Over a year in spain

I've been neglecting this blog and the 112 people that subscribed for updates 🙁 But life took over and just couldn't bring myself to sit down and write. A lot has happened though:

  • Decided we're going to stay after the 1 year trial
  • Sold our house in Belgium
  • We're getting married
  • Many of you have visited us (22 visits so far)

We have now been in Spain for 16 months and it has been good for us. We've grown closer as a family and enjoyed a more calm and easy life in the mountain village. I've been hiking the mountains, taking cold showers in the village waterfall and taking the kids to swim/paddle/kanoo in the lake.

But as it goes in life, it's not only happiness and sunshine... We too have our ups and downs: Three kids, our jobs and living apart from family and friends can take it's toll. But overall I can say that I'm happier, calmer and feel mentally and physically healthier being here.

How are the kids?

I know many of you have subscribed to the blog to get an update about the kids so here we go:

  • Marcel signed up for basketball and is obsessed. Sinterklaas brought him a basketball ring so he can practice in front of the house. He's also going to guitar classes but doesn't enjoy practicing so it became somewhat of a chore. He loves going to school, made quite some friends and is still his happy self. His strong character is a challenge but we couldn't imagine our lives without our happy clown.
  • Lucie is in between being a child without worries and being a small adolescent. After the trauma with the sheep (she found out the hard way how the farm works) she does not visit the farm as often. Small relational struggles (with her friends) at school but all in all she's doing great. On Friday she is going to Teles classes (translates to 'arial fabrics aerobathics') which is basically acrobatics on a long curtain. ​
  • Robbert is now officially in puberty with all the behavior that comes with it. Still likes to read books, is playing piano daily (yousician) and is doing great at school where he is learning Spanish/Castilliano. I am slowly introducing him to my type of humor (Hans Teeuwen, Het Eiland, In de Gloria) and he's loving it :-)
My father visited us in September 23.
My father visited us in September 23.

After a year we can say that they have adapted the best to the new conditions. They enjoy going to school, laugh/make fun a lot and are learning how to help around the house (as we don't have a washing machine or dryer).

The house

Whenever we can we try to improve the house. I like the Catalan expression 'poc a poc' which is my new motto when it comes to the house renovations

Last summer it was mostly the garden that received most of our attention and we were able to harvest a ton of tomatoes, salad, ​ a truckload of cherries (best I've ever had) and a large variety of herbs and medicinal plants 🌱.

In the kitchen a wood oven made room for a large countertop I tiled myself that now is a multi-functional table for cooking, homework or breakfast. We broke out a small wall to the kitchen to better connect the living room with the kitchen.

The next project is the office area on the top floor. We're waiting for the furniture to arrive so Annelies and I can work from the large office on the top floor with beautiful views. I did speak with her about the rules around interruptions and having calls in a shared office.

The (much smaller) office I'm in now, which also serves as kids dressoir :-)
The (much smaller) office I'm in now, which also serves as kids dressoir :-)

(sold) the house in Belgium

After a lot of thinking and rethinking we finally decided to sell our house in Belgium.

When we decided to move we wanted to keep our options open. Also, because the house still had half of our stuff, we decided not to rent it in the first year.

But after using the house over the summer we figured it was time to make a decision. After long conversations we finally decided it was time to let it go. I guess the main reason was that we didn't see ourselves return to that house (it was too small) but a lot of different factors contributed to the decision. And sometimes we still don't know it was the right choice. Time will tell.

After that decision things happened fast...We managed to find some help to fix the place up (repaint some rooms, fix water damage) and each took turns in travelling to Belgium and packing what was left in the house in over 70 cardboard boxes and made plan how to move the piano to Spain.

At the same time we signed up for an Immoweb account and uploaded our best 15 pictures together with a short summary. The first visitors fell in love with the house and decided to buy it. It felt great handing off the torch to a nice couple who reminded us of our spirit when we first moved to that house.

Few pictures just for my own memories:

Getting married

I always said I never wanted to get married. Looking back I'm not sure about the exact reasons but I convinced myself, and everyone around me, that it would never happen. Since we moved to Spain I noticed I've been thinking about it more often.

So I secretly got a ring and waited for the perfect moment to pop the question. Granted, finding the perfect moment took longer than expected as I had told myself that I wanted the kids to be there when I asked Annelies.

But on a sunny day beginning of August, on our way back to Belgium, I went on my knees and asked her. Being nervous and all I forgot to open the box and show the ring. She said yes. And I believe it's the first time in a long time that the kids were speechless for more than a few minutes.

What's next?

We're visiting Belgium for 10 days during Christmas to catch up with family and do the official part of the marriage. As we now don't have a house we're staying in a rental home ​ ​ close to Brussels (Meise) which is great as we're now closer to her side of the family.

When we're back in Spain I'd like to take it easier for a few weeks and clean the schedule. That time will be spent well on skiing, playing guitar and making bread.