Well it’s been 2 months since my last post and there is so much to report. We have been blessed beyond measure here in Belgium and we could not have asked for a better place to move. Just a few of our recent blessings since arriving here 2 months ago.
A HOME – During our fast and furious first week in Belgium we looked at over a dozen houses and thought we had found THE ONE. The day before we were prepared to sign a lease I saw a posting on the SHAPE Facebook page for a house in a town we hadn’t even considered. The town, Lombise, while adorable and quaint in all it’s Belgian-ness was a little farther than we wanted to be. But since I was driving around looking at houses anyway I called the woman up and asked to come see her house. I fell in love with it immediately and knew I wanted Joe to see it as well. We interrupted their dinnertime and canceled a different house appt. to go back to look at the Lombise house and Joe loved it as much as I did. We ran to the housing office 45 minutes early the next morning and had a lease signed by 10 AM.
The house is 1 of 9 homes that were renovated in an old barn from 1869. All our neighbors are American and work at one of the two bases here. The landlord installed a little playground for the kiddos next to the parking lot and the barn is surrounded by gorgeous farms and countryside. We moved in on March 17th, only hours after the previous family had their final out inspection. They were the sweetest people and really helped us meet the neighbors and feel welcome here. Of the 8 other families, two have children Tripp and Hudson’s ages, 2 have college-age daughters home for the summer (yay, babysitters) and all of them are so nice and welcoming. We have plenty of space for the boys to play, they have a huge playroom in the house (yay finally a room to wrangle all their toys), an upstairs library and a nice fenced in backyard to house their overflowing outdoor toy collection. We couldn’t be happier here! I haven’t taken any photos of the house b/c I’ve been waiting until we’re fully unpacked and have pictures on the walls but here are a few pics of our view.
This is the view from our master bathroom.
Tripp and his little neighbor-friend mooing at the cows from the kitchen window.
The aforementioned cows from the kitchen window. Bliss, I tell ya!
VEHICLES – We were also blessed with a 2nd car faster than we thought we would. We quickly decided we needed something bigger when we arrived here since all we have is the Accord to get us around. Living out in the country, about 20 – 25 minutes from the base made it apparent we needed a second car, pronto. And we wanted something larger so that I could truck friends and their kids around, not to mention frequent the awesome local brocantes or flea markets to buy stuff like this.
Disclaimer: I didn’t actually buy anything from this guy because his items were a bit overpriced but I have hit the jackpot on some nice antiques.
But anywho – back to the car situation. So after telling Every. Single. Person we came into contact with and accosting everyone we saw with a Honda Odyssey we ended up purchasing a really nice used Dodge Caravan. The catch was that it won’t be available until July, when they leave and we couldn’t wait that long. Joe called me from work one day and said that he saw a used Kia Sedona on a board in his building for a great price. He bought it that day and long story short, we needed a minivan and now we have TWO. Well, not physically but financially so until July when we get the newer model I have been proudly driving around the great big navy blue Sedona and loading it up with friends and treasures.
LOCATION – We were hesitant to look too far from the base where Joe would be working but once we found this jewel of a village we felt right at home. During our first week here I chatted up the female Belgian police officer during one of our MANY in-processing appointments. She, too, had small children and we chatted back and forth about the endless options in the housing department. There are dozens of little villages surrounding the bases and it’s hard to choose location over amenities if you have to sacrifice one over the other. I wanted her advice as a mother and a police officer on where to live. She told me that there were some great villages up north of the base and we hadn’t really looked there, thinking it was too far of a commute for us. I guess living 5 miles from base in Spain spoiled us a bit. We ended up in the exact village she spoke so highly of and I am so thankful she made us rethink our choices.
There are so many things here we love. Joe actually loves the drive to and from work. It helps him to unwind after a long day before he comes home and gets accosted by two babies who want to wrestle. We live less than 2 km away from this amazing cheese shop:
And we ended up with, not only, amazing neighbors but we live only a mile and half from some amazing new friends. Anyone who’s ever had to move to a new town or country knows how hard it can be to leave all your wonderful friends behind. We have been so blessed, since we arrived, with awesome new friends who have been willing to help out in so many ways.
We are also just 5 minutes down the road from an amazing zoo. We quickly got an annual family pass and have visited at least once a week since it opened a month ago. We love meeting friends there, bringing a picnic (Belgians don’t force you to buy their overpriced amusement park food, you can bring your own), and just running over for an hour to feed the goats and deer in their petting zoo. It truly is a paradise and Tripp LOVES it. His eyes light up every time we walk through the gates and he constantly reminds me to “go dat vay, Mommy,” every time we drive by.
Tripp is obsessed with animals now and I owe it all to the zoo. I feel so lucky that we have this opportunity to introduce the boys to things like this. And every time I see Tripp’s face light up I get excited knowing I get to experience all this excitement all over again next year when Huddy is a little bigger.
There have been many more blessings, too many to count but we feel so lucky to have moved to such a great place. The weather has been gorgeous, very un-Belgium-like from what we hear but we’ve taken full advantage of the sunny 70s temps. We are so excited to have a great new country to hang our hats for the next 4 years.