We're an easy going Flemish-American family living in a self-built wooden house on a quarter hectare of land. We have a small family business organizing scything and (green and dry) woodworking workshops. Peter works mostly from home for the business and Christina helps him and also works full-time for the Belgian Railroad.
We're involved in volunteering and social and transition initiatives in our region.
We try to live relatively simply: for example we usually eat mostly local-organic-non-industrial, we don't like plastic so generally avoid it and have mostly wooden and metal utensils and tools, we avoid electrical gadgets and generally try to use manual ones instead, we recuperate and fix things a lot, we try to limit the use of the car by hitchhiking and not being too persnickety if we're low on this or that, we have an all-purpose Rayburn wood stove for cooking and baking and heating water (which requires a little getting used to) in conjunction with our solar water-heater and radiators, we use only a compost toilet, we don't use a fridge (just our cool cellar), we do our dishes by hand (a lovely meditative activity for those who can appreciate it ;) ). At the same time, everything is relative: we have a quite comfortable and cozy (albeit it unfinished!) house with a washing machine, a shower and bathtub, as well as internet access, and a car. Oh the contrasts of neo-rurals!
It's rather safe to assume there's some inspiration from all the Flintstones we both watched as children. :D
We unschooled our children, who are now grown (92, 95, 99: that's when they were born of course, not their ages!) and (in and) out of the house!
Extra note: we are not religious in any way, so visitors who enjoy discussing their spiritual beliefs will not really find that satisfaction here. We're rather down-to-Earth, but we do enjoy discussing ethics, philosophy, social issues, psychology, as well as many other subjects, whether ideological, practical... We're also fun-loving and easy going and fair give-and-take works well with us. ;)
If you're interested, we'd love to hear from you!
Christina, from California, and Peter, from Antwerp, and on-and-off:
- Cole, a deep dude born in 92, who loves philosophy and questioning pretty much everything
- Michelle, a wise and insightful young lady born in 95, who is very creative and loves making things and playing music, and her guy Inyan
- Emile, a quiet, analytical and groovy dude born in 99, who plays his guitar and writes music as much as he finds time to, and studies at a jazz school in Antwerp
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Opportunities to practice French, English or Dutch, and to learn a little about scything, woodworking, gardening, and various other things like making washing liquid with Marseille soap and living without lots of gadgets (which can be somewhat exotic if you're used to lots of modern conveniences!).
In exchange for food and stay, we ask for approximately 25 hours a week and we are totally flexible about the distribution of the hours, as long as you are ok with either working with us if needed, or alone if we're unavailable to work with you. We can always use help keeping up with everyday household chores (cooking, tidying up, light cleaning, etc.), as well as general maintenance of the house and the garden depending on the season (tidying up, trimming, organic gardening, etc.). Between the end of October and early March, depending on the weather, it's cold here and most of the work is cooking, dishes and cleaning. We always have a running list of jobs that need to be done beyond basic daily chores and Workawayers can choose what they feel most like doing. We feel it's important that people spend their time doing things they enjoy. :)
There is no minimum stay and we can only guarantee a stay of a few days (starting with a 4-day maximum test period) at a time depending on our current situation and activities, so it's best to have a possible alternate plan. If however we need lots of help in a given period, the stay could possibly be extended up to several weeks. Also, once you're here, if for whatever reason you choose to leave early, that's also fine. We like people to feel at home and relaxed with us. :)
Please indicate you've read our entire profile in your message! :)
We are not offended by last-minute cancellations, as long as you let us know. :)
Also, we take the time to answer all requests (sometimes with some delay if we're very busy). Please be so kind as to follow up on our answer so we are not left in suspense and can organize ourselves accordingly.
French, English and Dutch
Depending on which of our children are home, there could be:
- one room with a twin bed
- one room with a double bed
- tents for those who like sleeping outside and hearing the birds and the breeze (and the bees!) in the trees, and waking up with the sun
- plenty of floor space if there are more people than there is bed space
Aside from some modern houses right around us ;) , we live in a nice region with meadows and woods and there are lots of nice hiking trails within walking distance and in the area in general.
The train station is 6 km away, we have a car, and hitchhiking works. It doesn't take very long to get to cities by train (<1 hour to Liège, just over 2 hours to Brussels, a bit more to Antwerp or Ghent and around 3 hours to the North Sea coast). Tip for taking the train cheaply in Belgium if you're under 26: get a GoPass 1 and for only 6.20€, you have a one-way ticket anywhere in the country! If you're 26 or over, we can advise you depending on your train travel plans within the country.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Approximately 25 hours a week (we are totally flexible about the distribution of the hours), in line with Workaway guidelines: see Information for Hosts