Moving to the Netherlands

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

Mijn tuin (My garden)

I am REALLY going to miss my garden. We’ve been house-hunting almost 3 weeks now and the one thing we simply can’t compromise on is having a garden, or at least some outside space. I want to be able to grow veg, sunbathe and read outside, the Dutchie wants somewhere to put his BBQ 🙂 and Paris is an outdoor cat. She would go crazy staying in all the time, so it’s top of our priority list to have a garden.

Mijn tuin (My garden) circa 2008

Mijn tuin (My garden) circa 2008

Also, once you’ve had one – it’s very hard to go back. The Dutchie used to live in an apartment on the 4th floor in Hilversum (around 30 mins from Amsterdam) where he only had a balcony. Now he’s used to having that extra space, he doesn’t want to go back to an apartment either! Our current garden is pretty large, considering we only have a one-bedroom flat. In fact, our garden is probably as big as the flat itself!!

Garden in full swing

Garden in full swing

Much to the amusement of my friends (they think it’s hilarious that anyone under 50 grows their own veg) I’m a keen gardener. I started off with the easy stuff:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • French beans
  • Courgettes
  • Marrows
  • Tomatoes
Veggies from garden

Veggies from my garden

All pretty successful except the tomatoes. Somehow I could never get them all to go red… and I tried all the tricks (bananas, dark place, cardboard box etc) but alas, I still ended up with loads of green ones. There was a simple answer though – I just made green tomato chutney!

Green tomatoes

Green tomatoes

I’m going to miss that lovely view from my kitchen. It always brings a smile to my face… even when I’m washing up! (And believe me –  that’s a hard thing to do! I hate washing up. The Dutchie is chief bottle washer in our household!)

So, the search is on to find a place in Netherlands with a nice garden. Can we find an equal (or better) view? Fingers crossed!

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

 

Welkom op Bitterballen Bruid

Welcome to Bitterballen Bruid!

Bruid = bride. Bitterballen = a delicious Dutch snack. They’re pretty hard to describe seeing as a Dutch person will tell you they’re filled with “ragout” – however ragout to us English folk is a French stew. (Either that, or you’ll think of the pasta sauce jars: Ragù!) The outside of bitterballen is breadcrumbs, think something like a potato croquet… but the inside is where the magic happens! It’s like a thick, creamy meat paste… sounds disgusting, tastes heavenly! They’re little round balls of deep-fried deliciousness, served with mustard. Normally I avoid anything deep-fried at all costs, but these are an exception. Don’t think about the calories or what’s inside them, just sit in the kroeg (pub) with a glass of Amstel, or if you’re a hater like me, een glaasje wijn (glass of wine) and enjoy!

Bitterballen

© Takeaway / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for ages, but just never got around to it. Excuses, excuses! But whilst on holiday in Thailand (lucky me!) the name Bitterballen Bruid just came to me. I talked to The Dutchie (aka my husband) about it and he liked it too, so here I am! The blog will mainly focus on being an English girl woman getting married in The Netherlands, learning the Dutch language and moving there… but having just returned from an epic 3 week trip to Bali and Thailand, I might have to squeeze some travel pics and stories in too!

First post, over and out 😉

Hayley x