Emigrants Dictionary – B

Emigrating to a new country brings a ton of expected and unexpected emotions and situations. So I grouped them in my Emigrants Dictionary! Today the letter B, telling about the motherland, people and their trust in achieving things, traffic, and business:

B is for Belgium

Oh yes, we miss you! But, we have found great waffles here already, we have great places to have Belgian beers (they even understand “pintje“), we have met great Belgians that are here to make a difference, just like us. So a art of our homesickness is compensated. We miss the people we know, the friends and family. Not being there today when my dad turns 80 and my mom turns 69 is sad. (yes, they have their birthday on the same day – how cool is that?). They don’t have the great asparagus and mussels as we know them, so we’ll miss this season.

But no, we don’t miss the political useless and purposeless nonsense, the months of discussions over 40,000 votes in stead of a needed decision to revive the economy. (and we don’t miss the days of grey weather :-))

We’re looking forward to being back on Belgian Soil later this year, but as a special kind of tourist this time. Maybe at that time even homesick to New York…

B is for Bike

I would not have believed you if you told me this 4 years ago, but over the past years, New York becomes more populated by bikes everyday.The legislation is not ready for all situations (you still can kill a bike driver and get away with it). But that did not stopped Vicky from getting here a beautiful bike (and a huge lock and chain for it – not everyone actually buys their bike in NY). I should make some time to visit Bart in his bike-shop and get me a nice transport vehicle as well. Bike and Subway are – in daylight and on weekdays – by far the better option to get around this great city.


B is for Business

“New York is open for business” was what Mayor Giuliani said after the attacks of 9/11. It was his remedy to revive the city. And it so shows the spirit of New York. This city is ran by business people, to do business. People move to New York to make it here. I have never seen a city where most of the commercial activities are targeted and focused. People don’t like wasting time with longer than needed meetings, are open to understand how partnerships can benefit all involved. Networking is not collecting business cards (as I often noticed in Belgium) but a way of understanding each others business and see how networks can make each other stronger.

I was very used to the European meeting style when I first arrived in a very high level meeting at a hedge fund in NY. After 5 minutes, the chairman of the meeting had decided he would not need the services I had to propose him. In the respect of his and mine time, he ended the meeting there. In Belgium, people would be offended if that happened – here it’s a respect for the time of business partners.

Tip for Europeans coming here on business development : know what your business does, how it is different than any other, why one should spend his money with you – and be able to explain that in less than 30 seconds.




This is part of a series of posts that gives you an insight in our impressions after the first 100 days living in New York & the USA: More in http://blog.blanquart.be/category/vrije-tijd/travel/emigrants-dictionary/

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