Thursday, February 21, 2013

Things I Will Miss (and some things I won't!)

I was telling Cameron the other day that I wish I could somehow combine living in the US and living here--I think it would be the perfect place to live.  There's so much I miss about home, but there's so much here that I will miss terribly.

Things I will miss:

  • A big thing I will miss is living somewhere that's so beautiful, old, and so culturally interesting.  I can't get enough of these canal houses and canals. 

  • I will miss living downtown!  Most of me is excited to not live downtown anymore because it's difficult to get around with Andy, but I will surely miss it.  I love having so much to do right outside my door!  I can walk any direction from our apartment and see amazing things.  I will miss the distant chatter of people talking on the street below.  I love that there are a million shops surrounding me, so I never have to go far to find what I need. 
  • Great museums and a museumcard that gets me into all of them for free.
  • Our evening walks along the Prinsengracht.  
  • Walking everywhere! Yes, I'm pretty excited to have a car again, but I really have loved walking and using public transportation.  
  • Being able to grocery shop daily.  And along with that, having fresher food.  
  • I will miss our playgroups and activities I do with Andy: our story times, or music groups, our walks to the park.  
  • I will miss Vondelpark.  Parks in europe are the best.  
  • I will miss our apartment here.  It's big!  It's beautiful and so nice.  I will sorely miss our couch, which is pretty much the greatest couch ever.  
  • This is a silly one--but I love that tax is already included in the prices here.  
  • Of course, I will miss having an endless supply of new things to see and experience every day.  We still haven't gotten through everything we wanted to see and do in the Netherlands!  There's so much here.  
  • One of the biggest things I'll miss is (obviously) being able to travel other places in europe on the weekends.  It's been an incredible opportunity.  Looking back, I still can't believe we were lucky enough to see everything we have.  Especially with a toddler in tow.  
  • The Albert Cuyp Market.  I love outdoor markets.  I love getting our produce there.  
  • Cheap flowers.  Fresh flowers are so much less expensive here.  We got the most amazing fresh tulips at the market on saturday for 3 euro!  They've been brightening up our kitchen all week.   
  • Specialty Shops.  They're a dying art in the US, and I love seeing them everywhere here.  I love buying our bread from an actual bakery.  Shoe repairmen, butchers, cheese shops (best samples ever), appliance stores, etc.  There are the randomest little shops--I pass one that specializes in selling dental supplies.  
  • Food!  I will miss poffertjes (little pancakes with butter and powdered sugar), Stroopwafels, cheap Magnum Bars, Hema 50 cent ice cream cones, cheap delicious dark chocolate, Fries with mayo, Peanut Butter (I think theirs is better than ours), and cheap Nutella.  I'll also miss the little takeout places we have come to love, Wok 2 Walk and our little Indonesian Place. 
  • The thing we'll miss the absolute most are the wonderful people we've met and love here.  Cameron was just telling someone last night that the thing he'll miss most about living here is the people he's gotten to work with at Dell.   He has had such a wonderful experience working with them.  We've become great friends with some americans in our ward that we will miss so much.  Andy and I have made some good friends we play with during the day as well.  I'll post some pictures of a few of them below.  
Stephanie and Ashley have been our great library story-time friends!    
Elder Schulte served in ward almost the whole time we've been here.  He's a great missionary, and we've loved having him over.
Allen has been a great friend!  He's taken us under his wing and helped us get to know Amsterdam better. Not to mention, he's treated us to some delicious meals.  
Ashley and Andrew have lived here for the last three months and have become great friends!  Ashley and I have spent many days together exploring Amsterdam.  
Dave and Abby are great friends from our ward.  It's been so fun to spend time with fellow Americans!  We'll miss them, but they're joining us in Texas soon. 
Claire has been a great friend.  It's been so fun for me to have some girl time with her!   She's the most well-traveled person I've ever met and is just about to begin a year-long trip around the world. 
Here are a few of Cameron's great work colleagues/friends.  Amandine, Sylvia, and Mark.  Cameron took over for Amandine while she was on maternity leave, and she and I got together a few times.  She's been a great friend! 
I won't miss: 
  • The weather.  
  • Not understanding the language around me. 
  • The occasional whiff of pot.  
  • The stairs leading up to our apartment.  When I stop and think that our new place in Texas will be ground level, I get ridiculously excited. 
  • I won't miss not having a phone.  Andy threw my phone in the toilet about a month ago.  It was my "watch,"  so I've seriously been keeping a small alarm clock in my diaper bag so I know what time it is.  Classy, I know.  Not to mention that it makes communicating with people difficult.  (But I've used google to call people most of the time, anyway.)   
  • I will not miss cooking here! But I guess that's only partially true.  Like I've said before, I enjoy how simplified cooking here is.  But I am so excited to know that I can find any ingredient I want in the US.  I feel like I can only make 20% of recipes I look at right now.  I'm so excited to not have to convert everything--farenheit to celcius, tablespoons to grams, etc.  I'm glad to leave this oven because it overcooks everything.  And takes thirty minutes to preheat.  
  • The food!  I can't even express how excited I am to eat out at all my favorite Texas restaurants!  We have not come to love Dutch food.  It's really overpriced and bland.  Just stick some mediocre fries and a few pieces of lettuce with a little slab of bland meat and you have their typical restaurant meal.  And it will be at least 15 euro.  
  • No tap water at restaurants! I don't like paying for water.  
  • Horrible customer service.  A cliche, but completely true.  
  • How do I say this?  Generally, people just aren't as polite here as they are back home.  There's definitely an "every man for himself" kind of attitude.  I won't miss people cutting in front of me in line all the time, pushing ahead of me because I have a stroller, etc.  
  • I will not miss our housing coordinator.  She's been a nightmare to deal with.  And she hates me. It's never fun to feel like someone hates you.  
  • Doing laundry here.  One load takes about five hours.  And the machines are in Andy's room.  And the dryer has slowly ruined all of our clothes because it only dries on a really high heat.  
  • I will definitely not be missing our downstairs neighbor Kees.  I don't think I've met a more anal person, ever.  And I cringe every time Andy throws a block (which is about 1,000x a day), because I know it's so loud for him.  
  • I won't miss church being in Dutch.  They have translator headsets, but Andy doesn't really allow us to use them.  And even when he does, you feel like you're missing about half of what's said.  
  • Yes, I like daily grocery shopping.  But I won't miss a few things about the stores here:  bagging my own groceries, not understanding the labels on anything, everything being so expensive, pushing a stroller down narrow aisles, etc.  
  • Yes, I like the dull chatter on the Kalverstraat below, but I do not love the hideous organ that plays every afternoon!  It will not be missed.  Neither will the very loud street cleaners that drive up and down the street all night.  
  • Yes, I love our apartment, but there are a few things I'm ready to leave behind.  The kitchen has so much storage, but most of it isn't usable because it's low and Andy can reach it.  Also, our table is rustic and beautiful, but is so hard to keep clean since it's a rough surface.  Same with our flooring.   
We fly back to Texas on sunday.  It makes us so sad to leave this beautiful place.  What an adventure to live here for 6 months, to experience a different culture and way of life!  We will miss you Amsterdam!


