This Global Home | Day 27: Belgium


Hi! I’m Danielle. Welcome to my home in Belgium.  Even now, after 16 months, that sounds so unreal to me.  I grew up in Florida and planned on living my entire life there, but God had other plans, better plans.  While at the University of Florida I met and fell in love with Joe, an officer in the US Army. Eight moves, three kids (2 boys and a girl), and 13 years later God, through the U.S. Army, sent us to Belgium. So let’s go on a tour of my home.

Here’s our home.  Notice the steep driveway down to the garage.  Our garage is under the house and along with a basement provide some great space for our kids to play on the many rainy days we have here in Belgium.We were excited about our big open family room, but when our furniture arrived we quickly realized it was difficult to find a good layout.  With glass doors at either end, a fireplace (that doesn’t really warm the house), a window with a radiator beneath it (which can’t be blocked because it does warm the house), and a lack of walls this long room was a challenge.  Separating the room into two rooms, with a couch as a divider, has worked really well for us. Since I homeschool our children, it was important to me to have a designated space for all of our materials and a table at which to work.  It has been nice to have it attached to the family room because we also spend a lot of time reading together on the couch.This room is our guest room but it serves a dual purpose.  When we don’t have guests, it is a quiet space where our kids can complete independent work.  It isn’t well decorated, but it has been very functional, and we are so thankful to have a place for family and friends to stay when they come to visit.  This room, strangely, came with its own whiteboard glued to the wall.  Since we couldn’t move it, we decided to make use of it by displaying our travel magnets.We use this bedroom as a playroom for our kids.  As an Army family we move every two to three years so our furniture is bound to get damaged sometime, and during this move two of our bookshelves were damaged beyond repair.  Thankfully, this room came with built-in shelves, so we didn’t need to replace the ones we lost, and we still have space for the kids’ games.I am so grateful for our master bathroom.  When looking at houses to rent here in Belgium, we quickly realized that finding a home with more than one bathroom would be a challenge.  Our home has two and a half baths or as they say here, three toilets, one bath, and one shower.  We have a half bath and a master bath downstairs, which is strange since our master bedroom is upstairs, but I am still very thankful.  In an effort to lighten up the brown tile walls and provide some storage we added some white shelves and an above the toilet cabinet.The blue cabinets in the kitchen were a bit overwhelming at first, but I am so thankful for the storage space they provide.  Do you see the white thing in the picture?  I am usually asked about it.  It is our dishwasher.  Now the placement is not ideal, being so far from the sink, but I am still glad we have one.  We also have an American size refrigerator, which is quite a rare find here.Our dining room is pretty open to the rest of the house.  You may have noticed our European Map placemats. As we live and travel around Europe we enjoy using the maps to learn the geography, reminisce about previous trips, and plan future ones.Before I take you upstairs I’d like to show you our backyard.  It is overgrown and I love it because it reminds me of the Secret Garden. I love when I am cooking dinner to look out the window and see my kids coming up with all sorts of creative games usually involving sticks and crab apples. As it just so happens our landlord hired a company to trim the bushes the day after I took this picture. The kids love it because they have more space to play, but I miss that feeling of the Secret Garden.Upstairs we have 3 bedrooms and a bathroom, which is split into two rooms, one that has a toilet and a small sink and one that has a shower and large sink.  We also have two attic spaces, one is large enough to hold the kids’ wardrobes and the other has a pole running the length of it that we use as our closet.  This is really helpful because without wardrobes in our bedroom we have enough space for our king size bed.I love Isabelle’s room, partly because I love purple, but mostly for sentimental reasons.  My mom made curtains and a pillow sham for her room from a material that was used in my childhood room. Having a piece of my first home here makes Florida, and my family that lives there, feel closer than an ocean apart.Joseph and Zachary share a room and we found a way to bring a little bit of Florida into their room, too. Go Gators! Their room, like all of our bedrooms, has a radiator under the window.  While this is supposed to make heating the room more effective, it makes hanging curtains more difficult. If the curtains hang down over the radiator then they block the heat so the natural solution is to shorten the curtains.  Since we are an Army family and know that we will only live here for 2 years, I had to get creative and find a temporary solution so most of the curtains are shorten by tape and paper clips.  Isabelle’s curtains were a little tricky and they are tacked up with a few stitches.As you leave our home this is the view you would see.  We love to look out at this old church.  I know it is just a building, but seeing it reminds me that no matter where we live God not only sends us there - He goes with us.       
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