Bonjour From Brussels

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Life can feel surreal at times, and these next five months I doubt will stop feeling surreal for me.

I’ve finished my degree (minus two final essays), and I’ve started an internship in Brussels with the Greens. (Why I always end up in cities beginning with B I don’t know…) And by Greens, I mean the Federation of Young European Greens, and also the Greens in the EU parliament. I’m spending half my time helping FYEG with their events etc, and the other half strolling into the parliament to work with the Greens communication team. Like I said, surreal. (I say strolling but it involves multiple badge checks, security scans, and buzzing doors).

Considering most interns working in the EU speak 4 languages and already have plenty of experience, getting this internship feels like some kind of miracle. I was convinced when I received the offer it was a mistake (I still am), but hey ho. They’re stuck with me now. And it’s been a great welcome – even the busiest and most important people say a coffee and a chat is always on the cards (I doubt that in reality but still, so nice!)

So now I am trying to remember my high school french, discovering life in a new city and country, and embracing a new culture and way of life. Brussels is the cultural melting pot of Europe, and I cannot wait to get out more to embrace it (my first weekend was spent with work in Budapest – hard life!)

I’m also adjusting from student like to adult working life. No more lie ins, or going to bed at 1 in the morning. It’s been a bit of a shock to the system. Having only studied since my lupus diagnosis, I’ve always been worried how embracing a full time job would affect me. So far it’s hard to tell if this more intense fatigue is just me adjusting, or if this is my life now. It’s been a struggle to arrive home and work on other projects (essays and volunteering), so hopefully I will adjust and be able to carry on with all commitments. But I’m in a nice flat, with a manageable distance to work. I’ll continue eating healthy, and knowing when to take a rest. And luckily the Greens are so nice, I’m sure they’ll be completely understanding should anything happen.

A few months ago I’d never have expected to be in this position. Working in an EU institute is a political nerd’s dream. After quite a few disheartening unsuccessful interviews for various organisations; I was despairing at the tragic cycle of not having enough experience to get experience, then this was offered to me. I know it doesn’t mean I can walk into any future job, hence the extra volunteering, but it certainly will help.

And living in my fourth foreign city, and the third city and country since my diagnosis, is something I will never take for granted. I know one day I could be sicker and more bedridden, maybe even unable to work. It’s a scary thought, hopefully will only ever be a thought, so I have to make sure to appreciate this freedom whilst I have it.

C’est la vie, vie folle folle

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