers. It even felt like I never left. After school, my friends had to sell Post-It notes for CAS. (CAS is a requirement of the IB program.) All the money would go to an organization called CAP 48 which supported disabled people. I did this activity when I was a sophomore and it was fun to do it again.

Tuesday and Wednesday were normal school days where I just stayed in the halls or library, doing my school work. Though every period, one of my friends had a free and therefore, it wasn't boring.

On Thursday, I attended school again and that night my two best friends and I went to Justin Bieber's concert. We were all very excited since we are all big fans. Fortunately, we were able to get tickets near the stage. It was hands down the best concert I've been to. 



The next day was homecoming. It was the 65th anniversary so it was a big event. The whole school wore red and alumni from as far up to 65 years ago visited. At the end of the day, there was a pep rally and music playing all around the school. Then, after school, a number of football, soccer, and tennis matches took place. On the side of the fields there were food stands and activities that were open for both children and teenagers.

I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Europe again and was really happy to be back in my favourite continent. I strongly recommend Belgium as one of the countries you should visit during your next trip to Europe. It is not as well-known as France, England, Spain, or Portugal, but nevertheless, it doesn’t make it less important. Before moving to Belgium, I too was worried about how it would be like since I didn’t know much about it. Though once I lived there and learned about the culture and lifestyle, I have come to love it. I really enjoyed the trip and I'm looking forward to my next visit, and I hope this informed you a little bit about Belgium.