The stares

I always feel like somebody's watching me

Finns are taught it’s rude to stare. So we avert our eyes all the time. Sure, there might be a person walking around naked but it would be rude to stare. Oh yea, I did see that guy in a pink tutu singing a Spice Girls song but I didn’t want to stare.

These are just your everyday responses to something’s that is very innate in us.

Not so in Belgium. When you walk down to street, prepare to be stared at – especially if you’re a girl. No matter if you’re wearing your sweats or a mini-skirt, the stares will follow you everywhere.

Even at the bus when you’re facing someone and sitting there for 30 min you might think that a stare would be awkward. In Finland you might steal an occasional embarrassed glance but in Belgium you’re more likely to get a full-on wide-eyed stare for the whole trip.

Finns have mastered the technique for averting their eyes from other people and are experts in staring out of the window or simply facing the ground all the time. In Belgium there’s no shame in looking.

Most people won’t notice the difference because they’re so used to their own environment but juxtapose countries like Finland and Belgium you’ll definitely notice the difference.

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