I only read about terror acts in Facebook and CNN but never would I have imagined it happening so close to me.
At 7pm (June 20, 2017) I made my way back to Brussels after a quick trip to Bruges (which was so beautiful btw). I was in a rush to meet my cousin Tinky for dinner at 8pm. She was excited to try out the mussels Belgium is famous for, as I was.
After my uneventful train ride, I hopped off on Brussels Central station, a stone’s throw away from my hotel (Ibis Off Grand Place). I dropped off some things in my room and went straight to the Chez Leon restaurant to have mussels. I grabbed a small table outside the resto and waited for my cousin. After a few minutes, I heard a flurry of people running away from something. They hurried past me, and everyone near me and I were wondering what had happened. I had three theories: they were late for a show or bus/train, they were rushing to see a famous celebrity, or the worst possible scenario — terrorism.
I asked the waiter for ideas but he said, shrugging, “I don’t fucking know!”
Once the hysteria died down we ordered two platters of mussels that disappeared in 15 minutes. As we were ending our meal, my diplomat-cousin got call from a colleague. Unfortunately my third theory was right.
A suicide bomber had attacked Brussels Central station. He detonated a bomb, but got gunned down by police before he was able to deal more damage. No one else was hurt, but this sent shivers to my spine. My first instinct was to tell my parents, but I didn’t want to worry them. I’m fine anyway, and we were safe.
Brussels is no stranger to terror acts and it has seen far worse than what occurred. I commend their police force for acting quickly, avoiding casualties save for the assailant. To wish for terror to end is a pipe dream, but I will see this as wake up call to live life to the fullest, and travel more while I’m at it!