My Apologies

December 4, 2009

I know I don’t have a huge amount of followers on this blog but I have to admit I kind of forgot about it! In the past couple months I started 2 different blogs but admittedly they’ve kind of tanked.

I wanted to have a blog where I could write more specifically about other things in my life that just seemed less expat related. Mostly about weight loss, gastronomy in general and leading a healthier lifestyle (most of the time!!)

The thing is, my brain is so random that I can’t stick to just one topic so neither of them have really worked out.

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Moving on.

It seems like just yesterday I returned from my 6 week trip back home. As predicted I had a bit of a tough time transitioning to life back here. A huge goal of mine while I was home this summer was to really give myself some time and space to think. Mostly about where I wanted to be.

By the time about 3 weeks had passed I was missing my life in NL like crazy. Indeed, I had made life in Canada sound much better than it actually was (not to say that it’s bad)

I couldn’t wait to board the plane back to Amsterdam (and I HATE to fly!) and see my boys! While I was away Peter suffered a pretty severe injury just a few days before I was due to come back. It was hard being so far away and not being able to help out in some way.. so the first week or so back here was basically helping him get back to normal.

I’m happy to say that everything is 100% good with his health now! Another blow was that he was out of a job for quite a while and the fulltime search was getting us both down.

To make a long story short(er), there was a point in these last few months where I did decide to move back to Canada on my own. It never felt ‘right’ to me, but I just didn’t know what else to do in order to improve the situation. When things tend to get tough, I tend to bow out before they can get any worse, and I’m a bit ashamed to admit I was going to run away.

I knew it wasn’t really what I wanted though, and I knew that by the amount of sleep I was losing. As soon as I decided that I’m going to stick it out here I suddenly started sleeping through the night again!

Living away from my family is tough. Especially living so far away from my Mom. Living away from Peter would also be hard though, and at the end of the day I just have to take a deep breath and realise that it’s ok. It’s ok to miss my family and Canada. It doesn’t make me a bad person that I choose to live in a foreign country, because my intentions are good. I’ve always followed my heart, so why should now be any different?

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In My Absense..

August 12, 2009

I’ve been hanging around places like this:

Rimrock Resort @ Banff, Alberta.

Rimrock Resort @ Banff, Alberta.

Bow River in Banff, Alberta.

Bow River in Banff, Alberta.

Lake Louise, Alberta.

Lake Louise, Alberta.

Moraine Lake, Alberta.

Moraine Lake, Alberta.

Revelstoke, B.C.

Revelstoke, B.C.

Canadese x Nederlandse koetje

Canadese x Nederlandse koetje

Always time for an ice cream pitstop. D. Dutchmen in Sicamous B.C.

Always time for an ice cream pitstop. D. Dutchmen in Sicamous B.C.

Fresh fruit at a roadside stand.

Fresh fruit at a roadside stand.

 

I’ve returned to my Mom’s house from my little vacation within a vacation. It was great to be in the mountains again and stop at places I’ve never stopped at before.

I’d like to post more, but the majority of my photos contain people and I kind of am trying to stick to posting non personal pictures.. except of the dog of course!

I’m missing my boys a lot, but I know I’ll see them soon and as I don’t know when I’ll be back home again I’m doing my very best to capitalize on my time here.

So, this is my mid-Canada post. Whether or not I’ll be back to post again before I leave is unknown. Hope any readers out there are enjoying their summers!

Canada Week One Recap

July 28, 2009

It’s insane to me that I’ve already been home for over a week. I really don’t have much to show for said week becaused it’s flown by undetected. I’ve barely snapped a photo that wasn’t of a dog or cat.

I grew up in Vancouver, and lived there until I was 21. I consider Vancouver my hometown, however since I’ve left so has the majority of my family. My Mom now lives in a town with a population of around 3,500 just on the edge of the Rocky Mountains (Alberta side). Her sole reason for moving here was financial, this is where the money is/was in Canada.

