Quarterly Newsletter - Spring 2018
Summary of the Newsletter
Military Family Services Europe
European Advisory Committee - We are your Voice to MFS(E)
New Members Wanted
Your 2018 Military Family Services Europe Team

Transitioning back to Canada
Road to Mental Readiness App
Respect in the Canadian Armed Forces App
Need to talk to Someone?

Family Information Line
Ongoing Emotional Support

Children's Education Management

Personnel Support Program (PSP)
PSP Chalet Program
European Fund Academic Program
Hospital Comforts
Deployment Support

Employment Programs
Adult Employability Program
Youth Employment Preparation Program

Virtual Programs
Online Contests & Competitions
Child & Youth Programs
Kid's Craft
Reverse Culture Shock in Children
Returning to Canada

My OUTCAN Experience

Moving to Belgium? Top ten tips

Belgium with Kids

From Military Teacher and Spouse to Military Mom: Preparing our children for a Military Move
French Kid's Club

United Kingdom & Remote Postings
Volunteer Appreciation Event

Employment Opportunities
Staying connected
Military Families Weekly
For the latest news and updates, check out the Military Family Services Europe  Facebook page or view one of our many information briefs on YouTube
We are your voice to the MFS(E)
The last few months have been busy for the Advisory Committee and hopefully you have had contact with one of the Committee members during this period. As you may have heard, the Advisory Committee members have been hosting Community Forums in person or virtually throughout Europe to seek your feedback on what your expectations and concerns were before being posted to Europe, which MFS(E) services you have accessed, what your challenges have been and what MFS(E) can do to better meet your needs.

There are still a couple more Community Forum engagements to occur and all the valuable information you provided will be used to strengthen our Action Plan for this year and improve the services overall.
One point that we really want to emphasize is that the MFS(E) programs exist to serve all members – those posted here on their own or with a spouse, those with children accompanying them during the posting, with children back in Canada or without children. In fact, our Advisory Committee is representative of a wide variety of the different family configurations that are in our community so hopefully we are representing your views. We know the word family can sometimes discourage people from participating in our activities, but we really want everyone to feel welcome and if you would ever like to chat about the approach for specific events or have questions, we encourage you to reach out to any of us.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish the very best to those of you preparing moves to Europe or returning back home to Canada. To the families continuing their European adventures a while longer, we hope you continue to enjoy the experiences that come with your OUTCAN posting.
Lastly, we have some Advisory Committee members departing this posting season. We’d encourage you to speak with a current Advisory Committee member or the MFS(E) Senior Manager, Sue Goddard , to learn more about the role.

Alice Prince is the Advisory Committee representative for Canadian Defence Attaché Office/ Military Police Security Service and Anya Lisowski is the Advisory Committee representative for the United Kingdom .
Your 2018 Military Family Services Team
Military Family Services Team Symposium, March 2018 (Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Transitioning Back to Canada
By Pam Holtz , Family Separation and Reunion Coordinator
This summer, many of us will end our OUTCAN experience and make the move back to Canada. Many would think that moving “home” is easy, definitely easier than going OUTCAN, right? But returning to Canada comes with struggles and stresses. Knowing ahead of time what the possible friction points will be can help with this transition.
What does home mean? We all have a different definition of home. But ultimately it’s where we feel comfortable, relaxed and we can trust our instincts. When most of us think of as “home,” it comes down to three things – familiar places, familiar people and familiar routines. A big move disrupts all of those and it takes time until the places, people and routines around us feel familiar.
What can you do to minimize the stress of returning home?

  • Orchestrate a smooth departure. Say your goodbyes, check off the last few things on your bucket list. Plan. Make lists!
  • Think about re-entry while you’re still here. What are your expectations? How do you think it’s going to go? Are you the same person you were when you moved here?
  • Expect a period of readjustment! You expected moving to Europe would be hard (and it probably was). Moving back to Canada will be hard too. It’s normal to find a big move like this difficult – relax, it’s not you!
  • Give yourself time to adjust. Be patient with yourself and your family.
  • Remind yourself – you’ve been through big changes before. You have the skills to manage this!

