Please wait…

As I struggle to get our birth certificates, names changes, marriage certificate, and adoption records apostilled (the secretary of state has to say the signatures on our documents are legit. Soooo many hoops to jump through for each state. Also, don’t ask me how to pronounce it. Apparently the obvious way is incorrect. Anyway …), and we slowly Marie Kondo-on-steroids every inch of the house, I have discovered a new (and embarrassing and ugly) thing to stress about. I want to get to the Netherlands before anyone else gets our spot.

It’s a tiny country, y’all! And I belong to many awesome Expat FaceBook groups. But each time someone posts that they are moving there I am insanely jealous and worried that there is only so much room and by the time we get there, we will find a Closed sign on the door. This is not pretty or kind, I know. But if everyone else planning to hightail it to Holland could please just wait a few months, I’d really appreciate because this stress does not spark joy.

An (overly analyzed, well researched, cautiously approached) Adventure!

What I didn’t expect when we made the decision to move to The Netherlands was the sense of dismay and worry that washed over our family’s faces.  Our friends thought it was an amazing idea they wished they’d had the nerve to do. Which doesn’t make it sound like the best plan (needing a lot of nerve and all) but at least their brows didn’t wrinkle when we talked about packing up.

After much thought, I wrote our family a letter of explanation to help ease their worries. It went a little something like this:

As we wrap our minds around our upcoming move, I wanted to share some information to help you understand why we’ve decided to take this leap. We spent months investigating opportunities and life in Holland before visiting 5 different cities there. 

Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Although Dutch is the first language, English is widely spoken.

  • Expat kids can attend Dutch Language Immersion schools (for free) to prepare them for public school.

  • Because of DAFT (Dutch American Friendship Treaty), it is very easy and relatively inexpensive to move MightyPants there.

  • It is also possible to work as freelancers for a Dutch company.

  • Universities in The Netherlands offer degrees in English. European undergrad degrees are only 3 years long and will cost us (for public schools) substantially less than US universities. 

  • Although housing is more expensive, we will save THOUSANDS of dollars a year on health insurance/medical costs each year and will not have to worry about going bankrupt if we get sick.

  • No car payments/car insurance.  Everyone bikes/walks/takes public transportation. The country is very small and it takes very little time to get from one end to the other.

  • For “hippy/liberals” like us, The Netherlands will be a place with very little-to-no racism/sexism/religion-based laws (with the exception of Zwarte Piet, of course).

  • All of Europe is at our doorstep.

  • The main crime in the Netherlands is theft (watch this!

  • It’s easier and cheaper to qualify and apply for Visas, less cold, and closer to Italy than Canada. 

Being away from family will, of course, be difficult. But giving the kids (and ourselves) this adventure means the world to us. 

P.S. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll come home… and bring stroopwafels!

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365 Days …. But Who’s Counting?

My current situation is much like trying write a publishable book. It’s a daunting,  terrifying, one-in-a-million, unlikely sort of thing until…  you walk into a bookstore and see shelf after shelf lined with gazillions of books by people just like you who were brave enough to take the leap.

This is how I feel about my next adventure. It’s an insane, overwhelming, what-the-hell-are-we-doing sort of thing. But then I see how many have succeeded in making it work and how happy they are with their choices and I think Why can’t we?

So here we go. We are doing the thing.

365 days from now my husband, two kids, the cat, and I will be living in the Netherlands.