Breathing in some new air

I have had a very productive week in Brussels, and am quite proud of myself for all I've managed to accomplish in such a short time. I signed a rental contract yesterday for a lovely old 4 bedroom house in a wonderful neighborhood; found a really nice little pre-school nearby for my youngest son Ben; visited the international school where my older boys will go and finalized their enrollment; caught up with a few old friends, and have eaten some wonderful food.

I feel lighter than I have felt in years. Yes, it is definitely time to breathe in some new air. The perspective on the past 10 years that I feel returning in just this one week of focus on forward looking change is reassuring. Opportunities for living life to it's fullest again seem to drip from the trees... I am excited to experience spring again, to dust off my foreign language skills, and to enjoy the cultural ambience that Europe's capital has to offer.

Just after the new year, I wrote out some goals for the next stage of my life’s impact in the world, in terms of lifestyle, work and education. On the lifestyle front, I was hoping to reduce my family’s carbon footprint, buy more often from local farmers and family owned small businesses, and grow my own vegetables. The neighborhood we will be moving to just over one month from now is perfect for all of that.

Public transport is literally right outside our door (I do not plan to own a car in Brussels), the neighborhood is known for being particularly "green" - there is a farmer's market once a week, and even a possibility to buy weekly from a local farmer's coop. We will have a small garden where I can grow some veggies and flowers. The small neighborhood center has several small organic food shops and restaurants with food from all over the world. There are public parks and playgrounds for the kids within a 5 minute walk, and nice possibilities for biking.

Tomorrow I will visit a university to inquire about possibilities for pursuing a PhD. My new landlord has an interest in development and has offered to introduce me professionally to some of his circles. Some old friends have also been making suggestions about people who might be interested in my professional abilities... I am not in a hurry for any of that, but plan to spend the first few months being there for the kids as much as I can to help ease their transition. It is nice to know, nonetheless, that there are some ready avenues to explore once I am ready to think seriously about working again.

Yes, life back in Europe will be good for a while. It's becoming real, and I am really, really pleased.

Also wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you who left comments on my last (very depressing) post. Your thoughts and prayers have been very much appreciated and seem to have been most effective.

Back to Uganda day after tomorrow to begin packing in earnest... we're scheduled to fly out as a family on April 13. Can't wait!