living in the netherlands

Our First House Guest Arrives in 4 Hours!

It is roughly 4:20 in the morning here in beautiful Holland. I couldn't sleep a wink because, well let's face it I don't sleep like a normal human, and...My mom lands in 4 hours! Which means I would have to get up in 2 hours anyway. My mom will be mine and Loek's first visitor since I moved here 3 months ago. Wow, 3 months! This will be my mom's first time to The Netherlands and I of course, want her to love it. 

We have so much planned in the week that she is here. I will even be venturing to some cities I have not yet visited and then there is the "meeting of the parent's". 

I promise to keep you all updated! 

Peanuts, Get Your Peanuts Here!

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have some pretty strange dietary habits. I have a lot of food rules: I hate blank but not if it is prepared like blank. For example, I hate coconut, but love Thai coconut chicken soup. I know, I am an anomaly. But really, I have got much more adventurous in the past few years. My favorite foods, however have been my favoritea, since I could eat solid food. A true G.R.I.T( hey get it?) or girl raised in the south, I love macaroni and cheese and boiled peanuts. 

One of these is fairly easy to make here in The Netherlands. You can get almost all the ingredients for my go to recipe in the local grocery stores here. I will post the recipe later. But boiled peanuts, that was what I was concerned was going to be a toughy. I mean come on, you can't even get them North of the Mason-Dixon line! So, I was ecstatic that in my latest care package from my mom contained three cans of Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts . While these are not as good as pulling off the road and buying bags of the stuff from a man with no shirt, no shoes, and no teeth. I would buy them in the states during the off season and they are a fine substitute when you can't get the real thing.I tried to ration myself, I really did. But I have very little impulse control, so soon I was down to one can left. 

But then yesterday, something amazing happened! I went to the Center to do some shopping with my friend Alison. ( You can check out here blog- A Flamingo in Utrecht, she has lived here a lot longer than me. It is interesting the difference in writing between a newbie like me and someone who has been here 3 years. ) After I dragged her to several stores on the lookout for baskets, I need to organize some stuff before my mom comes next Thursday, she wanted to go into TOKO. I've walked past this Asian Food Store every time I go to the Center, but since I am always on a mission when I go there, I hadn't popped in. What I found was part restaurant supply store, part Asian grocer and part expat shop. Alison had needed to buy baking soda. Yes, you have to go to a special store to find it. And I wondered around amazed at all the sauces and spices. I looked on a shelf and there was the most surprising thing I think I could have found, about 12 cans of Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts! I think it was the only time I have been in deep shock since I have been here. I now know where to come to get my fix! 

It was a great way to celebrate my 3 month Hollandversairy. The moral to this story is that what you need can be found in unexpected places, so never be afraid to look, and TOKO will have a frequent visitor from this Georgia Girl.  

flickr image by: cotye 


New Year's in the Netherlands!


Last night, I was lucky enough to spend my first New Year in the same country as my love, and I got to spend it in my new country! I can honestly say, it was the best New Year's ever. The Dutch really know how to have fun on Old Year's Eve!

Back home in Georgia, folks eat black eyed peas and collard greens for luck. Here in the Netherlands, the New Year's food of choice is Oliebollen. Think funnel cake batter but rolled into a ball, complete with powdered sugar. Unfortunately, when Loek went to the store yesterday, they were out. But I can say from previous experience this month that Oliebollen are awesome. You can get them with or without raisons. I get mine without. 

While it is popular to go out on New Year's, Loek and I decided to stay in. We are still on a single income and have some very important guests coming in later this month. So, we drank some beer and watched movies waiting for the magic hour. Our movie watching was disrupted by the occasional firework, but more on that later. Finally, it was Midnight so we kissed and headed up to the roof. *and now for a little background info* on New Year's eve the people of the Netherlands spend 50,000,000 Euros on fireworks, and not the puny one's the big ones! 

Because Holland is so flat, being at a higher elevation you can see for miles around. Which means that you can see fireworks from all the surrounding towns. All at once, in every direction you want to look in. Imagine it like if you were in Downtown Atlanta and could see all the fireworks there on the 4th, with Lawrenceville's, Stone Mountain's, Decatur's, Alpharetta's and every other small town in the surrounding area going off all at once. And instead of lasting half an hour, it lasts for at least 2. It was amazing! I never want to spend New Year's anywhere else! Check out Loek's video below. Happy New Year Lovelies! 



New Year, New Blog

It occurs to me that I haven't been doing the best job in keeping up with my blog since actually moving to The Netherlands. I have a variety of excuses for this, from not having internet to not liking the keyboard on Loek's laptop. But mostly, I have just been burnt out and lazy. If I have any faithful readers left, I hope you will be happy to know that my 2012 New Year's Resolutions is to redevote my time to writing. My second resolution is to keep my promises. 

2011 was a great year for me! I fulfilled my lifelong dream of moving to Europe and my adulthood dream of living with the love of my life. I got engaged, the first of the 3 Musketeers had a baby, and my Godson Logan was born. I left a job that was slowly killing me and I am now free to pursue whichever avenue I see fit. If I had one piece of sage wisdom to pass on it would be this- Follow your own path, doing what is expected of you is not the key to happiness. Following your heart is. 

I can only hope that 2012 will continue to build on 2011. For those of you who had a shitty year in 2011, remember that  tomorrow is another year. May all of you have great years in 2012 and here's hoping the world doesn't end!

Salvatore Vuono /

Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!



I Can Stay!

Yesterday, I received some rather awesome news in the post! Just 2 weeks, after turning in all required paperwork to apply for my visa, I was granted my wish! That's right, I can now stay here with The Verlo- for at least a year! Words can not describe how elated I feel! I can also now look for a job here, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. 

So, how did we do it, you may be asking? Well, the first step in moving anywhere abroad should first be all the necessary research. Don't just rely on what you read online, actually call if you have questions. Here in The Netherlands, you have to be on the lease to register yourself as living with your partner. This process took us about two weeks to get the lease sent to us. After we registered at City Hall, we went to IND to get all the necessary paperwork to fill out. Since I am an American, I had to get my Civil Status Affidavit notarized at the US Consulate in Amsterdam. It took 3 weeks to get an appointment. You then have to take that paper to Den Haag to have it legalized for the Dutch Government. 

Since The Verlo- just  started a new job and didn't have a long enough contract. (see Immigration for where you want to move for all requirements,) We had to provide all his contracts and tax stubs for the last 3 years. As well as, all his paychecks for this year. In the end, we just had to fill out all the paperwork, along with about 50 pieces of various required papers, and pay our fees. 

I am so excited, that it has been working out for us and we could not be happier that I get to stay here. All I can say, as hokey as it sounds is: Listen to your heart, do the work, and your dreams really can come true! 


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