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Calling Scaryteacher , can I bend your ear please?

(47 Posts)
flossie64 Sun 31-May-09 16:13:12

Sorry to bother you ,but could you give me any info on Brussels , Dh has been asked by the poster if he would take a job there, it starts in March 2010. I am right in thinking you live out there?
Anything ewould be useful, its a NATO job of some sort. TIA

flossie64 Mon 01-Jun-09 18:37:04


Scootergrrrl Tue 02-Jun-09 12:16:02

Bump for you.
We have friends who have moved with Nato and it's worth finding out before you go exactly what the housing situation is. Two of them had to find their own house and then pay for a kitchen and so on so it proved quite expensive. Hope that's of some (limited) help!

flossie64 Tue 02-Jun-09 21:50:04

Thanks for that Scooter, I would definately not be wanting to do that, if it entails all that kind of thing. I wouldn't know where to start getting a house to live in from another country.

scaryteacher Wed 03-Jun-09 08:05:56

Sorry, been marking GCSEs, so hadn't looked at MN recently.

If you are coming out here with the Armed Forces, a house will be found for you. There is a great team at NATO (UKSU) who sort all that out for you. You will also be allocated a sponsor who will contact you and give you all the low down on what things are like; where to go for insurance, bringing cars out etc. School fees (day) are all picked up if your kids go to school here (mine goes to BSB) and the MOD also pick up the extortionate school bus fees. Health care is through SHAPE, and the GPs and the dentist come up to Brussels regularly, so we don't have to trek to Mons. As to housing, it isn't on a patch, as there isn't one; we are all scattered about; but the houses I have seen so far have been fine. I don't like the kitchen here, but I was spoiled in having a massive kitchen in Cornwall, so this was a shock, but I get by!

Life is great here, DH (who is RN) had a NATO posting for 3 years, and is now at the EUMS until next autumn. We want another appointment here as we really enjoy it.

There is a lot of support if you want it, but I'm involved at things at the school so I tend to make my friends through there. I'm not a huge fan of BSB at all academically (imo they are a comp by any other name), but socially, there is a contacts group who run trips and do get togethers for people to get settled. They run a range of courses from Yoga to cake decorating and various trips to places like a Sap and a holocaust museum, so a wide variety.

Language is not a problem. I live in a Flemish speaking area, so have done two years Flemish classes through the commune/gemeente; but it might be worth learning French depending where you are going to live. Classes are cheap and quite fun. Most people speak English, which is great, but not when you've spoken to them in Flemish!!!!!

Food is good - supermarkets are OK, and there is a shop called Stonemanor which sells all things British, including Hovis, real tea, and proper clotted cream. However, the bakers and patisserie are superb here, so I don't buy UK bread, as it is so good locally. The beer and chocolate are also fab.

Clothes and shoes are expensive here, so I tend to hit Tesco for ds when home, and the shoe shops as well. Luckily Boden delivers BFPO (the only thing that goes round ds at the moment - he is 13 and fits into a small mans size here; they cut for much slimmer teenagers here than mine), so I buy what I know will fit!

Amazon and various other companies also deliver BFPO, so there is normally no hassle in getting things, and we have satellite TV which gives us all the UK channels we want and radio, (including BBC Southwest) so you can keep up with what is going on back home.

I had to be prised out of Cornwall to move here, as I had a good job and our own place and I was loathe to move. However, I love it and am really enjoying my time here. Like any place that isn't 'home' there are bits that drive me scatty (shops shut on Sundays; shops and banks closing at lunchtime where I live), but that will always be the case. The nice thing about Brussels is that it is foreign, but not overly so, iyswim.

Tell your dh to take the job; my dh found NATO varied and interesting, as he does the EUMS, and he wants to go back to NATO for his final job in the RN.

I'll keep an eye on here, so any thing else, however daft you may think it is, please ask. No question is daft, especially if it's worrying you.

Scootergrrrl Wed 03-Jun-09 17:37:46

Sorry - I should have put in that my friends had Nato jobs but weren't forces (a techie and a teacher working with Nato). We're in Germany with the army and I can second all the good stuff that Scaryteacher says about living out here - and all the bad stuff about random bank holidays and no Sunday shopping grin

flossie64 Wed 03-Jun-09 20:41:56

Thank scary- funnily enough we were in Cornwall last week on holiday. We stayed in Tregurrian(Watergate Bay).
My Dh was down at culdrose on exchange from the RAF 94-97, on 820sqdn.
He has not been able to speak with the poster again as he is(poster) now on leave until 9th June.
I am not too bothered about being on a patch as we have always lived in our own house and tend to mix more with people who are not in the forces really.
I'm not sure how my DD would fit in with the kind of school you talk about as she is 6, and de to go into year 2 from September. Do they go to the same school straight through or are there primary and secondary schools?
The jobs my Dh found on the web are mostly based at Casteau(sp?) about 30 miles from Brussels itself , does that ring any bells with you? TIA

