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Dutch Living

Living in North Holland The Netherlands

My experience with the Dutch ONA

The Dutch ONA is, in theory, simple. It’s the Orientation on the Dutch Labor Market. Meaning you understand how the Dutch job system works. You can also apply for a job, understand what schooling would is important and how to be a competent worker. Easy right? Especially for someone who had held a job. Ah well.. If only it was that simple. I was nervous about it so I bought the workbook to help me. I understand that they want…

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Lifestyle

Why I stopped smiling at unfriendly Dutch strangers

I grew up in America. It’s a place where the customer is always right. We’re taught to be as friendly as we can be because friendly people bring in sales. The better you treat a client, the more likely you are to keep their business. I’ve been trained to smile when I make eye contact with anyone. This doesn’t go over so well here. I felt like I lived among unfriendly Dutch. That may be something lost in translation. The…

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Personal

Things that make me happy

I was talking to Sander about how I used to use money to make me happy. I worked to spend money irresponsibly. There was that thrill of new ownership and I chased it every paycheck. In some ways, having no income has done wonders for my mental health. I no longer rely on consumerism to make me feel happy. Now, I take two weeks to reason with why I want something. This has resulted in more “happy moments”. I feel…

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Personal

How I intend to spend my summer

Summer is here and so a roller coaster of weather! We went from a high 80° (26°-27°) back down to a low 70° (21°) all in the span of two days! But this is The Netherlands and here, nothing is out of the ordinary. So what are my summer plans now that the weather is good, the days are full of sun and the evenings are mild? Chill the heck out! I’m done with the Dutch Integration tests and now…

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Lifestyle

Luilakmarkt in Haarlem

It’s obvious that the Dutch love nature. A popular hobby is plant care. Many houses have dozens of plants on display in their windows. Gardens are simplistic but well cared for. The Dutch love greenery and it’s obvious that I’ve fallen under the spell. Which is why the Luilakmarkt was the perfect place to visit. These mini markets take place in various cities and are quite popular. It’s a pot and plant market that starts at 4:00 pm and extends…

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A few hours in Amsterdam

A few hours in Amsterdam, March 31st

Sander and I love to take what the Dutch call “een dagje weg.” It’s basically a day that you’re away from home and having a good time. For us, this means we head into Amsterdam for errands. These are pretty basic but each time there’s something new to experience. We go often enough that I think it would make for a good small feature! Today we skipped breakfast to head to our favorite restaurant Ramen-ya. I decided to try something…

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Lifestyle

How the Dutch do rainy days

I was more than a little nervous the first time I visited Sander’s family. His parents seemed like nice people over the phone but meeting in person is a different beast. The encounter went well and soon enough it was time for us to leave. On our way out his mother stopped me. She held up a large, grey, over-sized piece of clothing. It looked more like a dead tent than a Dutch rain poncho.   “Take this.” She said…

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Lifestyle

Glasses and Contacts

I never enjoyed wearing glasses when I was younger. They gave me headaches and I thought I looked stupid. That changed as I got older though. I remember getting into high school and unable to read the board. So I had to get glasses (I wore contacts during the day) and had the same optometrist for the next 15 years. When I moved to The Netherlands I made sure I had a year’s worth of contacts. When those ran out……

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Lifestyle Living in North Holland

Second Christmas

Christmas time in The Netherlands is unique. They have not one but two Christmas days. There’s the first day of Christmas. And then there’s the second day of Christmas. Both are public holidays and most stores are closed. So what exactly is second Christmas and how did we celebrate ours? An extension of Christmas While the 26th has significance for Christians, many people spend the second day like they do the first. It’s a time for family and friends. Many…

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