She does well here, but by no means is it her “home”. Her sole focus here is work, which means she spends a lot of time there (and she has to) so if I want to spend time with her I pretty much have to be there as well.. which I have been since arriving. It’s been fun, but I’m tired of being dirty!! (She boards pets my Aunt grooms them)

This coming Saturday a friend of mine from the Netherlands is coming for a visit. He’ll be flying into Calgary and together we’ll make our way via car to Vancouver. We’ve planned a stay in Banff, Revelstoke, a couple nights in Vancouver, then off to the island for a getaway in Tofino before heading back to Vancouver for a few days before his flight home.  If only it were Peter it could be quite romantic! Speaking of my love, am missing him big time!

So, since I’ve been back I’ve been eating and playing with dogs. Doesn’t make for a very interesting blog post so I’ll leave you with a few photos.

Doc

Doc

Emma, Doc, Hailey, Bruno and Alex

Emma, Doc, Hailey, Bruno and Alex

Hailey and Emma

Hailey and Emma

Bruno

Bruno

Lucy, my Mom's dog and my soulmate!

Lucy, my Mom's dog and my soulmate!

Last night's dinner

Last night's dinner

I missed drinking out of Mason jars

I missed drinking out of Mason jars

and coffee mugs the size of my head

and coffee mugs the size of my head

Spicy Beef Nachos

Spicy Beef Nachos

Gratis Cocktail!

Gratis Cocktail!

Birthday, creamy, chocolatey goodness. Sadly, I had to share.

Birthday, creamy, chocolatey goodness. Sadly, I had to share.

Minty Goodness

July 5, 2009

Peter’s sister, Marieke is turning 29 tomorrow. Our birthdays are only 2 days apart.. but I’m one whole year YOUNGER!

Something she really loves are After Eight chocolates.. I’m sure you know them.

Mmmmmm

Mmmmmm

So, today I put my baking “skills” to use and went to work at making After Eight cookies.  After some careful searching I found the recipe I’d been looking for here : Click here for recipe

Next was the ever so fun hunt for ingredients. If you live (and cook) in the Netherlands, I’m sure you’ve been faced with the same problem.

When I lived in Amsterdam it was no problem, because there are plenty of “expat stores”, where for an ever so good price you can find almost anything you’d need. Now living in a small town doesn’t afford me these luxuries, so I made due. I was able to find the baking soda at the pharmacy (drogist) under the name “zuiveringszout”.

I didn’t have such luck with the chocolate chips, so settled for a big slab of pure chocolate. Luckily the recipe called for the chocolate to be melted anyways.

Half of the cookies turned out, so tomorrow I will show up to Marieke’s house with 12 beautiful cookies to celebrate her being one year older than me 😉

I’ll let you know how they went down!

Homeward Bound

July 2, 2009

I did it! I finally booked my flight home!

Peter’s family actually went all in together as a birthday present and have decided to sponsor my trip home. That’s quite touching really.

I hope it’s not just because they want to get rid of me 😉

I kid.

So, I leave quite quickly. I’m out of here July 18th and suddenly I find myself quite pressed for time and no ambition whatsoever because of this heat!

Next week is full of birthday stuff (myself and sis in law) as well as my friend is due for her 3rd on my very own bday (8th). On the 7th I’m going to go celebrate my bday with some Amsterdam friends, combined with doggy school and taking care of some things in the household.

I’ll be gone for a total of 6 weeks, which sounds like a huge chunk of time but I just know it will fly by.

I am really going to miss my boys though!

I’m not a “career girl” by any means, but since the age of 15 I’ve always had some kind of job.  For the past month I’ve had NO job, and it’s starting to freak me out.

The part of the Netherlands I live in is not exactly international, and although I’m pretty proud of my level of Dutch it’s not quite at a professional level. I won’t join the army of thousands in complaining about the job market, but knowing that if I did start a committed search for employment right now it would most likely result in nothing.. freaks me out a little.

Even the times when I’ve quit jobs on a whim in the past, I’ve never been worried. I was always confident I’d find something quickly.. and I did.

I’m not comfortable being so dependant on my partner… but I guess that’s part of being in a grown up relationship 😉

Changing the subject somewhat, I have been keeping busy. I’ve been doing a diet/lifestyle overhaul. For the past 4 weeks I’ve been following a diet from a Dutch “weight consultant” named Sonja Bakker. It’s much more limiting that any other “diet” I’ve followed in the past.. but since Peter is on the wagon with me it’s been going relatively smoothly. 4 kg in 4 weeks.. I guess that’s nothing to shake a stick at.