scaryteacher Wed 03-Jun-09 21:19:43

The options for school here are varied, but if you want a British curriculum then the choice seems to be the British school of Brussels (BSB), which is where my son goes. It takes them from reception right through to Year 13. I think there may also be a British Primary, but I am not sure. Google it and see. Fees are astronomical at BSB, but the MoD picks up the lot.

As you can tell from my moniker, I'm a teacher, and I have been distinctly underwhelmed by the school, as I think they are quite lazy and complacent in secondary (they were in primary, but that seems to have changed) but, so saying, many people are very happy with it. I moved my lad from an excellent prep in Tavistock, where he was doing work in Year 5 that I was setting my year 8s; to BSB where he is bored. However, he does not want to board, and I am loathe to force the issue, so he goes there, and I give him extension work at home, and ride him unmercifully about his grades. There is a shit hot new principal there who seems to be shaking things up, so hopefully change will happen rapidly.

The school has a pleasant atmosphere; no uniform; and the teachers are addressed by their first names. Some of the kids can be snotty, but you find that anywhere. Good social mix, but selective by parents company ability to pay in most cases. Can be cliquey, but I ignore it.

Casteau rings no bells; dh had a job at NATO HQ from 03-07 and from 07-10 is at the EU. Hus last job will run from 10- Jan 14 as they make his rank retire at 53. I think it works differently for NATO, they have CAPPS which any service can fill, so they may not be on the web. I've never seen any military NATO jobs advertised online.

Come out - you'll love it!

flossie64 Thu 04-Jun-09 20:15:54

Thanks again- Scary.
I will show my Dh this and post when he speaks again to the poster.
By the web I really meant the Raf intranet system ,which supposedly lists all the jobs available for his rankhmm. as you can tell I really trust that it is accurate grin. also I tend to think they only call to tell you about jobs that are either total crap rubbish or nobody wants!

flossie64 Thu 04-Jun-09 20:17:48

God sorry ,you being a teacher and i stared sentences without CAPITALS blush I'm not thick reallysmile

flossie64 Thu 04-Jun-09 20:18:46

Can't type though, can you tell?

scaryteacher Thu 04-Jun-09 20:49:18

Different from the RN then....dh goes to talk the Appointer armed with a list of jobs that he has researched and wants; they discuss it, and he normally gets exactly what he wants or near offer.

The process gets underway in July for us, way in advance of out supposed leaving date from Brussels; but ds goes into year 10 in September 10 so I need to know now what is happening in order to sort out schooling for him in UK is necessary. I am not having his GCSEs screwed up because of the RN.

Life here is really good...getting home is easy, flying, ferry from Dunkirk or Calais, Eurotunnel from Calais or Eurostar from Gare de Midi here to London. It takes us a while as Cornwall is a fair drive down from Dover, but lots of people go back regularly from here; or pop to Ashford for a day shopping in Tesco.

Good luck...will keep checking on here.

goinggetstough Fri 05-Jun-09 12:11:51

Casteau is a small town next to SHAPE (Supreme HQ Allied Powers Europe) in Mons. You are either posted to NATO HQ, EUMS etc in Brussels itself and are housed there in a hiring or posted to SHAPE where there are quarters patches, a SCE primary school, (secondary school children weekly board at Windsor School at JHQ Rheindahlen).
We have been posted to both locations and have enjoyed both postings.

flossie64 Fri 05-Jun-09 13:27:37

goinggetstough- thanks for that any info is gratefully received. What does SCE stand for please?
I hate these forces TLA's as I never understand them, maybe I've not been using them long enough, I've only been with DH 11yrsgrin

goinggetstough Fri 05-Jun-09 16:51:12

SCE means Service Children's Education - ie it is a military school and a good one too!

scaryteacher Sat 06-Jun-09 12:12:52

I understood that Windsor school will soon be closing when Rheindalen does, or so the whispers say in Brussels.

flossie64 Sun 07-Jun-09 14:06:36

All very useful info, thanks ladies.
I will post again after Dh talks with the poster.
It does sound a good post for me at leastwink, that surely means we will end up somewhere completely differenthmm

frAKKINPannikin Fri 12-Jun-09 10:06:36

I don't know whether they'll pick up the tab for ISB (or indeed whether you're vehemently opposed to the Int. School System) but ISB's primary section is very VERY good and my ex-charge who went there loved it.

