Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today is Belgian National Day

You know when 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 slightly suspicious.

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

6. You catch yourself ordering a "Supplement Frites" 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 colour brighter than dark green. You automatically assume anyone who does is either a. Dutch b. Scandinavian c. American or d. Extremely childish or 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 100 km's 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 20 euro when you leave a disco as a bribe for letting you get 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 the foreigners storm out of the train at the announcement of Brussels North when coming from the airport.

14. You do all 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 think it is logical that shops are closed Sundays and evenings, but buy the booze you consume in night-shops between 4 and 5 AM Sunday morning.

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

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

19. You start going to Quick instead of McDonalds and you have actually tasted the Quick Bearnaise Burger.

20. 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.

21. You take dog-shit on the pavement as just another challenge on you daily walks.
22. You keep three colours of bin-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.

23. 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.

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

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

26. You consider politicians and the police worse than criminals, with the possible exception of paedophiles.

27. 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.

28. 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.