Writer’s Block

June 16, 2009

As I might have mentioned before, I struggle with blogging.

The reason I struggle is because I’m still not totally certain of my own blogging boundaries. Over thinking these boundaries has lead to a pretty large dose of writer’s block.

One of my missions for the next coming months was to stick to blogging, however with my laptop completely dead some of my PC freedoms have been taking away. Not that my boyfriend minds me sharing his computer, but I often get that feeling as when someone is reading the newspaper over my shoulder 😉

Love you honey.

I’m not overly impressed with the weather lately, and the fact that I just spoke about the weather on my blog goes to show I’ve spent entirely too much time is Dutchieland.

On that note, it’s time for a trip home! Yes, that’s right. I didn’t think it was going to happen, but for a number of reasons, I’m going to MAKE it happen. Oh, Canada. I’ve missed you!

Amour

May 29, 2009

Tomorrow the dog is going to the babysitter and my man is taking me out for a night on the town.

I like the sounds of that!!

Things were starting to get a little bit too… domestic 😉

We’re going to go to our favourite restaraunt (again!) but first a nice walk on the beach.  To say I’m looking forward to it would be an understatement.

Does feel a little cruel to go to the beach and eat gorgeous food without this guy though!

Got steak?

Got steak?

The Final Countdown

May 25, 2009

The last 2 months for me have really been focusing on reducing stress in my life. From an outsider’s perspective I may not lead the most stressful life, but for me the bricks were piling up. Therefore, Peter pretty much said enough is enough and we started to make some changes in our relationship and lifestyle that took a little bit of pressure off of me.

Say what you want, but I already know I’m a wimp.

Living in the Netherlands the first 2 years, for me, was a breeze. I worked as a live in nanny and although being a nanny comes with it’s own set of stresses it was overall, a low stress situation. I didn’t have any bills to pay, no one to really answer to outside of working hours, I didn’t have any housework to do or meals to cook. Complete freedom.

Also, it was still all so new and I was always busy planning and taking trips, meeting new friends, organizing events and just being busy.

Fast forward to present day. I literally feel like a housewife, but with a 30 (last month 50) hour a week job. With NO RING on her finger! I live in a small town in Brabant, where if you don’t drink yourself silly all weekend there is really limited things to do. My time off consists of trying to keep the house clean and my boyfriend + dog entertained. Besides spending time on line there is very little things I do for ME, that I enjoy.

At least it feels/felt that way.

I started to get to the point where I didn’t see the joys of living in Europe. I could live back in Canada and work 50 hours a week, be left with much more money in the end (in an English speaking environment) as well as not being so darn far away from my family.

I guess I momentarily lost sight of why I was here.

Well, I’ve got that vision back and I’m working on trying to not take everything so seriously and just sit back and enjoy the ride. With my job in Amsterdam ending next week, and finally selling the Audi this past Friday there are 2 big worries officially off my shoulders.

As part of my alleviate stress/be happier in NL/happier in life in general plan I’ve made a list of goals and things I need to do in order to achieve that.

1- Start/continue cooking and eating meals at home. Only eat out once per week, even if it’s just lunch at McDonald’s it counts. This should help the waistline and budget.

2- Spend 1-2 hours per day studying/speaking Dutch with Peter. Now that I’m not working I really have no excuse.

3- Book theory exam for Dutch driver’s license. Have been driving around with my Canadian license since October and I live in non stop fear of the Dutch police! I’m a boefje (criminal)! I’m a very confident driver and have driven in nearly every major city in Europe (aside from London) and I guess I’m just stubborn. After nearly 12 years of accident free driving, it pains me to start from scratch here. However, I have to do it. I live in a small town with no train station, no train station even close by. MUST GET D/L.

4- Go back to tracking all food and exercise online. Best website ever!

5- Spend more time with P’s sister. She’s the sweetest person I’ve ever met in NL and I know she wants to be closer with me. The only problem is she speaks barely any English so when I go there I feel like all the pressure is on me. She (and the rest of his family) all say I’m doing really well and improving every time they see me, but what they don’t know is all the things I want to say but don’t because I can’t find the right words.

There is 5 for now, there is more I want to improve on/change in my life but little steps are always the way to go.

Time to fall back in love with Europe.