Leentje is a journalist who specializes in travel, lifestyle, food and other subjects. She has been living in the United States since September 2014. Leentje moved to Chicago last year to be with the love of her life, Michael. The way both of them met, is absolutely lovely.
In 2013, Leentje was on assignment for Het Laatste Nieuws. She was in the US to write about Belgians living there. Only days before she arrived in Chicago, she remembered this guy from her hometown that had moved to the City of Wind many years ago. They had not talked since Middle School, but they were friends on Facebook. Leentje and her photographer decided to interview Michael and had dinner with him a couple of times. Leentje and Michael stayed in touch and well, the rest is history …
When they realized that their relationship was very strong and that they did not want to live apart, Leentje applied for a journalist visa to move to the US, something she had always wanted to do anyway. Leentje had traveled to Chicago many times before and really loved how cosmopolitan and affordable (at least: compared to New York or San Francisco) this city is. She moved with her five year old son, León, and they started a new life, a new family, in Chicago.
Leentje really loves the enthusiasm of American people. She appreciates the great opportunities that are available for self-employed individuals. She values that success is so respected in the United States. Whereas people in Belgium can be jealous if you succeed, people in America are genuinely supportive of the fruits of your hard labor.
Leentje had a very active and nurturing social life in Belgium. Every week her friends and family would get together. It is something she truly misses. One of her main challenges in the US is to recreate a circle of friends. The fact that everybody is so nice in this country makes it hard to distinguish your friends from your acquaintances.
Leentje has started to volunteer through León's school in order to befriend Americans. She helps organizing school events and offers her time to chaperon the kids. This attitude has started to pay off: she has been invited for coffee by some of the other moms and is quite excited about this.
In less than a year, Leentje started to make a real difference in the lives of the Belgians in Chicago. The two other SignMyCar! participants in Chicago (Paul and Louis) have highlighted how much Leentje contributed to the community. She is known for her efforts with the MeetUp Group Friends of Belgium and her generous help with the Belgian American Club of Chicago.