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I Am No Longer a car owner- My second to last big thing before I move

I am no longer a car owner. Under normal circumstances, this would be a near impossible thing living in Metro Atlanta as I currently do.  But I am lucky enough to be able to carpool into work with my mom for my remaining work days. So, why you might ask am I so excited to no longer be a car owner? Because this means besides my student loan, I don't anyone a thing in this world. 

Now, instead of my money going towards a car payment, car insurance and gas, everything I make until I leave can go into a savings account. With the exception of a pair of TOMS wrap boots that I have had my eyes on for years. They aren't that expensive, I just never got around to ordering them. If you have never worn TOMS, this is my 7th pair because they are the most comfortable shoes on the planet. Rumor has it, there is a shop in Amsterdam that sells them. But this is a bit off topic. 

When I move to The Netherlands, the Verlo- and I won't have a car. Nor, do we need one. He doesn't drive and while it is shocking to my American friends, I have no intention of ever buying a car again. For one thing, I actually hate driving. For another, the cost of petrol is insane and public transportation is not like it is here, it actually gets you around. Perhaps my mind will change after a few soaked days waiting for the train. But right now, I could not be more excited to not be a car owner. 

(As a complete aside if you are looking for a car in Metro Atlanta, I recommend Auto Loan Finders in Marietta. Full disclosure, I do know the owners, but they really do go out of their way to get you a car you can be proud of. Just see there 300 positive reviews on their website. )

Image: nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

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One More Cup of Coffee for the Road- My last Road-trip!

I went to Columbia, South Carolina this weekend to see my cousin Alice for her 24th birthday! Alice and I are exactly one week less than being a year apart. While this caused some rivalry when we were little, as we have grown into adulthood, we have gotten to be super close. Columbia, is about 4 hours away from Atlanta. So, not too long of a drive, but very fitting for my last mini trip in the United States until I move. It is going to be really strange to not just be able to jump in a car and go see my family.

While on the road, my mom and I stocked up on my favorite food, boiled peanuts. For any non-Southerners out there, boiled peanuts are fresh peanuts boiled in an insane amount of salt and water for at least 8 hours. The squishier the peanut the better! I have some serious love!

We then made it to my aunt and uncle's house where my cousin met us for dinner. My aunt and uncle's reminds me a lot of Dutch houses. It is nice and cheery, but there is basically no clutter. Possessions are less important to them then spending quality time with the ones they love. It is just so darn cozy and quaint. 

When my cousin Alice arrived, we went to eat at this place in Columbia called Hunter and Gather. I had the mac and cheese and it was amazing! They brew their own beer there, but their pale ale tasted to much like an IPA for my taste. But, if you are ever in South Carolina, I highly recommend it. 

This morning it was time for presents! My cousin got some really cool stuff, like an art pass to the Columbia Museum of Art and a Gamecocks luggage tag for when she comes to visit me in The Netherlands. I got my present from my Aunt, Uncle and Alice a week early. I got the ulitmate present- Money, because really, what else should you give someone who is packing their entire life into 3 suitcases? 

It was an extremely fun ,albiet short weekend. I will really miss going to my Aunt and Uncles. Road-trips are pretty important to Americans, perhaps I might want to rethink my no driving in The Netherlands stance. 

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I'll Be Missing You! Paycheck Edition

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I feel like I have not been present this week on my blog nor twitter. This is mostly because, after two years of work for the company I work for, (being the 3rd person hired and growing it from infancy,) this has been the most challenging week ever. I don't know if it is the debt ceiling or what, but clients have been even pickier than normal. As trying as this week has been, I keep on reminding myself how little time I actually have left to bring in a steady paycheck.

When I leave my job in September, there are potentially a few freelance gigs here and there, but basically, that is it for the money to come in. For first time since the age of 16, that I will have nothing that I have to go to. during the week.How do you cure an American of her workaholic tendencies? I get a lot of self satisfaction in my work ethic.The unknown scares me a little, (okay a lot.) From all I can tell, finding a job as an expat can be a challenge, especially after some new E.U sanctions. 

