Looking back on our three years in Lagos, I was so happy to have written a blog regularly. My two children (ages 3 and 16 mos. when we moved there) do not have vivid memories of our time there, but I can show them the pictures and tell them about all of our experiences there through my blog. So, when my husband got an opportunity to move to The Netherlands, I knew I needed to keep a regular “journal” so that they can look back on everything they are experiencing here in a new country.
So for now, this is our new home...
I will say that visiting a place and actually living there are two completely different things. When you visit a place, it is easy to see the differences in cultures and countries as charming and interesting. Learning the language of a different country as a tourist is fun and not so stressful as you know you will be going home in a few days/weeks. You can eat out at different restaurants each night and experience the local flavor of a city. As an expat, you can do all of that also, but at some point, you realize that eating out at restaurants every night isn’t really in your budget. At some point, you can’t just pretend you are a tourist and not try to learn the language. You will use your google translate to help you interpret what is on the grocery shelves. And you may think you are buying tomato soup, but when you open the can, out pours tomato soup with meatballs and noodles! ( I didn’t see that one coming!) You can’t keep pretending you are a tourist when you are driving your car and you go down the a road the wrong way (for the fourth time) before you park your car out in front of your house. Or, maybe you got in the wrong check out lane at the grocery store because you didn’t realize that “Passate” means only if you have a card to pay your bill. ( A bit embarrassing as I thought I would have to gather all the groceries up and move to a different lane...and realize you forgot your grocery bag also!) (More on that in another post.) You may get a little too cocky thinking you can blend in with all the locals and ride your great new Dutch bike with a skirt on and then proceed to actually fall over in slow motion while waiting for the bike light to turn green...but maybe I have said too much...I digress.:)
To live in another country, I have found that you just can’t take yourself too seriously. This is so true especially if you have children. If you aren’t a person who can laugh at yourself, and see the humor in your mistakes, then living abroad may not be for you. But, if you are willing to peek out the window of your comfort zone, approach the daily tasks of life with a humorous attitude, keep in touch with your dear friends and family back home (y’all know who you are!), be open to meeting great new friends, and find a great wine store nearby (special shout out to my YNO sisters!), you just might make it. And, I have to tell you I have laughed pretty hard at myself this past week since we moved here.:)
So, I hope you enjoy my blog about the many things our family will be seeing and experiencing while actually living in The Netherlands. There are so many things I want to write about since we moved here, and I will share them over the next two years.:) I am happy to have you join me as I am “Getting on the Bicycle” to explore this new chapter of our family’s life.:)