They didn't get much: 20 euros, 60 dollars, some euro coins from my coin jar, a bottle of perfume, the nice Belgian chocolates I was going to bring home as gifts, a few items of clothing and two different colors of nail polish. If there is a silver lining in all of this it's that for some reason the criminals weren't interested in my laptop, digital camera, ipod, credit cards, two passports, or any other items of value. In that sense, I feel lucky in my unluckiness. Less than a week before an international flight the last thing you want to be doing is going through the hassle of replacing big-ticket items. Not to mention trying to get a rush passport.
It's a terrible feeling knowing that strangers invited themselves into the private sanctuary of your home and took the opportunity to rummage through your life. The only other time I've personally been a victim of crime while overseas was in Nice, France in 2003 when a man tried to mug me, but I fought him off. This time was far worse, as they robbed me not only of my cash and a few small, but not entirely unmeaningful items, but also of my sense of home and security. Belgium's little way of saying, "And don't let the door hit you on the way out!"