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A common complaint among fellow expats is how difficult it is for them to actually make friends with Dutch people. Being a seasoned expat for the past 6 years now, I’ve gained some valuable insight on how to establish real, genuine friendships with these wonderful women.
However, pure luck and a lot of practice has allowed me to forge genuine friendships with these wonderful women. I’d love to impart my wisdom on other fellow expats on how to make Dutch female friends. We’re in their country and no matter how obscure Dutch is, making a concerted effort to learn the lingua franca of the Netherlands demonstrates your seriousness of acclimating to the country.
If a potential new Dutch friend suggests to meet up for coffee, lunch or dinner date, pretend that you are busy for the next month or so. If you have your heart set on making friends with real Dutch women, go for the home-run and wear three quarter white leggings.
It would not be that much of a coincidence, there is only one Dutch school ?? I might even know your friend, I know some Filipina’s. Having previously lived in London, Dubai, and Mumbai, I think it is easier in Dubai and Mumbai. I am 100% Dutch, but grew up in America, and this still holds true in my family’s culture. Subscribe To Our NewsletterJoin our Finding Dutchland mailing list to receive the latest news.
An all too common experience for American expats in the Netherlands is the infamous Dutch import taxes on packages from the United States. Unfortunately, not everyone has the exact amount of cash lying around at home so packages are held hostage until the ransom (Dutch custom taxes + administrative costs) can be paid. What many people are not aware of is that gifts from individuals from the United States (or any other non-EU country) is officially exempted from import taxes up to a maximum value of €45. Why would the Dutch postal service still charge me taxes and administrative costs if the official Dutch government tax office has clearly indicated that gifts under €45 would not be taxed? The secret lies in how the declaration statement (United States Postal Service – Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note -CP 72) of the package if filled out.
I’ve also included a picture below that you can send to grandma and grandpa just incase they are visual learners. One of the most challenging aspects of raising my son in the Netherlands is that he is thousands of miles away from his loving grandparents.
As soon as we arrived at the farm in the early evening, Niki seemed to magically appear to greet us.
For gourmands and camping enthusiasts, there’s a wood-oven stove right in the center of each tent (the beating heart) and an outdoor wood cooker.
Part of the highlight of the trip was on Saturday evening when Niki and Cees hosted a homemade pizza party for all the campers. And no need to worry about planning activities – just starting the fires and keeping them going is an exercise in communication, patience and resourcefulness.
As assured by Niki before our arrival,  De Groene Hoeve really has everything that a family needs for a comfortable stay. Take a cruise alongside the beautiful, historic city of Hoorn with Watertaxi Hoorn (ask for schipper Koen). The lines of cars filing into the city of Rotterdam were invariably packed with self-proclaimed gourmands, architect buffs, modern art enthusiasts and curious day trippers.
The building is the Markthal (Market Hall), Rotterdam’s latest architectural pride and joy.
While we strolled around the expansive Markthal, fighting the infamous Dutch crowds, I realized that my concerns were a bit naive. All those weeks and months in between, I’ve written (mostly in my head) a dozen, or so articles about parenting, motherhood, and life in the Netherlands.
Now that I finally find the time and space to sit behind my computer, I stumble, unable to fill words on a blank screen. It wasn’t necessarily all the responsibilities with the move that prevented me from writing.
Ironically, it was finally being able to find a place to call home and in a good place that served as a catalyst for my mild existential crisis.
In general I tend to shy away from writing about tragedies and heartaches that surround us. At the expense of sounding trite and being cliche, please allow me to also take the time to thank this man renowned for his comedic genius and kindness. Williams was the rare common ground, the (sad) clown that my American-weary Filipino parents could enjoy watching with their children. The Dutch love Dick Bruna so much that they even opened the dick bruna huis in Utrecht, dedicating a museum of over 7000 pieces consisting of children’s books, book covers and posters created by Dick Bruna.
As one can see from the photo below, Dick Bruna playfully introduces the basics of visual art. And the great news is that there are 16 books available in English making Nijntje (Miffy) more accessible for children around the world. This post is my contribution for the Read Around the World Summer Reading Series from Multicultural Kid Blogs!  From June through August, bloggers from all over the world will share their recommendations of great multicultural books for the entire family!  For more details and the full schedule, please visit the series main page.  You can also follow along on our Summer Reading Pinterest Board! Only when I became a parent could I fully appreciate how wonderful Paris is for babies and toddlers – to see this glamorous city renowned for its history, food and artisanship through the eyes of a child. Experience from a recent trip has convinced me that Paris is city in love with babies and toddlers.
If this is your first time in Paris and you would love to experience the quintessential Parisian neighborhood while hitting major sites, I highly recommend staying in the 7th Arrondissement.
For parents who love to travel, almost everyone can agree that an absolute traveling essential is a light-weight, foldable stroller.
Our personal pick is the Maclaren Quest – the perfect stroller for traveling with a toddler.
Enforcing a regular nap schedule for babies and toddlers like the one you have at home during traveling can make everyone involved a lot happier. The best way to still enjoy the famous landmarks of Paris, a happy, contented child, not lose your sanity and actually have a pleasant time?
Rather than ambitiously (and arguably naively) trying to climb the Eiffel Tower with a toddler, consider heading over to Place du Trocadero. There is a beautiful double-decker antique carousel, sweeping panoramic views over the gardens and the Eiffel Tower.
At the heart of this children’s haven is the 135-year old carousel designed by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Opera de Paris. If you are visiting Paris with a toddler (or even older children), this is an absolute must.
Arguably one of the best aspects of traveling with toddlers and babies is not being restricted to school schedules.
Hope you and your family enjoy an unforgettable experience in Paris or inspired to take a trip to the City of Light!
Two weeks remain before we move out of our comfortable, modern suburban home into a 1930s cottage nestled in a Dutch forest.
As health psychologist Kelly McGonigal suggested in her Ted talk, I’m making stress my friend. If you can get the keys to the new place before the move, I strongly recommend you cleaning the new place. If you are moving with a baby or toddler, seriously consider utilizing your support network of friends and family to do some babysitting the weeks leading up to the move and moving day itself. The question isn’t as much as being curious to know about your own personal situation but rather your own ethnic origin regardless of nationality. There would be stiff competition from lechon (roasted suckling pig), pancit (Filipino noodles), mechado (Filipino beef stew), lumpia (Filipino egg rolls) and a dozen other native Filipino dishes. The flood gates started opening the moment her beautiful soulful voice recollected her journey in finding her own authentic cultural voice. Like Adichie, I had grown up in a world where there were no books and stories about growing up that I could directly identify with (as a Filipino-American). It’s no secret that one of the things I love most about Dutch culture is their love for traveling.
