Un été à Bruxelles: Un café, s’il vous plaît

I started my internship today.
One more time now: I started my international internship at a weekly, multi-platform European publication in the Etterbeek region of Brussels.

And I’ve only had two cups of coffee.

It feels good to get back into reporting. The research, the angle, the but-why-should-people-care, the clattering of keyboards and the hastily scrawled dates and logins. I haven’t worn my reporter hat since mid-January in snowy, competitive Columbia. Now I am in an old white walk-up with blue carpet, typing away at events blurbs and doing some research on the Treaty of Ghent for a festival preview. I’ll be starting in on some health reporting based on an incoming op-ed Andy (mine and Adam’s internship supervisor) is keeping his eye out for later today. Rami has told us about his plans for re-purposing his flat into a Barney-worthy pad (the serial bachelor, not the dinosaur). Irini directed us toward a cheap, quick sandwich shop in the metro. (Adam and I already went twice for coffee. We’re practically regulars.)

(Edit: we went a third time. Adam bought me une gaufre to pay me back for Gumby’s we ordered to the newsroom three weeks ago. If that doesn’t label us as Missouri journos, I don’t know what will.)

It is refreshing, truly, to work in a non-competitive newsroom for the first time in what feels like ages and ages. Adam and I won’t be viciously trying to scoop the other’s pitches or assignments. There is plenty of work to go around, and we aren’t being graded against. Our coworkers chat casually about summer travel plans and “Could you please take messages while I run to the post office,” rather than constantly worrying about whether or not their editor likes them enough to give them an A in the course.

The Etterbeek municipality is absolutely beautiful, and we can see the Arcades du Cinquantenaire from the front steps of our offices. We ate lunch outdoors, sipping (surprisingly delicious) café and chatting about work over the sound of jackhammers. Note to everyone: the caprese panini in the metro is worth the 3€10.

It’s nice really: the weekly publication, the gorgeous location, the lack of ladder-climbing students. I don’t feel pressure and anxiety like I do in the newsroom at home, and I can only hope my writing will be better for it.

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