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Go Big or Go Dutch

7 Nov

Oh just slap me in the face right now. I haven’t updated this blog for what, 5 months? Dude, I suck! So here’s a recap of my traveling adventures since Coachella 5 months ago:

  • ‘Nawlins (New Orleans, Louisiana). Stuffed my face with Po Boys (juicy sandwiches made with roast beef drippings) and beignets (fancy french name for hole-less donut). It was humid, sticky and had a hard time breathing with all that food in my belly.
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands. Interviewed w/ my current employer, rode bikes, ate lots of hotchpotch (hutspot), and almost died in a fire accident while riding in the canals because our boat caught on fire.
  • Truro, Cape Cod. Stayed at a lovely cottage called ‘The Wild Rose’ which made me feel like a giant. It was so tiny – a home for a hobbit. A typical yet cozy New England vacation where we basically ate, slept, drank, beached, and made S’mores.
  • Eindhoven, Netherlands. Dude, I totally moved here! Got a new job pushing that social media button and now I’m living the expat life in my big ol’ Dutch house.
  • Antwerp, Belgium. Such a beautiful city. Was taken here on a special surprise birthday trip (Thanks Davesaur)!

Wait whaaaat? Yeah. Letting it sink in. That’s right. I MOVED TO THE FRICKIN’ NETHERLANDS.

What is it like living in Holland Eindhoven as an American expat?

  • You’ll get sexy Dutch legs from all that biking.
  • You must focus on which arm is stronger and dedicate that arm to holding your umbrella while riding your bike. This is truly a Dutch skill.
  • You get traveling ADD because Europe is at your finger tips and you want to go somewhere new every weekend!
  • The Dutch proudly admit that they are direct & blunt. So I’ve learned to kill my inner human emotions in order to become more Dutch. And I’ve mastered the gutteral ‘gckkk’ sound.
  • Your English will deteriorate faster than Payless shoes. Say goodbye to knowing perfect English based off what ‘sounds right’ because you will be listening to questionable English 24/7 (not pointing fingers at the Dutch or any country in particular, JUST IN GENERAL).
  • Taxi cab drivers are allowed to yell at you. Your server will literally do their job title, and serve you food. Don’t expect anything greater than that in the customer service department. And if they go beyond that expectation, then you can tip them and it’s actually deserved, rather than out of obligation.
  • Planning errands is a must. On weeknights, shops close at or around 6PM. On Sundays, EVERYTHING IS CLOSED, except for coffee shops. The Dutch know how to take it easy that’s for sure.
  • As an expat, I’m constantly mourning these American luxuries: Trader Joe’s, cheap dry cleaning, dryer sheets, Amazon Prime, bank checks, NBA basketball, 24-hour stores, Target, delicious food in general, NETFLIX, not being banned from CBS, FOX and other tv channels online, bed sheets that don’t feel like paper,, cooking with a normal gas & stove oven, and El Palon burritos.
  • You’ll learn that biking everywhere is the best thing EVER. So much better than sitting in traffic!
  • As an expat you will be confused about EVERYTHING. ALL THE TIME. Just smile and nod.
  • Trash disposal is a puzzle to me. My cardboard boxes refuse to be picked up and are left to rot in the rain. Thus I have stored these cardboard boxes in my shed. Also, it appears that there’s no plastic recycling pick-up. Sadface.
  • It can be lonely moving to a foreign country all by yourself for a new job. Even if the city is teeming with expats and people who have gone through your experience, it doesn’t make it any easier.
  • Anti-perspirant doesn’t really exist here, or maybe people just don’t use it – I know this because everytime I go to the gym I want to vomit from the mixture of human stenches. Also, to destroy my capacity to breathe further, the B.O. is pathetically masked by 5 gallons of cologne from Abercrombie & Fitch.
  • R.I.P. STARBUCKS. It doesn’t exist in Eindhoven and I hear there’s only 2 in the entire country. The best coffee you can get is from Dowe Egberts, which opens at 1PM (wtf?!) on Mondays. *SOB*
  • As an expat you will end up with a lot of junk-mail. Everything that can’t be deciphered in English (99.9% of the mail) ends up going into the trash.
  • I AM CONSTANTLY THIRSTY. The beverage portions are the size of my thumb and cost as much as a 6-pack in the U.S. –  Like, 6-pack of 2-liter sodas! The only exception to this rule is BEER. 