For some people, traveling with babies, toddlers and kids would be the last thing they would want to do. Every Tuesday (Travel Tuesday), I plan on sharing some things I’ve learned about traveling with my little one as a baby and as a toddler. Carrying around a tiny mini-library of some sorts can do wonders to keep a baby and toddler preoccupied. Having crayons (Wasco Playon Crayon Primary), an activity book with stickers (Leukste Doe Book Voor Jongens) and a pad with paper and an attached pen (Paddenstoel Notitiehouder) can really entertain a baby and a toddler. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to make some chocolate hazelnut cookie sandwiches.
Contrary to their other European counterparts like the French, Italians, Portuguese, Spanish and Greeks, the Dutch customarily like to give three kisses.
A bike is simply considered an extension of one’s body and the most convenient way to travel in the Low Countries. The chocolate is disguised in the form of hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) placed on bread with butter. An an undercover introvert, I must confess that I’m both grateful for all the attention and feeling a bit overwhelmed. After a fun-filled, amazing time with our dearest friends, albeit over-scheduled weekend, my family and I are looking forward to a relatively quiet week. And since happiness is contagious, I will try to start every Monday with articles that have made me smile, laugh, inspired and feel more connected to the world. According to Unicef’s most recent Child Well Being in Rich Countries survey, Dutch kids ranked as the happiest kids in the world. It shouldn’t be surprising that the happiest kids in the world also have parents who are also among the happiest people in the world. Unlike their American counterparts and the rest of women in the world, glamour, hospitality and charm do not rank high in a Dutch woman’s priority list.
Perhaps a main factor why Dutch women are so happy is that they’ve found the perfect work-life balance. Dutch elementary students under the age of ten usually do not have any homework and are simply encouraged to enjoy learning.Upon completion of primary school at the age of 12, Dutch pupils take a multiple choice CITO test which determines their relative intelligence level and heavily influences what corresponding high school they could attend. Thus, Dutch high school students also do not face the notorious pressure of taking the SATs or ACTs or ever attaining academic excellence. I was actually tickled when the United Nation’s assessed that the Dutch kids ate healthy breakfasts. A traditional Dutch breakfast, whether you are a child or an adult, actually often consists of a piece of white bread, butter and chocolate sprinkles. On a serious note, Unicef concluded that Dutch children and teens reported eating breakfast with their family on a regular basis.
If you ever find yourself at the playground on a weekday, chances are you’re also going to run into a Dutch Oma (grandmother) with her grandchildren.
Despite the looming economic crisis and various cuts in subsidies on this side of the pond, Dutch families will still continue to get money from the Dutch government. Obviously, our current reality doesn’t fit the Dutch model for a stereotypical family setup. Now that we’re 17 months into parenthood, my husband and I have decided to hire an au pair. It’s an incredibly convenient to have an extra caregiver living right under your roof. Another definite bonus for having an au pair is that your child stays in the comfort of your own home which can be especially useful during unfavorable weather conditions. In comparison to traditional child care such as creche (day care), when you have an au pair, you can actually create a schedule that works best for you and your family. Having an au pair who can help with light household chores would definitely reel in the daily chaos. Having someone from another culture come into your home can broaden your family’s world. The financial costs of an au pair are considerably less than other traditional forms of child care such as creche, a nanny and the occasional babysitter. While our son is our utmost priority, we believe that it is really important to take care of ourselves and our marriage too.
In the long run, hiring an au pair is probably the best investment you can make for your over-all well being as an expat parent! I’m a mother to a 17 month old toddler son in a country that I have yet to call home. I watched countless hours of Sesame Street, The Little Prince, Fragglerock, Duck Tales, Gummy Bears, Punky Brewster, Full House, The Rugrats, Mr.
My brothers and I became obnoxious Americanized Filipino kids to the disdain of our ultra conservative, traditional Filipino parents.
Yet, when I went to join my now-Dutch husband in the Netherlands, I was slapped for the first time with racist overtures and derogatory prejudices. There were so many instances when I could feel people’s discomfort the moment I open my mouth to speak, their ears betraying what their eyes were showing them. Perhaps part of my heightened sensitivity to being a foreign mom in the Netherlands is that my beautiful half-Dutch son is officially categorized by the local Dutch municipality as an Allochtoon. More than once has my parenting skills, especially because I carried my baby, been described as being reminiscent to African mothers in the bush. Though as challenging as it is being a mother from a different shore, I also love how living in the Netherlands has opened up my world to wonderful people all around the world – Singapore, South Africa, Italy, Australia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Portugal, Turkey, Morocco, Greece, Poland, England, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Russia, Latvia, Sweden, Nigeria, and Switzerland. We are still on the fence of truly embracing the quintessential Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas.
If you’re a family with a baby, toddler or young kids flirting with the idea of doing a bit of vacationing, please seriously consider taking a trip to Italy.
For our first real vacation as a family there was no question where we would go – Cinque Terre, Liguria.
There’s a reason why Hotel Villa Steno is the number one hotel in Cinque Terre according to TripAdvisor. Hotel Villa Steno is run by husband and wife team Mateo and Carla who are possibly the most dedicated hotel owners that we’ve ever come across. Insider tip 1 : Hotel Villa Steno is one of the very few hotels in the Cinque Terre region that actually has its very own parking lot. Insider tip 2: Die-hard enthusiasts of Cinque Terre often lament about the commercialization of Monterosso al Mare (where Hotel Villa Steno is located), a village that according to their criticism has strayed away from the authentic village experience. The perfect place to go during that special hour right before dinner and after heading back from a long day of hiking, sightseeing and living life to the fullest under the Ligurian sun is none other than Enoteca da Eliseo.
Personally, I would actually still give May another chance especially if I was traveling with a baby or very young kids. The most convenient way to get to Cinque Terre (from Amsterdam) is to hop on a flight from Amsterdam Schipol Airport to Pisa. I was convinced that all those frazzled mothers were simply unprepared for the challenges of a newborn, or utterly lazy, or perhaps just downright incompetent.
By the time I was seven months pregnant, we had already purchased most of Babble’s 100 baby essentials and had just completed our non-Ikea nursery. I had all these aspirations too, utterly convinced that since I was going to be a stay-at-home mom, I’d have plenty of time to blog. In hindsight, I was trying to over-compensate for what was glaringly missing in my life – an extended family living close by. I appreciated each and every single one of their advice and I tried my best to listen very carefully. I looked down at my sleeping son, took a deep breath, and cried until my tears washed my soul clean again. The turning-point came eight months into our ordeal, right around his first birthday and when we moved into our new home in the middle of no where. I am slowly, but surely waking up from this experience and emboldened with a new set of mommy skills.
