How does a globetrotting girl from Southern California end up buying a house in Fountain Hills, living in Belgium for five years and discovering that Fountain Hills and Belgium share a Sister City?
Serendipity. Kathy Weyenberg, who is living in Brussels now, has been visiting friends in Fountain Hills for decades. When she retires in a year, she realized she would not be able to afford living in Southern California and began thinking about where to move in retirement.
She was visiting last November and was able to participate in Halloween in the Hills, the Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial and attend the Fountain Festival of Arts and Crafts during her stay.
“I loved the Mayberry feel of the town,” Weyenberg said in a telephone interview. “I had been there before but didn’t experience as much as I did in November.”
The second week she was here, she bought a house. As she waits for her retirement to begin and she can move back to the U.S., Weyenberg said she has done a lot of traveling in Europe.
“Belgium isn’t my favorite country in Europe,” she said. “But it is a wonderful place to travel from.”
She has been to Paris, London, Scotland, Malta, Morocco and other cities and countries. Her most recent trip, last week, was to Kasterlee, which is close to Antwerp, Belgium, one of her favorite cities.
“I just decided to drive to Kasterlee after learning about its relationship to Fountain Hills,” Weyenberg said. “It took an hour-and-a-half to drive there. And it took an hour-and-a-half to walk the entire city.”
She said the tiny town is “charming and I think centuries old.” She stopped first at Kasterlee’s visitor center, where she engaged in a conversation with one of the employees there.
“I told her I am a homeowner in Fountain Hills,” Weyenberg said. “She said, ‘That town has the big fountain in the middle of the city.’”
Kasterlee’s official mascot is a gnome seated on a pumpkin. The city is a pumpkin growing region in Belgium.
“I am really looking forward to living in Fountain Hills,” Weyenberg said. “I told my friends and family that I am the self-appointed U.S. ambassador to Kasterlee.”
And perhaps she was self-appointed Kasterlee’s ambassador to Fountain Hills.