Monday, February 24, 2014

Expat in Belgium

It's been few months now in Belgium and I have connected with other Malaysian families only once through a pastry class organised by the Malaysian Embassy. The was fun and more of a gathering connecting with other Malaysians and of course had a good spread of Malaysian favourites. The most important thing is that this one crucial meet made me feel not so alien anymore. I am adapting well and surprisingly, I love the cool weather....I can do anything at all without kicking up a sweat and it somehow gives my skin a healthy glow. 😎😊😘

The Malaysians I met that one time all live a distance away, far from train stations and they are busy with their own lives busy with family and kids. Most of them are posted to Belgium on a 2 year contract by the Embassy. What I would love to have now are friends living close by to where I live...ones who I can connect with in real time at ANY companions for shopping, exploring common interests...those who are familiar with the train routes to help me familiarise with it so that I will be a little more secure taking it on my own without getting lost......companions that I can meet up with for coffee occasionally.

I have no complaints of boredom or being alone time is well filled up with lots of stuff in house now too and I do meet up with the BTB group once or twice a week during their rehearsals and gigs and sometimes for pizza and chat. The beauty of this group is that it consists of a Mauritius, two Belgians and a Dutch...and with myself thrown in....that makes a mini cosmopolitan 'muhibbah' group!

On the note of's really amazing that the Turk pizza and snack shops can be found in almost every area. I have to say that the pizza I had last week was way better and tastier than Pizza Hut or Dominoes pizza back home in Malaysia. They had many varieties ...100% Halal...with or without meat and many of which are suitable for vegetarians as well.

The kebabs, burgers and grilled meat plates are also simply delicious..and of course halal...and it's even double or triple the serving size than what we get back home.

The weekends are never boring...there is always something to do or somewhere to visit. I realise though that it is VERY necessary to learn either Dutch or if both, to be able to move around with ease on my own and be independent. Not everyone here is able to speak English and sometimes I have to rely on sign language in I am living in a Flemish area, so learning Dutch will be first on the list. I am also in the midst of paperwork with the commune for preparations to live in Belgium...yes I have finally decided to live in this Country that I once complained so much about being boring and slow paced. I guess my priorities or rather, my needs, and perspective of life has changed to a certain degree. It's really all in the mind and I am very grateful to my family and friends for giving me the support to make solid changes in my life. When the mind is closed...everything seems impossible and scary.....but when you keep an open mind, you will be able to see so many possibilities and positives. 

For a start, I have been exploring the different food stores that sell specific ingredients and  food items be able to bake my speciality cakes and cook typical Malaysian dishes whenever I crave for such :)

Chocolate Cheese Brownie Bars

I am now an expert though at the art of improvising ingredients to get almost the exact taste of certain Malaysian dishes. Typical home made 'sambals' and special 'rempah' and curry mixes are not a problem either as I have discovered an Asian supermarket in Brussels which has a wide variety of spices and speciality ingredients from various countries. 

Photos of my various travels, adventures and foods are shared on Instagram @sweetsharings and these include snaps from previous visits to the beautiful medieval towns in Belgium, France, Germany and Holland. I should start a private online photo blog as there are thousands more which are not on IG either....all for future throwback posts. 

My focus now is to get started on my Language classes. Feeling quite eager and enthusiastic about it. There is not much else to tell just yet as I am still with baby steps exploring all possibilities of having a quality and fulfilling life...apart from the Spiritual aspect that is. I have to admit there are many moments when I miss home very much...especially my girls and family...but belief and trust in God keeps me strong. Keeping myself busy creating in the kitchen is an escape that also helps a great deal with coping and adapting. 

Nur Diyanah Magness


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