I am incredibly empathetic to the mom who confides in me that she isn’t sleeping much and I well up with tears too, still fresh from the battle wounds of severe sleep deprivation. Perhaps Martijn was feeling nostalgic for the days of clearing up shit and vomit and being in charge of something small and helpless.
Only now I’ll have to go out every two hours during the day to take the new baby for a toilet stop. Friends of ours who got a puppy last year tipped us off that rearing dogs had evolved in the same way as rearing children. It’ll be interesting to see how well this works – ignoring bad behaviour and praising good behaviour. Faye is a thirty-eight year old self-proclaimed workaholic who just released her debut novel Meternity about a woman who fakes a pregnancy so she can take a much needed break. Dig a little deeper and this isn’t about maternity leave, another dimension to the mommy wars, or even about children. It’s even perfectly acceptable for moms to send their children to daycare as a sort of mental health break. Rather than aspiring to be stylish like the French or trendily sophisticated like the Scandinavians, perhaps Americans should set their sights on the Dutch. You’re officially known as the Netherlands mainly by the Dutch, but often referred to simply as Holland by the rest of the world, or the Low Countries for those who are more intimately acquainted with you. Visiting Amsterdam to enjoy your country’s liberal attitude towards certain illicit behaviours is what you’re (in)famous for.
It’s quite refreshing to live in a culture that embraces the virtue of living within one’s means. A Singaporean expat friend once asked me, “What’s the difference between a Dutch breakfast and a Dutch lunch?”  I was stumped. Once you get past the monotony of having sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, you realize how pragmatic and genius it is.
One of the most liberating aspects of living in this country is that the Dutch don’t seem to give a f*ck.
If you opt for the Vondelpark you can take a blanket to spread out on the grass for the kids to display their wares on.
The NSDM wharf is home to the monthly flea market so you can hire a proper market stall for the princely sum of €7. The canvas kept us out of the wind, more or less, and protected the stall from the intermittent showers.
The Dutchman (he’s called Martijn* but only proper Dutch people can pronounce that, my mum spent years calling him Mar-tidge-en) picked me up in a van and drove me and my boxes and boxes of books from my publishing job back over the channel to his home city. What kind of a fruitloop would try to bring up a child in London when all the advantages of a happy, relaxed Dutch childhood were staring me in the face?
I initially started blogging because I wanted to connect and share the crazy, wonderful parenting reality happening in the Netherlands. And Michele has graciously agreed to become my partner-in-crime, co-blogger of Finding Dutchland.
We’re looking forward to sharing our cultural musings about the Netherlands, everything related to parenthood and anything that catches our attention and our heart’s fancy. Martin was a Roman soldier remembered for having a kind heart, being wise and readily helpful.
Saint Martin is regarded as a friend of the children and patron of the poor in the Catholic tradition. November 11 is the day that Saint Martin passed away. Traditionally, children’s lanterns were made out of hollowed out sugar beets or turnips hanging on a string tied to a wooden stick. For parents who don’t like fuss, wasteful preparations, and spending money they may not have, Sint Maarten seems like a dream.
I live in Noord-Brabant, we don’t do Sint Maarten, but as a little child, i used to go out on the street on the 6th of January, for Driekoningen (Three Kings). Expat forums are filled with questions and concerns on just how to infiltrate the local Dutch circles. I’ve also learned a thing ( or two or more) actually about how not to make friends with them. I guarantee that it will make your stay in the Netherlands no matter how short, or long a worthwhile experience. Being cool, calm, and collected goes a long way with making a good first impression among Dutch women. If you can somehow crack the sanctity of the inner circle and one of them vouches for you, you are sure to have at least 10 new Dutch friends.
Do not fall victim to their self-deprecating humor about their own country and their country(wo)men.
Unexpected visitors during dinner time may find themselves either being sent away, or made to sit in the living room while dinner is being eaten. It’s true that it does take a while to figure out these kind of subtleties in social relationships. And have in fact made some good Dutch friends over the last year as well, they do tend to grow on you, I suppose you found the same. The only thing you need is to be yourself anywhere you are without pushing to much when you meet people and they will naturally accept you or not. This seems dishonest to me and almost backwards in the ideals of Dutch people (being honest).

People definitely have a hard time making friends with me it takes a long time to be comfortable with someone and I’m very timid but i do like it that way.
The general scenario involves an unannounced visit from a Dutch postal worker, followed by a brief explanation that the recipient must pay import taxes and the unrealistic expectation that the recipient will have the exact amount in cash being demanded at that given moment.
For first timers, this can be a frustrating experience given that the situation often involves unsolicited gifts from well-intentioned loved ones from home. What can be infuriating experience is that even if the value of the gifts was actually less than €45, one may subject to still first paying the (necessary) tax to receive the package and then resolve the dispute via a formal complaint letter to the post-office. If it is not properly filled out, the chances of being responsible for paying unnecessary  import taxes increases.
Being the first and only grandchild, my parents love to send him gifts regularly to compensate for not being able to spend time with him. Please refer to the official tax office of the Netherlands for the most current information about import taxes on gifts to individuals from individuals. The premise was that we would be given a gentle introduction to the world of camping while getting a glimpse of authentic farm life. Each large canvas tent is fully equipped like a miniature two-bedroom apartment (one with bunk beds and the other with a queen size bed), a fully equipped kitchen with cold running water, a living room with a dining area and sofa, and private bathroom facilities. It’s easy to fall in love with their rustic outdoor eating area with a large king size table and their wood-fired brick oven. For starters, living off the grid (no internet connection and spotty cell phone reception) can do wonders for the soul.
Though it took us about two hours on our first try, we appreciated the sense of accomplishment of finally having a hot fire to cook food. We accepted on the premise that it was merely a loan and that we would hopefully return it next year.
Staring up at the spectacular mural makes one feel like one just went down Alice in Wonderland’s psychedelic rabbit hole. Markthal had garnered international intrigue and helped solidify Rotterdam’s place in The New York Times annual 52 Places to Go list in 2014.
But the seaport, one of the largest in Europe and considered its gateway, and its middle class laborers, are still the bread and butter of Rotterdam.
Feedly, Pocket and Evernote became my best-friends, littered and cluttered with saved columns and hastily written down notes that only I could decipher.
My allergies against 12 different types of grasses and allergy-induced asthma held me hostage at home, unable to freely roam the suburb built in the heart of endless Dutch grassfields. When weekends came, we were always a bit too enthusiastic to get out and explore, unable to comfortably stay local.
Granted, it was impossible for me to ignore the boxes and the ensuing frustrations of living disheveled and disorganized. I am a writer after all and the artistic license of being emotional applies to me just as much as a musician, painter, dancer, photographer, designer and what ever other creative outlet there is.
