Belgium 22 Years Later for NAV TechDays
A few weeks ago I went to Belgium for NAV TechDays. The conference that Luc Van Dyke put on as part of Mibuso with over 400 attendees was absolutely fantastic. My hope was to encourage European participation in our I Love NAV initiative for Microsoft Dynamics NAV and I'm sure glad I made the trip. In addition to a great conference this is the first time I've been back to Belgium since I lived there 22 years ago. What completely amazes me is how quickly 22 years has flown by and how much has changed in that time.
22 years ago I took some time off from college to live with some family friends and study French. In exchange for room and board I agreed to help out around the house and transport their kids. That definitely gave me an appreciation for the monumental task my wife faces every day.
22 years ago we didn't have the Internet as we know it today or email. I remember writing home once a week and anxiously awaiting letters from home. There was no Skype and international calling was so expensive that we would schedule a call home once a week that we kept brief. There was no GPS so I accepted getting lost as part of the adventure.
Even 22 years ago it seemed that almost everyone in Brussels spoke English until I made friends with probably the only three guys in Brussels who didn't speak English. I later discovered that the reason they couldn't was that because they were still trying to graduate high school in their early 20's.
What surprised me most arriving in Brussels after all this time was how little I recognized. It's hard to say if Brussels has changed that much or if it's a function of my own memory. Since we didn't have digital cameras built into almost every piece of electronic equipment we own I guess I'll never know what has changed more, Brussels or myself.
Thankfully when I went back to the house I lived in back then it helped anchor my memories and then others started falling into place. Remembering how to navigate from Le Grand Place to Le Mannequin Pis after 22 years without a map or reading the signs was particularly satisfying.
I guess the moral of the story is take lots of pictures and write down your experiences. The years will pass much faster than we'd like or expect and it's worth taking the time to enjoy and memorialize the journey.