Updates From the Nether-Lands

by farrah on September 8, 2014 · 15 comments

A bunch of good stuff has been going on as of late. Additionally, we’re enjoying the nicest September in years weather wise. This makes up for a rather dismal August when it comes to rain, so the blue skies, warm temps and falling leaves have been most spectacular. Without much ado- I’m going to jump right in to what’s happening over the pond in our beloved Oisterwijk.


School & sports

School is rolling right along and I’m counting down the day until the twins start full-time. It’s going to be so weird. B is in his zwem lessons once a week and plays soccer twice a week. He loves it- and is getting more confident in his abilities. The brothers are yammering about when is it their turn- and I just don’t know how to deal. Unless they all play or practice on the same day- I’m going to have to get used to running around doing all the things. I know many parents do this and have been doing this for ages, but oy. It will take some getting used to for me.


We’re getting excited! This morning B and I rode by on my bike and saw the owner there with his crew. He invited us in to take a look and see how it’s coming along. I was pretty awed looking at the stairs- he removed the old carpeting and was scraping it off in order to put down the new and I noticed old green paint underneath. I asked how old it was and he said over 100 years. It sort of blew my mind. He said he was telling his mother in law (who is about 86 years old) about it and she said yes, she remembered that green paint well. Crazy.

Being legal

I’m sure I am jinxing things, but I received a phone call about an hour ago that my license is indeed ready to be picked up. WHAT?! I know. Crazy. Can’t believe after 5+ months of effort the saga is coming to an end.

Our big trip

I’m trying not to stress about our first time flying back to the States. Forget dealing with issues of family overload at the holidays- I’m more worked up over making sure everyone is ok on the plane ride there and back. I will continue to cross all my parts in an effort to persuade the travel gods to be kind to us. Please let there be no drama over us sitting together. I’ve already given up all hope of staving off jet lag since we have a layover in Atlanta en route to Greenville, SC. It’s going to be rough going until we can get up to Michigan and from there it’s going to be all about making the rounds.

My mom hasn’t seen the boys since the summer of 2012, and my sister hasn’t since June of last year. My dad was here in May and my husband’s parents were here last month so at least that helps narrow the priority list a little. We’re going to stay with my mom this time, and I assume bounce between my in-laws and my sister’s house on Thanksgiving Day. Thankfully for us, they’re in the same town! Good news since there are several aunts, uncles and cousins that haven’t seen the boys since the summer before we left. They’re going to eat up the attention, which will hopefully help them adjust to the time difference.

Someone once told me that coming back to visit as an expat is more difficult than other visits because ‘everyone wants a piece of you’. I worry about the kids.  I know it will be good for them to see everyone. But I hope I can keep their egos in check and be there to buffer any unnecessary comments about ‘Oh but you live so far, don’t you miss us?’ kind of thing. I will not tolerate anyone putting any sort of guilt on my children over the fact that they live in Europe instead of ‘back home’. Let you be warned, relatives. Mama Bear isn’t kidding with that. We’ll do our best, just keep that in mind.

I remember reading this article from Your Expat Child when we moved over. At first I couldn’t believe it could be so much work to just return a visit home! But then, as we’ve been here longer it makes sense. I will mentally prepare for the worst and then allow our family to surprise us. Again, being in the same town though is going to make is easier. Right? Or is that harder?  I’m curious if you’re an expat and have gone home with the kids- what was it like?

Coming back, we’re hoping to fly out on a Friday night, get back here on Saturday since BOOM- they have to be recovered for school on Monday. Yikes.

Hope your September is off to a wonderful start! Doesn’t this always seem to be the fastest month all year??

**** I really appreciate your comments and always try to respond! Unfortunately I updated today and the comments have disappeared on the posts.  I still see them on the back end, and have replied- but until I can fix it, I guess they’re hidden. ***

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ann September 8, 2014 at 10:32 am

Lots going on.

I’ve found that going back home I’ve made it less about the people back home and more about my own needs and priorities. We usually have one big get together early on. Afterwards, we do what we want to do and people can come along if they want.