In this crazy, mixed-up world where they shoot down planes, neighbors being cruel to one another and militarized police attack protesters and journalists, it’s hard not to tune-out. For Millennials, Robin Williams was our childhood. Babyboomers came of age virtually at the same time as he did. For those few moments (far and few inbetween), my immigrant parents set aside their uncompromising views of life and laughed with us. Movies and tv shows obviously aren’t reality but for a child who desperately needed some adult compassion, his performances went a long way to giving me some momentary happiness and escape. He was the local celebrity with whom there was a real possibility of randomly running into (unfortunately we never did). For a moment, in my foggy recollection of What Dreams May Come, I fantasized that since millions of people genuinely loved him, chances are that he would be in heaven, or probably re-incarnating back into the world next week.
Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, What Dreams May Come, Jumanji, Bird Cage, and Mork & Mindy for starters. How tragic that you were consumed by so much darkness when you brought the world so much light. What better way than to introduce a book about spending a day at the beach, a beloved national pastime among the Dutch, written by acclaimed Dutch writer and illustrator Dick Bruna?
Through his work, babies and toddlers are immersed in a world of colours, shapes and lines along with a simple story line written in lower-case letters. For many, Paris has a reputation for being a city exclusive to lovers, fashionistas and artsy types – the ultimate playground for adults with discerning taste.
An apartment offers several conveniences that parents would appreciate such as more room, a kitchen and washing and drying machines.
Also known as the Left Bank, the 7th arrondissement is home to the Musee d’Orsay and Rodin Museum, within walking distance to the Eiffel Tower and Seine, and has a much more relaxed pace than the rest of the city with its village-like charms. We were initially drawn to the Maclaren Quest because of its reputation for being a preferred traveling stroller among jetset parents, its lightweight aluminium frame, durability and generous weight limit of 55 lbs. Unlike other strollers that have narrower seats and only accommodates up to 30-40 lbs, the Maclaren Quest was a comfortable ride for our 30lb, two year old who is above average in height and weight among his Dutch peers (the Dutch being the tallest people in the world).
Utilize the nearby Parisian parks strategically located and dispersed throughout the compact city. You’ll not only have the tourist obligatory pictures, but if you arrive there for the sunset, you and your little one will be delighted to see the Eiffel Tower lit and gain a deeper appreciation for La Ville-Lumiere.
Afterwards, head over to the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Gardens), a haven for children offering a traditional carousel, playground, and pony rides to name a few child-orientated attractions. The enclosed playground offers plenty of amusing entertainment for the four and under crowd- sandbox, slides, climbing contraptions, seesaws and twirling toys.  An added bonus are the toilets that accommodate to the needs of its smallest patrons. Built in 1879, the antique manege with its green-roof, well-worn wooden horses and dirt floor makes it a postcard worthy experience for both adults and little ones. While the various activities are not free, the €12-15 euros spent for the half-day at the park are well worth the memories you’re making with your child.
Traveling off season is also a great time to take advantage of lower prices and not having to deal with hoards of tourists suffocating the museums, landmarks and boulevards. In reality, this translates to my husband giving me full control over our moving strategy and designating specific times for unadulterated concentrated packing without the presence of my toddler. While I’m a sentimental fool, considerate ruthlessness are the two words best to describe my moving-state-of-mind. Labeled all the boxes to include what was inside, what room it will go in and in what floor. Allocate some time during the last week of the move to deep cleaning the oven, fridge, freezer and bathrooms.
Even if the previous tenants or landlord cleaned the apartment, one can get a lot of comfort cleaning a place to one’s own satisfaction. While one can save a bit of money by asking friends and family for the favor, hiring professional movers can go a long way. Alas, I have yet to build up that kind of swagger without losing my composure in a fit of laughter.
The color of my skin has become my initial business card and from there, people like to make several assumptions until they hear me open my mouth. Whenever Thanksgiving rolled around, the most quintessential American holiday for many people (aside from the 4th of July),  I had desperately longed to experience the kind of stereotypical American family gathering depicted on a Norman Rockwell canvas.
Many people assume that once you cross over parent territory, passports and wanderlust would have to be put away. I’ll be writing about some insider travel tips for families visiting the Netherlands, or expat families wanting to learn more about all the wonderful family-friendly stuff available in the Low Countries.
If you love the water color portrait of me and my son, it’s made with this awesome iPhone app called Waterlogue. Regardless of weather, the Dutch can be seen biking gracefully around the cities, in the suburbs and between the countrysides. I apologize in advance for not responding to emails and messages and hopefully will get back to all of you soon.
I have a sneaking suspicion that my temperamental toddler had enough of play-dates, impromptu dinners, and birthday parties.
Dutch kids led the way in three out of the five categories, namely- material well being, educational well being, and behavior and risks.
Surveys conducted by Britain’s Child Poverty Action Group, the World Health Organization, and Unicef International have all reached unanimous conclusions as to the happy state of Dutch children. As a seasoned expat mom living in stereotypical Dutch suburbia, it isn’t too hard for me to indulge in 8 secrets as to why I think Dutch kids are the happiest kids in the world. According to  United Nation’s first World Happiness Report just released last week, the Netherlands ranks fourth as the happiest nation on earth.
De Bruin makes several sweeping generalizations about Dutch women, namely that Dutch women don’t know how to dress (mainly due to choosing practicality when biking everywhere), will send someone away if they arrive unexpectedly during dinner time, and are quite bossy to their men. Dutch mommies are leading the way with the largest share of women working part time of all OECD countries, with 68% of Dutch women working only part time, roughly 25 hours a week.
Their Dutch Dads play a more equal role in child-rearing by also having part-time jobs and being more hands on. By 1996 the Dutch government gave part-time employees equal status to that of full timers, paving the way for a more balanced work-life reality for its citizens.
They can eat chocolate sprinkles, or slices of chocolate with butter on their white bread for breakfast. Their Dutch lunch, which often includes a variation of a slice of bread with a piece of cheese, or a thin slice of ham, doesn’t seem to be too much healthier either. In no other country do children have breakfast with their families as regularly as they do in the Netherlands. From the moment they can formulate an opinion, Dutch children are given a voice and Dutch parents intently listen. A lot of Dutch grandmothers take great pride in helping out their children, playing a pivotal role in their grandchildrens lives. According to USDA,  a child born in 2012 to age 18 will cost parents approximately $241,080. Specifically, Dutch families will continue to receive a child allowance,  a child benefit stipend (an income-dependent allowance for the cost of children), the combination discount (a fiscal break for combining work and caring for children) and the childcare allowance.
My husband is an entrepreneur with no option for working part-time and I am a stay-at-home mom.
