Every year, the Belgian American Chambre of Commerce organizes a great family event in New York to celebrate the Belgian national holiday on July 21st. This year, De Kreuners are performing, there is a Missbelgium election (!) and you can win cool prizes (Eddie Merckx bike, plane tickets etc.). Basically, it's a fun day out for the whole family and a chance to meet up with fellow countrymen.
So when I got an invitation last week from The Flemish House, announcing that they "requested my presence" (who writes this shit!!) at a reception on the occasion of Flander's Day on a boat, I thought that would be a fun early evening event, similar to the Belgian one. Drinking, laughing, eating, having fun with Flemish people and their friends and families. But when I rsvp'ed to say that I would love to attend with my husband and daughter, I got an anonymous reply from somebody at the Flemish House:
"Ik vrees dat het om een misverstand gaat. Deze 11 juli-viering is deze keer jammer genoeg geen familiaal evenement, maar een officiële diplomatieke avondreceptie.
Uiteraard is Lily wel van harte welkom op onze andere events!"
Loosly translated: It's a diplomatic event, no kids allowed... The invite indeed did say: you and one guest.
This is not the first time that I hear that somebody decides that kids are not welcome at a Flemish House event and I just think that this is ridiculous. What the fuck is "a diplomatic evening reception" anyway? Why would they even consider excluding families from an event that is supposed to be about celebrating a region? Honestly, I really do not understand the logic behind it.
Well, too bad for them, they will have to miss me at this "party". I hardly see my daughter enough as it is, so I will go on another boat some time with her, where she is welcome and that is probably a lot more fun than a night of "diplomatieke betrekkingen"...
Another reason why I think of myself as a Belgian and not a Flemish citizen.