Ok, perhaps I’m being a big baby and ranting (but I’m American damn it and I need my goods and convenience!). My experience as an expat in Holland has been very mixed so far, leaning towards extremely homesick for the US. But I know I have to give it time, and to be positive, blah blah blah. It’s amazing – I’ve traveled all over the world and have moved to different cities countless times – but backpacking, studying abroad, and vagabonding/couchsurfing have all been walks in the park compared to this experience of moving abroad for work and becoming an expat.


Finding Musical Love in Amsterdam

3 Oct

Last night I had a magical birthday celebration at Royale in Boston. Designer Drugs was DJing and I was in the happiest state one could ever ask for on their birthday – pure euphoria. I was surrounded by the people I loved; I was shaking my limbs to electro beats. Sweat was dripping down strands of my hair and I didn’t care. Does anyone else feel the music the same way I do? Who’s that grabbing me? I went nuts on stage. I wore the invisible birthday crown, and I wore it proud. I was in love……and I’m not talking about Hollywood romance love.

TIME TRAVEL TO AMSTERDAM. It was the first weekend of August and I was on the train to Holland. I snuck into a coachette and cuddled up with my backpack on the floor. I didn’t get much sleep due to extreme paranoia that I would get drugged, mugged, or kicked off the train for having no reservation. 17 hours later from Budapest to Amsterdam I had finally arrived in Haarlem, waving at the Philips HQ as we rode past Amsterdam.

Later, I hopped on my €20 rental bike and skittered away like I was flying with Harry Potter on a broom. About 9 of us rode our bikes to Dance Valley: 3 Spanish, 5 Dutch, and me. Dance Valley is an outdoor electronica music fest that takes place in a wide open field of valleys. Remember Pleasure Island in Pinocchio? Huge white tents, man-made wooden villages, pretty waving flags with pastel colors, ferris wheel, stages with flashing lights in the shape of phoenix birds, carnival games, fairies walking on stilts, octo-grasshoppers, and the never-ending *doosh doosh doosh* of electronic music playing from different stages. It was hedonistic Disneyland for the ravers. Here’s a taste.

Rainy muddy splashes and some nibbles later I was feeling warm vibrations & extremely energetic! I hear a *chop chop chop* and holy crap – it’s Armin Van Buren flying in on a helicopter! He hopped onto the Phoenix Bird stage…and then the  music began. That’s when I realized that this was love. It was washing all over me in the form of musical vibrations and synthesized beats and melodies. We danced under the plastic tarp with rain droplets sprinkled above us; we were invincible. I was a little girl playing cat & mouse. We were dancing with our neighbors, we were dancing with ourselves, we were dancing and celebrating LIFE. Since then, everytime I listen to techo/house I am brought back to this moment & feeling.

1 million miles per hour later I found myself crawling back to Amsterdam at the end of August, seeking out another new experience. We went to the last beach party of the year in Blumendaal followed by a visit to somebody’s Villa. It was owned by a guy named WIM.  When I first met him,  he said to me, “My name is WIM, W-I-M, like WIMP but without the P.” He was a dad in his 40’s and was throwing an after party for his son and his friends. He had a fullly stocked bar and DJ in his basement. Sound-proofed walls and a stripper pole with strobe lights made this one of my favorite places in the world. I hugged Anouk and danced with a tranny while spinning around the stripper pole (what? I know). WIM offered me GHB to calm down and I said no thanks. I couldn’t tell what time it was when I went to bed, but my toes were still busting moves.

Back in Boston, I woke up this morning wiggling my toes still dancing to the beats of Designer Drugs in my head. All day today I was replaying last night’s events & Amsterdam events in my head. Both experiences were epic and equally memorable. I’m so thankful to have met such happy, free-spirited people during my adventure in the Netherlands and on my 23rd birthday.

….long live Queen Beatrix. The Dutch truly know how to live and love. Thanks for time traveling with me.


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