Week One

The Beginning

It is estimated we will be living in Brussels, Belgium for two years. Two years can seem like such a long time but as a seasoned re-locater I have learned how fast time goes by. During our Miami, Florida habitation getting outside of the house proved difficult with twinfants. Upon next moving to Dallas, Texas, I vowed to get out more and travel. Unfortunately, I also found being mobile with toddlers quite difficult. Therefore, when learning of our relocation to Brussels, Belgium, I again made a promise to live this experience to the fullest. Now with pre-schoolers in-tow I have a new set of challenges but the potential for a lot more fun.
The purpose of this blog is to report on my promise. Please join me and my family as we make the most of these 104 weeks.
Here we go.

Week One

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Zane and Lily got to fly first class to DC and Business First to Brussels. The seats reclined a full 180 degrees flat. Zane quickly took advantage of this and slept almost the full way over. Lily however is much like her mama and could not sleep on the plane. We kept each other company and watched several movies. Dad was back in coach with the cat because as we learned a few weeks before we left, cats must fly coach.


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Bed head after landing

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After a near-death cab ride, we arrived at our temporary apartment in the commune of Etterbeek jet lagged and hungry. We were greeted by a man who spoke only French and Portuguese and refused to acknowledge English. He showed us to our apartment and promptly left. However, as the morning light illuminated our street, I felt at peace that we had finally made it.

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Street View

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Back of apartment view

Soon after arriving I could already feel the walls closing in around me. What is out there? What am I missing? I strapped jackets on the kids and set out for a walk. To my delight we found a park one block from our apartment.

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Nothing can change a kids circadian rhythm like sunlight and a seesaw.
Things are different

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I am quite positive there will be multiple blog posts on how things are different here than at home. Already, my list is in the triple digits. My first observation was our keys. They sort of put Schlage and Kwiklocks to shame.

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Don’t worry future visitors, the door frosts solid when the lock is turned.

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For our first weekend trip we decided to stay local and see The Grand-Place. It is the central market place of Brussels and was constructed centuries ago. The kids thoroughly enjoyed their first Metro ride and loved the “fast choochoo”.

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Taking in the views during our picnic.

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Lucky Bride. I mean I guess if you are going to do it, do it right ladies.
The next day we took a trip to The Natural Science Museum. I have always prided myself on my sense of direction. It’s as if a compass was implanted in my inner ear at birth. However! I am having quite the difficulty with direction here. Brussels is so far north that during the winter the sun is located in the southern sky. It just moves right to left.
When we emerged out of the Metro and needed to head west, I learned today that you can not rely on the direction of the sun. You will simply end up walking south for many blocks in the cold.

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But alas, we found it.

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Nothing quiets whining, freezing children like hot waffles.

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And for those with no love for the Natural Science, don’t worry! Here, they serve beer.

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I had the delightful opportunity to go house hunting quickly after our arrival. Flying around the city by car, I got a true view of how the city is laid out. Google Earth had given me an idea but street level zooming is what I needed. Our relocation person set me up with 24 houses to view in two days. I would then narrow those down to my top four favourites, and show these choices to Jason and the kids. Next we would all chose together with a 97%, 1%, 1%, 1% vote.

I saw some pretty amazing houses and some pretty forgettable ones as well. I knew I wanted to live in the city but did not rule out the outer communes at the beginning. Every house had their pros and cons and in the end, a 5 bedroom 3 story house in Watermael-Boitsfort won. It is simply lovely. You walk in and already want to light a fire in the fire place and cozy up with a book. It has a yard for the kids, and the entire third floor is a guest suite (come one, come all). We are steps away from the tram line which is two stops down from the main metro line. I can’t wait to move in to our new house and out of our cozy current situation (in approximately one month).
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A landlady who showed me around the most beautiful townhouse in Ixelles, but I don’t know what I’d do with nine bedrooms!

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A still under construction house in Terveuren. It was quickly axed due to the rail-less stairs, all white walls/cabinets and the wall to wall-floor to ceiling window bathroom.

Please take a tour of our new house. Not pictured are the basement and garage, where the door under the stairs goes to.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZX6VmMSsnI

I can’t wait to hold myself accountable for my promise. With the euro rail and Ryan air at my back door, I really have no excuse.

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4 Responses to Week One

  1. Kirk says:

    Good job Val. Keep em coming.

  2. Katie says:

    A guest suite?!? I’ve got 103 weeks to get to Brussels. I will get there! So glad you had a good trip and that things are falling into place.

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