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How to run errands when everything closes so early (Brussels)

Hi all, I moved to Brussels in December last year, and I've had a really hard time adjusting to the way things work here. I work in IT in a white-collar position, typically Protected content , with very little flexibility in my schedule (I often don't even get a full lunch hour).

When I leave for work in the morning, everything is closed, so shopping / errands before work are impossible. When I leave the office, again everything is closed. In five months, I've done very little shopping and in general can't find time during the week to do most of the things I've taken for granted everywhere else I've lived (this is my 7th country of residence). On Saturdays, most shopping centres are mobbed, presumably since everyone faces the same problem during the week, and anyway I prefer to spend my weekends doing something enjoyable rather than running errands, which turns my weekend into a chore rather than a time to kick back and relax.

Does anyone have tips on how to manage this situation? I'm seriously considering leaving the country due to the sheer inconvenience of living here. My lifestyle has taken a massive hit since I came here and I'm frankly depressed by the experience. The beer is great, but I want to do more with my evenings that just drink. Any suggestions are welcome.

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