Front Window, And a Confession

by farrah on October 7, 2014 · 9 comments

The past week has been crazy! Over the weekend we did indeed get into the house. I sit here with boxes piled sky-high in our courtyard, and a million more stashed in a storage room. What’s left is our dry food storage- and I’d better get in there quickly since I’m almost out of coffee. So- emergency! But the good thing is that we’re here, we’re happy, and very much enjoying our very Dutch home.


Front window

First, I want to focus on the front window. It’s currently something that I spend a lot of time looking out of, and- not surprisingly, something that other people spend a lot of time looking into. I’ve mentioned (probably too much) that this is a former shop. Before we moved in it was a music shop with script on the window and the instruments on display. This is fine for a regular store front, but as a friend of mine pointed out- it really is like being inside an aquarium. Oddly, enough though, we like it.


There’s the main one way street coming out of the center, and the sidewalk is right up next to the house. We have cars, bikes, and people walking and riding by all day long. I frequently see friends we know, as well as many that we don’t- who wave and have no qualms looking in. I’m glad that they do- I’ve put a lot of effort in making this front room something special for us- the boys love it. It’s the only room with (new) carpeting, so for them it’s fun to bust out the legos and billion different types of animals. Plus, as being typically a Dutch thing- I have the ledge in front of the window lined with some plants. I’ve thrown in a fish tank and some seasonal decor. I’m really looking forward to going all out at the holidays and dressing it up nicely.

But what strikes me as the most interesting is that this is so unlike what I came from. Back in the US- I was used to sitting in a quiet cul de sac, shades drawn all day so no one could peep in. The horror! The Dutch like to have that front window open to look in and out and give a smile or a nod. After being in our last house in Oisterwijk- I have completely embraced this idea.

photo 2-119

If you happened to catch our House Hunters episode– I made some comments about the lack of privacy and not liking the window in our last house. On the HHI Facebook page I was slammed for my ‘typical American obsession with privacy’. I got several comments of ‘As if you’re so interesting!‘ and ‘Ugh. Typical American! Stay home if you don’t like it.’ Well, to that I can only say, DUH. Anyone who leaves what is familiar to them is of course going to be nervous at first. Give them a chance. If they STILL hate it- well, oh well. BUT if they embrace it and make it something they in turn adopt and appreciate, well- they get it. Right?


So now for my confession. Last year I wrote about how we’ve decluttered and downsized our life. This is true. But after this move I must say that I fee we’re back up to acquiring ‘things’ again and I hate it. The sheer number of boxes I found is rather daunting- as they represented more material objects that we lug around from place to place. I wanted to distance myself from that mindset- and I feel like over the past two years we’ve gotten comfortable and forgotten our mission. The mission to live a life happier with each other and moments other than things and objects. So I need to work on this.


The good news is that we haven’t bought any new furniture with the move (with the exception of my marvelous chairs). We purchased any necessary items off of the FB swap group and the local Salvation Army type place. I’m thrilled with a dresser we found that can hide store that stuff I mentioned above. And we love our new huge coffee table that we got for a steal at €19 from the Salvation Army. It’s bigger and better to rest your feet- or of course for the boys to dance. So, all in all we brought everything with us from the previous house and had no issues filling up every room.

My friend Ace is an expat in nearby Tilburg- from Chicago. She also recently moved and is dealing with so many of the same things. She wrote a funny post yesterday about Dutch walls. Because yes, things like windows and walls are a thing here! Check out Life In Dutch‘s post here.

I miss you blog, readers and commenters! I hope once I find our camera (which is still packed) I can show you around some more. Things like the electoral switches, the mammoth church tower in the back and courtyard all need their own post. Thank you for your emails and messages- we’re in, and happy!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jen October 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm

I’ve noticed that more people in my neighborhood are starting to leave their front windows ‘undressed’, I have sheers in the front but some of my neighbors just have the drapes they close at night. We actually took the sheers down from the back of the house the other day and it’s made a huge difference. Of course there is a 50 foot lawn between the sidewalk and my front window…


2 farrah October 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm

That’s fun to know- I hope to see the same when we return. And yeah- you’re usually a little further off the street back home 🙂 You remember!


3 Kiley October 7, 2014 at 4:46 pm

I love this post. So interesting that open windows are the norm there–Americans are VERY private–drawing the curtains the minute they see a person peek inside. I what have seen of your new place –exposed brick, that huge front window! Swoon!


4 farrah October 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Oh absolutely. It also took some getting used to- but now that we have it I really like it. I feel more a part of the community- and the light just can’t be beat.


5 Ace October 8, 2014 at 8:37 am

I’m loving the pictures so far – I can’t wait to see it! I’m still drooling over those amazing chairs… And I have to laugh about the “privacy” idea – it’s so different here than in the States. People may look in, but they still mind their own business. In the States, we keep people from looking in and no one seems to mind their own.


6 farrah October 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm

It’s getting pretty hilarious at the number of people who actually come to the door, knock and chat. I mean, who does that?


7 Leighann October 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm

I love that you’ve embraced the culture and downsized your items… something I need to do. You’ve inspired me.


8 farrah October 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I try! But we need to get back to traveling soon as when I’m sitting around too long— I shop.


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