While we haven’t set a hard move date, we’re about three months out from getting on that plane heading to Belgium with six one-way tickets and two cats shoved under the seat. I’m trying to enjoy the process, but honestly wish we could fast forward about six months. To have the bulk of the relocation behind us, settling into our “new normal” living abroad as expats. Oh, I’m dreaming of this day…
To leave the Midwest and all that it means to me is weighing heavy on my heart. Those dreaded good-bye conversations have slowly started and I’m just not ready. “Ok, will I see you again before you leave?” My answer is always “I’m sure, we’re here for three more months!”.
Although some point soon my answer will turn into “I don’t know, hopefully”.
And then soon after that it will just be “no, probably not”.
Good-byes. Worst part of this whole trip I tell ya.
For the curious, at three months out, here’s what we’re working on:
Deciding what school the kids will go to next year. Last week Michael was in Belgium settling into his new roll and getting introduced to his staff, and while there he toured the two potential schools. Choosing the school is a really big deal, and not just academically. Both schools academically are amazing, so we can’t go wrong in that department. But the school we chose will dictated where we live, and the path our stay in Europe will take. One school is closer to the city and will lean towards a more urban lifestyle, the other is more out in the suburbs. It’s a big decision.
Getting our immigration application in (and approved). Immigration is not taken lightly and is kinda a big deal, as it should be. You want to live and work in a European country? Well that’s gonna cost you. Michael estimates it’s taken +40 hours to put the packet together, and a whole hella lotta money in fees. Michael literally just a few hours ago met with the Belgian Consulate (located in Manhattan) and as far as we know, all is good. But now we wait for final approval.
Prepping the cats. Both Peggy and Pierre will be hopping the pond with us, which means we need to prep them for the big move. Physicals, vaccinations, micro-chipping, ordering airline approved crates, and a stack of paperwork. Fortunately for us (and the kitties) Belgium doesn’t necessitate a quarantine period for pets. It’s going to be a circus I’m sure, but we’re planning on taking them as “carry-on’s” on the plane and once they’re through customs with the rest of us we will be good to go.
Hoarding like we’re going on a three year camping trip. I know we’re not exactly moving to the north pole, but I’m getting anxious about missing all my favorite products. Since we’re using a moving company to relocate (our personal belongings will be shipped to us on a boat), I’m going to be taking a bunch of “consumables” with us. I’m basically buying the equivalent of a Target store. A few reasons: stuff is just plain cheaper stateside – especially kids clothes, shoes, and household goods. Also, I’m scared shopping in Belgium for the day-to-day stuff will be a tough adjustment, and having a stockpile might ease the transition.
Purging. And on the flip-side of buying all the stuff, our whole house is being fine-tooth combed and organized. There are three piles an item can land in. 1.) pack and ship, 2.) pack and store in Indy, 3.) donate or trash. I’m really trying to be mindful and to use this time as an epic opportunity to purge. And personally, if I don’t need it for 3 years, I probably can just live without it.
Prepping Paul for a big boy bed. My hope is that we can find a 4 bedroom house to live in. Piper and Nola will still share a room, as will the boys. That will leave a spare guest bedroom (hint, hint). We’re planning on getting bunk beds for the kids at IKEA when we get there. Sorry baby Paul, but the crib is not on the to-move list.
Finding a house. In May Michael and I will be heading to Brussels on a house-hunting trip. People have asked, and yes we will be renting for three years. Also, we’re selling our house (and cars) in Indy, so if you know of anyone looking for a fab family house close to downtown Indy, send them my way.
Learning French. I know lots of Europeans speak English, but I really want to give it a go and try to learn French. I wish I could say we were doing a better job at this, but other than a few apps we’re playing with (Duolingo is our go-to) we haven’t made this a priority which will probably bite us in the rump sooner than later.
So yeah, we’re staying busy. But the countdown is on, and most days I rather hang out with friends and enjoy these last moments than tackle this monster of a to-do list.
The next three months are going to fly by – and I have so many mixed emotions.