But, I don't need just any bag. I need a vegan bag. I need a vegan bag that can go on my back and look really cute. Needless to say my journey is a daunting one. Despite the aches and pains known to any vegan bag hunter, I had an amazing social moment yesterday during my search and her name is Sanjamaas.
Place Jourdan is filled with a variety of little shops and conveniences, one of which I was making use of yesterday afternoon following a tea in my new favourite (and wicked close) tea room. The service of my non-english speaking tailor was pre-paid and I only ran in to pick up my pants (hoping and praying that my dodgy French had managed to convey that I only needed a hem and not a new pair of coollots). As the door closed behind me, I looked up from the fantastic sewing job I found myself peeking at, and noticed a sign: "Natural Bags". This could mean one of two things in the world of textiles: All Leather or All Plant/Earth based. Sadly, for the most part, minus a great straw bag from Laos, the contents of the store fell under the later category. BUT - the mistress of the shop and her amazing offerings of scarves, handmade earrings and insider Brussels information kept me in the shop.
We had a great conversation - mostly in English ...she shared some info with me about a flea market, where to find bikes, the conversion of Etterbeek post-EU move in, the trendy/still hidden vintage scene in Brussels and the directions to a really cool market close to the Grand Place. She shared all of this information with an amazing amount of energy and passion. She loves her city, and loves its diversity - of which she is an excellent example being able to speak English, French and Flemish and sharing her ancestry of Yugoslavian and Belgian. She had me so excited that I wanted to skip my plans for a pre-planned get together and ride out this little piece of social serendipity for as long as I could.
As I was promising to come back tomorrow, when rain didn't threaten, to buy the bag, she told me that she was a musician. I have had a chance to have a listen, and if you dig indie-techy-jazz-euro sounds than this little ensemble is totally for you. The band, Saymasound, has a myspace with downloads and a good selection of information. They are currently working on a new album, and are set to travel to Singapore for a show in the coming months. I am impressed and plan to do more than just buy the bag!
Following my mid-afternoon musical interlude I headed off to a friend's house party, where I was the first to arrive. I had a great conversation with Kara and Nick, which made me feel better about this potentially disastourous choice to pick up from Toronto and move to Brussels - they did something similar, leaving behind jobs as attorneys to take on the expat life.
We were soon joined by loads of others, including Torri, who I had an amazing conversation with about Technology and children. Torri has an amazing capacity for conversation. I also managed to hook up a critical theory (read: nerd) book club with Micheal and Nick - who seemed as pumped about literature as me. We than made plans for a book-club tattoo outing and I headed back home, where a phone call I had come home for didn't arrive. But, there will be other nights for dancing.