Not only does it require an extra spare bedroom (a rare commodity in the Netherlands), it also means having to open your home and heart to a stranger from another culture for an entire year. Parents of babies, toddlers and young children know intimately well that life is always full of adventure (sleepless nights, teething, run-of-the-mill colds, clingyness, tantrums, etc). Keeping in mind that an au pair can only work 30 hours a week and no more than 8 hours a day, this lends to a lot greater flexibility to accommodate your family’s schedule.
An au pair can, within reason, do tasks such as daily vacuuming, cleaning up the kitchen, managing the dishwasher (putting dirty dishes in and putting clean dishes and silverware back to the proper places), preparing simple meals, small grocery shopping, and laundry.  Please keep in mind that an au pair is not a substitute for a maid. In addition to providing room and board, an au pair receives pocket money of €300-340 a month for 30 hours of help. We would love to start going to the gym together again which we haven’t done for the past 17 months. Rogers, Doggie Howser, Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bell Air, The Golden Girls, Growing Pains, MacGyver, Boy Meets World, The Wonder Years, and ER. We were quite good at imitating their accent, of making sweeping generalizations about the Philippines colored by the experiences of our parents, and begged them to wake up to the reality that they were raising their kids in the United States, not in the Philippines. And the longer we stay in the Netherlands, the higher the chances of me and him possibly facing cross-cultural battles. I sing to him all the songs I grew up with– namely, You Are My Sunshine, Baby Baluga, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, The Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Being new parents, we wanted to have an amazing vacation that was the least stressful as possible, that would leave us feeling rejuvenated and able to really embrace la vita e bella. Why not then head over to a place we knew that would be baby friendly, have amazing food, breathtakingly unforgettable sights, and irresistible charm? They are unbelievably accommodating to families, especially those with babies and very young children (they’re parents themselves!). Staying at Hotel Villa Steno can make a world of a difference, almost guaranteeing you a fabulous vacation with your baby. Every single travel guide will attest to how parking is a precious commodity in the five villages. It coincides with their lemon festival (Sagra dei Limoni) and there are tons of wild flowers everywhere. We would fly into Milan to visit our son’s godparents and then take a three hour train ride from there. I smirked at all the other seemingly naive parents to be around me who seemed completely out of the loop about the latest baby trends, less alone the proven granted sleep techniques. We initially had struggles with breastfeeding, but with the help of some amazing angels (our maternity nurse, two lactation consultants, and mommy friends) and sheer determination, I was able to exclusively breastfeed. He wasn’t the best sleeper to begin with, but this time around, his sleep pattern was erratic.
I tried some of their suggestions and others I simply nodded my head to be polite, or when I wasn’t particularly at my very best that day, directly told them that what they were suggesting went against my primal instincts as a mother. Now that my own fog is lifting (sleep deprivation does that to you), I aspire to write more about my experiences. Ben and Ina are 11 and 9 and, having grown up here in the Netherlands, remarkably independent and self-sufficient. It’s slightly better than changing nappies, but bagging up doggy poop isn’t much fun either.
Taking into consideration that Faye is a magazine editor, chances are she may know a bit about garnering media attention. Chances are, maternity leave entails a woman’s body being ripped apart (either their lady gardens or their bellies) and overloaded with hormones while having to cater to a helpless, tiny human who demands constant attention, love and care.
I suspect that it’s a moot point here because going Dutch at work translates to: not working all the time.
Self-deprecating humour aside, the Dutch have discovered that having a life outside of work allows them to be even more productive at work and more content with life in general. Childless Dutch women have no qualms about working only for three to four days to make time to work on some personal hobby like photography, gardening, or just hanging out with friends for brunch. While some may consider it a lackadaisical approach to a career or parenting, Dutch women understand the importance of self-care. Faye and anyone else advocating a “meternity” leave should seriously consider moving to the Netherlands. But to me, you are “Dutchland”, the world in which I choose to see you and turn my face towards the sun (if we’re lucky and it’s around). But actually moving here and setting up roots, especially in one of your villages, is not a “thing” like moving to Paris, or somewhere under the Tuscan sun. They live life according to their values and don’t try to live up to societal standards or bow to the pressure to be perfect and successful. If you love procrastinating and want to join an awesome Facebook community, come join our page.
As Koningsdag – King’s Day – approaches the time comes  to sort through all their old toys and decide what to sell. Two areas in Amsterdam are set aside for children’s free markets: the Vondelpark and the NDSM wharf on the north bank of the river IJ. Enterprising children can also earn money by singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument, sometimes blowing their very first notes by the sound of it. Between them, Ben and Ina earned €34 which is not too bad, but not a great hourly rate for freezing your ass off in the cold.
Friends back home who had become mothers were killing themselves trying to get from the creche to the office on time and back again in the rush hour.
It will give me just a bit more space in my life to dedicate to my kids, while carrying on blogging. Ironically, despite its roots in Scotland and Ireland (Samhain), Halloween is a distinctly American tradition. The celebration of Halloween is a special day for lighthearted, community-sanctioned mischief, totally devoid of meaning and the best example of runaway consumerism. Outside the American expat santuaries of Amsterdam, Den Haag, and Utrecht, Halloween is simply another day.
Tradition and folklore has it that one day when he was approaching the gates of the city of Amiens (modern-day France), he met a scantily clad begger who was asking for alms.
Since children often make these paper latterns at school, it’s also much less of a time commitment and a hassel. Similar to Sint Maarten, but a different date and a different song ?? I believe only Noord-Brabant has this tradition, but i’m not sure about it.
Sometimes expat women spend their entire stay in the Netherlands not having any real Dutch female friends. My Dutch girl friends even flew all the way to my wedding in San Francisco to celebrate my special day. However, making an effort to learn their language will be considered endearing and thoughtful to a potential new Dutch friend. Having an impeccable, precisely planned out life is a character trait that many Dutch women pride themselves in.
This often happens if you fall in love with a wonderful Dutch guy who happens to also have like-minded lovely Dutch female friends. If you are an expat experiencing culture shock, reconsider your readiness with making friends with the locals.
The Dutch usually do not embrace spontaneity, especially from someone new in their routine-filled lives. I realize that I came to this country when I was older than you ?? I already had a kid, was working and then got my twindaughters after exactly one year. A good friend of mine is also living in Singapore and happens to send her half-Filipino, Half-Dutch kids to the Dutch school. Not being very social has gotten someone to think I’m stuck up but when I talked it changed there mind. Excerpts (limited to 10% of content) and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rina Mae Acosta and Finding Dutchland with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Books with beautiful images are also great way to introduce a baby to the world and to hopefully entice them to fall in love with reading early on. This tip does not cover packages from companies and organisations which fall under a completely different set of rules and regulations. We appreciate her hands-on, personal approach to giving us (and all the other guests) a crash course in the ins-and-outs of the camping grounds and the farm.
