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One More Cup of Coffee for the Road- My last Road-trip!

I went to Columbia, South Carolina this weekend to see my cousin Alice for her 24th birthday! Alice and I are exactly one week less than being a year apart. While this caused some rivalry when we were little, as we have grown into adulthood, we have gotten to be super close. Columbia, is about 4 hours away from Atlanta. So, not too long of a drive, but very fitting for my last mini trip in the United States until I move. It is going to be really strange to not just be able to jump in a car and go see my family.

While on the road, my mom and I stocked up on my favorite food, boiled peanuts. For any non-Southerners out there, boiled peanuts are fresh peanuts boiled in an insane amount of salt and water for at least 8 hours. The squishier the peanut the better! I have some serious love!

We then made it to my aunt and uncle's house where my cousin met us for dinner. My aunt and uncle's reminds me a lot of Dutch houses. It is nice and cheery, but there is basically no clutter. Possessions are less important to them then spending quality time with the ones they love. It is just so darn cozy and quaint. 

When my cousin Alice arrived, we went to eat at this place in Columbia called Hunter and Gather. I had the mac and cheese and it was amazing! They brew their own beer there, but their pale ale tasted to much like an IPA for my taste. But, if you are ever in South Carolina, I highly recommend it. 

This morning it was time for presents! My cousin got some really cool stuff, like an art pass to the Columbia Museum of Art and a Gamecocks luggage tag for when she comes to visit me in The Netherlands. I got my present from my Aunt, Uncle and Alice a week early. I got the ulitmate present- Money, because really, what else should you give someone who is packing their entire life into 3 suitcases? 

It was an extremely fun ,albiet short weekend. I will really miss going to my Aunt and Uncles. Road-trips are pretty important to Americans, perhaps I might want to rethink my no driving in The Netherlands stance. 

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I'll Be Missing You! Paycheck Edition

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1671

I feel like I have not been present this week on my blog nor twitter. This is mostly because, after two years of work for the company I work for, (being the 3rd person hired and growing it from infancy,) this has been the most challenging week ever. I don't know if it is the debt ceiling or what, but clients have been even pickier than normal. As trying as this week has been, I keep on reminding myself how little time I actually have left to bring in a steady paycheck.

When I leave my job in September, there are potentially a few freelance gigs here and there, but basically, that is it for the money to come in. For first time since the age of 16, that I will have nothing that I have to go to. during the week.How do you cure an American of her workaholic tendencies? I get a lot of self satisfaction in my work ethic.The unknown scares me a little, (okay a lot.) From all I can tell, finding a job as an expat can be a challenge, especially after some new E.U sanctions. 

It is time to really investigate what it is that I want to do with my life. Why is it that when you have plenty of time to do fun things, you have no money to do them? The future hubs and I will be fine financially, as long as we stick to a budget. i.e. no retail therapy. I think the bigger adjustment for me ,more so then moving to a whole new country, is going to be not bringing in the bacon and not have something to fill up my time. Very thankful for a Museumkaart!

I don't want you to worry though, because I have a grand plan. It will just take awhile to execute. 

Image: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Where the Heck is Holland? Is that In Asia? And Other Tales of Geography Woe.

You constantly hear that the United States Education System is lacking. I never really put much thought into this because I feel like I got a pretty decent, broad education. Sure, I am not yet bilingual, but I took a class where I got to wield a blow torch. Perspective people, honestly. It wasn't until I started telling friends and co-workers about my upcoming move to The Netherlands, that I realized- American's have no clue about Geography. 

Of course, it is understandable that people get Holland and The Netherlands confused. Holland is actually two provinces in The Netherlands. North and South Holland. Utrecht is actually in the province of Utrecht. So technically, I am not moving to Holland, even though it has been used synonymously with The Netherlands for so long, I don't think anyone will freak out on you for using either.

I did an experiment today with some of my work friends, I printed out a blank map of Europe and asked people to identify where The Netherlands are. ( I know, it is a marvel that I have friends). The results were, well.... I know it is a small country, but dang. The most common answer was either Sweden or Denmark, kind of close, but no. The Netherlands is actually that tiny country located next to Belgium and Germany. It is not however, in Asia, which I have been asked from time to time. 