While you’re organizing and preparing for HHT, working on your inventory, and trying to figure out what school the kids will go to, don’t forget to take time to prepare for the “reverse culture shock” of moving back to Canada. Many returning Canadians don’t expect re-entry to be difficult. Forewarned is forearmed – it won’t eliminate the stress, but being prepared for it will help you manage it.

Some resources:

“The Art of Coming Home,” by Craig Storti. A helpful book about the challenges of the re-entry process. Available in the MFS Centres, or you can buy on Kindle.

“Transitioning Back to Canada” virtual session recording. If you missed this session, it was recorded in both French and English. If you need the link contact Pam Holtz, FS&R Coordinator.

To enhance the in-class training of the mental health training and education program, Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR), the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) launched the R2MR mobile app. 
The app is designed for CAF members and their families to apply the skills attained from the program in relevant, real-life situations. For more information on the app, please click here .

The mobile app contains seven modules that include continuum, tactical breathing, self-talk, goal setting, visualization, attention control and memory and is available free-of-charge for Android and iOS
Respect in the Canadian Armed Forces mobile app!

 The app is interactive and provides support and guidance if you are a victim of sexual misconduct, a bystander, or someone in a position of leadership or the chain of command. It is a free download from your mobile device’s app store – Android, iOS or BlackBerry.
The bilingual Respect in the CAF app includes downloadable tools, educational information, and resources to support anyone who is responding to an incident of sexual misconduct. It directs users to both military and civilian resources.
For more information on the app, please visit  this website.
Need to talk to someone? 

The Formation Europe Social Worker, Capt. Martin Laferrière-Simard , is available for you. His main function is to assess and follow-up in providing counselling for a variety of mental health services, addiction, family violence, crisis intervention and youth protection. You can make an appointment with him directly here.
Family Information Line
Ongoing Emotional Support

Are you facing access issues with mental health support services due to geographic location or language barriers i n your communities? The Family Information Line (FIL) team is happy to share a new and important initiative: ongoing emotional support.
Families of military members and veterans are now able to seek emotional support with the same FIL team member at a predetermined time using the point of access of their choice: phone or via Webex.
Two experienced team members at the FIL are currently providing this extended service, Stephanie and Lisa. If you require emotional support, please do not hesitate to reach them by email at FIL@CAFConnection.ca  or at 1-800-866-4546. They are looking forward to serving the families together.

If you would like more information on the ongoing emotional support service, click here .
Children's Education Management
Are you screening for a new post? Are you wondering how the new post will affect your child’s schooling?
Children’s Education Management (CEM) supports the educational needs of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) families both inside and outside of Canada. Our team works to ease the impact of frequent relocation on the education of military children and its impact on their education through Guidance Counselling Services, Educational Screenings, Education Allowances and Benefits, and the operation of the CAF Overseas Schools.

Our website offers resources and information for members. 

Educational Tools. 
These tools offer information for education in different provinces: a Starting Kindergarten Map, a Graduation Requirements Map, and a School Transition Portfolio.

Outside Canada .
This section offers resources for Outside Canada postings, including Educational Screening instructions and forms, and lists of compatible schools worldwide. 

Inside Canada .
Members may be eligible for tutoring and other benefits related to a move between provinces. 

CAF Overseas Schools .
CAF operates 2 schools outside of Canada: SHAPE in Belgium and AFNORTH in the Netherlands.

Need to talk with someone?
Our team is here to help . The CEM Guidance Counsellors are available to talk with you about your children’s elementary and secondary school transitions. Contact your CEM guidance counsellor today to set up an appointment:

Families with last names from A – K should contact Andrea Smith
Families with last names from L – Z should contact Carolle Coulombe .  
General inquiries or questions about educational screenings can be directed to CEMGEE@forces.gc.ca . One of our team members will respond promptly.
Personnel Support Program (PSP)

 The Chalet Program offers accommodation options in various parts of Europe at a 40% subsidy by the European Fund. Whether you decide to stay put and relax, explore the neighborhood or venture a little further, this program will allow you to stay in a chalet, an apartment or a villa located in a very interesting region of Europe. All accommodations are fully furnished and well equipped.
The Chalet Program also offers Full-Flex vouchers. This part of the program provides European Fund members the flexibility to choose their holiday destination at a time that is convenient for them. The Full Flex vouchers can be used to offset the cost associated with accommodations such as hotel rooms, RV rentals, vacation apartments, as well as cruises.
The program is divided in two seasons: summer and winter. Chalet weeks as well as the Full Flex vouchers are awarded in the form of a lottery. To participate members are to send an application form to the Chalet Coordinator. The information regarding the application process for the Winter Program is sent to members in an email in September of each year while the information about the Summer Program is sent in February. Members have two weeks to send in their application form once the draw information has been released. Should you wish for your email address to be added to the distribution list, please contact the Chalet Coordinator at +PSPEurope@forces.gc.ca .

Visit our website for more information about the program and the chalets available. 

The European Fund (EF) Academic Program is established to recognize the academic achievements of students graduating from high school who are dependants of members of the European Fund and to encourage the students to continue towards post-secondary education. 

All students accepted and attending a recognized post-secondary establishment will receive € 500.    

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Be a dependant of a member of the EF according to the definition in the EF Constitution. (The students do not need to be EF members)
  • Attend an establishment full-time and be in the graduation year of their secondary education.
  • Be accepted to full-time studies at any post-secondary level establishment for the month of September following graduation from high school.   


  • By Sept. 30th at the latest: A letter or e-mail from the EF member must be forwarded to the Senior Manager PSP, declaring that their child has graduated from high school (school’s name and date of graduation are required), and has received an acceptance letter from a recognized post-secondary establishment (name of the establishment is required) and will attend this establishment (date and name, city and country of the establishment are required).
  • By Oct. 31st at the latest: EF awarded funds will be transferred to the beneficiary.

For more information, please contact Johanne Thibault +49 (0) 2451-717-145 or visit our website.
Provision of Hospital Comforts to European Fund (EF) Members

The European Fund provides its hospitalized members, with the exception of CAF members, with hospital comfort.

EF members hospitalized in excess of 48 hrs are entitled to a maximum of 10 euros (without receipts) per day of hospitalization towards amenities, up to a maximum of 300 euros per case. The following is a list of the types of items that would qualify under this benefit:

  1. Newspapers, magazines and books;
  2. DVDs;
  3. Electronic games;
  4. Snacks and beverages;
  5. Toiletries;
  6. Calling cards (where applicable); and
  7. Small toys for children (cars, dolls, etc).

In addition, to amenities suggested above and with receipts, hospitalized EF members may be reimbursed for basic TV, phone and Internet services. Parking expenses up to a maximum of 50 euros a month are claimable as well. For long-term care, loan items such as DVD players and lap-tops may be considered.

For more information please contac t Johanne Thibault +49 (0)2451-717145 or visit our website .

The European Fund (EF) provides families of military members on deployments, temporary duty or course with funding in order to procure wellness items/services.

EF family members whose military spouses are away on deployment, TD or course for at least 30 consecutive days are entitled to an amount not exceeding €100 monthly for wellness services. This financial benefit is cumulative for each month the EF member is deployed (ie. 6 month deployment X €100 = €600). The following list provides some examples of the types of items/services that would qualify under this benefit:

  1. Childcare Services;
  2. Wellness (spa treatments, hair/manicures/pedicures, massage);
  3. Restaurant Meals (no alcohol);
  4. Movie Passes

Reimbursement request are to be submitted to the Sr Manager PSP and must be accompanied of a copy of the attached posting/TD/course message and scanned receipts.

For more information please contact Sr Manager PSP, Johanne Thibault +49 (0)2451-717145 or visit our website .
Employment Programs
Adult Employability Program
By Caroline Couture , Employment and Training Coordinator

Are you ready for a new challenge? Watch our great virtual career workshops at your leisure. These workshops are geared to help you find employment during your OUTCAN posting or to help you re-enter the workforce when you return to Canada. Here are the workshops available for you:

Workshop 1: Resume
Make your resume work for you! Learn new tips and tricks.

Workshop 2: Cover Letters
Sell yourself and get that interview!

Workshop 3: Interview Techniques
How to nail that interview and get that job!

To receive the links or for more information, please contact Caroline Couture.
Virtual Programs
Online Contests and Competitions
By Giselle Shangi-Ellis , Virtual Programs Coordinator

Increasing the Minimum Wage: Good Intentions, Bad Policy?
Categories and prizes for high school, undergraduate and graduate students.
The competition is open to all citizens and residents of the Commonwealth aged 18 and under. Young writers explore how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness.
Start writing your exciting Canadian History tale and you could be on your way to Ottawa for this year's Governor General's History Awards. The award is open to Canadian kids between the ages of 7 and 14. Students are invited to create their own illustrated story based on any element of Canada’s past they find of interest.
DEADLINE: June 1, 2018
Grand Prize (1)
7 day/6 night trip for 4 people to Canada’s West Coast
16 Bi-Weekly Prizes includes: A Parks Canada merchandise prize package, including a $100 gift card
$100 MEC gift card, $100 CIBC prepaid VISA card, Parks Canada Discovery Pass.
Contest Period ends on September 30, 2018.
Child & Youth Programs
Our MFS(E) hearts melt when we receive pictures of the kids enjoying our craft program!

Please keep sending us photos!
Nathan and William Morin completing the latest MFS(E) Kid's Craft
Aliana and Caleb Mooney, showing off their Spring Craft!
Reverse Culture Shock in Children
By Jennifer Fudge , Child & Youth Programs Coordinator
On the whole, most children are more resilient to change than adults. However, reverse culture shock can strike children in its own special way. Depending on your child, you may have different experiences of course, and your child will indicate culture shock in different ways.
Watch out for changes in behaviour, such as becoming more withdrawn, ‘acting up’ and mood swings. Often the most commons sign is, “I want to go back to XYZ!” – usually the last country they lived in.

Help Your Child Adjust
Moving is a big deal for families, for children of all ages, this is even harder. They lose friends. They don't fall asleep easily or sleep well. They wake up in a new place. Big kids get angry and sad. Little kids get clingy and often regress.

How can you make a move easier for your family?

  • When you announce the move…be prepared for your children to react with sadness or anger. Listen, acknowledge, and don't try to talk your child out of her feelings, even as you reassure him/her.

  • Prepare before you relocate - Prepare your child for their new home by researching as much as possible about everything you can think of. Ask your child what they want to know about and work together, if possible, to find the answers.

  • Say goodbye - Ensure your child understands the move is happening. Proper goodbyes make the transition real and help the moving on process.

  • Help them get involved in the new home environment, encouraging and facilitating in extra-curricular activities, sports, and youth organizations.

  • Put on your own oxygen mask first. Stop packing that box and go to bed. Getting enough sleep is the #1 rule for dealing with stress. You can't be patient with your child if you're exhausted.

  • Help your child know what to expect. Visit your new place, if you possibly can. Don't just go to the house. Take your child to see their new school. Stop at the roadside stand to buy fresh fruit. Stop at the local library and get excited about all the fliers on the bulletin board about kids' classes and activities. Find the best pizza and bakery.

  • Honor grief. It's okay for kids to express their sadness about saying goodbye to everything they've known. In fact, it's healthy and will make their adjustment easier in their new place.

  • Give your child some control. Let your child participate in any decisions that you can. Encourage their opinions and participation.

  • Keep your child's schedule the same, as much as possible.

  • Set up the kids' rooms first. Your child will have a calm, safe space surrounded by her familiar things, which goes a long way to helping her adjust and feel good about the move. It also gives her a safe place to play while you're setting up the rest of the house.
Returning to Canada
By Kayla Budd (Age 16)
My name is Kayla Budd. My family and I moved here to Germany in 2015 and will be going back to Canada this summer. I started grade 9 when I got here, so my school experience is with the High School section of Afnorth International.

Moving here was a bit scary, but also very exciting. Leaving my friends behind was tough, but getting the chance to visit different countries like Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, the UK and a number of others helped to make up for it.

I was very thankful for the youth group at MFS(E) as it gave me a chance to meet some others in the same spot as me. The youth conferences I attended and the other outings were great. My parents encouraged me to volunteer with different events and activities. If I was given the chance, I would do it again. It got me even more involved in the community. And if there was anything I would tell others… get involved. It can be lonely, if you don’t make an effort to meet people.

Now that we’re headed back to Canada, I have mixed feelings. I miss Canada, the friends and family there and the ability to speak English with everyone. I really love Europe though, and how it’s different than Canada. There are so many different people and cultures, the places to visit are incredible and the lifestyle is more relaxed. By the way… you really have to visit Amsterdam and London!

When you get here… don’t blink. The time flies by fast. Take advantage of everything. Enjoy your adventure!
My OUTCAN Experience
By Meghan Marcotte

When we were screening for OUTCAN, the entire process was gruelling. Trying to get the civilian doctor appointments before the sixty day mark was brutal. Finally, almost five months after screening started, we received our message. The looks we got when we were in the airport with thirteen baggage’s, three full car seats, a double stroller and three kids barely old enough to help, was priceless. I’m not sure if everyone was laughing at us, or pitying us.

Fast forward three years and here we are today. Thirty countries visited, I seriously could not ask for a better experience than we have had so far. That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges. Being in Germany, with the language in itself is tough. The one thing no one tells you before leaving though, is how close Geilenkirchen exactly is to The Netherlands. It’s hard to learn the German language, when it would probably be just as beneficial to learn Dutch. Even the kids’ school is in The Netherlands. But, the one thing about The Netherlands, is everyone speaks English; you can ALWAYS find someone to willingly help. Another challenge, Germany is closed on Sundays (yes, the country in itself pretty much!). Depanneurs (corner stores) are not open, so do not forget to buy your milk and eggs on Saturday! Need salami for your kids lunch on Monday? Make sure you get it Saturday! And do not make noise(s) on Sunday – you will be fined! I’m not talking from experience here, but if I got a dollar for the amount of times my kids play outside on a Sunday and I cringe when I hear one being just “a little too loud”, I’d be rich!

Finding a job on base isn’t easy, but it is doable. I have been at the Medical Clinic now for two years. Because of VISA’s, you aren’t able to get a job outside on the economy, but so many positions usually open during posting season, there is always a pick.

But enough about the challenges! There are so many high points, I’d never even be able to tell them all here! Food is cheaper and healthier. I can buy 3kg of carrots for 0.99€. Bread for 0.55€. Cucumbers are 0.59€ most days. A giant box of cereal is 1.99€. Milk is 0.68€ (1$) for a litre. And whatever I cannot seem to find on the economy (ie : creamed corn!!) I can find at the Commissary on the American base.
My main high is the travel! The kid’s school gets a week holiday in October, two weeks at Christmas, a week in February or March for Carnival, and two weeks at Easter. The amount of travel that can be done during their breaks is still shocking to me. As I mentioned above, in the three years we have been here, we have travelled to thirty countries. Some small, some quite large, but all equally amazing! Some we haven’t spent nearly as much time as I would have liked, but I certainly plan on going back. Imagine going to Copenhagen for a long weekend for 100€ round trip - for five people! We went to Pisa and flights were 199€ round trip – for all five! Instead of watching the ball drop on New Year’s Eve from our couch, we have been to Berlin for their fireworks, Disneyland Paris for theirs, and an all-inclusive resort in Antalya, Turkey for their celebrations. My kids were five and six and able to say they have been to one of the World Wonders in seeing the Pyramids of Giza. They still bring it up a year and a half later. I showed my kids where my grandpa grew up in Italy; a small village on the top of a mountain. I’d never have been able to do that in Canada.

