Du-What? Du-blin: Three Things I Learned Being Stranded Outside of Brussels During the Terrorist Attack
1. Knowing basic phrases of the country that you are traveling to
This should be a no-brainer, but in case you’re like me and wait until the last minute to look up how to say “where is the toilet,” DON’T. I say this as a word of warning because just in case something unplanned happens in your trip (which will most definitely happen), you’ll feel infinitely more comfortable in your situation. Also, just because people “speak” English doesn’t mean they understand English; these are two completely different things, I promise (just like when most of us say we can speak Spanish).
2. How to kill time (in a fun way)
While attempting to figure out phase two of being stranded (a.k.a. playing the waiting game), I quickly realized the desperate need for distraction. This is the point of your trip when wi-fi becomes your tried and true traveling companion. Not only can you keep up to date with current news (global or Loras-related), but you can also look up points of interest near you. This saved my sanity and I was able to see places that I definitely had not planned on seeing, like an Australian ice cream store in the heart of Namur, Belgium. Not only does this enhance the overall experience, but it helps you feel in control as well.
3. Letting fear influence you but not control you
When the news first came out about the different bombs in the airport and the train, I was beyond shocked. I literally couldn’t wrap my mind around what happened. I was stuck for two and a half days in Namur, and for the first day I was completely on edge, terrified that for some reason the attackers would hit this city next. However, something my friend and I did was let the fear of the attack make us cautious and aware but not paralyze us. Although I was still uneasy about being so close to the attack, we tried to make the most of it and still ventured out of hotel to explore the city. The most rewarding part of that was seeing how people transformed public squares into memorials for the victims of the bombing. They let the fear associated with the massacre influence them but ultimately they chose how to react, and it was out of love.