Hello there! I am Vasiliki, I am 30 years old and I currently live in Brussels I have no idea whatsoever about how I turned 30 years old, it just happened one sunny day, so let’s not talk about that, deal? ❣❣❣ I do explain however how I got to Brussels, being born in Lyon, France, but grew up in Athens, Greece from a Greek father and a Cypriot mother. Just check the first blog post!
About this blog 🚴
Very, very briefly, this blog it’s the personal blog of a Greek girl who moved to Brussels and never stops Exploring, Reading & Dancing…
Ok, but why blog? ✍
I have always preferred to express myself in writing rather than orally. I believe I am a terrible speaker, especially a public speaker, maybe because I am rather shy; or maybe because if I have to speak (you know, to communicate like normal people have to do once in a while!), I talk so fast that I am sure there are times when I cut some syllables from the words I am using. On the other hand, I have never complained about writing an essay or a motivation letter, I always got better grades in written exams (orals were usually a nightmare) and I was interested in participating in contests which included handing in a written piece of any kind (paper, article, short novel etc). Grosso modo, I like writing…
Sooo, I will write here
Why vasilicious? ✈ 📖 🌸 🎶
Maybe it’s a creative attempt of introducing a new word for people to call me (apart from Vasiliki!). Or maybe it’s because it sounds like the words delicious, glorious and victorious which are awesome words. Or maybe it’s because some of Harry Potter’s spells sound like that, so it’s a tribute to magic… 😝
About my BookMania>>>
Books …Oh my God! I truly believe I may be a shop addict when it comes to books. I like all kinds of books, that is why I enjoyed studying time at school (well…yeah!), I like dictionaries because I enjoy learning a foreign language, I like comics, history books are great as well, but then again…everything stops turning when a literature book is in my heads. Nothing can beat that feeling of getting lost inside a good book, being indentified with one of the story’s character, imagining the end of the story, smelling the paper…Again…what a creative way to spend your time! That is why I decided to have a Bookworm section at the blog. I will simply include a book suggestion in there, in case anyone is interested. I had to share somehow that passion as well, what can I do?
About my DanceMania>>>
Dance…Dance… “Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic, and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting” (Wikipedia)… In other (my) words: dance is the most majestic, superb, fulfilling way to express one’s feelings, thoughts, personality and eventually, creativity! Basically, any form of art can help you do that, I actually like all of them as I said before, but as far as I am concerned, dance has always been THE art! How can I put it? It is in my blood, as well as in the blood of my sister and my brother, this cannot be a coincidence, right? It’s a blood thing… All three of us dance, my sister Melina is a great performer and she even does it for a living, my bro Theo is still young, but he has already made it clear that the dance virus is right there as well, inside his blood! You will see a great deal of my posts dedicated to dancing, whether it is a performance I saw, a seminar I participated in or just thoughts of mine…
Last but not least, the logo is created by Spiros Theodorakatos who just followed my instructions which were something like: “Hey man, could you please write down the word vasilicious with cute letters and put around it a bicycle, ballet shoes and notes somehow? Thanks!”. I think he totally got the point, he was able to put it on paper perfectly well and I thank him for that.
The majority of photos and videos are taken and made by Nyx, through his crazy artistic way of seeing pretty much everything in life. I thank him too! Creativity high-fives everywhereee 😝
2d book_4th week February_22February2016_Bookworm_vasilicious blog
The Bookwormsection of the blog is an attempt to share my passionfor 📖 books 📖 with you (more info regarding THIS passion of mine, at the Aboutsection!).
The concept is to post some books which, in my opinion, are definitely worth reading.
As you can probably imagine, the list is endless because I have been reading books since I can remember myself! Therefore, there is no such thing as my ONE favourite book. Instead, there are so many…
I have always noticed that my emotionsare quite different when I am reading a book which has an imaginary story in comparison to a book with a story based on trueevents. The idea that those things I read have actually happened somewhere, sometime, influences me even more!
The Island is another page turner, some pages of which I have actually managed to read ON a plane ✈️ going to Cyprus. This is quite a big deal because I cannot read (or do anything else) on a plane as I am afraid of airplanes (well…yes!). So, reading it while flying is proof of how much that book had my full attention! 😉
The story unfolds on a beautiful island of my beloved Greece, Creteand in the small island of Spinalongawhich is Greece’s former leper colony. It’s really a very touching story which makes you realize just how fragile human life can be…
There was also a drama 📺 television 📺 series called To Nisi, broadcasted in Greece in 2010–2011, which was an adaptation of the book by Victoria Hislop. As a booklover, I strongly recommend reading the book of course, but you should see THIS series as well. It is not considered without a reason one of the most successful Greek TV series and it is certainly one of my personal TOP3! Photography, direction, acting, everything was awesome! 👍
Here is the synopsis of the book: On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.
Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion.
She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip…
Well, I am going to open this blog post sharing a secret with you: I had never, ever, ever, been to Brussels(or to any other place in Belgium) before moving here….
Yeap! I hadn’t! So, three months ago, was the first time I set foot in that country and I came to stay! 😎 Funny huh? I didn’t know what to expect. I had some friends who had visited Brussels for 2 or 3 days and told me that it was OK, while some others hadn’t liked it that much, at least compared to other European cities. Anyway, I decided not to let myself think whether I would like the city or not, so that I won’t have negative feelings about it before even moving there. Moreover, I am not going to go into detail regarding the way Greeks react to the sound of the word Brussels…Pimples all over the face etc etc… 😊As a matter of fact, that’s just a natural reaction to the events taking place in this city that have affected us all and have nothing to do with the city itself of course! In any case, whatever can happen, will happen…
So, to cut a long story short, it turned out that I love Brussels. I adore it! Trust me when I say that this town has a whole lot more stuff to offer to the visitor than just Manneken Pis or the European Quarter (which are great as well, but I will give them the credits they deserve later on). It is a beautiful, multicultural, colourful city! I have done a lot of walking around (like, a looooooot of it! 👣) & my plan is to show you several spots (or even all of them, why not?) of Brussels, just the way I saw them…. 👀
I am not sure yet if this area is my single favourite ONE, but it is most certainly ONE of my favourites. The first time I visited the neighborhood was on Christmas time, so you are about to see a lot of lighting in the photos. Furthermore, the day I went to Sablon, I had visited the Marollesneighborhood before, so I first bumped into Place du Grand Sablon (there are two twin squares in the area: the larger one is called Grand Sablon and the smaller one is called Petit Sablon).
Before starting to walk around the Grand Sablon Square (get ready for that!!), you HAVE to discover the charming pedestrian street Rue de Rollebeek with its cute little stores and restaurants.
OMG, OMG, cuteness overdose:
Moving on to Grand Sablon square and…boom: numerous chic restaurants, hotels, pastry shops, chocolateries, antique stores, fashionable boutiques are right there, waiting for you! Sablon is considered a symbol of Brussels charm and lifestyle and not without a reason.
So, OK, the first time you visit a place, the first thing you do is to try and understand what is going on, you look all around the place in order to get a first idea, right? That is what I did. So I saw the square, which has in the middle some kind of a fountain monument donated, as I read somewhere, by a Scottish exile as a gratitude gift for the hospitality he had received! I immediately felt how much I was going to like that place and then…I saw IT! I saw Maison of Haute Chocolaterie Pierre Marcolini… 🍫🍫🍫
You know Pierre Marcolini, don’t you? Well, if you don’t, my first question is: WHY? And my second, not question, but advice is go.and.find.one.of.his.stores.right.now! At first, I didn’t realize that it was a chocolate store, I thought it was a jewellery store or something. As soon as I got closer though, I saw all the chocolate… 🍰 The truth is that the store needs not shy away from a comparison to a jewellery shop 💎, both in terms of the luxurious level of pretty much everything in there (the decoration, the chocolate boxes..) or even its prices!! Well…Marcolini is a widely known and elegant chocolatier haute couture after all! YUMMY!
All around Grand Sablon Square, you can find other famous pastry shops and chocolateries as well (yeah, I ate a LOT of chocolate that day). If I remember correctly, there is Leonidas, Godivaand Neuhaus. There is also the famous pâtissier Wittamer, one of the suppliers of the Royal Court! If I am not mistaken, Marcolini was trained at Wittamer! Pretty amazing info, huh?
I have seen those brands before in other places -not just in Belgium- and I have to say they are pretty famous in their field! Of course, for someone who is a chocolate freak (like me!), having tasted their chocolate beforehand, well that’s a given! However, what I hadn’t heard of before, was La Durée. It’s a brand coming from Paris and my first impression (searching their website of course as well, what kind of a digital marketer would I be otherwise?), is that it’s a lot more than just a tea or a pastry shop. If you love 🍬 Alice in Wonderland 🍬 style, cute pink cups of tea, tea itself 🍵 and macarons, you will highly appreciate this place! We did not have the time to sit down for a cup of tea, but I definitely have THAT on my to-do list.
OK, that’s enough about chocolate, macarons and pastries in general, because I’m drooling again! To continue, in Sablon, apart from chocolateries, you can find luxurious boutiques (such as Christian Louboutin), restaurants, antique shops (we are talking about really, really, reaaally expensive antiques!) and hotels, as I have mentioned above:
Speaking of restaurants, there is one which caught my attention and you will understand the reason why. It’s called The Mercedes House and even though I am not a crazy fan of cars in general, I noticed that place! Bart De Pooter is the two star renowned chef of the restaurant. There is even a showroom with exclusive cars and themedexhibitions, as well as a shop with unique accessories. The thing is, you can sit down, drink or eat and have a Mercedes right beside you! Picture that! Visit their website and try the virtual tour they have! I have not even thought of checking out their prices, as I am certain that I will faint if I do it, so… In any case, it is pretty impressive!!
