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You say apartment, I say flat.

Posted on: Tuesday, 12 June 2012

I did a whole post on a selection of my instagram photos from Brussels (I did, I really did) and I didn't include this bad boy - one which sums up Brussels - the beer, the bread and the honey-coloured slightly holiday-y feel of it all. Ahh.

3rd August, here we come. Moving Day. The Eurostar is leaving, baby, and I'm booked on board. This is REALLY happening (see? I said it again!)

So, how does one go about moving to another country? Problem is, I don't really know. I went to a bank and opened a bank account (or an account de BONK which, in heavily-accented French, I personally thought was hilarious but my sister thought was, well, a bit juvenile) while I was over there. That was a step towards becoming a legitimate citizen, I felt. Go me! Although our lack of French (our or reluctance to speak really shite, half-remembered GCSE French) is still seriously letting us down.

We entered the ING bank (bonk) and the fella behind the counter, glasses balanced on the end of his nose, looked up, clearly disgusted by our Englishness.

"Err, we've an appointment to open a bank account," said Adam. He's marginally less embarrassed about speaking in English to French-speaking Belgians than I am. There's not much in it, mind.

He sighed. Theatrically. A full five seconds elapsed before he lowered himself to respond. With no words, but a dismissive wave towards our (much friendlier) advisor-blokey.

Intensive French course, here we come.

So we have a bank account. I have sussed out the tramline to school. We spent what felt like five hours in a Belgian Habitat buying a bed. Like any another self-respecting Brussels-based ex-pat, I have a folding bike. We've sorted out some (very nice) tenants to pay us rent in the UK (thank Christ). We need to go to the local commune (some sort of local council-type office from what I hear - not the cult-like organisation it seems to suggest) and apply for our ID cards (ID cards - remember those? Gordon Brown was sweet on them once upon a time - for ID-card-related funnies, click here) and there's the small matter of packing up all of our earthly possessions, putting them into a big van which in turn will shunt them into a mahoosive container and pop them on a boat. And we need to make sure Bedders is on the other side to greet it.

And then we need to get them into our new 'apartment'. I've resisted saying 'apartment' as I think it sounds a bit wanky alongside 'flat', but maybe I just need to lose that paranoia, yeah? Because it IS an apartment. And it looks like this.

 It's a bit grey and drizzly (that's because it WAS grey and drizzly), but it's purdy, no? It's the first floor. That bay window you can see is a bedroom. Then working to the right the next window is the kitchen. The next two windows along belong to the dining room, but it's all an open-plan kitchen/diner anyway. Then if you had your back to the dining room windows, you could walk towards the back of the house into the living room and the French windows and the roof terrace. Yah-huh. And the rest of the apartment weaves back from the front bedroom - there's a bathroom, a separate loo, a laundry room and another bedroom. And I love it. And Bedders did very well not to have a mental breakdown finding it after viewing 573 apartments*. Bravo, husband.

*slight exaggeration


  1. Exciting! The "apartment" looks amazing! Much better than our pokey wee ground floor, pebble-dashed flat. It all sounds pretty daunting, the whole moving abroad thing, but I bet it will be an amazing adventure!

    1. Eeek! I hope so! Cross everything....x

  2. Wow! So exciting, can't wait to see pictures of the interior - the 'apartment' sounds amazing!


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