One of the best experiences thus far though, is being at Vimy Ridge for the 100 th Anniversary ceremony. There is not a single place that day I would rather have been. I still have goosebumps thinking about it. People clapping as the military members dressed in DEU’s with their families walking by, still makes me tear up.

We have lived a life most would dream of. When my kids ask me to see pictures of the “bending tower” – Leaning Tower of Pisa – and the Colosseum, I know we have certainly shown them more of the world than even I could have ever imagined!!
In a lighthearted attempt to capture the essence of Brussels, we share with you, in no particular order, our top ten tips.

  1. Beware of the beer – It is a little-known fact that Canadians love beer, and Belgian beer is no exception. But with the average percentage of alcohol in local beer ranging between 7-11% we are simply saying – proceed with caution.
  2. Cobblestones can kill – Your ankles and high-heels that is. You might want to reconsider wearing heels for date night, or for afternoon beers, for that matter.
  3. Leave your baking sheets in Canada - Not only because boulangerie is to Brussels as Tim Hortons is to Canada, but also because, most ovens in Brussels are much smaller than North American models and chances are your baking sheets, and other large oven items will not fit.
  4. Study your traffic signs - While you might still be on the right side of the road, driving in Brussels can feel all wrong, at times. Traffic signs can be redundant, confusing or even non-existent. Side streets may have priority over what you would consider the main road, there are often no stop signs at intersections, and you will have to be aware of: trams, busy roundabouts, and different traffic lights for cars, trams, cyclists, and pedestrians. So, you might wish to...
  5. Leave the car at home – Road-work is common, as are double-parked cars, in traffic, while owners dash into the bakery to grab a baguette. In other words, driving 5 km could take you 10 minute or 30 minutes and more often than not you will arrive at your destination faster if your take public transportation or cycle. But if you do…
  6. Embrace fluorescents - When cycling in Brussels, you want to resemble a sizeable blinking traffic cone. You might think I am kidding, but I assure you I am not, cycling in Belgium can be intimidating. Owning your space on the road, wearing proper safety gear, using a good light, and understanding traffic signs should ensure you make it home for dinner.
  7. Umbrellas are like American Express cards - Don’t leave home without ‘em.
  8. Carry change & cash - Always have coins as public toilets may require them for access. Additionally, it is not uncommon for businesses and vendors to only accept cash.
  9. You’re on island time now - I have heard Belgium referred to as the Jamaica of Europe. Don’t fret if your medical bill hasn’t arrived or the plumber didn’t show; they both will… eventually. Oh, and while we are on the topic of time, it should be noted that in Belgium, 15 minutes late is on-time.
  10. Stretchy pants – Three things to understand: Wine is cheap, clothes are not, you will eat more waffles, frites, and chocolate than you think…so bring stretchy pants.
And, last but not least a word of caution when out at the pub, do not confuse the Belgian Frites with a French Fries. This is a no-no.
Belgium with Kids
By Jennifer Delanhunt , Community Service Provider 

We had no idea what to expect when we packed our prized possessions, including much loved teddy bears and doodoos (aka blankets) and a few pictures of the family we would be leaving behind.

We left for Belgium on July 1 st with our 8 month and 4 year old and a whole bunch of luggage. As we sat on the plane getting ready for takeoff I had a moment of panic and couldn’t help but wonder what we just got ourselves into. Seriously, who decides to leave the comfort of their home with a baby and a toddler to fly across the ocean to a place they have never been to? It turns out it was the best decision we have ever made!

