Before and After Living in the Netherlands

10 years ago: I was still living in the United States of America. I had traveled abroad, but I had no clue what it actually felt like to live in another culture. It's just not the same traveling to a new place, when compared to living in a new place. There is so much that you don't see or experience as a tourist... Nothing can really prepare you for what you might encounter during the ins and outs of life each day... Not even a blog written by an expat, but I'd like to at least try my best to help! I'd like to share here a few pointers for those who are thinking of taking the big step of moving across the ocean. What I learned after I arrived... And what I had to do when I left. Coming to the Netherlands Visas: It was much easier to come to the Netherlands from America, than it was for me to come to Australia from America. In the Netherlands, I was able to apply in the Netherlands for a residence permit [Dutch: verblijfsvergunning] at a local gemeentehuis [city/town hall; also known in Dutch as a raadhuis or a stadhuis]. I could remain in the Netherlands while this process took place [I recall this was also the case for citizens of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and EU countries, as well as possibly a few more countries]. All I had to do was apply with my passport, my birth certificate [with apostille], and my then-partner had to prove that he could support me financially. I've heard that the rule now also includes that a couple must provide some proof of relationship [registering their relationship, for example]....more

Wedding Planning - Save Your Guests Money on Travel

I got engaged this February and am getting married this June - that's a 4-month engagement! Needless to say, wedding planning has been quite a challenge. Given the time constraint, I just wanted to do the bare minimum. However, when it came to family and friends traveling across the country, I wanted to do the research to help my guests save as much as possible. Here's what I found. I hope it will help other engaged couples. ...more

Relaxation in St. Augustine

Chris and I went to St. Augustine a couple of weekends ago with our great friends, Matt & Whitney.  They invited us to join in Matt's 30th birthday celebration. We spent the days on the beach of course!  Whitney and I rode bikes every morning on the beach for 2 hours, casual pace 15 mile bike rides.  It was one of the most relaxing workouts I've ever had!!  Chris and Matt played tennis every morning. ...more

Expat Life and Culture Shock

I remember the first time I heard the term culture shock.  I was eight and had just moved to the Philippines.  It sounded like something terrible that could knock a person out, maybe for good.  Like electric shock, or toxic shock, or something equally awful.  The adults (all American missionaries in the Philippines) were talking about it.  About how someone who had recently moved there could hardly cope with life, the culture shock was so bad.  As a kid making the transition to a new country, I don't think I really experienced too much culture...more

I Am My Mother’s Favorite Daughter

…I’m also my mother’s only daughter.   But I’m well on my way to being the favorite child…which isn’t saying much since my only competition is my brother, Lunchbox. Last Christmas Lunchbox got my parents a Blue Ray DVD player. Thoughtsy: What the heck, Lunchbox? Are you trying to make me look bad?...more
LOL! Poor Lunch Box how will he ever compete!more

Planning to Leave

Hubby laughed at me last night.  This isn’t entirely unusual as some of the things I do and say are funny.  And Hubby has a quick wit; it doesn’t take much for him to break into laughter. Although this time I was being serious.  Aside from my “real” work, I’m also the official travel agent for our family and I was diligently planning our summer vacation.  I’m usually the one that starts the initial conversation about vacation months in advance, as well as the one to push, prod, drag and otherwise coerce Hubby into getting with the program.  Don’t get me wron...more

Macro Date

Macro Date: (noun) To go out socially as a couple for one or more days/nights without children....more

Vernal Utah KOA, Part 2

My last post was in regard to my not-so-pleasant experience checking in at the KOA in Vernal, Utah.  If you've read it, you know what I experienced.  Immediately following the incident, I filed a complaint with KOA.  Today, the owner came by to speak to us about what happened.  I can say with confidence (and happiness) that after speaking with the owner, I do not feel that discrimination is a way of business for this KOA nor does this KOA promote discrimination.  They are apparently having some serious issues with one particular employee.  I am very happy to re...more

Miss America