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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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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.

Preparation Tuesdays- Atticus Edition 1

I am bringing my cat to The Netherlands with me. His name is Atticus, he just turned a year old and he thinks I am his mother. Not in the normal way that people claim their pets are like their children. You see, I got Atticus when he was very young, too young in fact to be away from his mother.


I found Atti on Craigslist, yes I know, I should have gone through the ASPCA or Humane Society, but really I just skipped a step. Atti was up in Braselton, a good hour away from Atlanta on a good day. I drove up after work to see this kitten when he was about 5 weeks old. I feel in love and was told that they would hold Atti for me until he was old enough to be away from his mother. ( His mother was a stray cat that had her kittens in the peoples bush). I had just made it to my exit when I got a call, saying that the kittens were being taken back into the woods by their mom and that they had managed to grab Atticus, if I wanted to come back and get him.

I drove all the way back to Braselton, stopping along the way to get some cat milk substitute at the pet store and a syringe,(he wasn’t on solid food yet) I came home on my lunch break everyday for 2 weeks to feed him his fake milk in wither the syringe or in a bottle. You can see why Atti thinks of me as his mommy.

When I decided to move to Holland as opposed to having Loek move to the States, Atti was a huge factor. I could not imagine leaving him, but I did not want him to have to be quarantined for 30 days. Luckily, there are ways to get him to the country without having to do that process.

If you are planning on moving a pet. Your first call should be to the Consul of the Country you are planning to move to. They can provide you with the necessary forms you need to have completed by an USDA accredited vet.( It would also be a good idea to ask about any fees you will have to pay at customs for your pet, thank you Holland for being 0!) The Netherlands requires an EU Form 998 Veterinary Certificate. Atti will have to get a rabies shot as well as a few more vaccines and a microchip. This has to been done 90 to 21 days before we depart. Be sure to check the specifics for where you are moving. You then have to get the form certified by the USDA. You should send this in at least 2 weeks before departure.

After looking into what is required to bring your pet over by the country you are choosing to move to,you should then start looking into what airlines will actually transport your pet over. For me, I did not want Atti to have to transfer planes, so I choose to go with either Delta or KLM, as they were the only ones to offer a direct flight from Atlanta. In the end, I chose to go with KLM, even though really they have a partnership with Delta, so it isn’t a huge deal. I choose KLM because they are in charge of pets at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, and also because they had the best flight time. I will be landing in Amsterdam at 1:05 pm , local time on October 5th.

The last thing that you have to decide, is where to keep your pet on a flight. I debated for a long time about where to keep Atti, with me or in the cargo. In the end, I decided that with such a long flight, Atti, myself, and the other passenger's would be happiest if he was not in the cabin with us. You see, I was on an hour long flight on my way back from Philly after my layover from Amsterdam and there was a dog on the flight. Worst flight of my entire life. I also have to purchase an airline approved car carrier.

So far, I have not gone through the process of getting Atti moved, but I will keep you updated as I move through the steps.

 
Yes, that is my fiancee in the picture, and no, Atti is not actually that huge!

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