I recently finished a set of cushions as a part of a swap with a friend of mine in Brussels. As well as working on interior design, Nastia designs and paints beautiful mandalas and was interested in having a little something from Bazaar, so we decided to create something for each other. I’m 100% in favour of swapping/bartering/exchanges for all aspects of life and was thrilled with Nastia suggested it! So I made a trio of cushions for her apartment.
I was also especially lucky as her boyfriend Damien, of Damien Milan Photography, offered to take some images for me. You all know how I’m trying to work on my own photography for this blog and it was very cool to have a professional offer some images of my work.
Nastia’s mandala is beautiful. I need to put it in place on a wall in my home before taking images but as soon as I do I’ll post a few pics! It’s pretty difficult to make good friends once you arrive in a new country. At this stage I’ve heard and done it all – “Just go out to events and talk to people, and make new friends that way” (you try that and see how natural that feels!), “Just join a group activity and you’ll find someone with the same interests” (having the same interests as someone doesn’t necessarily make them your next bosom buddy), “Join an Irish group and you’ll definitely meet people in the same situation as you” (but most likely not planning on staying here forever so as soon as you make good mates their internship ends and they head back to the old sod) and a piece of gold from a French teacher, “You need to make friends with Belgian people, not foreigners, then they won’t leave”. It seemed to have slipped his mind that Belgians my age have a developed circle of friends are are rarely on the look out for new people to talk to at social events…
I’ve received heaps of advice, some very welcome, some from people who have no idea what they’re talking about, and can only tell you that there is no way to “Just go out and make friends.” It takes time to determine whether or not you connect at more than a superficial level with someone and then time to develop and work on that connection to become good friends. In Brussels, it’s likely that as soon as you have made that connection they leave to go back home! I’m very glad to have found Nastia in the middle of this crazy city, and although I’m very conscious that she’ll be gone back to Australia within a year, I’m exceptionally lucky to be able to count her in my list of friends here in Brussels.
Thanks Nastia & Damien!