Looking Ahead. Again.

by farrah on December 30, 2017 · 3 comments

My favorite number has always been 17. My birthday is on the 17th and for some reason I have just always associated 17 with great things. Thus, I was filled with optimism as 2017 rang in- not quite thinking it would ring out leaving me a bit on the deflated side of things. On this eve of the big Eve, I’m sitting here thinking ‘That was it?’ and yeah, it was.

To begin with the important stuff- this is the last hurrah. We are officially leaving the NL and returning to the US this spring. I’ve mentioned that here and there- but overall not made much of a fuss because I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea of us all moving back. As a friend asked me- ‘Are you more sad for leaving or excited for moving?’ and that’s the heart of my conflict. We’re going to be moving outside of Rochester, New York- to a region we’ve never been let alone lived. A fresh start and a new location is always appealing, and so that fits our mo of SUPER EXCITING STUFF.

But. If you’ve read this blog over the years you know I’m attached to Oisterwijk and more importantly to this lifestyle that we’ve been so fortunate to experience. We’ve seen so much of Europe, met so many wonderful people and experienced places that I never imagined possible. I’ve grown attached to Dutch people in general and their direct way of life. No place is perfect, but the smaller village with the intimate center is kind of dream come true.

That said- things like the hellish parking situation on our street will most certainly NOT be missed, nor the cramped, drafty house we reside in, or the dismal rainy days that seemingly never end.

Alas, the pros have always outweighed the cons. Our friends, our school, the terraces and forest cafes and the weather when it’s nice is really truly spectacular. Not to mention that my kids sort of think they’re Dutch and have this inner confidence I love. They’ve learned so much here, and considering they were 2, 2 & 3 when we arrived- they grew up as part of this community. Now at 7, 7, & almost 9 – people familiar with kids know that it’s a world of difference with this age. Diapers and bottles seem like a lifetime ago and we’re dealing with real kid personalities and invested family partnerships.

I still have a lot to think about and consider so this isn’t our swan song to the NL just yet. We have a few months and now that the relocation process is inching forward I feel excited looking at houses, checking out cars and daydreaming about schools. We are in a good place mentally and emotionally to go back. Even with all of the American chaos politically- I feel that there is indeed going to be a change and I look forward to being a part of it. Maybe even just helping those who are losing more and more as the government’s regime takes things away. I can help and I want to help.

I was angry and couldn’t even think about going back two years ago. I threatened my husband that he’d have to drag my corpse out of here rather than return to the US- but the idea has come around. The kids are just as entitled to experience some good old American upbringing as they’ve had childhood in Europe. Additionally they have relatives back in the US they should know better. We’ll still be able to retain our independence as most family is in the midwest- so visiting can be on our terms. That’s always been important since the day my husband and I decided to stay in South Carolina after learning we were about to have three babies on our hands. If we could do that, then move 3 babies to Europe on our own, I’m pretty sure we can do anything.

Additionally, our hope is that we can hold on to our newfound sense of financial responsibility and not slip into the ways of overspending just because it’s easy. Here credit cards aren’t convenient, and that habit was broken quickly. The Dutch live by ‘If you can’t afford it you have no business buying it.’ which is a healthy sense of living. It’s a lesson my husband and I both needed to learn- which has helped us pay off all of our debt going back.

Setting a reasonable budget for a house (not doing HHI this time!) and hopefully planning things a bit better when it comes to a car (I AM NOT GOING TO MISS MY RAM VAN!) we’re also going to bite the penalty and take a shipping container home. We could get rid of everything- but why? We’ve made some nice purchases and I’d love to influence our new home with Dutch stuff we currently have. We don’t want to panic about space going back- so we’re saying what the hell to packing in all the stuff and lugging it back.

So that’s a lot, yeah? We’re excited, positive and looking ahead to a new adventure! The boys have even named the future dog ‘Dexter Dutch’.

To be continued…

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 She knows December 30, 2017 at 11:22 pm

Jennifer’s birthday is your half birthday and her favorite # is 17 too! Weird thing is, she has a phobia of odd #’s! I can’t wait for you to be back in the states, it’s just not the same without you!!!


2 Camj January 3, 2018 at 3:38 am

I read your blog when my twins were babies (they’re five now) and stop in every now and again to see if you have posted anything. Have enjoyed reading about NL but will be looking forward to updates as you come back to the States! I’ve heard Rochester is a really welcoming community – and it’s not too far to Canada if you need to escape US politics. There is a lot of energy in politics due to the elections, so while I turn my phone and tv off some days it’s a positive to see the average person engaged. Best of luck with the move.


3 Aidan January 11, 2018 at 6:54 pm

Hi, I am new to your blog. I saw your show on House Hunters International. Your family is awesome and your sense of adventure is admirable!
We are ready to make a move ourselves. Perhaps to the NL. Having gone thru the process what is the best way to find housing in your opinion? Is there a website or a service you recommend?

Kind Regards,


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