My dad is a very please everyone type and wants to go out of his way to make it convenient for the wrong people. Our first trip to the US a year after we moved (when W was 6 months) saw us spending a week in NC and 2 weeks in FL. We stayed in a new location (hotel, house, or whatever) at least every 3 nights. Some times only one night before we moved on. Our next to last day my dad wanted to set up a meeting with his side of the family and planned something close to them. Which would have been a 1.5 hr drive for us. I finally put my foot down. He said they might not make it if it’s so far. I said it doesn’t matter. I’ve gone all over the country and flew over and I need to do what’s best for us. So, at the last minute he called and switched it with them. They had absolutely no problem coming closer. (ANd if anyone did, they just didn’t come.)

I’m really more of the opinion that people will make the time if they want to. If they don’t make the time, they don’t want to, and that is a-ok with me. They have their own lives, too. And the fewer people that make the time, the easier it is for me to spend more time with those that want to spend time with me.

When we go back now we either rent a house via airbnb or something, or stay with my folks for at least a week. There’s plenty of family and friends we haven’t seen in our visits – but they know where we are going to be and can come if they want.


2 farrah September 8, 2014 at 2:34 pm

I would totally stay in a central rental or something in that case. Woah- I can’t even imagine how exhausting it is for you when you come home!


3 Jen September 8, 2014 at 11:49 am

When we first started going back we would drive all over taking the kids to see everyone, eventually we just started telling people a time and a place where they could come and see us and if they wanted to make it they would. The main reason we actually did this was that people would expect us to visit them out of some kind of obligation rather than because they actually wanted to see us, and we’d end up sitting in their living room to crickets, just because we saw aunt so and so, so they needed a visit too! It was getting ridiculous and I was tired of wasting what little vacation time we had after spending so muc money to get there.


4 farrah September 8, 2014 at 2:33 pm

That’s insanity! And I hear you on the crickets. That’s what the kids are for these days 🙂 They’re my buffer. Totally.


5 CK September 8, 2014 at 1:39 pm

We have experienced ‘going back’ both while living in our home country AND while living in Europe…. as we never lived close to extended family! Even as I grew up, we never lived near relatives of either side of my parents. Both of my parents come from large extended families with lots of relatives living in their respective ‘home towns’ and I always remember visiting both sides (each on opposite sides of the country) as a kid.

Today with my own family, we do it like my parents did when we visited their respective sides… we pick one place to sleep; within a few days after arrival a gathering is organized for those who want to see us (usually at the place we are staying); then we do what we want to do; if someone invites us breakfast/lunch/dinner at their place, great; then before leaving one more gathering usually at a restaurant with whoever wants to join; then on our merry way. We don’t put much thought into anyone expecting us to ‘host’ or having us drive all over for the simplicity of seeing us – it’s their ‘city’ and we are the visitors! They can find the time, if not, no water off our back!


6 farrah September 8, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Thankfully, that’s not an issue we have since everyone is in one place. Honestly- I don’t know how some people do it! It should be pretty easy though as my mother in law will host her side and my family is rather small. Just my parents, siblings and their spouse or girlfriend. Easy peasy! But maybe deceptively easy?


7 CK September 8, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Oh… regarding the gathering I mention above, it’s usually organized by the person we are staying with. Which is normally my parents, or when we were kids, my grandparents. Parents love organizing things like that!


8 farrah September 8, 2014 at 2:25 pm

That’s a wonderful idea.


9 Leighann September 8, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Sounds like a great adventure is beginning. School, trip, new house! all very exciting!!


10 farrah September 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm

That’s how it always is, right?! When it rains it pours 🙂


11 farrah September 8, 2014 at 2:39 pm

test. where did you go comments?


12 Jessica September 8, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Where’s your first trip with your new license going to be? Anywhere noteworthy? 🙂

At least with your boys being older, there are more entertainment options for them on the plane – I’ve already been stockpiling ideas for the future!


13 farrah September 11, 2014 at 8:51 am

It wasn’t very exciting! We went to pick up a birthday cake 🙂 But so happy now that I’m legal!


14 Cheril von Barsewisch September 9, 2014 at 9:00 am

Going back home is hard becuase yes, everyone wants to see you and here about your experiences. I have tried different things but what seems to be most successful in going back with the least stress possible is make a list of the people that you want to see beforehand and prioritise it. Then see if you can group some of the people together. In advance of your visit, let them that you can meet up on a specific date and time and just enjoy the people who can make it. Other than that I just enyjoy the rest of my time with my family and do and see the things that interest me and my kids.


15 farrah September 11, 2014 at 8:52 am

For me the ‘things that interest me’ are eating the horrible food choices in town 🙂


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