The most perplexing question that a Belgian faces each day upon waking up is not “what am I going to do today,” but rather “what to wear” –
Invariably that includes a jacket and an umbrella.
A corollary to this happens in miniature on any chance planning event, as in –
“Alright, I’ll be over in five minutes. What should I wear?”
Response: “I don’t know, let me look out the window (… pause): It’s nice now, but bring an umbrella and jacket just anyway – it’s bound to change in a few moments”
(Or the opposite: “It’s raining terribly, but come on over anyway – it could stop and clear at any moment.”)
The phrase that summed it up for me was the explanation:
“Here in Belgium we get 3 weeks of summer … and 11 months of rain.”
It took a moment to digest, but then in made sense:
A sunny day is something to celebrate in Belgium. The warm days – when you can soak up the sun – are a gift,
But a rainy day is just a rainy day, no matter what the season is.
For that, and most of the time, you’ll want to have a jacket, long pants, and an umbrella …
Although who knows, it could clear up.
That’s the hope anyway when you are in Belgium.