Brussels is NOT Paris

Turns out the job Ms. Chicken has been chasing is in….Brussels.
Now nothing against the fine folks of Brussels but that was, initially, more than a bit disappointing.

I have a habit of eavesdropping on important phone calls and what I heard went something like this: “Oh. The jobs not in Paris? Brussels? Oh, Brussels. Ok well I’m going to have to think about that. Brussels. Hmmm.”

And on the other side of the door I began googling “Brussels with children”.

Paris is sexy. Everyone knows that.
Brussels is… Um. You see, that’s the problem. Aside from beer, frites and chocolates–we knew next to nothing about Brussels.

Less than 24 hours later we’d found out enough to be sold. Turns out Brussels is a mighty fine place for a little lesbian family.

-Second country in the world to legalize gay marriage 10 years ago in 2003
-European Union headquarters means many, many expats from all over the world. This is a city used to dealing with “different” (Paris, for all her charms, does not embrace “different”).
-Housing prices are much cheaper than we could have even imagined. And because of the expat in/out way of life there is a constant surplus to choose from.
-Green. My god it’s green. Forests and parks everywhere.
-French is the dominant language spoken, followed by English and then Flemish. Yes, the ability of being able to conduct at least some of life in English is expat “lite”, I know. But it’s better than than being reduced to tears on a daily basis (like the last time I lives in Paris) because my French sucks.
-FREE preschool! Yes, I’ve been planning on homeschooling here in NYC and road schooling while traveling long term but c’mon this is totally different. They can go to ‘maternelle’ from 8:30am-3:30pm M-F with a half day on Wednesdays. And it’s ALL in French. If we’re going to do it, lets DO IT.

Best of all there is a huge, active expat women’s community that has already welcomed my inquires with welcome arms. You can never underestimate the power of community–especially since we have such a strong one in NYC we will be leaving behind.

The weather is less than spectacular. There will be a lot of rain. Perhaps cold rain. With grey skies. This part sucks and does give me pause. But then I remember how close and easy it is to travel around the region and what an adventure it will be.
I’ll buy a sunlamp, do more yoga, up the antidepressants and embrace the changes.

Hmmm…..Brussels? Didn’t see that one coming.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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  • Reply e July 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    As someone just spent the past two weeks loving Sweden – before going I declared it boring since the last time we went we were sans kids – I will openly admit, sometimes something less exoticism just perfect, and equally “exotic” kid-style. Like Sweden, I’m sure Brussels knows how to entertain the kids – amazing parks, museams, open space and a total-kid friendly culture. We left committed to living abroad before izzy gets to high school!

    It’s gonna be awesome, and the welcoming expat community is critical. My moms best friends are some of the women she met while living in Japan for four years. Can’t wait to follow your progress!

  • Reply Casey from LifewithRoozle.com July 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    This is awesome! I’m so excited to hear more!

  • Reply Anonymous July 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Shit…I’d move there tomorrow. I’m envious. Pack your things and go!

  • Reply Gayby Rabies July 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I guess that’s the difference between a vacation and an adventure- kinda like that game kids play where you spin a globe and put your finger down. So cool that Chicken had the type of job that gives you the opportunity for this, and hopefully many more adventures.

  • Reply Gayby Rabies July 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    *has, not had. those letters are too close together on the keyboard.

  • Reply Katherine July 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I just came upon your blog, but wanted to add that my daughter and son-in-law lived in Brussels for 4.5 years and LOVED IT. Do be sure to join the American Women’s Club. Ask them if they remember sweet Emily Wingfield… good luck

  • Reply Heidi May 28, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Where are you???? Hope everything in Southeast Asia is going well! xxoo

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