3 years later

Wow, so. Three years has passed. Usually I wouldn’t pay any attention to a passage of time in writing (who reads the dates on these things, anyway?), but so much has happened to the person who wrote that last post.

She was unemployed, waiting to receive her residence permit to live in the Netherlands. She would wait five more months to receive it. She was getting pretty depressed living in a new country and not being able to do the things she wanted to because she was bleeding money.

I got a full-time job literally the same day I received my residence permit, which was really lucky. My life has revolved since then around work and learning how to be happy here in this new country. I plan to share here some of the things I’ve learned about expat life, the emotional stages of immigration, and all that.

We’ve lived in two other houses since my last post, but we just moved into the first home that’s really ours.

Our first house back in our favorite city of Amersfoort.

Our first house back in our favorite city of Amersfoort.

So it seems like the perfect time to start writing again. I hope it’s the perfect time to start reading again, too.

Today’s topic: Go for it or sleep on it?

When it comes to tackling home projects, Rolan and I could not be more different.

All good things come to those who wait print

When we start talking about something we’d like to do to the apartment — whether it be a purchase or a project — Rolan is the one who is ready to jump right in head first and do it do it do it now now now. I, on the other hand, am the one who wants to slow it down and think it through. Think what through, you ask? Oh, only Every. Single. Little. Detail.

My gun shyness probably drives my trigger-happy boyfriend crazy. Heck, it drives me crazy sometimes! But I have to give things time to “marinate” in my head. I want to think everything through. I like to consider all the options. I need to know if an idea is actually good or if it’s just good right now and tomorrow I’ll hate it.

What are you waiting for? print

But it’s actually a perfect combination, Rolan’s impulses and my lack of impulse. Just as in most areas, we balance each other out. If I were on my own, projects might never get accomplished. Rolan is the push I usually need to just… start. But my meticulous planning is usually the catalyst to a lot of project pieces that may never have surfaced.

So I’m curious. Who are you more like when it comes to home projects? Are you like Rolan — wanting to dig right into projects and get them done ASAP? Or are you gun shy like me, having to think things through and take time to let everything “marinate”?

There are definite pros and cons to both approaches. Which one do you identify with?


Images via Etsy.

  1. All good things come to those who wait Print by evivart
  2. What are you waiting for? print by MeganRene


10 DIY sunburst mirrors

I completed the Netherlands trifecta last Friday. I biked for 30 minutes in the rain to a thrift store. I feel like I should’ve been awarded a Dutch residence permit right then and there.

But all my effort wasn’t for nothing. I rode there with a purpose — nay — a destiny.

Thrift store circle mirror

Ever since I saw it and passed it up, I had been thinking about it. What had I been thinking passing up a large circle mirror for only €5? The thrift store gods were smiling down on me and I just snubbed my nose at them.

Apparently, the gods considered my long wet bike ride a worthy sacrifice, though, because the mirror was still there almost a week later. Phew!

When we got it home, I promptly took a razor to it since the prior owner hadn’t taken much care when they painted it and there were little spots and flecks of brown paint on the surface of the mirror. Also, that price tag needed to come off. Why they don’t put those ridiculously-sticky price tags in more inconspicuous places I will never know.

Razor to clean mirror

So now that it’s all clean, I just have to figure out what to do with it. It’s really large and heavy, so we can’t add anything that would make it much heavier on the wall. I’m thinking sunburst mirror, but there are hardly any ideas about how to DIY those.

Haha, of course that’s not true. There are tons. It seems you can take just about anything and arrange it into a circle around a mirror.

Here are 10 things you can make sun- (or star!) burst mirrors out of:

10 DIY sunburst mirrors

  1. Plastic spoonsHow to Make A Decorative Chrysanthemum Mirror out of plastic spoons!
  2. Wood shimssunburst mirror DIY
  3. Dowel rodsDIY Starburst Mirror
  4. ClothespinsCircle Mirror
  5. Poster boardHow to Make a Sunburst Mirror
  6. BBQ skewersMy Sunburst Mirror
  7. Paint stir sticksDIY: Paint Stick Sunburst Mirror
  8. Tree branches: A Sunburst Mirror Project
  9. CardboardRecycled Cereal Box Sunburst Mirror
  10. Forks, butter knives and spoonsA Starburst Mirror for the Dining Room

We’re gonna do something a little bit different with ours, though. She’s all taped up and ready for action!

Thrifted circle mirror

A week’s worth of wandering

Friday finds

  1. The perfect Fall sweater
  2. Watermelon slicing for ninjas
  3. How many times have you needed one of these?
  4. A clever candy store
  5. A “Man Table” to end all man tables
  6. What a happy home!

Oh! And guess what came in the mail today!

Ludovico the cat with Ikea 2013 catalog

No online page will ever compare with cuddling up and thumbing through a colorful catalog. Snuggly sleeping kitten is an added bonus.

Happy Labor Day weekend to my friends stateside! It’s not a holiday weekend in Holland, but we ARE going to a BBQ tomorrow! What are your plans?

August Rush

I wish this blog post had the same budget as that movie! Alas, this is not a feel-good Hollywood drama.

However, this post is supposed to make me feel good by reminding me of all the progress we’ve made on our home despite the financial setbacks. Bring on the Hollywood ending!

It did feel really good to open up here and be honest about the job snafu and all the trials that come with expat-riatism (should be a word!), so I will definitely be doing that more. I hope that writing about my experience will make some new expat feel better by knowing she is not the only one struggling with immigration issues.

Anyway, you want to know what never fails to turn my sad face upside down? This happy one:

Our kitten Ludovico

Yes, that’s an updated picture of our little fuzzball Ludovico. He’s made such an impact on our lives already — I actually okayed a scratching post the other day saying “I guess that doesn’t look so bad.” If you want to see A LOT (okay, too many) pictures of Ludo, I post them on my Instagram almost daily. You should follow me!

Ludovico was a big change for us, but a lot of the updates we made  this month were small, affordable ones like adding some hooks and hardware in our toilet and bathroom, thrifting some kitchen necessities, and splurging (well, as much as broke people can splurge!) on a designer clock.

Ikea Grundtal toilet paper roll holder

I didn’t blog about this, but it bears mentioning that you can make a stuck-to-the-wall toilet paper roll holder much prettier by running some acrylic caulk around the edge and smoothing it out with a paper towel, like so:

Ikea Grundtal toilet paper roll holder

See? No more gross see-through holes!

We did make a couple of big changes this month. They were just ridiculously cheap! We added a bunch of hand-me-down furniture to our living room.

Living room

And ain’t nothing wrong with this discounted Pax wardrobe:

Ikea As-Is Pax wardrobe

Well, that is, until we broke it.

Ikea broken Pax wardrobe

Womp womp. That’s okay. “We can rebuild him…we have the technology.” More on that later.

This month, we also added a thrifted chandelier to our living room, lovingly spray painted white, the rainbow’s most forgiving color.

Thrifted chandelier spray painted white

Funny story, I am in the process of repainting it. Yes! It’s true! Maybe this month has been a wash.

Ah well, at least we got some relaxing in before the summer ended.

Bosbad Amersfoort