Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Belgium, etc.
My name is Silvia Martin. I was born and raised in Romania, in the city of Galati by the Danube. I moved to Belgium one week before I turned 20, that is when my life as an expat began. The exact arrival date was 22nd September 2002. I spent 9 years in Liège, it is there that my sister was living and where I did my University studies in Germanic Languages and finished with distinction. I moved to Brussels in December 2011, where I work as Product Marketing Communications Specialist (I know, it’s long) for Toyota Material Handling Europe (even longer). I love horses, dogs, dancing, South Africa, and I appreciate someone with a good sense of humour.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started to blog sometime around December 2011, just about when I was starting my career as a copywriter. I did not know the first thing about blogs or WordPress. But while I was commuting between Liège and Brussels for work (which I did for 3 years), I started to write about my trips. I thus ended up with 4 pages about a trip I did in Ireland. Writing seemed to be a necessity for me. I had to submit to that and then discovered blogging and how much fun it is to share your experiences with others. It was also very scary at the beginning; I did not have enough confidence in my writing and feared criticism. Now I’m beyond all this.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Belgium differs from that back home.
Life in Belgium was and is different and if I’m not mistaken will always be. This is always the case when you trade one country for the other. The differences are not shocking, but require some adaptation. Brussels is one of the cities where you do not have to adapt that much: it is not a traditional city where you are the only newcomer; it is a cosmopolitan place where everyone is from somewhere else. Belgium is a very welcoming country for immigrants, probably also one of the few which is so. We are all expats, so there is not one specific culture you have to adjust to. But you might slightly lose yours. The rule of migration is: you lose something, you win something. And the other way round.