Moving from Belgium to UK with a 3 Week Old Baby

Moving from Belgium to UK with a 3 Week Old Baby

When we decided to increase the number of family members, we underestimated the extra-work that it meant. We knew that our lives were going to change forever and we were also aware that the first months were going to be terrible: the parents and baby have to adapt to a new environment.

A couple of months ago, when Sofia was not here yet, we considered ourselves to be quite dynamic people. Coming from a small Spanish city, we adapted quite well to Brussels. We even ended up liking Brussels. We moved home several times in 3 years: Brussels – Gent – Brussels with limited help so that we could live closer to our work. For these moves, we only “wasted” weekends so that we could use our holidays to visit our friends and family or to travel around Europe. In this case, after Sofia’s birth, I was going to have 4 weeks off so we believed we were going to have plenty of time for the move from Brussels to Oxford and, meanwhile, enjoying our baby. Now that Sofia is already 6 weeks + 3 days and we are more or less settled (although not completely used to the newborn) in Oxford, I can say that we were completely wrong!

During these 4 weeks, we have had to learn how to feed, shower, relieve, entertain, in general, take care of Sofia (still in process though) and to assume and accept new responsibilities. We have had to do a lot of paper work: first I registered Sofia in the Commune of Anderlecht (in Belgium, newborns are registered in the city where the birth hospital is, not in the city where you live). Then, I registered her in the Spanish consulate in Brussels. After that, I had to ask for her passport, otherwise she could not leave Belgium. Having lived for almost 5 years in Belgium, we had accumulated a lot of stuff so we had to either sell it or ship it to Oxford (we found out that shipping boxed to neighboring countries were not that expensive using the Belgian national post service). I also had to go twice to Oxford during these 4 weeks: firstly I went to collect the keys of the new flat, do the inventory check-in, open a bank account to direct debit the basic services (electricity, gas, water, internet) and get a British telephone SIM card and secondly I drove my car with the rest of stuff we could not ship. Luckily my wife’s sisters helped us during the move. Otherwise it would have been impossible! Thanks a lot. And on top of that, thanks to my wife! She is really showing an enormous courage! She is really making the PhD possible!

In the next entry, I will describe how we found the flat in Oxford!