Moving to Holland

Ons huis een thuis maken

(Making our house a home.)

So, I’m officially an expat. Eek!! I moved to the Netherlands late on Saturday evening so this is my third full day living here. The past two days have been spent unpacking what seems like a million boxes! How on earth we fit all that stuff in a one-bedroom flat is beyond me…

Home is where the tea is.

Home is where the tea is.

Naturally, the first thing to be unpacked was the kettle and tea making facilities! Actually the kettle is new, can you tell? 😉

Second on the priority list was our music. The Dutchie and I are massive music fans, so our “CD wall” is one of our most prized possessions!

CD wall - before

CD wall – before

It was also a quick and easy way to empty at least 10 boxes!! After picture to follow… we need to get our London Calling framed album on the wall first! 😉

After a really early start on Sunday morning we worked hard all day and decided to get out of the house for some fresh air and something to eat about 7pm or so. It’s amazing how you forget to eat when you’re that busy!! We discovered a lovely local kroeg (pub/bar) called Het Cafe van Aemstel. I was confused by Aemstel at first but the Dutchie explained that it’s old Dutch and that the pronunciation is just Amstel – exactly the same. Phew!!

Our local - Het Cafe van Aemstel

Our local – Het Cafe van Aemstel

On Monday, while the Dutchie was at work,  I took on the role of Wonder Woman and transformed our house (at least the downstairs anyway!) into a home. Gone are ALL of the boxes and packing stuff and it actually looks like a real home, instead of a warehouse. I worked tirelessly all day and got more done than I thought humanely possible! It was all worth it though to see the reaction on his face when he got back from work – priceless!

Ons huisje

Ons huisje

The Dutchie’s Mum also came over for een kopje koffie (a cup of coffee) and paid me the ultimate Dutch compliment… that I had made the house gezellig!! If you’re Dutch, learning Dutch or have visited the Netherlands you will know that this word has no direct translation in English. It can be most closely described as cosy, comfortable or homely… but that doesn’t quite do this unique word justice. I won’t go into too much detail as I’ve explained the word gezellig here so you can read more there if you want to. Anyway, it’s a huge compliment and I was so happy that all my hard work paid off.

Hayley x

Advertisements

Onderweg

The countdown has begun! 10 days to go!! I’ve been running around like a headless chicken for the past couple of months, but finally, in 10 days it will all be worth it when I move to the Netherlands! Our new home is in Hilversum and I am so excited I’m about to burst!!

Onderweg

Onderweg

I have **just** about time enough to finish packing, see all of my close friends and family and sort out any last-minute things in the UK and then it’s Bon Voyage to start my new life in NL.

Spannend!!!

Hayley x

Being Dutch – Part 5: The Albert Heijn Bonuskaart

I must be officially 1% Dutch now. I have my Albert Heijn bonuskaart and I asked for it in Dutch and everything! Ik ben apetrots op mezelf! (Lit: I am monkey proud on myself! Nice Dutchism there… What it really means: I’m very proud of myself!)

Albert Heijn Bonuskaart

Albert Heijn Bonuskaart

I have a little head start because I’ve been learning Dutch on and off for a couple of years whilst living in the UK. I understand A LOT and I can speak the basics (all self-taught)… but now I’m going to be living here I need to step it up a gear. That’s #1 on my “when I live here list”: to sign up for classes as soon as I’m an official resident!

Anyway… I digress… The AH bonuskaart is a must-have in you live in NL (and you shop at AH! It’s kind of hard not to… they’re everywhere!) Without it you can’t get the special offers and deals in store, so naturally, everyone has one. So for me, that’s one very small thing ticked off a very, very long to-do list…

Hayley x

Living in the Netherlands: Test Run

This week I’m living in the Netherlands. Naarden to be precise. We’re staying at our friend’s place (good timing – he’s on holiday).  So I’m here to work, test out my new kit and spend some time with the Dutchie after being apart for 2 weeks.

After two dreary days of weather on Monday and Tuesday, yesterday was glorious and I made the most of it by going for a walk to Bussum centrum (centre). As you can see: Spring has sprung!!

Spring in Naarden

Spring in Naarden

Even though I’ve visited the Netherlands countless times before, I’m now looking at it with different eyes. In just over 3 weeks, I’m going to live here. That’s strange to get my head around. One of the first things which made me chuckle was bike lanes compared to the space given to pedestrians. This is something you’d NEVER see in the UK. I’m looking forward to buying a fiets (bike) and joining the cycling community asap.

Cycle lane vs pedestrians

Cycle lane vs pedestrians

Bussum is a very pretty place – who knew? I’ve only been here a handful of times, by car, so it was great to explore on foot and check out the local sights. This lovely church has an even lovelier name: Mariakerk (kerk = church) and it looked simply stunning in the spring sunshine.

Mariakerk, Bussum

Mariakerk, Bussum

I also stopped briefly in Bilderdijkpark which looked zo mooi (so beautiful). Everything looks better in the sun, right?! I found out afterwards that the Dutchie used to go to school just around the corner and had spent many a happy afternoon chilling in this very park with his friends.

Bilderdijkpark, Bussum

Bilderdijkpark, Bussum

This friendly little fella was certainly enjoying the sun too!! 🙂

My ginger friend

My ginger friend

I’ve always wanted a ginger cat so I’m drawn to them. Now to persuade the Dutchie we need another one 😉

My gorgeous spring walk concluded with a little Dutch pride. I saw loads of flags flying on my walk, but none so proud as that attached to the local NH hotel.

Dutch flag

Dutch flag

Bussum – you’re beautiful – I will be back!

Hayley x

Oh My God… I’m moving to Holland!

Yeah, yeah ok… the Netherlands…

The Dutchie had not one, but two job offers on Thursday, just as I was leaving to visit my friend in Norway. He has accepted one of the offers, will sign the contract tomorrow and start in early March!

Oh god

Sooooo exciting and so scary at the same time! It’s all go, go, go!

Forget the wedding plans (temporarily)!! We’re verhuizing! (Moving house!)

Now, where’s my to-do list??

Hayley x