Back in Antwerp – Yeliz from Belgium 3.

I have finally arrived back in Antwerp. It was a long winter break in Hungary where my days were filled with receiving flight cancellations, reading the news of the travel ban and of course the usual remote work. I now tell myself that I just skipped the winter season, fast forward-ed to spring and I am ready to take on Belgium again. Although the weather doesn’t seem to have caught up to my speed. Under the constant rain, I practice my now perfected ability of accepting and embracing the reality that I face. I guess that’s one thing I learned from my volunteer experience during Covid.

While I was gone, our volunteer house welcomed a newcomer but other than that everything seems to be pretty much the same as when I left. Almost every night we chat for long hours with a warm cup of tea in our hands, flipping through magazines as we discuss what’s on sale in which grocery shop. The girls also introduced me to an app that lets you buy groceries at a reduced price that would otherwise be thrown out! The highlights of our days
is picking up the food in awe of how much money we save. We promise ourselves that we are not crazy, only a little to harbor hope to be able to travel around in the upcoming months with our savings.

We are also allowed to work in the office once in a while. And the best part of the office is the tea stand. It is filled with all the tea you wouldn’t be able to think of because I have never heard of olive tea but if you do you would still be surprised to see the collection brought in by different people working in SCI. Whenever I’m in the office I try to taste at least two new teas.

Biking is still fun if you exclude the fact that I am very much out of shape but it strengthens my grandma image that you as a reader probably have of me by now but to further reassure your correct assumption let me tell you our other activity in the volunteer house. Cleaning and organising. The newcomer I mentioned earlier is a little bit of a clean freak and even if I’m nowhere close to her level, my Turkish blood calls for purification, it’s out of my control. The first shock I had back in October when I first arrived was how people didn’t take off their shoes upon entering the volunteer house. This is against every fiber of my being so I took matters into my own hands to establish a cleaning system in the household.

This time when I arrived back after my hibernation I was fully expecting to spend my quarantine days sweeping, scrubbing until I could breathe again but to my delight the state of the house was quite tidy if I do say so myself. Organised to perfection, every sheet, every towel was neatly folded in its rightful place, optimized for practicality. I knew right away that we would get along with this new volunteer.

Just to make my experience sound a little bit more exciting we do plan trips within Belgium with other volunteers, so I am looking forward to that with the hopes of finding the best waffle made in this country.

The song I listen to: Rain by Nature
Photo: Us staying up to date with the discounted products

(Yeliz works at the Service Civil International in Antwerp, you can read her previous post here and here)