Before going on with the tour and as I love museums, I have to mention that: there is a museum of Erotics and Mythology in the area, which is indeed well hidden from the sight of a plain passer-by. I have not visited it yet so as to form a personal opinion, but I’ve heard that it has one of the best and most attractive collections of paintings and sculptures of this kind in Europe. Actually, it is the private collection of Dr. Guy Martens, who, “after having acquired more than 800 art pieces (no comment!), he came up with the amazing idea to make this beautiful private collection available to the public”.
So, after being sure that I had not left ANY single spot of Grand Sablon square unexplored, I found myself at the opposite corner of the square:
There, the overwhelming ⛪ church ⛪ Notre-Dame-du-Sablon is situated and you simply cannot pass by without noticing this stunning edifice (this happens quite often in Brussels, at least to me!).
Crossing Rue de la Régence, I found myself in Petit Sablon:
Beautiful, isn’t it? The park is surrounded by Gothic columns with little bronze statues on top which represent the ancient professions!
Inside the park, there is a ⛲fountain⛲ and the statues of Egmont and Hornes, two Counts who were executed in 1568 in Grand Place!
Around the fountain, in a semicircle, there are statues of humanitarians of the XVIth century waiting to be admired. I remember seeing Henri de Brederode, Gérard Mercator and Abraham Ortelius!
I have found this beautiful video, in case you want more visual of Petit Sablon:
…and that’s me:
🌇 This is the moment when I thought that it would probably be a good idea to finally go back home, after having walked many, many miles that day, eating like tons of chocolate, totally freezing because of the cold, never letting my book down of course and feeling grateful for having experienced yet another discovery!
So…Yay!! First blog post, first blog post!! ✐✐✐
Good morning from Brussels! Yes, I live here now. I haven’t always lived here, that is a very, very, very recent change in my life, like a lot of other stuff as well…
I was born in Lyon, France. Both my parents were studying there at the time and they have spent a significant amount of their lifetime (8 whole years!) in that city. I was born, and just a couple of months later, life brought them back to Greece (actually, my father returned to Greece as he is Greek, but for my mother, that decision was another huge step during her life, as she is Cypriot; she grew up in Cyprus, lived through the Turkish invasion and eventually, she left Cyprus and went to France to study). I could talk about both of these important persons for hours, they have amazing stories which are worth sharing and that’s exactly what I plan on doing, but not just yet 😊
So, basically, Athensis my hometown. I grew up there, went to school, made friends, studied and started working. I spend a lot of summers in Cyprus, where I have a huuuge family (for real now, it’s huge!) and to be completely honest, I feel half Greek half Cypriot. I don’t know, maybe it’s the connection with my family members down there, or maybe it’s that I’ve seen Cyprus through my mother’s eyes and her breathtaking stories, or maybe it’s just because Cypriot blood is also running through my veins… 🇨🇾 🇬🇷
Anyway, growing up in Greece was a-m-a-z-i-n-g !!! Greece is a beautiful country and my parents did a great job taking us all around its islands, villages or small towns (and I really thank them for that!). In brief, I am telling you (and I really mean it!), I feel extremely lucky to have had a childhood like the one I had and I wish that Every-Single-Child on planet Earth could be as happy as I was growing up 👨👩👧
But then…you know…adulthood comes and you study and you have to start working… and there comes THAT first day that YOU have to go and pay a bill, or YOU go to a public service and ask fo a document, or YOU get to deal with banks etc etc… 💸 💸 Do you remember THAT first time YOU did stuff like that? Well…I do 😉 Don’t get me wrong, that’s the way it’s definitely supposed to be and in my opinion, the sooner, the better, but…really, what’s with the 5-hour queuing in public services (we have that a lot in Greece!). Or why do I have to take a whole day off of work just to make a simple bank transaction? Or can someone explain to me what’s happening when it’s raining and everything collapses? C’mon now, seriously, what is that?? I admit that when I was a 20-year-old, I was an angry Greek citizen!! 😠
At that time of my life, it was the ERASMUS experience that came, finding me trying to deal with that anger of mine! Erasmus experience was such a slap in the face because I realized I lived in my own bubblewhere I thought, for example, that being stuck in traffic was the end of the world. Guess what! IT IS NOT!! As I have mentioned before, I had the chance to travel a lot, but there is a big difference between travelling and actually living in a certain place, isn’t there? Going to France for my Erasmus experience was the very first time I had to live far, far away from my country, my family and give up my way of living. Again, I am really glad that I’ve had that experience as well as having the opportunity to witness firsthand how people of different cultures live, act and think and can you imagine what the most interesting part of all that was? I had to ADAPT to this different way of life because I was supposed to spend a few months there. I soon realized that, OK, I might be paying my accounts by literally just pressing one single button of my PC keyboard, but, on the other hand…hey, where is the 🌞 sun 🌞 ??? I mean, really, the sun can be lost for days or even months at some countries ⛈. I know, it’s the most common example when you compare Greece to some other countries, but it’s true!!
