My Corsican Obsession

by farrah on June 7, 2017 · 0 comments

Years ago I saw a travel show about Corsica. It was before I was married, but my boyfriend (now husband) indulged me in the fantasy that someday we’d go. We went to a Barnes & Noble and I bought a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. I remember paging through it, looking a the beautiful pictures and thinking of that woman I saw in the travel show riding a horse up a rocky hill. I wanted to go there. I would go there. Not sure how or when, but it was going to happen.

Photo credit: Castellu Piattu website.

So since that was prior to our wedding in 2006, and we were engaged for two and a half years- that had to be about 2003 (at least that’s what the guide’s publishing date tells me). In the back of my mind Corsica has remained my ‘white whale‘ for over the last decade plus. When it began I was living in Michigan working in an office and going to school at night for my MA in teaching. In that office part of my duties included responsibility for shipping expat mail overseas.

Soon, I’ll be going here with my husband. While I like (love) going by myself to different places, it’s when we get to go away together that I enjoy the most. The monkey wrench though is that hardly ever happens because kids. They’ve been too little and we’ve not had relatives living nearby who could watch them- except for the once a year when my in-laws came to visit. Bless them. The in-laws I mean, of course. And this summer they’re coming and my husband finally said it’s time to go to Corsica. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Two Cents on Taking Free Walking Tours

by farrah on June 4, 2017 · 2 comments

My family and I (as well as on my solo trips) take these tours usually every chance we get. We like to take one as soon as possible so as to get the lay of the land so to speak, of the city center we’re visiting. They’re great for the most part- and I’d highly recommend taking one if you find yourself in a city where you’d like to learn more. Additionally- it’s the best way to get insider tips (who has the best food, how to pay less at a cafe, what not to buy, etc) as soon as you arrive.

I’ve had good luck and bad with free tours. The biggest surprise was a tour in Venice (guide Adam) and the most special one was a recent one in the Jewish Quarter of Krakow  that I took by accident. So sometimes you won’t know until you’re on it if it’s going to be a good one or not- sorry to say. Hopefully breaking it down for you (and offering my advice) will help prepare you for the best experience possible.

My Venice tour guide Adam
[click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Witness

by farrah on May 30, 2017 · 8 comments

This is not going to be a post how ‘Everyone should go to Auschwitz’. If you’re looking for something like that I imagine you can Google it and find tacky articles waxing poetic on this place and how it’s so moving and blah blah blah. Because not everyone SHOULD go there. I happened to see some people who clearly did not realize that.

You shouldn’t go there if you can’t behave properly, dress appropriately, follow the rules or refrain from taking smiling selfies in front of ghastly buildings standing starkly as a reminder. If you cannot understand why or fail to see that decorum is important do  not go here.

You just SHOULD NOT.

That all said, I did go. I tried to prepare myself as best I could for what I was going to see. I felt compelled to visit the site of horror and terror and all of the awful things one can possibly imagine- because that’s what it is, and worse. I kept trying to put into words why I felt it was necessary to go- and my friend Amy said it best on the one and only photo I shared on the Internet. On my IG post she said “…I think remembering, seeing, and even grieving is our gift to the souls lost there.” and that’s EXACTLY it. It’s all I could give, and I felt I gave it my best. [click to continue…]

{ 8 comments }

Where To and What Not

by farrah on May 10, 2017 · 4 comments

It’s May 2017 which a while ago seemed like some intangible date where we were going to begin our countdown. Specifically, the one-year-mark countdown to our contract ending here in the Netherlands and of something happening next.

Of course, that magical date of May 2018 has been created after not one but two extensions- and our initial assignment of ‘two to three years’ has meshed into our fifth. Five years. The best way I can try to put some kind of concrete idea of that amount of time passed is thinking back five years to the ages of the boys. L and C were two and B was three. Babies. I had babies five years ago. I was also five years from 40- which yeah I know means nothing really to anyone but myself.

So anyhow- here we are in this fifth year last hurrah. As people who know me- know I’ll say ‘nothing is ever concrete till that contract is signed’ but I’m pretty darn sure that there is no likelihood that we will be living in the NL much longer. There is no mobility with my husband’s company here, and the contract is almost up- which means it’s time to rotate. It’s time to start thinking about saying goodbye. [click to continue…]

{ 4 comments }

Six Months Later: A Bunch of Places

by farrah on March 3, 2017 · 0 comments

I am probably the worst travel blogger to ever blog. If I didn’t keep a list of where we’ve been and when in the ‘notes’ section of my phone I’d forget- guaranteed. For some reason I woke up this morning with a new determination to jot down the where we’ve been in the past six months and any highlights that might have ensued. Let me present to you a quick summary of  the ‘bunch of places’: Halkidiki, Mallorca, Gran Canaria, Venice & Winterberg.

I found this fun scratch off map at a drugstore for 4 bucks.  [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Many expats from the US living around the globe are mortified at the new leadership of our home country. I am one of those people who is beyond words over the new person in the White House. Let me be straight- I don’t have a strong political identity. When election time rolled around I wasn’t crazy about any of them- but I was more fearful of one. The one that won. If you disagree with me already- I’ll advise you to click away now and let that be that.

What I want people to understand- is that we, as American expats living in your country, do not share the ideology of the new President. We do not believe it is only ‘America First’. We know from experience that there is a world out there filled with billions of people and places and life is about more than ourselves. We care about our environment and are humbled at the welcoming nature of those that have taken us in, become our friends, and shared our lives.

We do not echo the words of the inauguration speech from Friday.

[click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

2016 Travels In Review: A Very Good Year

by farrah on January 7, 2017 · 0 comments

Ok, so I’m about a week late on this one, but better late than never. I’ve thought so many times how much I’ll regret neglecting this blog come years from now. I’m already at the point where I read old posts and laugh my head off thinking ‘oh my god I forgot about that..’ so I can only imagine what it will be like once I’m getting my hair colored ala Anne Bancroft sterling gray on the reg.

Who cares about the view when there’s gelato?

A photo posted by Farrah Ritter (@momofthreeunder) on

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

It’s Time Again… To Plan 2017 Travels

by farrah on January 3, 2017 · 4 comments

January is where it’s at for travel planning. My husband and I try to lock down our ‘big’ holiday in the summer- since bookings are fast and fierce when it comes to availability. Europeans don’t fool around- most of the time it seems friends of ours have their trip booked 6-12 months in advance, and with good reason! A safe bet is a safe bet for them- whereas we love a safe bet (knowing it’s a great place) but also trying to cram it all in before our time is up.

Dear Santa…Please bring us travel. [click to continue…]

{ 4 comments }

On Almost Being Ready To Go- Expat Experience

by farrah on December 30, 2016 · 8 comments

In a couple of days I will be able to say ‘we leave next year’ when someone asks us how long we have left in Oisterwijk. For the longest time I’ve lived with that as an abstract idea- not really something in the foreseeable future- and definitely something that I was dreading. If I didn’t think about it, talk about it or face it— it wasn’t really real. It wasn’t really going to happen.

Look how tiny they were! Us after arriving in 2012. [click to continue…]

{ 8 comments }

What We’re Left With

by farrah on November 8, 2016 · 2 comments

A funny thing happened to me when I was pregnant with my first child- as I suspect it’s pretty common for ‘funny things’ to happen to pregnant women: I couldn’t watch my favorite TV show anymore. More accurately, I couldn’t stomach Dexter, the good-guy serial killer story that my husband and I had been watching for the previous few seasons. Something feels familiar here…..

tweetSpeaks volumes that no matter who you support you can relate. 

[click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }