Anniversary

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.61085_10151147779475957_1620041735_n

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.

The Lake

Title sounds like this post should be scary doesn’t it? The Lake staring Expatmammy & LPV will they get out……Alive!!!!!

Actually it wasn’t scary we had the best afternoon, who needs Jumeirah beach when you can have a couple of days or random sunshine in Holland and….The Lake!! The mammies at the expat group had always talked about the lake, I was starting to worry whether it would be one of those things I’d never get round to doing like shaving my legs luckily we went today and legs have been shaved!!

Basically the Lake does exactly what it says on the tin!! It’s a lake surrounded by sand dunes and is part of the Kennermerland National park, best part for us? it’s a 20 minute cycle away. Today however we went by car, as I was particularly thankful for on the way back.

Da Lake!!!!

 

So we had a blast, both me and friend packed a few wee snacks, K brought her UV tent  so LPV could sit in it, however he never sat still for more than 2 mins, enough time to stuff some wotsits in his mouth and away he went. Factor 50 slapped on him so not a bit of skin of  that precious Irish skin could see the sun. He was in the water, out the water, in the water, out the water, face down in the sand, cried for a bit. Back in the water, fell face down in water, got up dusted his hands (???). Stole a few toys off other children, Mammy gave a few toys back, LPV has a policy being if you snooze you loose when it come to others toys!!

As our time wore on he gradually went from shorts, t-shirt & nappy to just  T-shirt with me following him around with his spade. Just incase he decided to relieve himself Number 2 wise in the lake, luckily he saved that for Expatdaddy at bath time. On the way back to the car we stopped for a lolly but this was not good enough for my son, so whilst I had a small kid sized fruit lolly he has a  great big full-sized white chocolate magnum. It’s now 19:40 and he’s gone to bed without a peep, dreaming of his next watery escapade!!!

We call this one “Cockleshell Bay”

 

Road kill

We are getting rather confident on the old bakfiets now, I just love it. Much like my iphone I don’t know I coped in like without it. It’s like my little car, granted not as comfortable as my old little Bertie!!

We hit the shops, we cycle to play group, it’s got squashed skips and banana in it already much like our car, however the only thing that is bothering me is NATURE, yes you heard me right, kamikaze dutch insects flying at me!!! They hit my sunglasses or my face and I react like a octopus  being defibrillated!! I am also not even going to think about how many flies etc I have probably swallowed whilst talking to LPV, I supposed to trying to cut down on my snacks and they’re not helping!!!

When I take off my sunglasses I have winged road kill all over them it’s just gross, on the plus side I have now mastered the restart at the traffic lights so journey’s are taking far less time!!!!