Headed on an Adventure


Things I learned as an Expat

So a little background information for those of you who haven’t known us forever. James lived as an expat as a middle schooler and loved it so he has always wanted the same kind of experience for our family. I grew up in Victoria, TX from the time I was 5 until I left for Texas A&M. The first time I flew on a plane was my junior year in high school for a band trip. So needless to say he and I lived very different lives until we got married.

I always knew that he would move us abroad for awhile. I just don’t know that I knew what I was signed up for exactly. I made a list of things I have learned by living abroad and yes given the chance I would do it all again!

1. It’s not all romantic traveling to exotic places and amazing historical sites.
Sometimes it just flat out sucks. Sometimes you just want to curl up on
the couch and pretend you are back in your old house surrounded by the
things you know and love.

2. You will meet many people who will feel like family but you may never see again after you move.

3. The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” is truer than you think. Nothing feels as good as a random phone call from someone back at home even when you miss the call or don’t have time to talk. It’s nice to not feel forgotten.

4. Absence makes the heart grow fonder—-yes it does I have never loved
Target and Wal-Mart more

5. Your family can be your best friends and are with you no matter
what happens.

6. The time of day in your home country when everyone is posting on social media becomes a time you look forward in your day. For me it was 3:30-5pm I loved seeing what was going on back home.

7. You really can learn to love a new country and culture with all it’s differences just as much as the one you left behind. I love the Netherlands and I will always hold it dear to my heart.

8. There is so much to learn in this big beautiful world. All the differences that Heavenly Father put on this Earth make it a truly amazing place to live.

9. A batch of freshly made cookies that smell like home can make even the saddest kids perk right up and help them to feel like home again.

10. You won’t go back the same person if you let yourself take it all in and become a better you. I know that we are all stronger as individuals and as a family unit.

I love that we were able to see and do so much in the two short years we have lived in The Netherlands. I feel so blessed to have gotten to know the people who we can now call our friends. I am also grateful that we are now moving to be by good friends and family again. So now as we are just days away from moving back my heart and head are full of bittersweet emotions. My kids also have mixed feelings and I wish we could have it all……the great experiences and growth from learning all that we have learned without the sadness that comes with leaving a new place you love and new friends you love. But since we can’t have it all we will be grateful as we move forward with smiles and wipe the tears of sadness away as the tears of happiness flow to be HOME.

Venice and Pisa

We started out the weekend in Venice. What a lovely city! Now having said that I think it would be much more charming and romantic without kids and NOT in the summertime during tourist season. I have seen The Bachelorette taking 7 kids to Venice is nothing like that at all, just saying.

The water was busy so some of my kids didn’t love the Gondola ride because they thought it might tip over. But the water taxi, that’s a whole other story. They could have just ridden in a water taxi the whole weekend and been completely happy.

We found a quaint little apartment to rent and walked and shopped and ate and walked and ate some more. The fresh markets were amazing.

Since it was Lainey’s birthday she got to pick dinner the first night in Venice. First one to guess where we ate gets a prize….let’s just say James was glad the TV screens didn’t have the usual videos on but instead they were playing the Italy World Cup match. Which was really fun to watch with locals even though they lost.

Pizza made on focaccia bread is my new favorite and I am pretty sure when we move back I will figure out a great recipe and only make it that way from now on at home. And I will cut it in bite sized squares and serve it with sticks.

We found a fantastic playground and played a rousing game of family
hide-n-seek Which entertained some grandparents out with their grandson.

Two nights in Venice then a train ride over to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. We felt very Amazing Raceish hanging out on top of our backpacks at the train station before we left Venice. A quick afternoon in Pisa then we flew home which included most of the family climbing the tower while some of us stayed at the bottom–based on age–, a taxi driver nearly running over a Russian tour group and some very cold slushies on a hot afternoon.






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