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.

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