11 August 2011

Xpat Blog Hop

I'm trying a new link up this week, which I found through my friend jen's blog.  Windmill Fields is a blog about expat life, so this may or may not be interesting to a lot of you.  We'll see.

This week's theme:  Before you moved to the country you are in now, 
What expectations, ideas, (things you thought happened, things people did, etc) did you have then, that proved to be not true at all?

When we moved to the Netherlands, we had only been living in Washington, DC for six months.  I didn't even really count that as living…more like an extended vacation after our 3 years in Tokyo.

The point is, we were in the midst of a second international move within a year, and my head wasn't screwed on straight.  I didn't really think through the details of my expectations, because I just assumed we would figure things out once we got here.

One thing that really surprised me was how difficult and slow it was to get things done.  Everything from bank accounts to school registration to finding a house, it was all painstaking.  It wasn't even really the pace that got to me as much as the fact that it seemed like we were blazing our trail with every step we took.

Now, this area, and the Netherlands in general, has a lot more relaxed pace than Tokyo and Washington DC.  But my husband's job is always filled by an American, so I guess I thought we would arrive and be told by our predecessor how to do everything to get settled.  And not only that, I figured that because so many international people move in and out of this area, surely someone would have a situation similar to ours, so the people we spoke to at banks, city hall, etc, would be able to figure out how to help us.

Nope.  Blazing our own trail.

Because the reality is that what might work one time for one person may not work the next time for a different person.  I am amazed at stories I've swapped with other international people about how they opened their bank account in a way that we tried but were denied.

But somehow, it all works.  Things are slow, things are never the same twice, but it all works.  And people are happy.  And friendly.

And relaxed.

And I really, really like it this way.

Maybe I'm a country girl after all.

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree-hard to believe things can take as long as they can. The hardest for me to deal with was the length of time it took for internet to get set up (especially because our phone is via internet!). Enjoyed reading this, as usual. I had a hard time remembering what my expectations were before we moved here!