Raising our children in a foreign country has been an incredible experience and adventure. We have been exposed to so many new traditions and cultural experiences beyond our wildest imagination. This experience has changed the way we see the world (for the better). We explored the local playgrounds, castles, cities and markets. We had our first taste of real Belgium waffles, fries with any type of mayo you can imagine, and of course Belgium chocolate (a family favorite).

Shortly after our arrival we enrolled our son into a local kindergarten and settled into our new life in Europe. Our reasoning for choosing a Belgium school over a Canadian/ international school was to help our children integrate into the Belgium society. Our decision seems to be paying off as our son has made many close friends with the local children who can give him an experience beyond what we as parents can offer. He now knows Sint-Nicilaas (legendary figure based on Saint-Nicholas, patron of children) will bring goodies and leave inside his shoes on the eve of December 5 th .

I am not saying it was an easy, stress-free, overnight transition. Within the first few weeks of starting school my son wanted to return back to Canada with his friends and ‘old’ nursery school. I did not understand, I mean really how hard could it be? After all, he was only 4 years old. What I did not take into consideration is the frustration my son would feel when the other children could not understand his mixed language of Canadian French and English. His teacher did not understand what he was asking as English was not a language they learn here in our area and the French was much different compared to Quebec. However, it didn’t take long for him to learn the language and traditions from his peers and by Christmas he was settled into his new school

I am hoping that we made the right decision to send our children to a local school ( I say them as my daughter will be starting this fall at the age of 3). Hopefully this choice will help them feel a part of the Belgium community during our time here and allow them a sense of belonging no matter where life takes us. Moving abroad with children is a challenge, but not one that should prevent you from going ahead with the new adventures that wait you and your family. Children are extremely resilient and adaptable. 

By Joany Beauregard , Community Services Manager
MFS Team at Annual Sugar Bush                 
We all experience our move to Europe differently. For us, a young couple with no children, our move to Belgium went very well and we quickly acquired a taste for the European lifestyle. I’d lie, however, if I said that since our arrival in Belgium everything has been going smoothly. Looking back, now that it has all sunk in, here’s what I learned from our time in Belgium (and what I continue to apply on a daily basis):
·    Learn to let go what you cannot control.  (Namaste ;-) )
As a very organized person, I found it very difficult to get used to this and I still keep telling myself not to compare things to what I was used to before or how it would go if I were in Canada.
·    Patience is a virtue that I must draw from. (Breathe in, breathe out!)
Whether it’s some kind of administrative matter, paying at the grocery store or an endless lineup (am I the only one who, when traveling, thinks we spend all of our time waiting in line? :-P), I keep telling myself to be patient!
Moose milk at the SHAPE Fest, September 2016.
There are far more people in Europe than in Canada, we can’t hide from it, so you inevitably have to wait longer! I found it hard to slow down the frenetic North American rhythm of life. Here, people are much less stressed and it shows! I learn more and more about living in the European rhythm.
·    Benefit from every new experience and adventure and most of all be grateful for what life gives me.
‘’Such an unheard of chance to live in Europe for a few years!’’ That’s what I try to tell myself every day. Take the time to enjoy every new discovery, whether touristic, culinary or cultural. Forge unbelievable friendships, live moments etched forever in your memory so that you can enjoy telling them to your children and grandchildren one day…and mostly appreciate the life we live instead of complaining (especially about the weather, ha-ha).
·     Celebrate my cultural heritage and learn to be proud to be Canadian.
Before I came to Europe, I said I was Québécoise and Canadian, without really thinking about what those words meant, without really celebrating one or the other. Now that I live in Belgium, I feel a great pride in being able to say I am Canadian and Québécoise. Our Canadian community in Europe is beautiful and diverse, just like our great country. I have learned to be proud of my roots and through our travels in Europe, I am learning about our history and our impact on Europe and this all helps me to feel even more anchored in our great Canadian identity.
From Military Teacher and Spouse to Military Mom: Preparing our children for a Military Move
By Karen Cluley
( Reprinted from 2015 )
Moving can be a tumultuous time for most of us, especially for children; a time full of anxiety and stress. As a former teacher, who has worked in a variety of capacities within military communities, I often had children in my classroom who would experience a military move or who would have frequent deployments of their parent/s at any given time throughout the school year. As a teacher, I would do everything in my power to help these students with the transition into their new situation: open communication with students and their parents, integrated character education and discussions surrounding feelings and emotions into classroom lessons, extra support/resources for students who appeared to be struggling with the change, etc.

