Life in the Netherlands:  Week 6

Life isn’t an extended vacation

For the first few weeks that we were living in Haarlem, our life looked like a promotional video for the Netherlands.  The kids and I laughing in our new urban arrow eating stroopwafels and taking canal tours. Everything was new and exciting and it felt like we were on an extended holiday.

Six weeks in and we are confronted with reality.  Just like in the states, the garbage doesn’t take itself out.  The novelty of the Dutch steep stairs has faded.  When my daughter’s tooth broke, I needed to go to my trusty friend, google, and search for new doctors and dentists.  We were starting over.

I’m blessed to be in a country where people speak English and have been extremely welcoming to us as we try to acclimate, but it is still hard. Everything that was known back at home, now takes double, if not triple, the amount of time to learn and understand here.  I don’t have a trusted store to go to for my necessities. Our family pet is now a mouse that managed to get inside our house and likes to come out and play at night.  I’m still trying to remember all of the steps to secure my cargo bike also known as our new car…lock the bike, check, remove the battery, check, attach the bike to a pole and use my second lock, check.  Plus, don’t forget to remove your rain cover as we learned the hard way.

The feeling of homesickness is setting in. The kids miss their friends and I miss my family. Life is continuing for them as usual, but we are living in limbo. We are no longer at home but we have not made a home here yet.

It’s natural to want to return to our comfort zone but it time to embrace the unknown and build our life abroad.

[By Jennifer Cakir]

 

Do you agree with Jennifer’s observations?

Let us know in the comments!

 

Read more from Jennifer Cakir.

Fiona McGeever

Editor in Chief at expatsHaarlem
Fiona McGeever is originally from Mayo in the west of Ireland, she has spent the last few years living and working in the UK as a print and broadcast journalist. In September she moved to lovely Haarlem with her partner and now it is very much her home! Fiona is a huge foodie and in her spare time you are most likely to find her in one of Haarlem’s many restaurants or reading a book and enjoying a glass of red along the Spaarne.
Fiona McGeever

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2 replies
  1. Beth Finnegan
    Beth Finnegan says:

    Hi Jen! I cannot even imagine all you are dealing with! I know you will succeed in all your challenges but yikes! Praying for you! I want to follow your Blog but will have to find out how! Lol! Love Beth

  2. Therese Amato
    Therese Amato says:

    Change is definitely a process. It seems like you’ve experienced the initial high, then the “what have I done” low and now it’s time to transform into your new normal. You will get there! I’m excited to follow your continuing story 🙂

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