And of course, decorative pieces scattered here and there, real hardwood floors and windows you can open and close that all add to the feeling of gezelligheid, a Dutch word that embodies coziness, warmth and love. And the highlight for many kids (and even adults) is cupboard type bed that can easily be shared by two children, or serve as a great reading nook.
There’s the option to dine indoors, or outside depending on your mood and the weather. It guarantees families the time and space to do a lot of bonding with each other, free from the distractions of everyday modern life. There is a fully equipped store offering organic and locally grown products from other Dutch farmers, as well as basic necessities such as olive oils, soaps, etc. Although it’s only a mere forty-five minutes away from Amsterdam, the bucolic surroundings transports you to another time.
Their faces, softened by the Autumn sunlight, hungrily looked towards a mammoth horseshoe structure. The Markthal is also a living community with 230 apartments built into the arch shaped structure. In collaboration with famed cartoon animator Pixar, Dutch artist Arno Coenen created a 3D optical illusion of produce and fauna falling from the sky. But I wondered whether, or not targeting a certain clientele would be at the expense of driving away and alienating everyday citizens. For example, Mei Sum Bakery offered delicious Asian treats for the same price of €10 for 12 pieces as their flagship location at West Kruiskade. Setting up a new home with a clingy, curious toddler and a husband overburdened and overcommitted with work was a lot more challenging than I had anticipated. Maybe in a couple of years but not now, not with my little boy who loves exploring the world.
We weren’t unhappy in Houten, but if we were truly honest, we were a bit too lonely and bored.
And so on a whim, we decided to move to Doorn, a small village of 10,000 people nestled within the Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park. I started flirting around with the idea of my own impermanence, about what if my Catholic upbringing misled me to believe that my consciousness would be perfectly intact? I’m also now intent on curating my blog as an on going love letter to my son and my husband. I love to create a space on the internet that provides some distraction from the heartbreaking realities of our world.
What else would a five-year old child who walked home from school to an empty apartment do but watch television? As with all celebrities, whispers of his own demons only made more evident by his candidness of them, simply became a blase footnote when I became a young adult.
The apartment also includes free parking – an added bonus for those traveling by car. And anyone visiting Paris will soon find out that experiencing the city involves a lot of walking. It’s also surprisingly maneuverable along the Parisian cobblestone streets, grasses, pavements, and dirt paths.
Personally, bringing along a stroller is a much more convenient option and a perfect time to take a leisurely walk to the next destination right after a big Parisian lunch. One of the best kept secrets of Paris is the seemingly random little playgrounds and play areas scattered throughout the different neighborhoods and along the Seine.

The 25 hectares Parisian garden also provides plenty of beautiful flowers, landscaping and sculptures that adults can appreciate. The leisurely pace will give you the chance to see and experience a more authentic, genuine Paris through the eyes of your child.
Promise I’ll try to only post interesting updates about my Dutched reality and random stuff that inspire me to share.
When labeling the boxes, consider also implementing a color coordination system for all the rooms and floors.  We were able to be settled enough to have overnight guests for a couple of days and throw a ginormous first birthday less than one week after moving into our new home. It can also make settling in a lot faster as it makes it easier to unpack and make the house into a home.
If you take the costs of renting a moving van, procuring other moving essentials (ropes, dolly, boxes) and the actual time it takes to move, hiring movers may actually be more cost-effective in the long run.
Also, while it is a lot more time consuming, having them help packing non-breakables and toys may do wonders for their self-esteem.
Though to be honest, it wasn’t until I had moved to the Netherlands did that seemingly innocuous question become such a personally loaded one.
But stories written about the Filipino-American childhood experience by Filipino-Americans was and still is painfully missing.
In honor of May being Asian-American Heritage month, I share my own story of being an Asian( Filipino)-American along with other bloggers around the world. I am a Filipino-American mother, wife and writer currently living in the Netherlands (Europe). Bram loves the stuff from Ella’s Kitchen (100% Organic Baby Food) which can now be bought at Etos. I am a bit convinced though that’s the novelty of the wrapping paper and process of unwrapping that babies are most fond of. From what I gather, I’ve been making a bit of a stir among the Dutchies and the expats with my recent post about why Dutch kids are happy.
Nonetheless, I am really grateful that you guys took the time out to read what I have to write, reach out to me and I hope you continue coming by. Perhaps his twenty minute inconsolable, tantrum this morning was a sign of no more missed naps.
Like their female counterparts, more and more Dutch dads are squeezing in a full-time job in just four days and dedicating one day a week with their kids. They have no homework or have very little and thus have plenty of time to play after school. To think that my son can simply attend school just for the sake of learning rather than focusing on his actual academic performance boggles my mind. Not only is eating breakfast associated with better performance in school and decreased behavioral problems, but eating breakfast daily as a family creates opportune time for family bonding and fostering individual identity and growth. By having regular, once a week childcare services from Oma, moms and dads can better attain their life-work balance. We are, however, also quite happy because we’re living the life that we want to live. Than you’ll probably enjoy my Instagram or come connect with me with me at my Facebook page. Who lack a strong social support network of relatives and friends willing to graciously babysit on a regular basis? We have only  gone out on dinner dates, just the two of us, less than five times since embarking on this journey towards parenthood.
I was merely a Filipino by convenience, mostly to appease my parents.  Home to me was the San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco and Berkeley). Any celebration (birthday party, anniversary, graduation, holiday) came with the prerequisite  bottomless Filipino dishes of lumpia (spring rolls), pancit (noodles), adobo (chicken stew) and leche flan  (custard). Eventually, my adolescent and adoltestant years gave me the freedom to pick and choose aspects of Filipino culture that appealed to my American sensibilities. Oh Holland, dear Holland, please love him as one of your very own because I promise you he will one day make you very proud. Italy has ingeniously mastered the art of living la dolce vita, embracing beauty through everyday life, art, culture, music and food. Lying in the heart of Monterroso al Mare is a community of villagers who love, care and support one another. To be fair, it was a very craptastic Spring 2013 all throughout Europe with snow even making a guest appearance in May in the Netherlands.
I also love eating outside and would want to avoid those nasty wasps interfering with my much sought after Ligurian delicacies and possibly my baby.
We were left open-mouthed when upon seeing our baby he literally couldn’t help himself and beg to hold our bundle of joy. I invested more time and energy in preparing for the arrival of my baby then I did writing my master’s thesis. I was only going to buy the absolute best for my little man (best defined as what all the other in-the-know parents were raving about). My sweet baby would be my muse and I would have all the energy in the world because I was high on life.
