Since this is a personal blog – I don’t mind sharing a bit more of my personal life and where I come from.
I was born on 31st of July, 1989. When I saw pictures of my newborn self, I could not believe I had that much hair already. My parents at first thought I would be a boy and therefore had the name Brecht in mind. Surprise – it turned out to be a girl and they decided to name me Claudia.
I grew up in Belgium in a tiny little town called Vechmaal. We only had 600 some inhabitants and the only “shop” we had was actually a van that we called “vegetable cart” that drove around twice a week to provide people with fresh vegetables, fruit and other necessities. The closest by ‘real’ store was about 10 min by car. We also had a doctor, dentist, pharmacy and veterinarian.
I was lucky enough to be born in an era where there were no cellphones or computers yet. We grew up playing on the streets playing with all the other children. We didn’t miss having a city nearby. We had our peace and quiet. On top of that: living in such a small village also meant that everybody knew each other. Everybody said hello to each other on the streets.
Our house was amazing. You never realize how good you have it until it’s gone. It had 3 big bedrooms, 1 smaller bedroom, a playing room/study, bathroom, toilet, big kitchen, huge living room, nice garden to play in, jacuzzi, entire basement underneath the house. It’s only now I fully realise how special that house was.
We lived in a “new” street where all the houses were built around the same time. So there were quite a lot children to play with. And every year we had this “street bbq” where our street was closed, there was one big tent put down and an inflatable castle for the children to play. This was a very good initiative from our street to get even closer with neighbours. I remember looking forward to this event every year again. I’ll always cherish these good times.
24 years I spent in this village. Then my parents divorced and my childhood house was sold. I found an appartment in Hasselt (where I studied and got my Bachelor’s) and moved there. It was only a 25 min drive from my old house and 20 min from my grandma, so not too far. For me it felt like a huge difference. Moving from a small village to a city with 76.000 inhabitants. I barely knew the other tenants of the building, let alone my neighbours. I was proud to do this on my own – to create my own little place. But on the other hand I’ve never felt so lonely.
The upside was that now I lived in a city and everything was closeby. I had different food stores at 5 min driving, 10 min to get into the city centre with all the shops. I was close to the highways to basically anywhere. I just changed jobs as well and I had very nice colleagues so I had all the things going for me.
The downside was that I was very lonely. Building this house up to a “home” for me didn’t work if I could not share it with anyone. Being a very sociable person, I prefer being surrounded by people I love. So what I did was: every evening after work I would drive to my grandma. She would cook dinner for the both of us, we ate and talked together, and then watched tv together until 8.30 pm or something and then I went to my appartment.
I lived in that appartment in Hasselt for 3 years. After 3 years my life changed completely again. But that’s a different story for Part 2 😉