When somebody hears that I am not from around, which is not too difficult with that bloody accent we have when speaking English ;-), they will ask questions and are mostly sure that it must have been a big adjustment moving from the Netherlands to the USA. (Don’t get me wrong, I like to talk to people about it) Of course there are things that are done differently here than in the Netherlands. Like the delivery of a package on the front porch. The paperwork you need to sign when you buy a car. But this stuff is not something that gave us a culture shock. I don’t think I had a real culture shock when we started living in New Mexico. We have been here for half a year now. So it’s a good time to question myself some things? Am I really missing something from the Netherlands or not? Do I like living in New Mexico/USA? Is it a good experience for the kids?
When I ask the boys what they miss the most, the answer I get is that they miss both their grandmas and granddads and then all other family names are called. Marlo also still misses his friends and his play dates after school! It’s not something about the Netherlands they really miss, but today I was streaming Spotify and when a Sinterklaas song came by they laughed, but also asked if we can go back home? The boys refer with home to the Netherlands, but they also say home to our house in Rio Rancho. AND I GET IT! For me it’s the same, when I talk to friends about how it’s like in the Netherlands it feels odd sometimes. Last time a friend asked me which fast food restaurants we have in the Netherlands. I told her we were the first city with a five guys and a taco bell, but we don’t live there anymore so that’s not my city at the moment…
Our new house does feel like home with all our own furniture and things. For me it’s really small things I miss that we normally do. Go to my parents and have a cup of coffee and then stay for dinner, because it is too “gezellig” (nice/fun/cozy/social/companionable/homey; it’s a word you can’t really translate in English as it covers so much in a single word). I miss playing volleyball with my team. America is all about sports, yeah for children… The boys can do whatever they want to do, but for adults you have GYMS around here. So I miss playing volleyball! This was also the night for me that I didn’t need to put my kids to bed and of course since we moved… I did put them in bed almost every night.
We do miss some Dutch food!! But luckily Freek went to the Netherlands in the beginning of December and brought back some food. Like the “taai taai”, Dutch licorice, apple stroop, hagelslag and CHEESE! We were one lucky family with all these treats!! And soon he will be going back again, so I’m already making a shopping list for my mom.
In the supermarkets here I never can go to only one store to get all the groceries. The Smiths or Wallmart just don’t have it all. So if I want to have fresh vanilla or specific vegetables I need to go to the Sprouts. But okay since I’m a stay at home mom I have enough time for that! But I do miss the scanners of the Jumbo and the AH. So I can scan and put all my groceries in my crate and bags all at one time! I’m having a hard time letting somebody put all my groceries in my bags… And I definitely think that is a culture thing for me…
I miss the shopping centers in all the cities. And I just can’t find a store I would go to and buy my clothes or the clothes for my boys. We have a big mall, but the stores are not really my style. I just miss some of my brands that I can’t find here! On the other hand, it’s not a big problem since I have more than plenty of clothes!
Without any doubt we don’t miss the Dutch weather, the rain, the grey or cloudy skies are one thing I don’t miss at all. But I do miss to ride my bicycle to go to the store or to a playground with the boys. For everything we take the car! It is just too dangerous to ride the bicycle to the store or the school of the boys. Drivers are not used to bikers like the people are in the Netherlands. The first two months I kept looking over my shoulder to see if there was a bike, but there never was any… So you can imagine that we will not go on our bikes to school.
I love the experience we get by living in another country. We already did so much in the last couple of months, which we would never do by staying in Eindhoven. We drive more than an hour to get to a hike or go and watch something cool. When we drive these distances in the Netherlands we would be in Germany or Belgium… And Marlo and Nolan are getting used to travel this long and that is great (in the beginning we had a lot of car fights)! And the next best thing is that the boys can speak English pretty okay, and even better by the time we will leave. They are challenged in school; Marlo is learning how to read in Dutch at home with me; they can try a lot of sports because you can subscribe them only for a month; they will know how it is when you can’t speak or understand a language when you move…. And so much more. Of course they have a set-back once in a while, but they also learn how to deal with it.
Would you like to go and live in another country/state/continent?