I thought that by being overly prepared, I would have motherhood down to perfection and I wouldn’t notice such a gaping void in my life. So what if he needed to be breastfed for 5-6 consecutive hours a day and wasn’t really sleeping all through the night?
I brought him to various general practitioners, pediatricians, and even had his head examined by a radiologist (there was another potential medical reason for it), dabbled into a bit of holistic medicine (cranial-sacral therapy), requested personal prayers from a Catholic priest and asked my devote Muslim friend to say a prayer for our family Insha’Allah.
We are currently in the midst of self-weaning, only having to comfort nurse once or twice during his afternoon naps and when he goes to bed. I hope too that my blog can serve as a useful resource for struggling mamas, the kind that’s awake at 3am in the morning in need of some serious uplifting, a gentle reminder that she is not alone, that this too shall pass. Like with the positive parenting method so popular in the Netherlands, the word ‘no’ has been banished from the carer’s vocabulary.
Sadly though, she missed her chance at a mea culpa and redeeming herself to the good graces of American mommies when she canceled an appearance on Good Morning America, and bungled her interview on UK’s This Morning. Even if a woman had one of those magical births with the baby arriving on a bed of roses at the end of a rainbow with unicorns, fairies and pixies, the first few weeks of a baby’s life is anything but restful. On any given weekday, especially on sunny days, you’ll see Dutch people on the terrace enjoying life.
Like the airplane analogy of putting one’s face-mask on first in the case of an emergency, Dutch moms have internalised the importance of making time for themselves. Though Foye may have brilliantly coined the term meternity, the Dutch have been doing it all along. Perhaps the best known example is the urban legend about Prime Minister Willem Drees and an American diplomat after World War II. And I’m a certified bakfiets (cargo bike) mommy which is akin to the suburban American mom with a minivan. Adulting with a four-year-old and a baby has been so much easier thanks to the no fuss approach to meals. It extends to parenting where they try their absolute best, but at the end of the day, being good enough more than suffices. Grown-up Dutchies turn the rest of the city into an orange-festooned party zone and random junk market. It was rather uncomfortable, even after the children had managed to acquire an inflatable cushion and a prayer stool to sit on. Until then my life seemed to have followed a rhythm in sixes, from birth to six years, from six to twelve, twelve to eighteen, then the six university years of moving every six months, and then six years in London. There was no let- up of work pressure, and on top of that there was pressure to be the perfect mum.
I’ve got two children, a son Benjamin and a daughter, Ina, who is two and a half years younger.
It’s a love at-first-sight mommy romance complete with a shared passion for writing and living a life well-lived, influenced by our Dutched reality.
This year we decided not to bother with Halloween and rather celebrate the Dutch tradition of Saint Martin (Sint Maarten of Tours) instead.
Who wouldn’t want to be friends with these tall gorgeous happy blonde beauties with flawless biking skills?
An invitation to a Dutch bachelorette party and a wedding invitation that includes dinner are signs of a true friendship with a Dutchie. Also, keep in mind that since everything is pretty much carefully planned out, such as the exact grams of meat per person, there is a high probability that there wouldn’t be any food to share anyway. I lived in the UK before moving to Singapore, and never had any problems making friends there either, it might be a language thing?
Ironically I’ve also been in The Netherlands for about 6 years now, and I live one train stop away in Culemborg.
Furthermore, whether or not an import tax will be made on the package is prone to human error so this tip cannot fully guarantee that no mistakes will occur.
As someone who grew up in the (sub)urban jungles of San Francisco, I was intrigued and a bit apprehensive. It’s art appreciation at its finest as people of all ages seemed mesmerized and in awe of the largest artwork in the world. Who could blame the Rotterdammers for being a bit smug and proud, whom like the rest of the tourist-worthy cities like Utrecht and Den Haag, had compete to play second fiddle to her more glamorous, world-renowned sister Amsterdam since time immemorial? I didn’t want to lose touch with those who are kind enough to read my words, who give me support and encouragement with every like, comment and message. Utrecht, or Amersfoort were only a twenty minute car ride away, but we felt like we were miles and miles away from the chaos of urban city life.
As many writers can enthusiastically attest to, unless there is an environment that fosters creativity, any attempt at writing would be in vain. I want my blog to be a source of inspiration, possibly bring some laughter, provide camaraderie through shared experiences and at the very least, to feel a little lighter.
Or what about those endless weeks of summer of being left alone to either read, or watch TV because God forbid playing outside would make me darker to my parent’s chagrin? And to my geeky embarrassment, the first time I stepped into the Sistine Chapel, I took a deep breath, smelled the air around me and looked up. After all, the Dutch who have the happiest kids in the world and are prolific travelers have some invaluable insight. And for parents with adventurous and precocious toddlers like mine, I appreciated being able to run after my toddler with one hand while navigating the stroller with the other hand. Consider bringing a fully-reclining stroller like the Maclaren Quest (which has four-different incline positions).
The more relaxed pace at the playgrounds will also make it easier for your little one to make a new Parisian friend or two. Take the time to pause and see the world from their perspective –  discovering hidden treasures, experiencing new places and simply celebrating the here and now. And understandably, the stress of it all is starting to take front and center attention in the Finding Dutchland household. Most of the time what we save to use for later we never end up using anyway because we forget about it, or we simply can’t find it.
But a slow and steady deep clean regimen can help guarantee your deposit back since you will leave the place cleaned. I might have gotten an A in his Asian-American studies class, but one of his most crucial messages didn’t surface until nearly ten years after graduation. As glamorous as hiring an au pair sounds, our primary motivation is actually down-to-earth: we really need help. Childhood was littered with memories of dodgeball, hopscotch, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, youth orchestra, and piano lessons. My race and subsequent judgements about my race established their perception of me and led to many colorful interactions.
Harvey Karp (Happiest Baby on the Block) asserts that in traditional cultures such as those in Africa and in Bali that practiced baby-carrying, colic doesn’t exist. I’m looking forward to re-discovering the Netherlands, one seen from the eyes of a more patient, forgiving and understanding mother. It’s authentic Ligurian cuisine and the seafood is caught fresh each day from the local fishermen. Wasps are the most prevalent in September, coinciding right in time with the harvesting of the grapes. The second time around he brought along a female colleague beaming with pride as if Bram Jr.
Okay, to be perfectly honest, I probably could have completed a PhD in the latest baby gadget trends. I wasn’t going to ride the current parenting trend of dis-shelved and self-deprecating mothers parading parenting fails.