 At the time, I did not have children of my own but my experiences in the classroom led to many discussions with my military spouse about how we could support our children one day when the time would arise. Now, five years later, I find myself to be a mother of three little ones (two year old twins and a four year old), and preparing for our first military move as a family with children…and not just any military move, an OUTCAN move. My hope in writing this article is to simply share with other parents some of the strategies that my husband and I are using with our young children, in order to make the transition of the military move somewhat easier on our children.  Click here to read more.
Naples Garden Project
The Naples Canadian Community came together in April to build a new garden at Villa Maple Leaf. Many volunteers offered their time and expertise to bring this project to life. MFS(E) staff and volunteers got together on a sunny Saturday morning and broke ground on the project. They all worked together to the beat of the music and even the kids got to lend a hand. Three hours later, the work was completed and the garden was ready to be planted!  

A few days later, the children in the community were invited to come and plant herbs, fruits and vegetables in the new garden. They did so with a lot of enthusiasm and care. We are now patiently waiting to taste the fruit (and vegetables) of all this labour!
Volunteer/ Family Day event
Saturday, March 10, 2018
UK Community
On Saturday, March 10, 2018, the MFS(E) UK Remot e Team hosted our annual Volunteer/Family Day event in the be autiful, historic city of Cambridge. We kicked the day off by gathering at the lovely Hilton Cambridge City Centre Hotel. Families gathered to socialize and to reconnect with old friends as well as make some new ones. For some families it was their first time at our Volunteer/Family Day event and for others it was their last as they are being posted back to Canada this year. Some families traveled for three to four hours to join us for this event. But regardless of the distance that our families had to traverse or the time that it took them to get there, we were humbled and honoured to have such a strong turnout.
After the initial socializing and gathering we enjoyed a buffet style lunch at the hotel, which was followed by our Volunteer/Family Day event and presentation of thank you gifts to our generous-hearted volunteers. We would also like to extend a sincere thank you to our partners at Canex who support the work we do by providing the funding for the thoughtful gifts our volunteers received. Children attending our event were invited to enjoy some arts and crafts in our break out room, while we honoured the UK volunteers who were able to attend in person. We have a large group of volunteers throughout Europe who weren’t able to attend our event who we would also like to acknowledge. Our community is lucky indeed to have this dedicated group of volunteers who support our activities and initiatives. It is a testament to the resilience and strength of Canadian military families when we continue to give of ourselves even when we find ourselves in tough or foreign postings and when we are able to share what we have learned and the experiences that we have had in order to serve our fellow Canadian military families. 
To all our volunteers, we extend a deep and heartfelt thank you. The partnerships that we have demonstrated here underline that it really takes a village – a Canadian village – to ensure the health and well-being of our families.

After our volunteer event, our friends at PSP generously funded our afternoon’s excursion. We were all treated to a walking tour of old Cambridge and punting on the River Cam. We were given the opportunity to learn a little bit of the history of this famous university town. We got to see the background for some scenes from the Harry Potter movies, we walked by the pub that Stephen Hawking used to frequent, and we got to experience the Mathematical Bridge from the water among other enjoyable moments during the tours. We even got lucky with the weather and had the driest and sunniest day within a two-week period to enjoy our outing.

It was a beautiful and meaningful day and we thank everyone for their involvement however great or small. Your MFS(E) UK Remote team looks forward to hosting our UK families at next year’s event.
Employment Opportunities
To view Current Civilian Employee Opportunities in Europe, please visit our new website
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For Natex employment opportunities   click here .
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