It was quite some time since we decided to leave the sandpit before we were settled and unpacked in Holland. January 6th, was the day we moved into our house, it would appear im a terrible expat this year and let this anniversary completely pass me by in a blur of insulin injections, baby scans and toddler entertainment.
So here it is Happy anniversary to us, or should I say “gefeliciteerd met uw jubileum”, hope that’s right! If it’s not then google translate is completely to blame.
To say were completely settled would be a lie but were getting there with each month that’s passes, the language barrier is huge, although everyone does and can speak English, there’s the exception who doesn’t want to, plus you feel you should make the effort too. However dutch is somewhat of a strange language and incredibly difficult to learn. My 2 and half yr old toddlers understands more than I do. He’s being integrated well into life here, attending peuterspeezaal, I hope he makes some friends however the thought of playdates in dutch terrify me.
The one thing we’ve enjoyed embracing as a family is the outdoors lifestyle, this wasn’t always possible in Dubai, don’t get me wrong we miss the convienience of a pool outside your door, however here you can go out regardless of the time of year, you either need your thermals or waterproofs, occasionally a pair of shorts.
I love sunday afternoons in Amsterdam bos, riding the bakfiets to the lake and beach, we even enjoyed a trip to the beach on St Stephens/boxing day albeit a bit of a blustery day.
This is a great country for kids when the weather is good, however, I struggle with the accessibility and availability of indoor activities for young children, maybe if we had moved to central Amsterdam I’d feel different, however where we are there is nothing easily accessible for a rainy day. This frustrates me a lot, Dubai was the opposite so much to do indoors, easily accessible soft play centres, we were spoilt for choice. It also has a lot to do with my confidence in driving here, I loved driving in the UAE, I had my nice safe 4×4 so the 7 lane highway was nothing. However it looks and feels too much like home here, I’m very aware that I am on the wrong side of the road, driving on the wrong side of the car, then there’s the bikes!!!! The bloody bikes that fly out of nowhere but have right of way ALL the time even when it’s not practical.
I love my bike/bakfiets, LPV sits in the box and away we go, we’ll be getting a maxi cosi attachment for bubs too so they’re be no stopping us,when we get going.
We’ve great neighbours here whom I spend a lot of time with, I’ve spent a lot of time with expat groups which has helped loads with friend making. I have a few close friends now, however the pain I get when I think about those I left behind in the sandpit is overwhelming sometimes. These are the girls that shared in the most difficult time in my life, a bond has formed there that can never be replaced and I miss them terribly everyday, especially now as I feel quite lonely in this pregnancy.
I love where we are in location to all these fabulous european countries, popping to Belgium for the afternoon is a real treat, Christmas markets in germany. Driving through the Austrian and Italian countryside was, well, pretty amazeballs actually. Skiing in Finland with my dear friend, I wouldn’t swap the last year for anything.
Were about to embark on the biggest dutch journey so far, a baby! getting used to yet another healthcare facility has been tough. However at present I can’t fault the care I been given, I’d say ask me this again tho, especially if they wont give me an epidural, treehuggers.
We are happy here most of the time but there’s something niggling me, which makes me feel not 100% happy, I have no idea what it is or how to fix it. . I suppose only time will tell.