It feels like home
When I was younger I lived in Brussels, but I was way too young, and I do not truly remember a lot. I only remember being there with my daddy and we were going to the park a lot, the Elizabeth parks. It was like ours place to be everyone know each other there, it was like my second house. I know what y’all thinking right now “why does she say that this park was here second home”. No worries let me tell you more about it…
What Is home ?
The princes Elizabeth park is not like every park, it is more than that. I was there every day with my daddy, and I ran into a lot of people at that place. I am a social person since day one, everywhere where I move, I make friends. Then, every time we went there, I had a new friend for the day, the fact that everyone knew each other you knew that it is a secure space. My father had his friend and I had mine, it is big there and there is a lot of tree and bushes. I could never get lost there because I knew this park very well. But everything changed when my grandmother decided to raise me because my father was financially unstable. I still saw my dad a lot that was not a problem, but we were not in Brussels anymore. My grandmother did not live in Brussels like us she lived in vilvoorde, a whole other city. It was something new for me, and to be honest I did not like it at all at first. I was always alone, and I did not have any friends, and I was always playing in the garden.
Time moves on and I finally make new friends, our neighbors were oldies, so it was not easy at the beginning. Only later I found out that some of them had a grandkid, and I became good friends with them. The funniest of all and best of all they just live in the same streets at us but at the end. Since that day they were my best friends nina and Ilona , and I did not feel alone anymore in that whole new city.The difference between Brussels and Vilvoorde is that Brussels is multicultural, and everyone is accepted there, but in Vilvoorde I did not feel the same at all. There were not many black people, as a little black girl I have experienced racism from a really young age. Things I know I would never have experienced in Brussels. Not far from where we lived there was a small park, three minutes from the house my grandpa showed me. They named it the “small park ”, in the beginning I was super happy.
It’s not the same
But when I got there, I was constantly bullied I was always alone. I did not feel at home in Vilvoorde at all, because it was the same at school there were racist words and bully’s, teachers never said anything. It was horrible and I hate it there, my grandmother and grandfather were always busy and my brother and sisters there were constantly outside. Luckily, I still saw my daddy. To be honest, it had nothing to do with the house, it was not until years later that I finally began to defend myself. The problem was the city and the peoples who lived there. I stayed there until I was eleven. It was not my best years, but it did not last long.
Well, that is how I felt about it, but luckily the nightmare was over, and we moved out. It did not hurt me at all to leave this city, the only sad part is that I could not say goodbye to my best friends. Because nobody told me that we are moving out, I was on vacation in Germany and when I came back, I had a new home, new room and lived in Laeken. I am not going to lie that we have displaced a lot of time. First, we were in Laeken, then we moved out 3 times in the same city.
After that, I did not really care where we lived anymore if I had my own room I was happy. Although I am a social person, I also like to stay alone. We did live back in Brussels, but it was not the same anymore, it did not feel like home anymore… the feeling I had as a little girl was completely gone, the Elizabeth park has been just a simple park again. Sometimes when I had to go by with the car and looked to see if it had changed or not, it seemed almost unknown to me. Not because they had chopped the trees or because there were new paths, it was something else. I was questioning myself, 8 years later and the park was still the same, but why didn’t I feel the same anymore about it? Did I felt too old to go to the park?
Do you know what it is ?
I have the answers to my own questions, as I said before, I was quite often in the room. I was also too young to go out alone, and I had not made many friends with who I could explore Brussels. 3 years later and it was still the same, I did not have many friends and I stayed alone in my room. The fact that my school was not in Brussels but in Wolvertem, and made friends there I was always hanging out there. I suddenly felt more family with Wolvertem, and not in Brussels.
Unfortunately, my father was killed when he was 14, nothing was the same anymore. It happened in Brussels. The lovely memories I had with my father were not the same anymore. At this moment, my world fell apart, I lost the dearest person in my eyes, my daddy.
It was obviously a time of sadness, tears, but also a lot of loneliness. My dad was really like a friend to me, he was the one I spent a lot of time with, despite the fact he was financial instability, and we did not live together, to me he was the richest man in the world. By losing him I lost a part of me, and I stayed with the less open part. I did not go out, I couldn’t stand the places where we spend our time together because it was bringing back bad memories. I was not talking to many people anymore, I just wanted to be alone and had this feeling that those men had taken him away from me. Loneliness was my best friend, my only one, I was also afraid, afraid to discover the outside world without him. I was angry, so angry, to my family, to my friends, to the city. It was hard for me to go through this at that age. I had a feeling of injustice, a feeling that God had abandoned me, and that heaven was failing me. I’m not going too much to the subject because it’s already difficult to talk about it.
So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about Marilyn Monroe
After that I had to raise my head and move on, I went to school in Wemmel. Always far from home, but there I was able to find new people, but who also came for the most part from Brussels. We were always hanging out together I Brussel after school, walking along the Nieuwstraat, and at those moments is discovering the city a little more. We were also discovering together the activities of the city, going into shops, picnics, all this allowed me to forget little by little the painful moment I had just passed. Then I discovered how social networks work Twitter, Instagram & snapchat where I also spent a lot of time talking to teenagers of my age sending each other messages. All these things, this lifestyle, made my life a little easier, at least less difficult than before.
I was learning to enjoy life without my dad. I was not mad anymore and learned how to appreciate the people around me. The smiling, dancing, all the things that I went through I saw it as motivation to always keep my heads up. They gave me the desire and the courage to move on. I understood that I could not live with so much sadness forever, I wanted to live my life differently, to enjoy those around me. I hated the city less. I no longer cried when I saw the Park. I was starting to accept this city.
Home ? Is that you ?
At first, I thought that feeling home was a place or a city, but then I understood that the people around me are the one who are making a place feeling like home. They helped me to forgive Brussels. I accepted the past and wanted to build a future for myself. A future where my father would be proud of me, He may not be there with me anymore, but he is in my heart now. Because death does not stop loving, I understood that I would take my father wherever I go.
New Place, New start
Then we moved to Anderlecht, and everything was much better. I no longer cared where my house was, if it was not far from school I was good with it. Do I now know Brussels by heart? I do not know, but I think that every day you can discover something new here, this city is full of surprises believe me. If have so much more to tell…But let me just share that one quote with you.
“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.”
― Robin Hobb