One Year in Our New Home (Part I): How It All Happened

by Michaela

Recently, it has been one year since we left Brussels to settle down in our new home in Belgian Limburg and I think it’s about time I tell you more about it! We now say with gratefulness that this lovely house just found us in the right moment…

It was shortly Adeline’s birth, Steven showed me a beautiful house for sale in the town where he grew up. He told me he had always liked it and what if we’d just visited it. And I thought, well why not? This white house from the 60’s with mansard roof looked beautiful from outside, we could always check it out for some inspiration, right? So we called the agency and asked for an appointment on Friday because we were supposed to go to get Adeline’s Dutch nationality to a village 10 minutes drive from the house. They said there was already somebody else visiting and probably would do an offer so they proposed Monday but only to have a look as probably it might had been sold already.

But it wasn’t… We then arrived especially on Monday just to see it. And we felt in love. Directly after entering. The house was just so special and unique. As were the previous owners with whom we had a very good click and there was just such a nice energy! And already during our first visit, we stood in the garden and seriously discussing what if we would just go for it? 

 

Making the decision to leave Brussels

Before I never thought we would seriously end up being interested in buying it. We both loved living in Brussels, we enjoyed all the cultural activities going on there, meeting people from all over the world. We had our friends in Brussels. I also had my job where I wanted to come back after my maternity leave. When I was pregnant, we still agreed that we couldn’t imagine us living in countryside or in any smaller town for the reasons mentioned above. And definitely not 120 km away from Brussels! 

But then we we became parents. Things we didn’t mind before suddenly put red flags in our head. The noise of cars, sirens in busy streets where we lived, every time when going out or even opening the window. The stinky lifts at metro stations (if there were any). Checking what kind of tram is the line I need to take as the door of older models are not made for prams (nor for fat people). Searching for route B when leaving from doctor with a baby in carrier and figuring out there is a slightly violent demonstration on the main avenue. Several faults in official documents from the townhall (e.g. a wrong nationality etc.).  Dirt and mess in the city center. Bad reviews from Brussels’ non-private creche’s and schools and the need to raise a quadrilingual child. And I could continue further…

Basically the part of Brussels where we lived by then, suddenly didn’t seem anymore as a great place to live with a child. We knew we would need to search for a bigger place somewhere else in/around Brussels which we planned for spring 2020 (thanks God it all went quicker and we were not stuck there still this spring with the corona situation!). After visiting the house, we had some serious discussions and we were also checking for other houses or bigger apartments in/around Brussels before making our decision. But we were disappointed with what we saw as none would fit either our taste or budget. We quickly realized that we could be searching ages for a nice home to buy in Brussels.

The house was in a very good condition and partially ready to move in with bathroom and kitchen ready to use. This was something to be happy for when you have a little baby. Since the beginning, we directly also felt a nice energy with the owners (and we still kept the contact with them). But the breaking point when we realized we should go for it was when we read an article somewhere where they were listing 10 reasons how you know it is THE HOUSE. First thing it was mentioned that you can imagine Christmas there. And really, we both agreed even before reading this that after entering, we could feel Christmas there! 😀

Further everything indicated that the quality of life was much better in Limburg (safety, proximity to grand-parents, beautiful nature, good schools, proximity to big cities such as Maastricht, Eindhoven, Liège, Düsseldorf or Aachen). It was not an easy decision to leave Brussels but we knew that we can go back often to Brussels during the weekends. And so we said YES to our new home in Limburg that took our heart! We signed the official notary documents exactly on the same day when Adeline was 6 months old. 

 

The move and first impressions from living here

And so we moved. It was a big action which wouldn’t go that smooth without the help of Steven’s parents and some good  friends. Surprisingly, we quickly filled the house of the size 3 times bigger than Steven’s apartment and 6 times bigger than my old apartment with all our things or boxes! First two weeks we lived in between boxes with a baby that just started to crawl. Then I felt from the stairs and made some little fractures in my feet which made it impossible for me to stand and walk for weeks. Then we realized how important it is to have at least one grandparents close by who helped us a lot especially during these times…

Somehow a miracle happened and we made it to prepare the house partially to look nice for Christmas (that was also the reason why we wanted to move in still in November to spend our first Christmas at three in our new house). We then lived only in half of the house with living room full of boxes and in need of paint. Therefore, we placed the Christmas tree in the dining room where we had our small Ikea dining table for 4 and a sofa in the meantime. And we managed to do Christmas dinners for both our families and it felt amazing!

Then in spring, the lockdown came and we were really happy that we already lived in a house with a garden instead of being stuck in an apartment in busy part of Brussels! That was just great timing for which we are really grateful. During the first weeks in spring, we were busy with the garden, making it ready for the warm days outside. Summer was also amazing here, we spent so much time on the garden and terrace, having a few friends or family over, which always felt special! We also did some discoveries in the surrounding (have you read about our adventures in Bokrijk or the White town of Thorn yet?).

And how does it feel to live in Limburg? Well, first we noticed the air quality – it’s heaven on Earth compared to Brussels! In terms of nature, we couldn’t be more spoiled than here – my beloved pine tree forests are just a few minutes bike or car ride. There are many wonderful biking paths here and as well in the Netherlands which is just over the river. In the summer, we can enjoy some nice river beaches in the surroundings. What concerns the locals, I can’t say much as during the past 12 months, we didn’t have many occasions to meet many people (first I was stuck at home with my feet, then the covid-19 came) although people who we met shortly, they were welcoming and friendly. But we’ve already met many horses and other animals such as llamas here, which make our walks fun for the little one! 🙂

 

One Year in Our New Home in Pictures

I am already writing a second part where I will tell you about projects we finished during this first year but in the meantime, I share here some snapshots from our first year in our new home – hope you will like them! And if you would like to follow us on our journey of transforming this wonderful house into our home, don’t miss the other part – I will inform you about it on Facebook, Instagram, or you can subscribe to my newsletter in order to get new posts via email.

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