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Friday, 26 April 2013

When is an expat less of an expat?

I often blog about life as an expat or more accurately mine and Mr Sunshine’s life as expats which, to be honest, is rarely the same as other people experiences.

Take the last six months for example. We buy a house, move in and begin to get to really understand our new home become less expats and more prospective Dutch. We learn the language, get to know our neighbours and explore the beautiful countryside. 

No wait, that was a dream I once had.

What actually happened was: we bought a new house and moved in, Mr Sunshine then decided to work while completing a certain teaching qualification and a Masters all in six months. Knowing that we would have no life outside the office I kept my head down and carried on with my Open University studies, finishing 7 weeks ahead of schedule.

I’m hoping that dream I had once is about to come true.

Mr Sunshine has almost finished his Masters so we’re, tentatively discussing long walks on Sundays, considering inviting the neighbours round for drinks, and I’ve sent off an application to join a Dutch language course.  Will this make us less expat-ish?

I hate to admit it, but I think the answer is no. We will always feel a little thrill when we see a tin of Heinz Baked Beans, and despite the inflated price drop a couple of tins in our basket. Mr Sunshine will never get used to the klein (small) glasses they serve larger in, and I will always gravitate towards dulcet tones of an English accent – especially Northern accents.

Yet, something has happened, there has been a change, I’ve made a connection to the Netherlands.

Not with the language, culture or even the countryside, but with the soil.

I spent days digging over rumble filled earth, weeks unearthing artefacts, and analysing the remains of the previous 100 years of habitation. 

100 hundred years of rubble

Back breaking double digging (Alfie was no help)
I’ve raked, levelled (I invented my own levelling machine) to flattened the dry sandy earth. 

Patent already applied for!
I’ve braved Hornbach (D.I.Y shop) and bought a sprinkler on the first day of rain for two weeks.

Who buys sprinkles in the Netherlands?
I’ve ordered 32 m2 of turf from a company that speak no English. I’ve worked our small patch of Dutch earth till my back aches, my palms throb with blisters and my fingernails resemble an 18th century coffin escapee. I’ve had soil inside my ears, socks, and hair.  I’ve even tasted the soil that generations of Dutch have worked on before me, which is why I can after almost two years in the Netherlands say - 

‘I am becoming, not a lot, but a little less of an expat.’

Mr Sunshine connecting with Dutch soil?

1 comment:

  1. I connected with that same bit of soil... I hope he has some anti-athlete's foot treatment. ;)


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