Expert Info

Posted by cbthomas2006
on 14 Apr 2017

I moved to Brussels in December last year, yet I've had a very difficult time getting settled. I work a white-collar job, typically 9-7 with very little flexibility in my schedule, and I'm perpetually struggling to take care of my day-to-day errands and shopping because everything closes so early (and opening late). I'd expect this in a small town, but not in a capital city with over a million residents.

I understand things are heavily unionized and people don't want to work overtime, but why do retail shops and customer service centres have to operate on the exact same 9-6 schedule as office workers? When I leave for work in the morning, everything is closed. When I leave the office in the evening, everything is closed. I feel like I'm living in a straightjacket... and since I don't have the luxury of taking large blocks of time out in the middle of the day, I have no idea what to do. I don't want to sacrifice my vacation days, and shopping on Saturdays is frankly miserable because the entirety of Brussels is doing the same thing.

I could cope with isolated cases of this, but virtually everything is the same, from pharmacies to clothing shops, banks, post offices, government offices, swimming pools, the list goes on. Since I moved here, my personal life has ground to a halt. Sure, the beer's great, but I want to do more with my evenings than just drink.

I'd really like to know from those who live here is, have you found a secret to getting things done outside of work? Have you managed to find a comfortable existence here?

Fati on 31 May 2017
Hi Thomas, Looks like you gotta shop on Saturdays.Boohoo. Fatima
Anonymous (not verified) on 31 May 2017
Boohoo indeed. I've always considered shopping a chore, something I do during the work week to free up my weekends for something more enjoyable. Oh well...