-Where were you born?
Just outside London in the UK
-In which country and city are you living now?
Belgium, Arlon (a tiny little place down south on the border to Luxembourg)
-Are you living alone or with your family?
Living with The Boy, a fish and two turtles
-How long have you been living in Belgium?
Too long! Actually only about six months (in Arlon); previous to that we were in Brussels.
-What is your age?
Just about clinging on to my twenties, very very tightly.
-When did you come up with the idea of living in Belgium?
Good question! We were living in London watching everyone we knew settle and get married so thought it was about time to get the hell out before hitting the big 3-0. Belgium wasn't quite what we had in mind, but The Boy got offered a job here, so here we are.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?
Not as a Brit, finding work is the challenge.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
That came with The Boy's work, luckily for us.
-How do you make your living in Belgium? Do you have any type of income generated?
Getting work in Brussels was easy, everyone speaks English so working in it is easy. Xpats.com always has the international jobs advertised.
Trying to get work in French with limited language skills is of course a challenge that I have yet to overcome. In the meantime people are always after English teachers/speakers to practice with.
-Do you speak the local language and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
I speak bad French! I have been learning and learning but not improving a huge deal! Turns out I'm just a rubbish student!
Being in Arlon helps though, as they only speak French. Practicing in Brussels was almost impossible - everyone spoke fluent English!
-Do you miss home and family sometimes?
Of course, but with the wonders of Skype, the web and bi-monthly food shopping trips (they have no spice here) it's not too challenging!
-Do you have other plans for the future?
Oh yes, to travel the world on bike before deciding which country to become an expat in next - I'm thinking next time possibly somewhere it doesn't rain 24/7!
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
We looked at buying, and very almost did, but thank goodness we didn't. The market is not what it is in the UK - we'd have been in well over our heads, and stuck here! We rent a lovely little flat now at the same price as we were paying in London.
-What is the cost of living in Belgium?
Food shopping is surprisingly expensive, they don't do bargains or value like the UK, and the clothes shops leave a lot to be desired.
-What do you think about the Belgians?
I was told Belgians were unfriendly, but I have only had positive experiences with lovely people, but you have to be ready to put in the effort to find ways to get chatting.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Belgium?
Positives: It's great for cycling, beer, and just being out of your comfort zone.
Negatives: The cuisine is basically a bad attempt at French food, takeaways are practically unheard of and they still smoke in pubs.
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Belgium?
Learn French and/or Flemish (depending on which half you intend to live in).
Stay away from the expat communities or you'll never get involved in the real Belgian lifestyle.
Explore everything and everywhere.
And lastly join as much as possible - making friends isn't easy, but worth it in the end.
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about Belgium?
My lovely blog of course:
But for jobs, etc., go to www.xpats.com, they have info on practically everything.