One and a half years in the Netherlands! It’s a new normal over here, with Brian's residence application approved (just today!) and Erica getting into the swing of things at work. We have a life here now, and it feels really good that things are no longer up in the air.
Today marks exactly one year since we set foot (and paw) in the Netherlands for our grandest adventure. We said six months, maybe a year, and now here we are. We'd put a check mark next to it on the ol' bucket list, but we're not done quite yet. This chapter isn't complete, and the journey's not over.
The truth is that I'm scared of what's next. I miss the certainty and the foolish abandon with which we pursued our Awesome 2015. As our bank account grows smaller, it gets harder to do things without knowing where exactly we're going. It's not just money, you see, but belief. Belief that we can do it again, make our year into whatever we choose, in 2016. And in 2017. And 2050.
When we decided to move to The Netherlands, we had a brief conversation about what to do in the event that "something bad happened." It could have been a lot of things: business things, personal things or family things, and we needed to be prepared in the event that we were called back unexpectedly.
The choices we’ve made have been worth the sacrifices. But it’s okay to feel a little sad around the holidays, away from our families and away from what is familiar. Perhaps the balm for that homesickness is not to be found in trying to replicate what we had before, but in making new traditions to honour our memories.
Duolingo is a language-learning phone app, and a rather good one. It also has an online version, but we have primarily been using it on our phones. Although I don’t think it’s a full package for learning a language, I think it gets a lot of things right for building your vocabulary, learning the basics and retaining what you've learned.
Now having lived in the Netherlands for three months, we've found that sometimes what you learn is overly formal and old-fashioned for the culture that currently exists here. I understand that what all of us beginners learn is the “proper” way of speaking Dutch, and that it usually makes sense to err on the side of being more formal. But the fact remains that no one speaks like the Pimsleurs Dutch CDs here.
Brian rides around Ireland for his mom from May 7-12, starting in Dublin at a monument called "Wind and Water" which has two dancers back to back representing harmony. And, on Mother's Day (May 10th) he will be visiting a dance monument called "Let the Dance Begin" in Strabane. We will be posting updates on his progress and experiences on our social media in days to come.