Whew! We made it safely to Belgium and have survived our first week here. So far, we love it here!
Our flights went great. There was bad weather when we were trying to land in Chicago to connect to our Belgium flight, and we definitely felt all the prayers from family and friends as we were able to wait it out in the air and eventually land (instead of being diverted to another airport and missing our next flight). We only had an hour layover to start with so we then had only 30 minutes to RUN across the entire airport and made it just in time to our connecting flight in Belgium. We unfortunately didn’t have time to take our dog Adderley to the pet relief area but she did great. She’s the best dog ever and did great on the flights. The boys played on the first 3 hour flight and slept most of the 8 hour over seas flight (thank you Kids Dramamine!)
Navigating the airport with 2 kids, a dog, car seats, carryons, and a trombone was a challenge, but we discovered a homemade way to convert the big car seat into a stroller for the baby! We bought a small fold up dolly and attached it to the cars seat with a bungy cord. It folds up extremely small and we put it in an overhead bin and gate check the car seat. Easy! It has saved us so much hassle and then we don’t have to lug around a stroller too. ??
Adderley’s dog kennel was awesome. It expands to give her more room while waiting for the flight and fits fantastic under the airplane seat. We had zero problems with her and I loved caring her around in this light weight kennel. I would HIGHLY recommend it when traveling with a small pet!
We’ve had some amazing people here to help us out this week. Some guys from Nick’s unit picked us up at the airport, drove us to get our rental, brought us our phone SIM cards we had mailed to their house, and showed us to the hotel. It was such a lifesaver to not have to navigate or drive in this crazy new place right away!
Our small LDS English speaking church branch has been so welcoming and wonderful help as well. My favorite thing about the church is that it’s the same everywhere. A small piece of home here with us and an instant Ward family that will do anything for you!
Speaking of awesome church friends, several people volunteered to watch our dog while we stay in the lodge so we didn’t have to pay the $25 a day kennel fee. We are so blessed and Addi is having a great time. She even beat us to visiting France! I’m afraid she won’t want to come home with us but it’s so nice not to have to worry about her. Thank you Fontana’s!
Ok, so Belgium. It’s awesome! There has been some culture shock for me, it’s difficult not speaking the language here. I’m so grateful I learned some before we came and it will be easy to find opportunities to learn and practice it while we’re here. People are patient though and some speak English so we’re getting by.
We stumbled upon a little ice cream/chocolate shop here close by and it was amazing!! The food here has been fantastic. I can’t wait to get settled and start exploring more and shopping locally.
Housing has been stressful. We have been waiting to hear if a government house if available for us (which we would have to take) or if the capacity is full and we can look off post.
FINALLY, 7 days of waiting around living at the hotel and many visits and phone calls to housing officials, we were given the go ahead to find a house off post. Thankfully we had been looking anyway and were able to set up a lease signing right away for 2 weeks from now. Everything moves at snail pace here it seems, so 2 more weeks of hotel living then we’ll move into a house we love. It’s small, but we love the location and we’ll make it work for us. I can’t wait to be out of limbo! Our household goods are here and waiting for us and our car should be here next week as scheduled.
The temporary housing/hotel here is great. Small room but some fun playgrounds and the commissary close by. We’re making friends and finding things to keep occupied.
We have received so many blessings and guidance this first week and I’m incredibly grateful. New friendships are growing, we’re adjusting to the culture, and loving the large amounts of “quality” family time!
So far Belgium = Awesome!
In case you missed the last post…