We are 3 weeks into our Belgian adventure and we find ourselves still homeless and carless. ‘livin on love’ or some nonsensical saying would be appropriate here, but really, ‘livin on grace’ is more fitting. This is far from the ideal I had put together in my ‘in a perfect world, this is what my move to Belgium will look like’, but despite the night and day difference, (so far) we have had the grace to deal with it, well…gracefully.
The 9th hour team has been fantastic in their attempt to make our landing a soft and easy one. If it weren’t for them, I think I would have curled up in a ball in the corner and cried my eyes out a mere five days into it. 9th hour speaks English. 9th hour gives hugs. 9th hour doesn’t care if my 1 yr old just sits on the floor and cries non stop. 9th hour shares their pizza with me, even if I haven’t pitched in euros.
We found temporary housing in the form of two bedrooms at the house next door and negotiated a respectable ‘rent’ for the month of December. It’s okay, but still living out of suitcases, we’ve gone from being very selective in our hunt for a house to “if it’s got a roof and four walls I’ll take it.” Tonight we have arranged to go look at a couple apartments near the train station in the neighboring town called Braine l’Alleud (“brin luh loo” for you people, like me, who can’t read or speak French yet). we have high hopes that at least one of the apartments will work for us and we can sign a contract.
In Belgium, the typical lease agreement is 9 years. Nine. Years. (gasp!) and you have to put down a hefty deposit. You can break that contract, but if you do within the first three years, you lose your deposit. Securing a home is not for the faint of heart.