I get alot of e-mails from different people asking me about my life here. I thought I would take a moment and answer some of those questions on here..because I know you are just waiting on pins and needles to learn more about me and my life here in the Netherlands..ha ha
Q: Where is The Netherlands?
A: I am including a photo to show you. We are in the red and the small greenish area is where I live. As you can see we border several countries.
Q: What made you decide to move there?
A: Alot of reasons really( My husband being Dutch in the first place wich allowed us the chance to move here and come back to his home country). The main one being we working both working hard,opposite shifts and never had alot to show for that hard work. Looking back we left at just the right moment. We got out before the economy went really bad. We loved our life in Oregon but we found ourselves in a position where if we were going to make a big change it needed to be then. So we talked it over,talked with the boys and in a span of one month we sold off,left behind, and gave away everything we owned. I stuffed 3 giant suitcases full of our pictures,ornaments,clothes and whatever else I could fit. We arrived in Netherlands with a heart full of hope and a dream of a better life.
Q. You always talk about how small it is there. How small is it really?
A. Well as you can see from the above photo,it's a tiny country. I have also included a photo for you showing the Netherlands inside of Oregon. I have moved from a state that had 3 million people and into a country with 16million. So maybe you can understand better why I miss Oregon so much and how finding a personal spot here to relax is not always easy.
The green part is the Netherlands. I can go from one end of this country to the next within 3 hours. We are packed in here like sardines! LOL
Q: Is the Netherlands your home for good?
A: No. I knew within 3 months of living here that it wasn't for me. I'm lucky because my dutch husband feels the same way. There was alot of reasons he loved the U.S. so much and warned me it wouldn't be the same here. Some things your need to experience for yourself to really understand that statement. I still want the american dream in a european lifestyle. I want a house with land. The Netherlands will not beable to provide that for us. So in the next few years we will jump the border into Germany. There we can purchase a house with land at a more affordable cost. We will stay close enough to the dutch border so that my husband can keep his job and the boys can still continue to go to school there.
Q:Will you ever go back to the U.S.?
A. I've learned to never say never. I never thought I would leave Oregon..let alone the whole country..yet here I am. However I can tell you with 100% certainty that I would be a little old lady before I came back. I had one giant life changing move in me and this was it. I do not want to start over again. I'm tired and so is my husband. I want a house where I can walk outside and not see 100 other homes around me. I want a garden,chickens and various other animals. I want to watch my two sons grow up,leave the house,beg them to come home more often,travel,still be doing this blog,learn to cook smaller meals for my husband and I,watch them get married, and have kids..and I want to do it all from a german home. However if we win the lottery Im drop kicking them all and coming back home! LOL Even my husband agrees with that!
Q: Do dutch people really smoke pot and visit prostitutes?
A: Yes and No. Some do I'm sure but it's not in your face like they make it out to be and most people who do that are visiting from other contries. There is alot of incorrect information about the Netherlands and most people talking about it have never been here to see for themselves. It's the same with people over here getting the wrong view of the U.S. I have been asked some crazy questions since living here and have had to listen to alot of incorrect information. I sometimes correct them,espically when it's directed towards me. One of my favorite questions was: Do you eat Squirrels? I thought they were joking so I laughed..but they weren't kidding. I always get the " You Americans" as if we are one. Thats the toughest thing for me...explaining to people here that you can not compair us and assume we all share the same beliefs. I tell them when traveling in the U.S. you come across different rules,accents,food,traditions,values and appearances. We have certain things that make us americans but thats it. I get asked alot about the southern states..alot. I always tell them that again you can't compair me to what goes on there because Im in Oregon..waaay over on the other side. I tell them it's like me asking them about Egypt. Thats how far I am here from the places they are asking me about in the U.S. I've never been to the south and big news flash..most americans don't get around to seeing the 50 states.
Q: Do you really like your life there?
A: I really do. I do miss the U.S. I really really do. I love americans..faults and all. Since moving here it has made me even more proud of us and what it takes to make a life there. We don't give up. We keep pushing forward. I love the outlook we have, the dreams we hold onto and that no matter what, we are proud of who we are. What I love most though is how right or wrong we do stand together on alot of things and we will extend a hand to our friends and neighbors. The U.S. has alot to learn. It needs to grow in many areas and open up it's eyes to alot of issues that they have no right what so ever denying someone of.
So there you have it! There are hundreds of things I can still touch on but this is a start. Please know that I love the questions so anything you want to know..jump right in and ask:)
Q:How did my husband and I meet and why did he come to the U.S.?
A: Believe it or not we met while writing letters to eachother! Not online but actual pen to paper. We quickly became best friends while writing letters and I never EVER thought anything more would come of it..funny how life works sometimes. As to why he came to the U.S? It was easier at the time for him to come to us. So he gave up and left behind his entire life here to start a new one with me in Oregon.
