Expat life

As I was dipping my fries in the bearnaise sauce I was wondering whether to write a blog about food or expat life, and then I chose the letter.

I’m on a few expat forums on social media, mostly because when I arrived in the Netherlands it was a valuable resource. Now I try to return the favour and I’ve made a few friends on there, and well, sometimes it’s more entertaining than seeing the wedding pictures/holiday pictures/children’s pictures/workout pictures/meal pictures of someone I sort of kind of know.

Something that comes up every so often is a discussion about how great the new country is, or how terrible something in the other country is. Sometimes the new country is great and the old one is perfect. In the fashion of social media this often gets a lively and sometimes someone gets offended.

A while ago, I realised that I mentally separate expats into people “running away from” and “people running towards” something. When you look at the reasons they made the move it’s nearly always a mix of things but one of the two dominates their attitudes.

I guess it comes down to it that no place is without its challenges and you have to choose which challenges you can handle.

What I have learnt however is that the best way for me to handle the challenges is to find a workaround that makes it liveable. For example, I lived in Lima for an extended time and despite it being in a tropical country it gets very little sun and very little rain. I didn’t realise how much the monotony of the weather got to me until I spent a weekend away and came back energised (saying something after a weekend at high altitude). After that I realised that I need to plan sunny breaks in order to keep my own sunny disposition and the rest of my stay was much more enjoyable.

South America taught me a lot of things and I think that can fill a few more blogs, but back to the fries and the bearnaise sauce…

Living in the Netherlands isn’t without challenges and although I learnt to love Dutch food to the point of defending it around the work lunch table, it isn’t as interesting and amazing as other places in the world (Hello Vietnam, Peru, Mexico…. OK, I promise this blog is not about food). But having a nice meal when I’m on a work trip, or saving up for a fancy dinner is one of my equivalents to my Sunshine breaks. Today I visited Brussels and I ate dinner in the restaurant closest to my hotel. Even the bread and butter was so good I wanted to write a blog. The fries was incredible and so was the bearnaise sauce. And here’s a picture of the dessert!

Find your sunshine.

Be kind. Stay safe.

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: The End

After nearly 2 years, we are learning to live with Corona in our presence. We’ve been vaccinated, vaccinated again and boosted.

Despite the pandemic I’ve been blessed. I made a new life for myself in a new country. I’ve made new friends. Fell in love. Moved to a new city:Den Haag. Adopted a dog. Developed my hobbies. Took my Dutchman home to meet my family and friends.

Many people suffered incredible losses during this time and we will always remember those who are no longer with us. Many people lost their livelihoods or security in this time and I hope it will serve as a reminder for us to pick up those around us, because we are all in this life together.

Be kind. Stay safe

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 661

Knysna! The town always fascinated me, with every visit holding something special.

We started with breakfast at 34 degrees South

Our next stop will forever be a highlight. We had the privilege of an elephant interaction at Knysna Elephant Park. They rehabilitate elephants that require it, and visitors are allowed to interact with them under the watchful eye and instruction of the staff

From there we went on what can only be described as a terrible road to see one of the big trees in the area. It was big.

The outing ended with a boat ride on the Knysna lake out to the heads. As luck would have it, we were the only people who booked for this particular cruise and we had a marvelous private boat cruise. The cherry on the cake.

Be kind. Stay safe

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 659

After a family day together, we concluded our amazing visit to the Western Cape we decided to head south. At Houw Hoek we stopped for a Brunch en route..and then more south, to the Southernmost point of Africa – Cape Agulhas

At the end of the day we found rest at our next stop, the lovely beach at Dwarswegstrand.

Be kind. Stay safe.

Life in the time of Corona – Captain’s log: Day 656

A new year starts!

We offered to make dinner for the family, a lovely Spaghetti Bolognaise as Marinus learnt to do in Italy. The only problem is, we couldn’t find a pot big enough…

Not to be put down, we decided to make it in the swart pot on the fire. I think it even added a smokey taste! The salad was also a big hit.

For dessert we had donuts, with Dutch sprinkles! The kids(young and old) loved it!

Be kind. Stay safe.