Greetings from Brussels!
I think the Lord's sense of humor is hilarious and it always gives me great perspective. Today is Thursday, but if you asked me if I would still be in Belgium on Tuesday, I would have shot you an evil glare? Why? Here's the backstory.
I had an amazingly magical time in London. I was on a high. I was considering staying an extra day but I did not want to cut into my projected Italy time for later in the month. I even unpacked in London, which is something I just never do. That's how I knew I was comfortable there. But, I had to put on my big girl pants, pack it back up, and head across the English Channel and get to Belgium. The Megabus ride was fine. The weather wasn't as horrid. I was a bit thrown off by seeing Dutch and German signs, but I was doing okay.
And then I met Irene.
Who's Irene? Irene is the horrid staff member at my hostel who gave me a terrible taste of reality that I wasn't in London anymore. She was rude y'all. Terribly rude. At hostels, there is a certain level of warmth you usually receive because we are all in this budget travel boat together. I could only take so many remarks, eye rolls, and sighs before I took it to the social media pages of the hostel to blast my complaints. To top it off, after I waited to check in, I found out that I actually booked the hostel for the day prior and my reservation was cancelled. Insert a four-letter word here. But then, I sat and thought, well good, I wasn't charged, I could just head up to my next country and leave this crappy city. I had a decision to make.
In the meantime, the hostel responded to my complaints and somehow by miracle (maybe) I ended up in a better room than I was supposed to be in. I also ended up paying a cheaper "last-minute" price so I gladly took the small victories. I might have immaturely flashed Ms. I an evil smirk afterwards. God ain't through with me yet.
Flash forward to the next day. I had an absolute BLAST. The Universe showed out. Every other member of the staff was accommodating. It was warm enough outside for me to not wear a jacket. I stumbled upon the perfect bar and instead of going on a beer tour, I had my own private beer sampling festival right there. I was given shots, smoothies, and snacks. I even headed out with the bartender later and was able to watch Portugal whoop Wales' tale in the Euro match! I met the fine man working security and had a fabulous night of dancing. Needless to say, I'm glad I stayed even though I was super frustrated on Tuesday.
What did I do to cope?
- Recharge: I had to do something to make myself happy. If I had the supplies, I would have done my nails on the spot. So, I did my other favorite activity, naptime! When you're irritated, you're probably not thinking with the most positive mindset but it is important to pause and give yourself a quick mood booster. Nobody wants to sit around being miserable (actually I can think of a few people, but that's beside the point).
- Reevaluate: Take a look at the situation. Is it that bad? What can you do to fix it or is it completely out of your locus of control. How can you be sure that it doesn't happen again? Do you feel like you're going to be miserable for the remaining time if you stay? I made sure I did not have to speak to Irene again whenever I wanted to speak to hostel staff and that has boosted my experience. Everyone else has been fabulous and helpful and I don't hate Belgium anymore.
- Redo: Give it another shot! You are abroad. You are not in your comfortable bubble but that is the point of it all. It's a part of the experience, and 9 times out of 10, you will be able to laugh about it later. I am so glad that I stayed and gave Brussels another chance. You cannot let one bad moment define your entire trip. Kind of like that time I was called racist *side eye*. Fix what you can, give it a hair flip, and keep is moving.
Being spontaneous is great, but impulsive is not.
Have you had a bad moment abroad? How did you deal with it? Let's talk about it! I'm heading to country number 14 tomorrow (eeek) and it's going to be a wild weekend. As always, keep me covered in prayer and will be in touch soon.
Peace and Blessings,