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.

Advertisements

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

 


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


You win some…

… and some wins you have to give away.

Notice I didn’t say “you lose some” because, when it comes to home design, I count a lose as an ‘it wasn’t meant to be’.

Rolan and I enjoyed an afternoon bike ride through our new city yesterday and were pleasantly surprised to find out that the shops were open. (They are usually closed on Sundays here.)

I noticed that one of the home design shops, LifeStyle, was moving its store across the street and selling everything off at incredible discounts.

We are on a major spending freeze given my current lack of employment, but I tugged Rolan’s arm in that direction anyway. I’m a glutton for punishment.

Really awful, terrible super bad punishment.

We fell in love with these globes, but couldn’t justify the purchase since we don’t have anywhere to display it.

We watched the store disintegrate before our very eyes. People were snapping up deals left and right. I started thinking maybe our spending freeze wasn’t the only reason we would go home empty handed. Pretty soon there wouldn’t be anything left to buy.

But then I looked above the cashier station and gasped. The most beautiful basket pendant lights were just hanging there with a 70% off sticker and nobody was grabbing them.

It’s actually the same light as seen in one of my favorite office inspiration pins:

But even with 70% off, that beautiful baby was still way out of our price range. So I closed my eyes, grabbed Rolan’s arm and politely asked him to escort me out of the shop.

Just as we were heading out I saw another young couple examining the light. I just hope whoever got it loves it as much as I do.

If you love it too (and your budget is bigger than mine), I found it on their web site — still on sale!


Give me a break

These days, with money being so tight, it gets easy to beat myself up about what we can’t yet afford to do around the apartment.

But today when I woke up I heard my brain telling me to relax.

So I listened. And I realized…

It’s okay that the couch is a little dirty in spots. It was free and it is holding up well to Ludovico’s talon claws.

It’s also his favorite place for daily cat naps, which are a much-appreciated break from the norm of “No! Stop! Ouch! That’s my leg!”

It’s also okay that the hand-me-down bench we received from Rolan’s uncle is upholstered in a dark red and black damask.

Because, as it happens, the Ikea Ofelia throw that Rolan’s mother gifted me makes a pretty nice little slipcover for the time being.

Not perfect, but it’s fine for now!

Also not perfect is our clothes storage situation in the bedroom. But that’s okay because we have beautiful dark blue curtains we found on clearance that were lovingly sewn together by Rolan’s mother and hemmed to the right height by yours truly.

And even though I will probably kill them soon, I am enjoying the fresh herbs we have growing in our kitchen.

There is so much possibility in this apartment. I simultaneously can and can’t wait to see what comes of it.


Forest pool

Since we didn’t technically go away anywhere for vacation, we wanted Rolan’s last day of summer holiday from work to feel a little special. So we packed a lunch (egg salad sammies, chips and tea!), strapped it to our bikes and set out to discover something near our apartment.

Thanks to Google Maps, we knew there was a swimming source somewhere near the local zoo. So we packed our swimming suits just in case we stumbled onto it. Turns out we couldn’t have missed it.

The Bosbad (forest pool) is exactly what it sounds like. A giant 3-pool oasis smack dab in the middle of a lush forest. And it’s all just a bike ride away from us.

It’s got fun stuff for kids and adults to do, like water slides, water guns and diving points. There’s even a rainbow-colored shallow pool just for the really little guys. The pools are surrounded by fields of grass, which stays cool and dry and — best of all — out of your every crevice, unlike sand.

There’s bathrooms there for changing (bring your own TP though!) and a little café that sells food and drinks and, most importantly, ice cream!

It opens every day this week at 10am and closes around 6pm. You can find out more info at their website.

Rolan and I really enjoyed our day of lounging in the sun by the pool, reading our Kindles and cloud watching.

Top panorama photo taken with the 360 Panorama app. Bottom photo taken with Instagram.