Planning Phase

Hello and welcome to my first post under the new title of the blog. If you’re not already aware of this exciting new chapter for the Walter family, we are moving to Leuven, Belgium for about 6 months. Todd is going to be the integration manager at a branch of National Instruments in Belgium. We leave January 28 and expect to be back here in time for the kids to return to our beloved Treehouse Learning Community in September 2019. 

We are so excited to be going on this grand adventure! Hopefully these blog posts will help you keep up with us. I will also post plenty of photos and updates on social media. This blog should give you more depth about life in Leuven and the many travels we hope to take while we’re living in Europe.

If you haven’t heard about what we’ve been doing, well… that’s because we’ve been so busy doing the things that we haven’t had much time for other things. Belgian immigration is no joke. There are a lot of hoops to jump through! So far:

1. We’ve asked Todd’s parents to take care of our sweet Jackson while we’re gone. Leaving our 11-year-old “baby” behind is definitely the hardest part of this entire process. I met with the vet last week and she assured me that leaving him with people who love him is the right thing to do. 16+ hours of travel, potentially both to move there AND to move back, in addition to quarantines is going to be too much for our little old man.

2. Todd and I have both had medical exams and gotten officially signed documents from our doctors that we’re safe to travel (or allow into Belgium). 

3. We’ve been fingerprinted by Williamson County Sheriff’s Department and submitted those fingerprints to the FBI for background checks. The fun part of this is that the FBI is going to mail us the results of these checks, but we’re not allowed to open the envelopes before submitting to Belgian immigration. I sincerely hope the return address label says “Federal Bureau of Investigation” so we don’t make a mistake.

4. Requested (and, thankfully, received) new copies of both kids’ birth certificates as well as our marriage license. Here’s a fun fact! They needed birth certificates to have been printed within the last five years and the marriage license had to have been printed within the last one year. Huh?

5. Scheduled an appointment with the kids’ pediatrician and a notary to get their official medical approval to move to Belgium. That should happen this afternoon.

6. Met with a moving surveyor to discuss what things we can send in a “small air shipment” in addition to what we can fit in our suitcases. I think we’re going to need bigger suitcases AND those nifty vacuum-sealing bags for our clothes. And possibly a temporary gym membership so we can haul a bunch of stuff through the airport. I’m hoping we can ship most of the homeschool books, however, so we aren’t carrying those.

7. Booked flights for Todd and me to travel to Belgium in early January so we can house-hunt. The kids are going to stay home with Grandma and Grandpa.

8. Discussed travel to about 1,000 different places! On the list of possible options: Poland, Macedonia, Denmark, Ireland, Croatia, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy. Places we’ll definitely go: Bruges (in Belgium), The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and Germany.

9. The kids and I have started Dutch classes through Pimsleur audiobooks. I understand that nearly everyone can speak English, but I’d like to try to learn the language of the place we’ll be living. I am also considering trying to find Flemish (Dutch) classes for us once we’ve moved.

Todd’s in Belgium this week so he could be there for the signing of the documents that will allow us to move. It’s official! The documents have been signed and we will soon be on our way.

A few things are still in the hopper:

1. Figure out who is going to live in the house while we are gone. There are a couple of people who’ve asked us about it. I hope we find the right arrangement. We don’t want to leave the house sitting empty for half of a year.

2. I am making new quilts for both kids so they’ll have them in their new rooms. And I haven’t finished either one. This seemed pretty easy until I realized that I won’t be home for much of the month of January… If you see me on social media in the next few weeks, feel free to remind me of this. LOL!

3. Find out whether Alexa works in Belgium.

4. Setting up new bank accounts, finding jiu jitsu classes for the kids, and learning where eggs and milk are stored in the grocery stores. 🙂 And maybe a few other things…

5. Scheduling our itinerary for your visit to see us.

2 thoughts on “Planning Phase

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