People tend to also not know what language they speak in The Netherlands. For the record, its Dutch or Nederlands. Someone also told me that they always wanted to go to Holland because they are a really big skier. For those of you who have been to The Netherlands, I will let you process that for a moment... For those of you who haven't been, The Netherlands is almost entirely flat and the reason for all the canals and dikes is all about Dutch ingenuity and reclaiming landmass from the sea. 

I am very much looking forward to the day that my friends come visit me in my new home. Assuming of course that they can find it! 

What are the weirdest things you have heard about the place you call home? Can you find The Netherlands?

14 Reasons I Can't Wait to Move to The Netherlands

I read a lot of expat blogs. Like a boy scout I like to be prepared. A theme on them this week seems to be about what people miss the most about their home country while being an expat. Since, I am trying really hard to become an optimist, I have decided to focus on tthe things I can’t wait to move to Holland for. Here is my list, in no particular order:

  1. Loek, I am looking forward to living with my verloofde for the first time and you know all that goes into living with your spouse. Plus, I kind of love him and miss him terribly.  

  1. Living in our brand new apartment will be nice, neither Loek nor I have ever lived some place brand new. I can’t wait to decorate!

  1. Never driving. I am not a good driver, I don’t enjoy it and I am very much looking forward to not having a car. Which of course means, I wont have a car payment, car insurance or pay for Petrol. (That’s right, look at me being all European in my terminology.) Of course, if I buy the Vespa of my dreams, I will have to pay for some of this list again.

  1. My European body. No car= walking and bike riding. Also, I plan to eat better and only have Frites once a week. Frites Fridays as they will be known in my house.(Frites are Dutch Fries).

  1. The art and architecture. I have studied Art History most of my life, so I am excited about being so near to the Dutch Masters.

  1. It’s freaking Europe! Europe is amazing because, you just have to hope a train and you can be in an entirely different country, will wonders never cease.

  1. I can’t wait to be cold! I know, my Southern friends will always give me grief for this. I have always been in the wrong place, I can’t stand to be hot. I only like to be outside when the temperature is below 80. I mean come on, you are talking about the girl who went to Russia in February, twice...

  1. A better work /life balance. Thanks to Holland Daze, I can accurately tell you that the Dutch are given at a minimum 20 vacation days a year. Vacation Days, not sick days! On average, The Dutch work 1378 hours annually, American’s 1768. I am very much looking forward to not working too much.

  1. Gezellig which wikapedia says is  “A perfect example of untranslatability is seen in the Dutch language through the word gezellig, which does not have an English equivalent. Literally, it means cozy, quaint, or nice, but can also connote time spent with loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness.”

  1. I have to grow up, my Mom is a whole ocean away.

  1. Learning Dutch, I have always wanted to be bi-lingual. I think total emersion is the best way to go.

  1. I'm going in business for myself. Time to make my own hours and play by my rules.

   13. The flowers, oh the beautiful flowers.

   

    14. All the new things I will get to try, and everything new there is to discover.


I leave in 68 days, I can’t wait for this adventure to begin.

26 Things Before I'm 26

I saw this idea on a blog I just started reading, The Lighthouse Keeper,  and I thought, hmm I should make a list like that. I love lists! The particular blog was 25 things before turning 25, but since I turn 25 in less than a month, I decided to get a head start. So without further ado, here you are:

In no particular order:

1. Move to Utrecht.

2. Be able to communicate in Dutch.

3. Get married, I'm engaged so this isn't a huge jump.

4. Take up ballet again.

5. Find a core group of friends in my new country.

6. Develop a sense of personal style and dress accordingly.

7. Learn to bake and cook in my Nederlands kitchen.

8. Start my tour guide business.

9. Learn to sew.

10. Go to Paris. (I went when I was 11, but the Louvre was on strike the whole time)

11. Write letters to my friends back home.

12. Get back to the weight that feels best on my frame.

13. Read 100 new books, including some classics.

14. Start making metal jewelry again.

15. Book my honeymoon, we probably wont go right after the wedding.

16. Learn how to share, I was practically an only child.

17. Become an expert bike rider.

18. Attend Amsterdam Fashion Week.

19. Knit a sweater.

20. Learn the art of light layers.

21. Eat better, I have a horrible diet.

22. Start bringing in money again.

23. Continue adding to the retirement fund.

24. Laugh more.

25. Get over my fear of boats.

26. Stick to my plans.

What do you want to accomplish before your next birthday?

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