Personally I'm a massive fan of the IS system but it's not for everyone - depends how long you'll be out there and what your eduation options are in the UK,m but if your DD is 6 and you're there for 3 years then the IS system won't hurt at all. It would be more complex if she were secondary age and you were definitely moving back I think.

flossie64 Fri 12-Jun-09 11:38:37

Well the poster is back, he has read my DH email about the jobs available, but no reply as yet.
I asked my Dh to phone his office or pay him a little visit , to ffind out some more info. What did he say? I don't want to hasssle him as I might end up with a (insert the word of your choice)rubbish appoinment.hmm I think if you don't ask, all the good jobs are hidden away and you end up with the crap!
My Dh is definately too soft, I love him to bits, but he needs a boot up the rear end sometimes. So laid back he's prone comes to mind.grin

scaryteacher Fri 12-Jun-09 18:13:23

They'll pick up the tab for ISB I think, or St Johns down at Waterloo, but you have to look at where the school buses run to. If you get NATO or EUMS, then if you can a hiring in Tervuren, Overijse, Duisberg, Vossem or Moorsel then you are making life far easier for yourself for school if your dd goes to BSB.

There are Brownies and Rainbows there I think, and there is also a gymnastics club; and the BSB Dolphins run swimming lessons in the pool in Evere.

I am stuck with BSB as we are not sure when we go back, and ds needs to go back to the UK system, as he will be straight into Year 10 when we return. If the appointer had been able to say that we would be here until ds had finished his secondary schooling at 16, I might have chosen differently.

Anyway, get your dh to ask the poster what he had in ind when he mentioned Brussels, and see what he says. We work on the 'don't ask, don't get' principle, and the Appointer is also called a 'career manager', so make this poster manage your dh's career. It's what he is paid for. (Can't you tell that my dh only has one more appointment before he retires! They make Cdrs go at 53 in the RN).

flossie64 Fri 12-Jun-09 18:52:08

Dh rang the poster, but his phone was not answered ,no out of office message on so I will badger persuede him to try again on Monday.I almost wish I had his number as I would be tempted to ring myself.
My Dh is a W Cdr but, he is in until 55, too old now to take his 44 option.
It would be a bad move in this economic climate anyway,loads of people who PVR'ed are now withdrawing it or even signing back up again.

flossie64 Fri 12-Jun-09 18:52:15

Dh rang the poster, but his phone was not answered ,no out of office message on so I will badger persuede him to try again on Monday.I almost wish I had his number as I would be tempted to ring myself.
My Dh is a W Cdr but, he is in until 55, too old now to take his 44 option.
It would be a bad move in this economic climate anyway,loads of people who PVR'ed are now withdrawing it or even signing back up again.

scaryteacher Sat 13-Jun-09 17:19:09

That's why we want to stay out here as there is more likelihood of bagging a civilian job at NATO from being here. That takes care then of post retirement; two terms of A level funding, and then paying for Uni. Promotion would be nice, and so would an extension. They do have trouble getting Brits out here; someone my dh worked with had retired from the RN, but was on the reserve list, got pulled out of retirement and sent to work here.

Next door to me here is an ex Group Captain who got a civvy job, and one of my friends husband was too, and he is also in a civilian NATO job.

It's a good lifestyle here, and the choices in Brussels are either EUMS, NATO, UKMILREP or UKREP (EU), so there are jobs available, and as I said CAPPS, that any service can be appointed to.

I offered to go and see the appointer with dh in July, but he declined. I think he's afraid I might bite him if he says we have to go back to UK!

flossie64 Tue 16-Jun-09 14:19:55

Totally fed up nowsad . My Dh finally got hold of the poster to be told the job is no longer an option as the guy in post is extending for 1yr. And to top it all , the other posts he had found are not for his branch . Poster then told him not to worry he would get back to him in the next few MONTHS. I feel like screaming . Dh now looking at mq's where he is at the moment now as I will not live on my own any longer.I have done it long enough. I just know if we get a MQ ,he will be posted straight away , sods law isn't it .
My mantra is "keep smiling" or should be swearing grin

frAKKINPannikin Tue 16-Jun-09 19:49:50

scaryteacher - why do they have trouble with Brits? And would they have issues with not-born-British Brits? And is it specifically British forces personnel that they want?

(Currently French Navy, thinking about options for coming out, marrying me shortly and plans to pick up citizenship on the way)

Am wondering about possibilities of civilian jobs in Brussels for him.

Sorry for hijack!

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