Puratos Company Groot-Bijgarden

Hello dears friends.

It’s hard to find time to write you.

It’s also hard to write in English in a good way, because I am right now in a Flemish company. You remember when I arrived in Poland, I did not knew English anymore, and it came back to me after three months. After four years without practicing Dutch, it’s time to practice again.

Zou ik zo vlaams praten nu? Amaï, zeg! Da’s erg moeilijk! 

It’s such a linguistic mass here. My boss is french-speaking, one of my colleague is bilingual French-Dutch & the other two ones speak mostly Dutch. And for my job, I usually have to write and speak English. From time to time, I have got the opportunity to practice Polish and Spanish… Hem I know really few words of Polish actually. ^^ and Hemhem… Did I studied Spanish once? I even don’t remember how to say « good bye » (Roger, Marta, Please! Help me! ) such a shame! … Only one solution… Erasmus again! \ 🙂 /  I would like to go in Peru. Or south America at least. ) In my office, we actually all speak many languages. Our typical conversations look like this:

– Éline : Est-ce que tu veux something te drinken?

– Catherine : Nie Dziękuję …Aâatchi!

– Anne : Salud!.

Well, I have to admit, it’s mostly only three languages-speaking, but, it’s still something quite interesting.

En ze babellen graag, hé! Zo heb ik nu Nederlands again in mijn kop. And my mind that becomes so big as a pumpkin.

What else?

I am working with Puratos, a company that exist all around the world and that has started in Belgium. They are making some basic product for bread and chocolate. The first week, my job consisted in sending emails, one by one. (Tayfun, I think they need you here) This should be possible to ask to a computer to do it thanks to only one click, but I don’t complain : thanks to this miss, I have got a job^^  Progressively, I got some other tasks, more interesting… For example, I have to help employees to log in for the first time into SuccessFactors (their brand new intranet platform). I have also to make sure that every country take part to webinars (a brand new word of vocabulary for me : it’s a kind of meeting on-line, like a skype, but that can be registered and it looks like you can share many materials with this program). So, I have to collect everybody’s answer in an excel file. Last week, I had also to help an Indonesian and a Chilean colleagues to come to visit us in Belgium. I ordered Taxi and Hotel for them. I could try to speak Spanish. I mean…prober hablar español ^^.

I like this job, and this place. But it’s really far away from Namur, where I am living right now. Every day, I have to wake up around 6 (What I also did in Łódź, actually), take a breakfast, go to the train station by car with a friend. Then, we take the same train to Brussels-South. He goes out of the train at Bxl Lux station, and I go out the train a bit after, at Bxl North. Then, he has got to catch the subway, and I have to wait for a bus from a Flemish company which is called « delijn ». This waiting place is disgusting. There is more waste out of the trash than inside : cans, cigarettes, plastic, glasses, chewing-gums, … beurk! Inside the bus, it’s not really best : inside the double glasses of the windows, you can see some water, due to antiquated materials. There is even a kind of algae inside this water. 🙁 … re-beurk! During the all bus trip, I can see as much beautiful building and trees full of waste. Exotic wastes actually… Who, what kind of people, is able to loose his shoes or socks or even his jeans in the middle of the road street? Who believes that a plastic bag or a coca-cola can will biodegrade, just like an apple? Can you imagine that this kind of giant trash is actually Brussels, the head of Europe? It’s not anymore »Bruxelles, ma belle », it’s « Bruxelles, poubelle »! Such a shame.

Once, I could even see something ridiculous : our bus was just behind a coca-cola truck. On its doors, we could read something like « Coca-cola is nature-friendly : our trucks respect the speed limit to emit less CO2 ». A few meters around, a one-month old Coca-cola can lied on the ground. Such a nature-friendly behaviour! Such an Irony. Such a shame.

Around 8:45 AM, my journey finally ends. At 09:00 AM, I arrive at the office to start my working time. Around half past five, my working day ends and it’s the same landscape, this time in the dark of the night of Belgian winter time. Around eight PM, I am back in Namur, and I go by walk to the board game cafe owned by my friend. Aux 3D Namur, he welcomes me warmly. I get use to some accustomed customers. 🙂 Around 22, we are together back in the flat, and we fall as asleep as stones. Eight hour after, the same story starts again.

