Travel | Travel with Kids

We’re moving…to Belgium!!

January 30, 2017

So around 6 months ago my husband and I decided one night that we fancied a family sea change. We have always been itchy feet kind of people, I moved to the UK from Australia over 10 years ago and G has lived all over the UK. At the time we were living in a little village in the Midlands, our 5 year old son L had just started Year One at the local school.

We both felt that we needed to have an international adventure and at 5 we felt that L could easily adapt. Now where to? I would love to say that we started planning a big move to somewhere like New Zealand or Canada but due to family commitments somewhere within Europe was going to be better for us. Now both G and I have always loved Belgium. We have visited many times and when we started thinking about a move we both said yep Belgium is good.

So in August 2o16 we took the first of 5 trips to Belgium. Each time to different cities and town checking out houses, schools, lifestyle etc.

Eventually we settled on Leuven, it’s a beautiful vibrant city close to Brussels in the Flanders region of Belgium. It’s quite an international centre with a large university so English is widely spoken. Flemish is the official language though so we know that we have a learning curve coming our way!!

Now to find jobs! G was super lucky in that within a month of applying for jobs he was interviewing and within two months he had a firm offer.

In preparation for moving we gave notice on our rental house and G quit his job. He did this before he had an offer from Belgium, mainly due to his 3 month notice period. It was a huge risk and I wouldn’t recommend it!! The first offer that G received fell through so it meant that effectively we were about to be homeless and jobless!

Thankfully in November he received an offer from another company. This one was a better paying job with a relocation package thrown in. Only catch, G had to do a 6 week induction programme in Spain! We were unable to stay in our house past the end of November and his induction didn’t start until early January. So on the 26th November we left our home in the Midlands, put our whole life into storage and moved in with my Mum in London.

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I started homeschooling L, I’m not a teacher but I do have a few teacher friends who offered advice and his old school provided work for him. I have to admit that I did wonder if we’d done the right thing. I felt so guilty taking him way from his friends and moving him to a country where he’d have to learn another language.

In early January we flew to Spain together so that G could start his induction programme. The company provided an apartment and car for us which was such a relief. Homeschooling was going well and we woke to a sea view every day!

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Now G’s scheduled start date in Belgium was the end of February. We’d decided to take a short term let initially whilst we found a house and then we would send for our furniture etc. In Belgium a short term lease is 3 years so you have to be 100% sure that you like that house!!

2.5 weeks after arriving in Spain. G’s employer told him that they wanted him to start in Belgium at the end of January. A whole 4 weeks ahead of schedule. Que panic mode!! They were so good though and arranged everything – flights, hotel, taxis and an apartment in Brussels for a month.

So on the 28th January we left Spain on a flight back to the UK. We collected our car and made our way to Folkestone to catch le shuttle (we stayed at a hotel overnight in Folkestone) to Calais. We arrived in Brussels late on the 29th January. Collected the keys to our apartment and moved in with nothing more than two suitcases and a few toys.

The next few months are going to be tough and I thought why not write it all down. More for my own sanity than anything to honest!!

Thanks for reading! 

Lx 

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