Week Nine

In which I experience perfect weather, wind down a little and become my own boss, kind of.

I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but I am, without a doubt, a cold-and-rainy kind of person. And I’ve tried to do a little soul-searching. Why am I a cold-and-rainy kind of person? Is it a personality thing? Do I like dreary weather because I’m dreary? Did living in Texas for the duration of my formative years deprive me of the amount of cold-and-rain necessary to turn a person against it?  Is it because I’m so good at getting sunburnt, I’ve developed a Pavlovianally joyful response to the absence of the sun? I rather like that reasoning. It means I’m evolving. So even though my time in Brussels is winding down, and this week was by no means exciting, it was still a great week. Because I finally got to experience that chilly, rain-soaked Brussels weather. And it was pretty much as amazing as I thought it would be, even though it spoiled our weekend trip plans. Perfect weather – mid 60s, drizzly, a little gust of wind here and there. Eighteen years of burning and suffocation in the deep south was more than enough for me.

So pretty much every job I’ve had during my (relatively brief) time as a member of the workforce has been:

  1. at times demoralizing
  2. self-paced task fulfillment-based

Safe to say my first internship, my first desk job, was a break from tradition in these areas. Sure, the role I played at FH involved a certain amount of freedom, of completing assignments on my own time, but it wasn’t on my own time, you know? Most everything I did had a deadline, or would take me all day, from the time I got in and booted up my laptop to the time I shut it down and left (often before anybody else did). So that’s why this week, this boss-less week, was a return to form for me. I had vaguely defined tasks that could be completed, but didn’t need to be. I had almost no supervision throughout the day, and I missed it. People trusted that I would keep busy, and I did, to the best of my ability, but week 9 marks the end of my actual internship, in a way. Nothing I was doing would be produced, or even shown to clients before they got back from their August holidays. Week 9 marks the beginning of the wind down time. And that’s okay.

I’m really quite happy with the amount of time I’ve had in Brussels. Ten weeks is a long time for a vacation. It’s not quite as long for work, but the ephemeral nature of my internship gave me a little more freedom. I wasn’t as occupied with spreading out work over extended periods of time, or finding ways to advance my career. I had a start date and an end date, and I just worked. Although I’m sure I’ll lament the fact that I didn’t have more time at FH when that time actually comes to an end, 10 weeks was a good starter for me. Hopefully all of my future jobs will have me for longer.

At the end of my wind down week, I did do something quite interesting though. Our class, all 21 of us, went back to the Parlamentarium, that mildly boring EU museum, and participated in an MEP role play game. It was weirdly fun, and actually quite enlightening. We were split up into political parties, given phones that told us where to go and made the rounds as if we were real members of Parliament. We did everything in a simulation, from answering phones at the party office and fielding questions in a fake press room to striking deals with other party members and voting on amendments. And man, if 21 college students can barely come to an agreement about how to amend a fake law, it’s a wonder anything in Parliament gets done. Bureaucracy, am I right?

Things I saw:

European Parliament Building

Parlamentarium (again)

Commune d’Ixelles

Things I tried:

Hoegaarden Citron | ★★★★★

Popcorn chocolate – so weird | ★★★

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