I may not have a mother, grandmother, sister or aunt to guide me, but I assured myself that I did have baby manuals, twenty or so odd parenting books that guaranteed parenting bliss and a happy baby. I was absolutely sure that I wasn’t being delusional because I kept a meticulous record of all his night wakings thanks to the Total Baby iphone app. The kind that had this incessant need to breastfeed for hours on end.  The kind that refused to be put down in his crib, bassinet or stroller.
My husband and I only had each other and we knew in our heart of hearts that we couldn’t continue going on like this. Getting him back to sleep was nearly impossible as he was almost always rejuvenated from his cat-nap and more than eager to explore the world around him.
I was quickly baptized into another world of parenting, the gentler kind that encourages nurturing his sprit, of molding parenting approaches and family life based on the child’s needs and wants, and of simply slowing down and enjoying the gift of an ordinary day with my son.
And given the current real-life struggle that American parents have with even getting paid maternity leave, this whole approach seems inappropriate, self-centred and daft. If you ever see a new mom who exudes rest, it probably means that someone else is helping her with the baby.
When the American diplomat came to visit the Prime Minister’s home to discuss what America could do to support the Dutch economy, apparently Mrs. Just set the table with breads, slices of cheese, butter and hagelslag and they’re happily eating.
There’s a lot of loud music and beer and drunken revelry so it’s better for the kids to have their own venues where there is relative peace and quiet. This year we hired a stall and as the date neared, we began to worry about the weather forecast.
Ina, however, found herself some off-white cuddly toys, a Sudoku board game and this fantastic bargain. But by the time I’d crawled through the lonely isolation of a maternity leave in a foreign country, I realised I was going to have to change my plans.
Perfect mums did things like teaching their kids to read and write before they even went to school, when would I have time for that?
I even managed to convince my husband to work on the re-design of my blog while I was in hospital waiting for my second baby to be born. Later that night, he dreamed that it was actually Jesus with whom he shared his cloak with. However, once you make a Dutch friend, you’ve more than likely made a friend for life. The article says you went to Penn State too (my alma mater); however, your blog says otherwise?
About dinner that there is no extra food, I think that was in the past, nowadays an unexpected visitor can always join lunch or dinner.
The cozy campground, limited to only five tents and far away from the nearest road, is structured in a way to allow toddlers and young children to roam safely.
In fact, while my heart shouted out with glee with all the wonderful food, I became convinced that the Markthal was the new heart of Rotterdam.
Suffice to say summer camps, family vacations and stable home environments were not a shared experience for this child of working-class Filipino parents.  What did remain fairly consistent and reliable were the chances of the prolific acting and comedy routines of Robin Williams being on television or readily accessible on the VCR.
Traveling by metro sometimes takes just as long, if not longer than simply walking on the lovely, outdoor Parisian streets and along the Seine. An added bonus is that the Maclaren buggy hood has UPF 50+, the highest possible rating for sun protective fabrics. Parisians indoctrinate the importance of joie de vivre starting from the cradle, providing their youngest citizens hidden gems of carousels and playgrounds, providing momentarily but much appreciated relief for parents and children.
And of course, you need time to make an inventory of what you have and purchase moving supplies (moving boxes, bubble wrap, clear storage boxes, vacuum-seal bags). And despite how exhausting it is for me to be chasing around my precocious toddler son all day long, I thank God everyday for having the opportunity to do so. For pregnant moms, especially those in the later stages of pregnancy, or those suffering from morning sickness, having someone play with your toddler can make a world of a difference. And my blossoming foodie toddler refuses to eat bread, an essential staple of the standard Dutch breakfast and lunch. I literally dedicated all my time to being the absolute best mother I could be to my little prince.
No polyester clothing would ever touch my baby–he would only sleep in 100% cotton, or organic merino wool. Not to forget to mention, all the fabulous baby gear that would make any other neurotic first-time pregnant mom squeal with absolute delight. Hence began another not-so-glamorous mothering duty, a prisoner in my own bed, co-existing of sorts while he naps or goes down to bed for the day and me, resigned to find solace on the world wide web (phone-calls would wake him up of course). I also look forward to the days when my kids can cycle independently to and from school, their various sports practices and whatever it is on their social agenda. On days when we just had enough of all the crying and tantrums, we can just serve pancakes for dinner. And I’m convinced it’s one of the reasons why I’m so much happier – no second guessing, no passive aggressive communication, no uncertainty.
Also about being invited to weddings, well, and if they are already all married (with kids) or going through a divorce? Yes we are loud and say everything we think, even it’s not pleasant to hear and we really don’t like the oooooohhh soooooooo amazing things, just act normal! I plan to teach him to be mindful of all his blessings, counting them like stars in the sky.
I was going to be a mommy guru ready to school mommy-to-be’s and failing moms on the secret of being a perfect parent.
His behavior wasn’t a reflection of my failure as a first-time mother, or more accurately, lack of parenting skills. I am less inclined to boast about my parental successes or attribute any of my son’s accomplishments and milestones as a reflection of my parenting. I stalled for a few months but he really, really did want a dog and so now we’ve got Pippa, an eleven-week-old golden retriever. The American was so shocked at the meager hospitality that he considered it a clear indication that the Dutch needed a lot of assistance to climb out of poverty. And since the Dutch are the tallest people in the world, this way of eating can’t be detrimental to the physical development of children.
If anything happens to be lost in translation, we can all just have a meeting to talk it out.
I might write a post about how to make friends with Dutch women when your, let’s say, around 40 ?? – Thanks for the hint!
Little did the American know that the “one cookie experience” and the modest home was simply Dutch thriftiness.
And as they say, all the problems in the world can be solved with a pot of tea and a heart to heart. The kind that needed to be danced to sleep for hours until he would finally fall asleep…only to wake up twenty minutes later. As a freelancer, it means I rarely leave the house anymore, which is quite good because when it’s not sleeting it’s hailing (this week’s heatwave aside). Many of these toys were accumulated at previous King’s Day markets for a couple of euros at the most. And the pregnancy worked just fine, mainly on my own, until it was time to almost give birth. And perhaps the greatest blessing of all with having a high needs-baby was that my little prince gave me the gift of grace in return.
My husband and I are sometimes glad to see the back of them – particularly those of the cheap plastic, noisy variety. When we arrived, my hobby sailor husband quickly strung up the canvas, employing his canny way with knots. It was only logical for me to take my six-months paid maternity leave in Amsterdam, so off I went, 37 weeks pregnant and about to pop.
All Dutch men know how to raise a sail and tie a seaman’s knot, perhaps they are born with the skill.
The kind that demanded every single piece of you and so much more when you think you have nothing left.
But there is no room for sentimentality – the more the children sell, the more cash they  make to buy new toys.

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Comments to Finding a dutch girlfriend

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