Friday, May 4, 2012

Strange kettle of fish....

In total I have lived in Belgium for about 8½ years. And even after all this time there are things that I still find strange about Belgian culture and behaviour.

Don't get me wrong, Belgian people are nice and friendly but they are the least spontaneous people I know!

Point & case:

There is a man that I have seen at:

  • birthday parties when picking Cat up
  • scouts
  • the school gate
  • the train station
I was pretty sure that this guy worked for the same company as me but since he never showed any signes of recognition I was never 100% sure.  You see there are more than 1500 people working in the same office building as me so I could be wrong.

However, yesterday we happend to leave the office at the same time and walked along to the train station.  So I say to him. 'You know, I'm sure our kids go to the same school'.

You know what he said?

Yeah they do. They are also in the same scouts group. In fact, I also did my 'getting started' traininig with you in 2008. You were not new to the company but you still had not done the 'training'. Also, you used to have long blond hair.

What the !!!

Here is a guy, who I could not shut up after this, who for about a year saw me at all these places and never said a word to me. He didn't even nod his head! Who does that???

As we sat on the train chatting we discovered that years ago we both worked for The Bank of New York Mellon.  In fact, he knew some of my colleagues.

The strange thing is that this is not an isolated event.

A couple of years ago I used to take the bus to work. For about 8 months I would wait for the bus with the same two ladies. Every morning I would turn up at the bus stop and say hello. Nothing, not a peep.  Only after doing this for 8 months did they finally say hello back to me.  8 months people!

One of my best friends is Irish but she has been living in Belgium for about 13 years now (in the same village).  The same thing has happend to her.

This would never happen in South Africa!

Like I said at the beginning, Belgian people are lovely but they are very hard to get to know. Of course there are the exceptions to that rule and I love my 3 Belgian friends very much!


  1. Wow that is weird!! Especially when just last week I took my boys out to McDonalds to play and ended up staying for like FIVE hours because there was another mom there and we go to talking and lost track of time! We had never met before!!!

  2. It appears you've befriended the only 3 Belgians in the entire country that are comfortable socially. ;o) It sounds like that guy just didn't ever learn how to interact with others! Too funny! That would never happen in America...or at least the parts I've lived in. Im fact, most of the time people are overly friendly!

  3. How funny that he knew so much about you but had never taken the time to strike up a conversation!

    I guess some cultures are just more reserved, and some are more outgoing!