Q. Have I ever had any difficulties with work visa's and getting a job here? Im very lucky in the fact that I do not need to work. Although we are living on one income in a two income country, we are doing great. It has taken a very long time to adjust here and with other factors in the mix Im happy to say I do not need to work.. However if I wanted to the whole work visa thing is really easy. When you come you need to apply for residency and it takes awhile for your application to go through. During that time you can not work but as soon as you get your card(it's like a green card) you can work,get insurance and all that other good stuff.
Q: How do I get along in the markets? Im assuming that means the grocery store?lol We have fresh markets and then groceries stores. When I first came here it was a shock to go to the store. I have never been rammed in the back of my feet so much in my life. People are pushing you to go faster. They do not say excuse me or anything. I've been pushed several times. You can be looking at a product and turn around to have a dutch person right in your face, waiting to get another product..instead of saying excuse me, they sit there and wait and get annoyed with you. The aisles are smaller,the selection is a thousand times smaller and it's one of my least favorite places to go. The farmers markets are nice because you can get alot of fresh fruits,vegetables,cheeses,flowers, and everything else you can think of.
Q. Do I miss Fast food? Nope! here is why:
We have McDonalds! lol they are seriously everywhere in the world. I also have Burger King, a Kentucky Fried chicken somewhere,Dominoe's Pizza,Subway,and Im told in the major cities like Rotterdam there is a Pizza Hut. As you can see from above they have a special Dutch Deluxe burger wich just looks like a Big N Tasty to me..lol It's really expensive to eat out here. The same meal that cost us 15 american dollars back home now costs us close to 30. I used to get sick from eating fast food back home but I havent gotten sick once here. I WISH they would get a Taco Bell here! At the Kentucky Fried chicken place you can not get the yummie gravy that they sell in the U.S. Sometimes things are changed and added to appeal to that country. We get buy things at McDonalds that they don't sell back home.
Q. Why did you start a food blog?
A:When I first moved here and started reading blogs from others who moved here(we're called Expats..that means Expatriate) I noticed that although they talked about life here they never mentioned cooking. I would ask them about where to get this and that and they would either say I don't know or they would give me great advice. It's nice to read about others and their struggles when moving here but at some point I needed to get off the "Expat Train." No matter where you live and what you go through, you still need to get dinner on the table. There was alot more to me than trying to find my way around this country and for awhile I lost myself in that. I was still a wife and mother who needed to make dinner each night. When you leave everything you know the one thing we all want is foods that remind us of home. So almost a year ago I dusted myself off and got to work. I've always loved to cook and bake and I wanted to make it a goal to still make our favorites here. As time went on, I got more and more e-mails from other people who just arrived here and wanted to know where to find the basics and how I was able to make a certain meal from home. So this was my way of reaching out to others who lived abroad aswell as everyone else. I love food bloggers. I can send an e-mail,ask a ton of questions and then head into the kitchen. In return I am able to show others that even if you live far from home you can still make what you love.
Q: Biggest obsticle when using American Ingredients?
A: Everything is an obsticle for me..lol Until you see other countries and their stores, you really have no clue how different everything is. It was only recently that I found out they do not use the same kind of Baking Powder as we do. They use single acting and the U.S. uses double..thats why all my food was coming out flat. They also do not bake with baking soda here. I asked everyone where to buy it and they always told me to go to the pharmacy and buy it there. It turned out they were trying to get me to buy the stuff you soak your feet in!! you can't eat that. So thanks to other expats I was able to find a Toko and buy those items there. There are things that are just made in the U.S...like shortening. I can't get that here. I can not buy cream of anything,no Bisquick, no pillsbury, the list goes on and on really. So alot of the time I spend hours online finding out what I could use in place of something. For cream of mushroom soup I buy a dry mix that makes the soup. I only use half the milk called for and then I have the same thing as condensed cream of mushroom soup. I've learned to make food from scratch and not rely on dumping cream of something in there. Im also very grateful for family and friends back home who send me items. I also swap small boxes with other people to get the things I need. It's a win win:) Plus I travel to Germany alot to get the baked items I need..Germans bake way more than the Dutch do.
Q: Where did I get my love for cooking and baking from?
A: Both my parents can cook and bake. I used to tell my mom that she could make something out of nothing. She was always baking breads and cookies and even though she worked full time we always had a hot meal every night. Since having kids and then moving over here I have really started learning new ways of cooking and baking things. I have all the time in the world to learn how to make our favorites over here. I e-mail my Dad all the time and ask him how to make this or that and he always has a bunch of options for me to try.
Wow I am sooo not used to talking about myself. I almost feel guilty about it..lol Anyway thanks again for taking the time to ask me some questions. As time goes on I will do this again and again. There are so many different things to touch on.