There is no more level four in Brussels, and I have not seen more soldiers. It’s supposed to be still level three everywhere in Belgium. Actually, life looks like normal. Well, of course, there are some migrants in the train, asking some help to find their way. I can also observe that people are a bit afraid of each other. Two years ago, in the busses, people were mixed. No matter their skin, or sex. Now, I can observe that people prefer to sit near to someone like them. And you can observe something like this: black people prefer to sit at the end of the busses, women closer to the doors, (especially the ones with a children car), North African ones in the middle of the bus and white people in the front. I hope this will not last for years, because it looks like american racism from old movies and comic books. At the same time, I have to admit that i understand this behavior. It’s because of fear of stranger… I behave a bit the same way. I guess it’s our humain nature. And, you know, if everybody acts like this, I will be the strange one if I just don’t care about my seat when there is still some place near to young white woman… It has suddenly became significant to sit regarding to who looks like who. When we were, some years ago like m&m’s in a pack. No matter the color, we are all the same inside. Suddenly people believes that it has got some sense to sort ourselves. When actually, no matter if we are young or old; man or woman; white, black, yellow, red, beur, métis… ; Belgian or European, or migrant; …every of us might be a bad guy actually.

Migrants. They are lying on the ground, outside the station, sleeping, freezing, … sometimes they come inside the station, I guess to have a bit of warmness. They are also smoking inside the station. Nobody dares to tell them it’s forbidden. Come on. They are just humans looking for some warmness. Who will be the first one to blame them? And, at the same time, I don’t want people to get used again to smoke in public places. I would like the migrants to come to ours countries with a real wish to become one of us… and to respect our laws and habits. For sure, they need help to do so. :/ At the same time inside the station, voices says to be aware of pickpockets. Trains arrive too late in the station. I have to wait, rounded by strange people, looking at me with a joker face. I really don’t like those hours in the trains, stations, and busses.

I hope you are all feeling good at home my dears friends. Take care.

Another point of view

It’s really strange. Imagine that you have ever seen youself in front of only one mirror. All the time the same one. And once, you don’t really know why, you are suddenly in front of another mirror. Or maybe the same but, something has change. You, and the world around you is not anymore the same. That’s how we come back form an experience such as an EVS.

One month ago, I was in Poland, country in peace where all people look like each other : same history, same heritage, same religion, same language, let’s say … the same look. Now, I am back in Belgium, and have to cross Brussels every day to go to work.

Brussels. It suddenly appears strange to me how very different people are living there, all together, without knowing each other. Media says it’s cosmopolitan city. Actually, we are far away from a « living together ». Of course, we share the same city, the same streets, the same train, tram, metro and buses. But.

But I can feel that everybody has got his/her own bubble. People don’t really live together. Don’t know each other. They don’t speak together. Or really few. Citizen are all anonymous. Together alone.

And, suddenly, Brussels is not the same as before my trip in Poland. Every morning, I can see soldiers. Even if it’s not (yet?) war. Does it mean that war is coming? I guess, but I hope I am wrong. War is not far away from here. It’s our neighbor. It lives inside us, among us. Government act. We all would like to believe in them. We all would like to avoid a war (1).

Every year, we remember first and second world war… We wanna show that we have won the wars,… We finally forgot about everything we have lost. Individually. I wonder why to do such a commemoration, if we just don’t learn and repeat the worst part of history? Why do people want to fight again? What kind of people desire war, fears, sadness, darkness, destruction, death? What’s wrong with them?

I have been nine month in Poland, building Europe, building a brand new world where people from every part of the globe can live together, in peace, really, and try to do steps one to the others, try to understand other’s point of view. Open their minds to different way of living together.

And suddenly, I come back home, and people around me are speaking about war. (2)

Does it make sense to send young people abroad, speaking them about brotherhood of man, and then, suddenly ask them to fight together again another enemy? Do we build peace in order to be stronger if an other war appears?

Unfortunatey, Yes. That’s actually exactly why European Union has been created (3). Such a pitty.

I still would like to build peace here. But you cannot build peace with someone close-minded, that cannot imagine another point of view as a good one. That doesn’t want to open his/her mind.

Yes. Government should continue to send young people abroad. All of them. All of us should have one year of Erasmus, far away form his own culture, to think about what is « good » or « bad » by himself. To consider wearing another pair of glasses to see the world.




  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLQs0OrHiPY
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhHwdFeyt_A
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union#History