It is time to really investigate what it is that I want to do with my life. Why is it that when you have plenty of time to do fun things, you have no money to do them? The future hubs and I will be fine financially, as long as we stick to a budget. i.e. no retail therapy. I think the bigger adjustment for me ,more so then moving to a whole new country, is going to be not bringing in the bacon and not have something to fill up my time. Very thankful for a Museumkaart!

I don't want you to worry though, because I have a grand plan. It will just take awhile to execute. 

Image: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Where the Heck is Holland? Is that In Asia? And Other Tales of Geography Woe.

You constantly hear that the United States Education System is lacking. I never really put much thought into this because I feel like I got a pretty decent, broad education. Sure, I am not yet bilingual, but I took a class where I got to wield a blow torch. Perspective people, honestly. It wasn't until I started telling friends and co-workers about my upcoming move to The Netherlands, that I realized- American's have no clue about Geography. 

Of course, it is understandable that people get Holland and The Netherlands confused. Holland is actually two provinces in The Netherlands. North and South Holland. Utrecht is actually in the province of Utrecht. So technically, I am not moving to Holland, even though it has been used synonymously with The Netherlands for so long, I don't think anyone will freak out on you for using either.

I did an experiment today with some of my work friends, I printed out a blank map of Europe and asked people to identify where The Netherlands are. ( I know, it is a marvel that I have friends). The results were, well.... I know it is a small country, but dang. The most common answer was either Sweden or Denmark, kind of close, but no. The Netherlands is actually that tiny country located next to Belgium and Germany. It is not however, in Asia, which I have been asked from time to time. 

People tend to also not know what language they speak in The Netherlands. For the record, its Dutch or Nederlands. Someone also told me that they always wanted to go to Holland because they are a really big skier. For those of you who have been to The Netherlands, I will let you process that for a moment... For those of you who haven't been, The Netherlands is almost entirely flat and the reason for all the canals and dikes is all about Dutch ingenuity and reclaiming landmass from the sea. 

I am very much looking forward to the day that my friends come visit me in my new home. Assuming of course that they can find it! 

What are the weirdest things you have heard about the place you call home? Can you find The Netherlands?

14 Reasons I Can't Wait to Move to The Netherlands

I read a lot of expat blogs. Like a boy scout I like to be prepared. A theme on them this week seems to be about what people miss the most about their home country while being an expat. Since, I am trying really hard to become an optimist, I have decided to focus on tthe things I can’t wait to move to Holland for. Here is my list, in no particular order:

  1. Loek, I am looking forward to living with my verloofde for the first time and you know all that goes into living with your spouse. Plus, I kind of love him and miss him terribly.  

  1. Living in our brand new apartment will be nice, neither Loek nor I have ever lived some place brand new. I can’t wait to decorate!

  1. Never driving. I am not a good driver, I don’t enjoy it and I am very much looking forward to not having a car. Which of course means, I wont have a car payment, car insurance or pay for Petrol. (That’s right, look at me being all European in my terminology.) Of course, if I buy the Vespa of my dreams, I will have to pay for some of this list again.

  1. My European body. No car= walking and bike riding. Also, I plan to eat better and only have Frites once a week. Frites Fridays as they will be known in my house.(Frites are Dutch Fries).

  1. The art and architecture. I have studied Art History most of my life, so I am excited about being so near to the Dutch Masters.

  1. It’s freaking Europe! Europe is amazing because, you just have to hope a train and you can be in an entirely different country, will wonders never cease.

  1. I can’t wait to be cold! I know, my Southern friends will always give me grief for this. I have always been in the wrong place, I can’t stand to be hot. I only like to be outside when the temperature is below 80. I mean come on, you are talking about the girl who went to Russia in February, twice...

  1. A better work /life balance. Thanks to Holland Daze, I can accurately tell you that the Dutch are given at a minimum 20 vacation days a year. Vacation Days, not sick days! On average, The Dutch work 1378 hours annually, American’s 1768. I am very much looking forward to not working too much.

  1. Gezellig which wikapedia says is  “A perfect example of untranslatability is seen in the Dutch language through the word gezellig, which does not have an English equivalent. Literally, it means cozy, quaint, or nice, but can also connote time spent with loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness.”

