Expativersary Updates: The Dogs, DMV, Stove (and my cooking)

by farrah on October 22, 2013 · 14 comments

Keeping the theme going this week, I was inspired by my friend SJ from the exceptional expat/Croatia/travel website Chasing the Donkey. She made a comment on one of my old posts asking for an update on one area in particular. It was a good question- so I thought I would share a few updates on the things that are really need-to-know for your daily survival. Namely: the dogs, DMV and (dun-dun-DUN!) the Stove and my cooking.

The Dogs

Quick back story with the pups: Napa our yellow lab went to live with my sister who basically runs a lux dog retirement center. No, that’s exaggerating-she has a very nice home in Michigan with three dogs (one of them being Napa). My sister comes from a long line of dog lovers-so I know that Napa is in good hands. She’s getting up there, and her health isn’t that great (hips/arthritis) so approaching 7 years for her might be like 14 in small dog terms. My husband is going back to the states for work next month and will be checking up on her.

163703_1672967637809_3786136_nN&H back in 2011 with one of the twins (and hubs).

As for Henry. He’s the miracle dog. His life is pretty incredible. We adopted him in 2007 from the humane society when he was about six weeks old. He was found in a cardboard box on the side of the road- and was there the day we went ‘just to look’. We took him home and loved him- and he came down with some crazy illness in 2009. I sought out all kinds of medical advice, spent gazillions of dollars- and ended up treating him with the help of a holistic vet. He has been fine ever since. Pretty amazing, right? Well- that’s not the best part. Henry is now a full-blown service dog with Dogs for Autism. He’s doing awesome. I just received a photo of him last week from his new dad- and he’s happy and healthy. I am so proud of him I could burst. I miss them, the boys miss them too- and sometimes it’s really hard to think of our lives without them.


photo-37I did this our first week here.

Ok, so I don’t know what’s it’s really called, but you get the idea. I’m talking about the place where they do your drivers’ license and all that. I wrote a post called Love Your DMV and spelled out what we would have to do to get our drivers’ licenses- which were required after the first six months of living here. My update is that there is no update. We have made no progress on this front and are completely driving illegally (in SC our licences are still legal). We’re going to make it a personal goal to try to rectify this as soon as possible as I do not want to see the inside of a Dutch prison. I do still hate our car, and that will never change- so maybe this is why I refuse to get a license.

The Stove


I wrote early on about being Stove Stupid and tried to follow it up illustrating my failure at cooking in the Adventures in Dutch Cooking I & II. However, if I’m being honest I’ll tell you that before coming here I was no chef- heck, I don’t even really use Pinterest recipes all that much so… Take a mediocre cook and throw in a crazy stove with ingredients you aren’t used to cooking with and voila! Not much has changed other than being a mediocre cook with different ingredients.

I’m not crazy about many of the food items here, I love the heck out of the Netherlands but the food is one aspect that I prefer Germany (or anywhere else). I don’t like mayonnaise-y spreads, sprinkles on my bread or some of the unidentifiable meats that I have seen. I DO like that the quality of what we eat seems to be higher, our food fresher, and seems to have fewer unpronounceable ingredients. Does that make for a total pain in the rear though when trying to make familiar ‘home’ recipes? You bet it does. But thanks to a steady supply of expat care packages, I’ve been able to get my MSG fix and share the love with my family once in a while.

A big joke from our House Hunters episode was the whole (dun-dun-DUN!) stove scene where my husband and I are in the kitchen and I am talking about how intimidating it is. Well, I’m no longer intimidated. I have learned she’s slow to warm up, quick to burn something and fairly reliable. All good qualities if you ask me, so no complaints.

And for the most part- that about does it! I speak at length at how much we love our school situation and our village of Oisterwijk. If you are wondering about anything else feel free to ask! I don’t think I’m very interesting so my life in a nutshell is dogs, DMV, stove. Snoozeville.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer F- American Mom in Bordeaux October 22, 2013 at 7:50 am

Nice update….great idea – I might just have to follow suit and do an update like that…Pretty much the first 2 items apply to us too…Our beloved dog is with my mother in the States and we are in process of trying to find a permanent home for her. I laughed at your DMV story as it’s the same for me here – I have to get a French driver’s license – after 30 years of driving, I have to go back to Driving school!! (as my NY license is not reciprocal in France!!!). – of which I have been procrastinating…Loved your post!


2 farrah October 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Thanks Jennifer! Yeah- sometimes doing all of the updates at once is kind of nice. And random 🙂 Good luck with your pooch- I know that’s not an easy thing to do. And as for that driving school thing- ouch! I personally think Americans drive a little bit better than the French 😉


3 Mrs. Chasing the Donkey October 22, 2013 at 8:39 am

Ohh yay! I am so glad the doggies are well. That must be such a load off your mind. It’s a hard lesson, but a good one for the boys to learn about how people / things come and go in our lives. As for the DMV, now you have to get cracking you just admitted you’re a felon on the www 😉


4 farrah October 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I know it! Here I am! Take me away!!!
Good thing I drive once a blue moon.


5 Kristen October 22, 2013 at 10:15 am

Hearing about Napa and Henry gets me all teary eyed. Glad they are both doing well!


6 farrah October 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm



7 Ellen October 22, 2013 at 11:10 am

That stove amazed and intimidated me aswell! Never seen such a stove in the netherlands… It looks English to me. Average Dutch people don’t use a oven for their evening meals, not for cooking that is. Maybe for heating up a pizza or dish with already cooked ingredients. A simple Dutch meal will be boiled patatos, boiled vegtables and a little piece of meat like meatballs, a sausage or a chop”(? Id that te right word but I mean a ‘karbonade’)
On the internetsite of “Allerhande”(that is the free magazine of Albert Heijn) are a lot of recipes with a little cooking instruction clip. Maybe you can understand them a little bit?


8 farrah October 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I do get that magazine- all of the dishes look fantastic. It’s the translating that bogs me down. I do try to do it online though- and translate right there, and order AH online so I know I get the right stuff. Sometimes that’s not enough though!


9 Ann October 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I can’t believe you’re airing your licensing woes in a public place! 😉

I love that the combination of not cooking much anyway, a stove you don’t understand, and a foreign language means youhaven’t turned gourmet.

Also, I kind of laughed when you mentioned the ingredient lists have fewer unpronounceable words – ummm, are any Dutch words pronounceable?


10 farrah October 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Oh my gosh- that’s like the best point ever.
At least these are somewhat natural ingredients?


11 farrah October 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm

I just noticed the wine cork by the way in that picture of the stove. Nice.


12 Gayla October 22, 2013 at 8:02 pm

That is one heck of a stove. I’d love to have it! Of course, Mike does 99.9% of the cooking, but I’d still love to have it. Ours is just a simple gas range top and our oven is a small combi (microwave/convection oven/grill). So small that my Texas-sized baking pans and muffin tins don’t fit in it 🙁 Which bites, cause I like to bake and have to be a bit resourceful to get a couple dozen of anything in there to bake at one time. Wanna switch? 😉


13 farrah October 22, 2013 at 8:23 pm

YES! Do you have a regular ol big USA kind of one? I can’t fit a turkey in this thing!


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