A Royal Bruxells Get-Away

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

Another city, Another Adventure

One thing I love about being in Europe is the ease of travel between each country. The same time it takes me to go from Milan to Brussels is what it takes to get from San Diego to San Francisco. Due to this, it is easy for me to go on weekend trips and be back in time for classes on Monday. This weekend adventure was to Brussels, Belgium. I was particularly looking forwarded to eating a lot but I found myself appreciating many other things. As always, I got an early start to the day. The first day in Belgium mainly consisted of looking at the architecture. I am someone who really appreciates the architectural work that goes into building most of these European cities. It is something new, something I don’t see often back home. 

Moreover, Belgium has plenty of beautiful architectural structures. This is really highlighted in the Grand Place. That is the first place my roommate and I headed to when we finally arrived in Brussels. It was breathtaking. There is a 360 view of some amazing structures. Most of these structures aren’t even government buildings, they are just shops and restaurants. That is one thing I absolutely love about Europe. A simple coffee shop can be homed in an extravagant building in the center of the city.

Lots and Lots of Food

However, the main reason my roommate and I really wanted to go to Belgium, is the food. Waffles, fries, and chocolate are the exact reason for this trip. Of course, they did not disappoint. I had so many waffles I was surprised that I wasn’t sick of them by the end of the trip. On the contrary, I was rather upset I wouldn’t have anymore waffles. Belgium chocolates are absolutely amazing. As a chocoholic, I was absolutely blown away by the creamy rich taste of these chocolates. Lastly, I was surprised to see that Brussels was also big on beer. I did in fact try a few Belgian beers, but not to criticize, it was not my favorite. So far, German beer has been my favorite simply because I prefer darker brews than lighter.

There’s a reason why certain countries gain a reputation for certain things. Belgium’s reputation for waffles, fries, and chocolate is well earned in my opinion. I love food, so I was going in with pretty high expectations about the food. Luckily I was not disappointed. Maybe it was just luck that I went to some really good food stands, but it was absolutely delicious. One thing I have learned from traveling is that, in order to get a taste of the best food in a country, you must leave the tourist areas. A lot of places in really touristy areas, tend to be overpriced and not as good. Therefore, I am usually pleased with my selections.

A small Confession

I must confess that I am finding a little difficult to recollect my thoughts into this post. Not because I can’t remember what happened, because I remember everything I did. It is due to what is going on in my hometown. As I was writing this journal entry, I received several notifications from news outlets I follow about the situation at the Mexico-America border. I was born in San Diego and I was raised between San Diego and Tijuana. Meaning, I have lived in both cities and I grew up in both cultures. Therefore, these reports really worry me and to an extent anger me.

I like to believe I am a very open-minded person, I believe in the American Dream in the sense that anyone from anywhere can come into the U.S. and make a life for themselves. As a first-generation American, I saw that played out right in front of me with my parents experience. So this situation with the caravan has me really torn. I want these people to have the opportunity to live in the U.S., but I do not like the way they are treating my cities. Tijuana is also my city since the majority of my family lives there, and San Diego is the place I call home. I am part of those people that cross the border on a regular basis and I know and understand the consequences that will arise from shutting down the border.

A fun trip, but a dark reality

Yes, Belgium was fun and I could go on and on about the atonium and all the EU related buildings and NATO headquarters I saw, however that does not feel right. I do not feel right speaking about my fun trip while all the people back home are really struggling. I have some family members that live in Tijuana but work in San Diego, how will they get to work on Monday if the border remains closed? There isn’t much I can do, even if I was in San Diego I couldn’t do anything. It is just a little upsetting to see my cities in chaos. People who aren’t from border cities couldn’t possibly understand the culture. It is not a divided culture, it’s really mixed and dependent on one another.

The reality of the situation is that the border will probably remain closed for a few days. The only thing I hope for is that the migrants do not do anything hasty because I know they will be injured. The U.S. will not hesitate to use force or even violence on these people, and I do not wish to wake up one day and read a death count. I apologize for my rant but I felt the need to talk about this. I had a fun trip to Belgium and I will add some nice pictures of my trip, but I could not get this breaking news out of my head as I was typing. Since I want these journals to be honest, I saw it fit to say exactly what I was feeling.

Picture of the Pissing Boy Fountain.
A view of the Grand Place in the center of Brussels.
Me in front of a giant smurf statue.
The Royal Cathedral where King Philip got married and all the other royals.
A picture of one of the delicious waffles I had.
Me in front of the Cathedral.
Me in front of the Atonium.