October 24th – 26th, 2022
I got in touch with Kaveh, my high school classmate, a few days prior to getting to Belgium. He was busy and had other plans during the weekend so we agreed to meet on Monday. He lives in Kortenberg, just on the east side of Brussels with his wife Mahtab. The house was stunning! A 2-story house with a garage, backyard, and big windows. The inside was even more impressive than the outside with modern decoration and beautiful furniture.
When I got there, Kaveh was working from home alone. It was an exciting moment to meet him. We realized that the last time we met in person was probably 15 years ago. When I tell others about my high school friends and classmates, they don’t believe how deep our connections are. After 15 years we had exactly the same type of connection as we had in our school years. Just the same type of humor and craziness was still present. Now that we are older and more mature, we are also professional.
It was dark when Mahtab called Kaveh to pick her up. We headed out to drive to Mahtab’s work. She was delightful. After a hi and nice to meet you, we became friends as if we knew each other for years. Once at home, everyone started preparing dinner. We were going to prepare pressure-cooked beef shanks with rice. Well, Mahtab did the hard parts, but I still tried to contribute as much as I could and was allowed to.
I got good recommendations on what to do and where to visit the following day. It was a bit challenging to plan everything as I just returned to work after being off for 3 weeks and the workload was a bit unpredictable. It could be an easy day or a day with many meetings and questions that I had to answer. It was the problem for the next day in any case. I was originally planning to stay with them for only one night. Though we had so much fun and they suggested I stay a bit longer.
A short visit to Namur
October 26th, 2022
I woke up early and started the work so I could finish early and head out to explore. On my lunch break, I decided to use the time and drive a little bit towards the city of Namur, just around 30 minutes drive south of Brussels. But I had a surprise. Some colleagues needed immediate help with some issues, and I had to stop at a gas station and open my laptop to work. It took a few hours, but I was finally done with work for the day. I drove right up the hill to the Citadel of Namur. I still had around 2 hours of daylight so I wasted no time, I took my bike and headed on the hill.
The Citadel’s museum was open only until 5 PM so I thought there is not enough time to visit the place. It seemed big and would require at least 2 hours to visit it properly. There are still many nice sights and paths I could go to not feel that I missed out on too much. One of the landmarks of the city beside the citadel is the golden statue of Searching for Utopia – Jan Fabre. It is a statue of a man riding a turtle and is evidently the symbol of the city.
I headed back to Kaveh and Mahtab’s house after the visit to Namur. Mahtab again prepared a very delicious meal. She was a bit tired, so she went to rest. Kaveh and I just continued talking about other friends, our work, and our life stories. We both felt so well that after not meeting each other for such a long time, we still had the same type of trust we had as school boys that we could open up and talk about deep feelings and experiences.
The last day in Belgium
I was hoping that I could finish work early and use the time to visit Ghent. It was only about an hour’s drive from there. But work got busy and I had a few calls scheduled in the morning. One of the calls was with my employer to discuss continuing the work after my current contract ends. By this time, after having 3 weeks off work and being a nomad, I had made up my mind. I would not continue working. Instead, I will continue my nomadic lifestyle. This had already been in my mind for a while already, but finalizing it and saying it out loud was a definitive point for me. I made a decision and was sure of what I was going to do.
I spent the day at work and hung out with Kaveh whenever I could. I tried to help him with some renovation projects they were having in their house. By the time I was done with work, it got too late. So I decided to head to France instead. I was going to meet one of my best friends in Paris the next day and did not want to cancel on her. So goodbye Kaveh and Mahtab. See you guys later.