I can't pretend that France was my first love. I liked French as a kid and the idea of Frantasyland (pastries, romance, the beautiful city of lights and art). But as most everyone else, I went there, people were French to me and I decided I didn't like France very much.
Then I graduated university and started looking internationally. I found a position in Brussels, Belgium and within 1 months time, had moved my entire life over there.
Because I am crazy.
I couldn't even pinpoint this country for you on a map, nor could I tell you anything about it other than the fact that they were supposed to make good chocolate and (only because I had presented this country to my international economics class) that they belong to just about every international organization that exists (except ASEAN, because they don't qualify).
But after 3 years, I began to love this country (and not just because the Belgians finally decided I had done my time and could now be invited to dinner parties). I actually felt quite Zen there. And even though it is the most heavy source of tension and conflict (and governmental upset), the double cultures of Flanders (flemish speakers) and Wallon (french speakers) are the balanced scale. The logical and unpresumptuousness of the Flemish with the style and taste of the Wallons.
And so of course I miss it. And every couple of months, I need a fix. And so I just go back and wander the cobbled streets.....