Well, apart from the sun problem obviously, the thing is that I met people from all over the world, listened to their stories, witnessed their actions and heard about the problems they’d had back home! 👲 👳 👧 You might wonder: hey girl, you were 20 years old, was it the first time you heard about financial difficulties or war or hunger or illnesses or… or…?? No, it wasn’t, but I am asking you back: is it the same to become aware of these problems from the safety of your living room when you are just a kid or a brainless teenager than actually hearing them directly from people facing them? The answer is no, it is not the same. That’s why I always say that the ERASMUS experience completely changed the way I saw life in general. That’s why when I got back home I started motivating friends and other students (as well as their parents obviously!) to do it (I still do that by the way!). That’s why the expression 👞 putting oneself in someone else’s shoes 👞 became pretty clear to me and grosso modo, that’s why I am shouting out the fact that the Erasmus experience helped me define my life and its problems differently!!
So… moving from Athens to Brussels was not an act of escaping the 5-hour waiting in queue or the many other problems Greece has (we are all well aware of the so called economic crisis, unemployment rates, low or even zero salaries and blah blah…). No. What motivated me is the fact that I was given the chance to explore if and how I could ameliorate different aspects of my life, by existing and acting in a different context than the one I used to be in until then. It might as well have been Cyprus or France or Spain. It just happened to be Brussels. In other words, I saw an opportunity and I grabbed it! I saw that I had the chance to add a 🎈 bubble 🎈, to the others I already possessed! The more bubbles you have, the better…Was I sure that everything was going to be better? No, but risk-taking is part of our lives. Yes, life in Brussels is different than in Athens. People here face different kinds of problems, but I am glad I made that decision! I am seeing new things every day, living brand new experiences (professionally and personally), constantly testing myself and I am meeting new people. As Brussels is the center of Europe, it’s THE place to find people of any nationality. Basically, it’s like going to school again! Like I said, I am facing problems here as well, only different from the ones back in Greece, plus the fact that being here, I miss my family a lot. But not a day goes by, that I don’t feel richer in knowledge and experiences or that I am not making a better prioritization of what is important in life and what is not 👀
☛ ☛ ☛ Bottom line?? ☚ ☚ ☚
My decision of making THAT huge change in my life sums up the first thing I would like to share with you. Welcome change, actually look out for it 🎲, embrace it and make the most out of it. Don’t be afraid of it. If you don’t like something the way you do it, whether it would be your job, a relationship, no matter what, never stop trying to change it. Don’t remain static! 🐦 If you are stuck, then the whole society stays stuck, as you are a part of it! I believe that we all get lost inside our own bubble and that’s just such a shame! Search for new bubblesto add to your collection… Travel a lot, not only to different countries, but inside your own country as well 👣. Learn as many languages as you can. Meet new people every single day. Have you ever talked to a person coming from Cuba? From Syria? From India? From Lebanon? You will be amazed by the things they can share with you, you will be amazed by the way you will feel AFTER that interaction. Search for new experiences in your life and take advantage of any opportunity that will show up in front of you! I certainly took advantage of THAT specific opportunity that appeared. It was not the first time I did something like that and it will definitely not be the last one. For me, it was a case of switching countries, for you, it might be something completely different… Carpe diem, right?
Trust me, do that and maybe, JUST MAYBE, you will see how some problems of yours immediately lose their importance. They might still be pretty serious, I am not saying they are not, but maybe, JUST MAYBE, you will feel differently regarding your strength or your will to deal with them. All of the above, plus much more, maybe, JUST MAYBE, is enough to put your life into a whole other perspective! JUST MAYBE…
OK, enough with the philosophy now, right? 😝 It’s my first blog post after all, I am allowed a few more words, aren’t I? The following blog posts will be more about Brussels, which is a wonderful city, and I will give it the mentioning it deserves later on. In addition to that, other blog posts will have a lot of visual (photos and/or videos), as I have been almost at every corner of this city, always in the company of my personal photographer slash reporter slash cameraman slash artist 💕
Until the next post…
Don’t walk, dance… 💃💃💃
(hmm, yes, that’s my motto in life, you must have one as well, right? If you don’t, you should! I will explain later the DEEPER meaning of that phrase – yes, there is a deeper meaning in fact! – but one thing is for sure, I will keep writing it at the end of each post! Deal? Hey, sorry, I really like my motto, so… 😃 )