Settling In - Our first month in The Netherlands.

We're finally in our new house, and it is wonderful to have a space to call our own. I hesitate to say that our temporary apartment was "uncomfortable", but I underestimated how unsettling it would be to feel unsettled. It was much harder to "live" in a temporary space (ie, cook, go to school an work) than I'd anticipated. Will keep that in mind when we move to the far east.

I've been keeping a mental list of things I love about Europe and Holland, and things I miss dearly about Canada.

Things I love about Europe and Holland

1. The food. Ha- no surprise there. ;) But it's not just the food itself. It's the culture around food (neighborhood shops vs big box stores), the cost of food (SO much cheaper) and the quality of the food. Now that I'm equipped with my familiar kitchen tools I'm excited to get back to more cooking!

2. Transportation. We've been without a car for a month, and other than Brent's commute to Rotterdam, we haven't really minded not having a car.  Public transportation is great, and we'll soon have bikes to get around the city with. The apps make figuring out where to go (and when) SO easy.

3. Fast deliveries! There are distinct advantages to living in a small country and quick deliveries top the list. Most things can be ordered online and delivered within 24 hours! We ordered a new TV at 11 pm and it was here by noon the next day.

Things I miss about Canada

1. Clothes Dryer. European dryers leave a lot to be desired. They're small, take forever to dry even small loads, and did I say small? It's an adjustment for our family of 5. Thankfully the kids are generating less laundry as they have uniforms for school.

2. Customer Service. I read a lot of expat blogs before we moved, and many of them said that the meaning of customer service may not be up to North American standards. I can now attest to that!

3. The ease of the day-to-day. I know this will come with time, but I've been surprised at how exhausting it is to be unable to easily read or understand the local language. Even though almost everyone speaks English, most information is only available in Dutch.  Thank goodness for Google Translate and Friedel! ;)

But, family is what I both love about Europe and miss about Canada. I love being able to spend time with Friedel and family, but I also dearly miss our friends and family at home. What I wouldn't give to be able to fly in for book club, have dinner with our Moms, or Friday snacks by the back filing cabinet at work.

So, all in all I think we're doing ok. As you can see Sammy and Lucy are settling in! And we had a blast at Friedel's last night for our first Sinterklass celebration. She went all out to make it a special night for us. :)


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