  1. I have to grow up, my Mom is a whole ocean away.

  1. Learning Dutch, I have always wanted to be bi-lingual. I think total emersion is the best way to go.

  1. I'm going in business for myself. Time to make my own hours and play by my rules.

   13. The flowers, oh the beautiful flowers.

   

    14. All the new things I will get to try, and everything new there is to discover.


I leave in 68 days, I can’t wait for this adventure to begin.

26 Things Before I'm 26

I saw this idea on a blog I just started reading, The Lighthouse Keeper,  and I thought, hmm I should make a list like that. I love lists! The particular blog was 25 things before turning 25, but since I turn 25 in less than a month, I decided to get a head start. So without further ado, here you are:

In no particular order:

1. Move to Utrecht.

2. Be able to communicate in Dutch.

3. Get married, I'm engaged so this isn't a huge jump.

4. Take up ballet again.

5. Find a core group of friends in my new country.

6. Develop a sense of personal style and dress accordingly.

7. Learn to bake and cook in my Nederlands kitchen.

8. Start my tour guide business.

9. Learn to sew.

10. Go to Paris. (I went when I was 11, but the Louvre was on strike the whole time)

11. Write letters to my friends back home.

12. Get back to the weight that feels best on my frame.

13. Read 100 new books, including some classics.

14. Start making metal jewelry again.

15. Book my honeymoon, we probably wont go right after the wedding.

16. Learn how to share, I was practically an only child.

17. Become an expert bike rider.

18. Attend Amsterdam Fashion Week.

19. Knit a sweater.

20. Learn the art of light layers.

21. Eat better, I have a horrible diet.

22. Start bringing in money again.

23. Continue adding to the retirement fund.

24. Laugh more.

25. Get over my fear of boats.

26. Stick to my plans.

What do you want to accomplish before your next birthday?

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Let's Talk About Stuff Baby!

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It always takes me off guard when more often than not, I tell someone I am moving to the Netherlands and marrying at Dutchman, they ask me not about my upcoming nuptials or what I am going to be doing once I move there. Instead they say “OMG, I could never do that, what about your stuff?” As if their possessions weigh them down and are therefore I am supposed to be weighed down by mine.

 

Let’s talk about stuff shall we? Currently, my fiance lives in a one room apartment that is about the size of my current bedroom. It works for him, but we are moving into a brand new apartment that is currently being built in Utrecht. It is about 65sq meters or for those of you use to American, 699sq feet. Not big, but not really bad for a one bedroom apartment. There are going to be two of us living there. Loek already has a sofa, desk, entertainment system and coffee tables. As well as, an oven the size of a microwave, a 4 burner stovetop and a washer. (You get a box when you move into most apartments in NL, it is up to you to add the floor and appliances) We are buying a new bed because something in the apartment has to be my style as well as a new closet or two because Loek’s is falling apart and I love me some clothes.( Very Undutch I know.)

When I leave the States in October, I will be taking Atticus as my personal Item, a carry on doctors bag by DVF, I die, I got it for 60! Then I am checking two rolling duffels, one is the biggest suitcase per cubic cm I could find.( A Kaitlin packing tip: Duffels fit more than traditional suitcases) With these three bags, I plan on taking all the stuff that matters to me in the world. Okay, maybe that is not entirely true, I left 4 Albert Heijn sinaasappels (oranges) boxes of stuff in Loek’s apartment when I visited in April.

My DVF Bag

 

In the next week, I am going to do a series about how I chose what to take, how I freed myself from my possessions and how I learned that stuff doesn’t really matter, it is the experiences you have and the person you love that make you who you are. I would love to hear back from you as to your struggles with stuff, or how you were able to purge your junk.
 

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Worry, Why Do I Let Myself Worry?

I don’t want come across as one of those people who don’t realize how truly blessed they are, you know, the ones who complain about the opportunities given to them that most people will never get to experience. That being said, moving to a completely different continent is proving to be more challenging than I could ever imagine. By nature I am a worrier. Seriously, it is the only thing about me that drives the fiancee nuts, (well, that and my constant planning, which comes hand in hand with being a worrier). Right now,here is what has me stressed. I am sure I share some of them with anyone about to embark on a big relocation. 

