Ugly in Antwerp (a beautiful Belgian city)

I had another nightmare about the UK and Brexit, involving soon-to-be Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.  I’ve been having similar nightmares almost every night and they really screw me up.  Needless to say, I’m dreading returning to the UK tomorrow.  When I told my mum on Monday that I was planning on leaving, her “I don’t blame you” response surprised the shit out of me, as usually she is argumentative and tries to make out that it’s bad everywhere, etc.  I spoke to my dad’s ex wife on the phone last night and she also agreed with me that leaving is a good idea, being as I’m transgender and at risk of bullying and abuse.  She even told me that her autistic grandson had been subjected to severe bullying at school and outside of school, just for the crime of being different.  Brexit has well and truly legitimised hatred against minorities and vulnerable people in the UK and that hate seems to be spreading like wildfire.

It’s not my job or my responsibility to stay there for god-knows how many years (or decades) and fight it and I don’t have the strength.  I asked my dad’s ex-wife if she’d talk to my dad to see if he has a copy of my Italian grandfather’s birth certificate or immigration documents from when he moved to the UK, because my plan is to apply for Italian citizenship so that I can retain my EU citizenship once the UK is no longer a member of the European Union after October 31st.  If that fails and if I can’t find anything on Ancestry.co.uk, I don’t know what I’m going to do, besides try to live in the Netherlands or Belgium illegally.

Anyway, enough of the depressing shit for now.  Me and my friend went to Antwerp (Belgium) yesterday and had a really good time.  As with my visit to Hamilton, Ontario just over a year ago, the city completely blew me away with how beautiful and interesting it was.  I’d go so far as to say that I liked Antwerp even more than Brussels.  Of course, it helped that my friend S came along with me and I wasn’t alone, so I didn’t feel as anxious or as self-conscious and she seemed to enjoy the city too.  I probably did way too much walking with my fucked up right foot, especially after walking 15 km in Brussels on Thursday.  My favourite part of the city was the historic district, the riverside and Antwerp Centraal train station, which is the most beautiful large train station that I’ve ever seen, even more so than St. Pancras in London, which is quite closely resembles.  I also liked the plethora of beautiful old churches in the city, even though I’m not religious.  My anxiety wasn’t too bad, although the main boulevard near the train station was heaving with people.  At least the city wasn’t overly touristy, despite being worthy of being a major tourist destination.

PHOTOS: Antwerp, Belgium – 02/07/19

We took the train back to Delft, which took about 3 hours via Roosendaal.  The trains I’ve used in Belgium always seem to run a little late, but the trains in the Netherlands are super efficient.  The journey back was quite relaxing, although there were some loud ass people on the train next to us from Antwerp to Essen, where they got off.  Fortunately, both my friend and I had our headphones at the ready. I was so tired when I got back that I fell asleep quite easily after smoking the last of my weed.

On Monday afternoon, I met up with a guy that I will refer to as ‘B’ that I’d been talking to from OK Cupid and fortunately he managed to contact me after I deleted my account, as I’d showed him my blog.  I was extremely nervous about meeting him, but he turned out to be a great person who made me feel comfortable, almost instantaneously, which is very rare.  We drove to a nearby park and just talked for several hours before he dropped me back.  He can’t have hated me that much, because he gave my friend and I a ride to Antwerp yesterday on his way back to Ghent, which was a great help and my friend liked him too.  I wish I could get to meet people like that in my daily life and it goes to show how much I was missing out on in the places that I’ve been living in for the last several years.  Even if I don’t see B again, I won’t forget the time that I got to spend with him.  There aren’t many people that I find myself attracted to, but B is definitely on that shortlist.  He has a beautiful dog too and the fact that he is clearly an animal lover also made me feel safe.  The way someone treats their pet is a good way of judging someone’s character.

Why can’t I live in a place that I don’t hate, where I fee safe and can at least distract myself with the few things that I’m still able to somewhat enjoy?  Why can’t I live in a place where people seem to automatically accept me and treat me the same as any other human being?   Why can’t I choose where I want to live independently for the first time in my life without having to run away to yet another bad place or return to a place that didn’t work out for me before? 

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4 Responses to Ugly in Antwerp (a beautiful Belgian city)

  1. Oryx says:

    Glad to read you had such a good time in Antwerp! You got to see a lot in one day, I’m impressed actually! 🙂 The train station is really nice, isn’t it? I’ve gotten so used to it over the years that I hardly pay any attention to it anymore, which is a shame. B sounds like a really nice guy, a positive encounter for a change! Hopefully you can sort the paperwork out to retain your EU citizenship. In any case, have a safe trip back to the U.K., as hard as it may be to leave the Netherlands again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sour Girl says:

      We certainly covered a lot of the city, at least I think so anyway. I was quite surprised how much I liked it, as I’d only passed through it on the train before and you really see the worst side of cities from the train usually, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The train station is as beautiful as a cathedral. Though I’m sure if you use it regularly, you probably wouldn’t notice so much. The Dutch train stations I’ve seen tend to be just modern, but not unattractive or anything.

      As for the UK, I couldn’t be more depressed right now about going back. I’m going to avoid England completely and just stay in Scotland until I can figure something out and hopefully get an Italian passport. I feel very down and distraught right now. I saw an article the other day that said hate crime against transgender people has increased 81% since the referendum 3 years ago I believe it too, based on how I’ve been treated over the past 6 months there and from the accounts of other trans people and other minorities struggling with off the scale levels of hatred,

      I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet this time around I wanted to meet you actually, but there just wasn’t time in the end and I’m a total nervous wreck now anyway, so I wouldn’t be much company

      Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oryx says:

        That’s a very scary statistic indeed, no wonder you’re dreading going back there. I wonder if the European mainland is any better though, as nationalism, racism and subsequently hate against minorities is on the rise even in Belgium as the latest elections have shown. My Belgian friends from the LGBTQ+-community are getting concerned as well unfortunately.

        No need to apologize, I understand you didn’t have enough time and I’m no good company either when I’m anxious or depressed. I’m happy you got to enjoy your short time on the mainland though 🙂 Hugs back!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sour Girl says:

        Let’s hope that isn’t true in the end about the rush of hatred. I think you’re right but I think it’s worse in the Anglosohere countries than most places due to populism and the media.

        At least no one here in the Netherlands or in Belgium was mean to me. That’s really all I ever wish for.

        Liked by 1 person

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