Author Life

On the importance of having roots (and Belgium)

Let’s get to know each other a little bit more. To be honest with you, I haven’t prepared any ‘serious’ blog post because I was going to travel during the weekend and I preferred playing with the Nintendo Switch instead of getting some work done. Procrastination is truly the author’s enemy.

I am from the south of Belgium, from a little village next to the border with France. The closest big Belgian city is Mons, but usually people don’t know about it. Don’t worry; I don’t expect you to know. I have understood that people can spot Brussels and Bruges very easily on the map. As for the rest of the Belgian geography, nobody has a clue.

my Belgian roots - Belgium map

Roots are important to writers. It’s where they come from; it’s their culture. Because authors have different roots, they can develop their own voice. Nobody is raised the same way, neither they experience the same things. Nobody has the same life, and that is what makes our strength. My roots influence the way I speak, the way I write and the way I think.

Having roots is more important to me than I expected. Before living abroad, I took everything for granted. I was living with my mum and sisters, I thought that the economic situation in Belgium was terrible and without hope. My father used to say that we were living in a third world region, which might have been a bit too far to explain that our region is one of the poorest in the country.

But being an expat changed me on many things. I became proud of my tiny country. Belgium is the home of chocolate and beer (even though I don’t drink alcohol). My tiny country is the European Union’s headquarters. Belgians are the nicest people on earth: they might complain a lot, but they have a big heart. We count in a way that makes sense (’nonante’ instead of ‘quatre-vingt dix’ to say 90, please).

I now live in the UK. I moved three times since 2015: London, Brighton, then back in London. It’s super tiring to think that we might move again and again until we finally decide to stay somewhere. But one thing will never change. I’m still carrying my roots wherever I’m going.

Where are you coming from?
Do not hesitate to tweet me @vdvestelle

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