It’s the Dutch Life For Me

Don’t worry, I don’t have anything remarkable to say.  I just need to get back into my writing game.  I’ve spent this month participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where you try to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  I’m currently around 55k, but my personal goal for the month is 75k.  And it’s not so much a novel as it is me doing a colossal pep talk to myself, with a minor in venting.

A lot has happened for me in the last year and a half.  My son has been sentenced to prison, I’ve left my job, moved to The Netherlands, and am now married.  I wanted the move to be as simple as possible, so I got rid of everything I owned and only took what I could fit in my suitcases and 6 small boxes that were mailed.  And two cat carriers, although mostly cats occupied those.  Along with fur and terror.

I still haven’t processed all of it.  My emotions haven’t caught up with all that’s happened.  Some days I wake up and it’s just sinking in that I got rid of this book or those pair of shoes.  I feel like the spirit in me moves at the speed of light, and then I have to wait patiently for all of my feelings and emotions to do their thing at their own pace, never to be rushed or pushed.  Until they do catch up, they are in a slushy frozen mix or numbed, slightly out of sync with what is currently going on.  I have to be still long enough for time to catch up to me and all the parts of me phase back together as a single being.

It’s different here in so many more ways than I had realized.  I could probably write a whole book just on that.  So many things that don’t matter when you’re visiting or a tourist, but that start to matter a whole lot in your day to day life.  I feel like I’ve slipped into a parallel dimension where everything is basically the same, but yet nothing is quite right.  Enough to make every day feel a little uncomfortable because nothing is really truly familiar.

Like sheets for the bed.  Thread count?  What’s that?  All sheets are the same, not so great, quality.  Slightly better than sandpaper.  I guess it’s good for exfoliating.  Showers.  It’s more typical to have a shower stall than a shower/tub.  I want my goddamn tub back.  There’s no such thing as biscuits here.  Not even the KFCs here have biscuits.  I’ve checked all of them.

They use the 24 hour clock and so for 12 hours of the day I’m having to do math to understand what time it is.  In dates, the day is before the month, which makes it more confusing for me for the first 12 days of each month.  They have 10-15 minute intermissions at the movies.  The movies have stale popcorn that is popped somewhere else and then brought to the concession stand where they sit under heat lamps until purchased.  Some theaters have “nachos” with only salsa.  But no cheese.  No.  Cheese.  Why would you do that?

Everyday I am faced with words I don’t understand.  Going through the grocery store can be a bit of a stresser.  “What’s that?  How do you say it?  What is this ingredient in Dutch?  2 sticks of butter?  How many grams is that?  How many ounces in a liter?”  And speaking of conversions, what’s the temperature outside?  Oh 22 Celsius?  Oh okay.  Seems warmer than that.  The number . . . seems a little . . . low.  <sigh>

It’s going to take some time to adjust, I know.  Establishing new routines, making new friends and networks.  New language, new culture.  Different.

I know it may sound to some like I’m complaining, but I’m not.  There are stresses that come with all of this, certainly, but I enjoy change and learning new things.  I also like to sound like I’m bitching about things, when really I’m just having fun sharing what I’ve discovered.  It’s all in fun.

We’ve begun meeting new people, and I have to tell you that there are some fantastic people here.  It has made a world of difference in helping me adjust to my new home.  It stops feeling like I’ve left so much behind and starts feeling like I have so much more to gain.  It helps anchor in me the understanding that I just need patience in letting things settle and take hold, to root.  With time, things will stop seeming so foreign and different to me and start feeling like my place, my home.

Something that has helped me anchor in the past, is writing.  As I mentioned briefly in another post, I’ve struggled with my writing this past year.  I’ve been so unsettled and up in the air.  I want to get back to it though.  It’s time to pull myself back together and get back into what I do.  If that means writing a string of boring posts, then that is what I’ll do, so long as it gets me used to writing again.

Writing that 55k words to myself helped me get this far, and now I’ll carry on that effort both there and here.  Writing regardless of whether I feel I have something to say or not, helps me get past worrying about what to write about and whether it’s good enough to post.  Screw it, just get it out there. 🙂





  1. im always around to read or listen to your experiences and feelings.
    its lovely that you have been meeting new people and have new experiences ..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awh men, I’ve never realized how much impact all those tiny differences could make. Also, just out of curiosity: what are American bed sheets like? I mean, you already told me about the biscuits 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😀 We have much more variety in bed sheets as far as thread count, and varying degrees of quality (for all thread counts) as well as different kinds of materials. Sometimes the higher the thread count, the better quality, but that depends on material used as well as whether it is true thread count or they inflated the numbers (twisted thread) to make it seem like it’s better. So between those things, and a wide price range, there are many more options. I’m use to more silky smooth sheets, but that last a really long time and survive a lot of washing.

      I used to complain about having too many choices in things like this, but once you’ve had that many choices and have grown used to it, it’s hard to go back to a limited choice. But on the other hand, a lot less time goes into making a choice. And biscuits. Mmmmm.


  3. Jenn, congratulations on your marriage and move! I’m always in awe of people who can pick up and move to a different country, especially one with a different language. I hope the new country feels like a true home for you. Sometimes I dream of picking up and going abroad, but it seems as though that’s not in the cards for me right now. I’m so very sorry to hear about your son. That is devastating.

    Liked by 1 person

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