 Money: Let’s face it, money is almost always going to be an issue. I am worried about being let go from my current position because of all the rumors running rampant about me. ( I am not actually moving to Asia this summer, last I checked, The Netherlands is in Europe and I am not moving before October). I have to pay off some things before I move, I have to figure out what to do with my car. The exchange rate sucks for Americans, so even though I am saving lots of dollars, that doesn’t equate to lots of Euros. With the visa I am getting, it will be a few months until I can legally work and find a job. We will be living off of Loek’s salary and on a serious budget. While I realize that millions of people do this everyday, I have been basically supporting myself ever since I was 16, so having to rely on someone else is going to be tough for me. Add to that, trying to plan a wedding in Europe with plenty of notice so that friends and family from the US can be there without an income, is going to be tough.

Loneliness:  I am abnormally close to my mom. We currently live together, so that I can save money to move, we also work at the same company so we carpool together. Thankfully, we don’t work on the same floor because that would just be too much. I have never lived more than 4 hours by car from my mom. I have been to Europe more times without her though so maybe that will help me out a little. In addition to my mom, I am also super close with my half-sister who I full love and several cousins. I have a large and close knit family, many of whom, as much as I love them, will probably never make the plane ride over to see me.(wimps). I also have some great friends. I still talk to people from 1st grade and I made the wedding cakes for both of my best friends of the last 14 years (thats right Christy and Hayley, over half our lives). While I don’t get to see my friends as often as I would like, practically no one lives by me, it is comforting to know that we are mostly all still in the same state. I am worried that I won’t know where to meet people in Holland and Loek has the same problem I do, where everyone moved away after college. He also lives in a different town than any of his co-workers so they don’t hang out much outside of work. In the words of Paul Rudd’s character in one of my favorite movies ever, “I got to get some fucking friends”.

Other adjustments: Here are some of the changes that I am worried about with moving to a place that speaks a completely different language, and just does things differently- the Dutch are so logical! I am worried that I will not be able to cook the recipes that I have in my vast variety of cookbooks. I worry that I wont ever learn Dutch. That I won’t be able to find a job, that Loek will get tired of no longer having disposable income. That I will be seen as a tacky American. That Loek and I wont be compatible at living together,( he has never lived with a girl before). That there will be a problem with my visa. That my cat wont be able to come. That my mom wont be as close as Loek’s mom is to our future children. That no one will come to our wedding. That I won’t be able to sleep with it being sunny until 11pm during the summer. That I will be depressed with the cold and dark that comes with Winter. I know a lot of this is irrational, but I have already told you that I am a worrier.
How do you overcome your fears? This peach is open to suggestions!    

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Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How?

Welcome to my blog!  
The Who: My name is Kaitlin, I am in my mid twenties and newly engaged. I rock at jeopardy and I love beautiful things. I also have quite a snarky sense of humor, so you know if you are easily offended or you just don't like snark, this might not be the place for you. 
The What: This blog chronicles my journey; both preparing to move to Europe and the adjustments I will make after I am there. It is a way to keep my friends and family up to date on my life. As well as, a chance to make new friends. Drop me a line I would love to hear from you. 
The Where: Right now, I am based out of Atlanta, this fall I will be moving to Utrecht, Netherlands. Utrecht is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands. It has a beautiful city center, and most importantly, it is where my love is. 
The When: A month that ends in a -ber, that is all you are getting for now.
The Why: People have been asking why it is that I am moving there and he is not moving to the States. That's simple here are the reasons: Emigration to the States is tough for people in love. The Euro is stronger than the dollar. Loek can't drive a car and I don't particularly like it. I was an Art HIstory Major in College so where is better than Europe. I am obsessed with travel; as is Loek and most of where we want to explore is in Eurasia. So why is it called a Georgia Peach Abroad with the title being called Georgia Peach in Utrecht? Well, I was raised in Georgia and though I may not always like to admit it, I am a Southern Lady. 
The How: Loek built this blog for me so that is how you are getting content. As far as the whole how am I getting to move to Europe thing? You will just have to wait and read. 

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