It’s Not Paris..It’s Better- Our Week In Tilburg & Amsterdam

by farrah on June 18, 2012 · 24 comments

My husband took me to Paris our first Valentine’s day together. It was a blur of a weekend, and I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the city. I remember thinking how exotic it all was- from the foreign menus to the trendy dressers and the breathtaking architecture. We were only there for a few days and when we came back to Detroit I remember feeling deflated and sad.

This past  week that we spent in the Netherlands was overwhelming too- but with mental notes, places to remember and things still yet to do. I didn’t even scratch the surface of  this mysterious (to me) Dutch culture where the moms ride bikes like badasses and the general population smokes like chimneys.

Another thing…it’s all Green as in lush and gorgeous and covering the hillsides, flat lands and neighborhoods. Where the city ends, the green takes over- with exotic looking trees and soft, long wavy grasses blowing by the highway.

It didn’t matter to me that they a) drive a little crazy or b) it was pretty darn cold (around 60 ish) the majority of the week.

I’m smitten.

And unlike with Paris- I didn’t come home deflated and missing it- mostly because I know we’re going to be heading back. I’m already telling myself to prepare for the expat syndrome- the honeymoon, the reality, the homesickness, the acceptance, and eventually the desire not to return to the states. I know this is my future- and I’m trying really hard to keep it all in perspective to reduce the sting as much as possible.

It’s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. There’s a litany of reasons why and how this is going to be difficult, but for now I’m basking in the glow that was our trip. Not to mention our first kid-free time together in 4 years. It was rejuvenating. We feel like life has been jump started again, and we have something other than the chaos of our daily grind to reach for. It’s a heavy emotion- as going somewhere new means leaving somewhere else behind. But that’s a post for another day…

Fortunately my husband has the foresight to plan trips well. We were in Tilburg and the surrounding neighborhoods Sunday-Wednesday doing research while he reserved Thursday for enjoying Amsterdam. I am so glad that he did.

The history, the architecture- the people. I was in love with the romance of it all. My words do not do it justice, so I’ll have to save that for another time as well.

Row of houses (above), bikes moms ride with their kids (below)

I can’t wait to type up a post  someday about how we took the boys there for the day and rocked it. When the time comes and we have trekked there on the train, stroller in tow- and  run around the square and into fountains- we will have made it. It may take a while…but I know we can do it. Hopefully I won’t always be wearing four layers though.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shannon June 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Congrats on such a great trip! You all have an amazing adventure before you, and I’ll admit…I’m a bit…jealous! Good luck!


2 farrah June 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Thanks Shannon! It will be an adventure- but we also took this trip sans kiddos. I am pretty sure there are moments you are NOT jealous of for sure 🙂 they’re going to add a whole new dimension to this I know.


3 Kristin June 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Wow. That looks amazing – and I know this will be an amazing experience for you guys! So right about being prepared for the realities (and excitement). Love the photos. They are gorgeous!


4 farrah June 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Thanks! Coming from you that says something. You have the best eye for photos on your blog. We’re cautiously excited!


5 just keep swimming June 18, 2012 at 12:58 pm

You sound so positive and excited and prepared. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I would love to do that.
I wonder if blogging and still having that connection to the states will help alleviate some of the disconnect that comes from being in a foreign land. I guess you’ll find out.


6 farrah June 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm

That’s my hope. I really want to stay connected- and keep up with friends from home. It will be weird with the time change- since I will most likely be online when they’re asleep, but it will help. And I don’t know if I will ever be fully prepared. Throwing the kids in there really will make it interesting.


7 Stephanie June 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Oh, good! So glad it was good! What an exciting (if not exhausting) life. I wish I could see the world like that! Looking forward to more posts about it!


8 farrah June 18, 2012 at 3:03 pm

You know you’re welcome to come visit whenever you like! And seriously- only you could appreciate a) those open, winding stairs and b) that bike to schlep the kids around in. I mean, seriously- can you imagine?! Every house I went into I was like- uh, um..those STAIRS again!!! At least I will have mammoth bike legs.


9 Laura H. June 18, 2012 at 2:41 pm

WOW! Sounds so amazing! What an adventure you guys get to take together…part of me is [more than] a wee bit envious…


10 farrah June 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

🙂 Thanks Laura! We’re really excited and have been hoping for this for a few years. The world is your oyster too- anyone can do this!


11 Robbie June 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm

what an exciting adventure! the pictures are beautiful and I can’t wait to hear about you being a bad ass bike mama. Keep sharing your journey!


12 farrah June 18, 2012 at 7:18 pm

xoxo. Thanks Robbie! I so want to be a bad ass bike mama too!


13 Kristen June 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I love the excitment in your post. It was such a good idea to dip your toes into the water before going for a swim. I have had so many friends just move out of the country blindly and unprepared. I think doing the visit beforehand like you did opened your heart and your mind to the move and that will make it all that much easier on you.


14 farrah June 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm

That’s crazy! I was thinking that the time we had wasn’t even remotely enough to figure it all out- I need my husband to go back at least once more. HOW can they just go?! Wow! That’s brave!!!


15 Brianne June 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I for one can not wait to a) visit and b) see those boys in a glitterati bike! I can’t get over that! Amazing!


16 farrah June 18, 2012 at 7:21 pm

You’d better. And oh I know- me too. I am just chomping at the bit to get back.


17 Greta June 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm

What an adventure. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like for you, but you do paint quite the picture. You know I’ll be following all along the journey!

And what a good looking couple you are!!


18 farrah June 20, 2012 at 11:57 am

Aw- thanks Greta 🙂 It will be fun I know- but I’m bracing myself for all of the challenges as best I can!


19 Julie June 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I went through all those emotions just moving three states away. I wonder if the amount of time it takes to run through them is proportional to the distance between new and old homes? Ha. Hope not!


20 farrah June 20, 2012 at 11:57 am

Oh my- I hope not! It’s going to be tough enough 🙂


21 Marion June 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Glad you had a great time in my home country the Netherlands 🙂
I like reading your stories.

We moved two years ago from the Netherlands to Kentucky…I have to say I LOVE KY . We don’t have school buses to bring us, we have to go on a bike for miles :-), so not only bike moms tuff kids too.
Every country has its charms like it here with my horses. ( But I brought my horse from the Netherlands with me 😉 )


22 farrah June 20, 2012 at 11:58 am

I need to pick your brain- where did you live? How long have you been here? And KY is actually a possible option when we come back- how ironic!! Thank you for the kind words!


23 CK June 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm

How very exciting (and such a big move, but you’ll love it once you settle into a routine)! We are currently living in Switzerland and see those bikes everywhere, but I have not dared to try them (way too many hills that you must go up before coming back down)!


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