  1. I love reading your posts about living in your Europe but I am so excited for you to come back to Texas!

  2. And we're going to miss you guys here too! It was so fun having you here to hang out with. I'm super happy we were able to squeeze in one more dinner before you left. (And, I'm grateful that picture of me is small!) Best of luck with the travels back to Texas.

  3. I can't believe you guys have had this opportunity! I'm jealous of many things you've talked about, including the cheap magnum bars :) It will be nice to have you closer!

  4. Well I will miss hearing about your adventures! But I'm excited that you'll be back in Texas!

  5. I'm so glad you had this amazing opportunity! You've definitely made me believe I could live internationally with children. I can't wait to eventually reconnect in person and hear even more about your adventures!

  6. So awesome you guys did this!!! But I'm glad you're coming back, because that means I'll have a better chance of seeing you!! Also - I totally know Andrew!! I had no idea he was living over there now! He's awesome!
    Come see your families soon and save a day (or at least an hour) for us!!! :)

  7. This is the adventure of a lifetime! Seriously, you are so lucky!

  8. Haha I loved reading this! As a Brit who has been living in Vancouver since September I HATE that they don't add tax on drives me crazy! I always think I'm getting a good deal, then I get to the till and forget about how they're gonna add more on and it makes me mad! I don't get why they don't just add it on!

  9. This was fun to read and see what you do and dont like about Europe. So funny about the bagging groceries though, i am so use to doing my own, when we visit the states it freaks me out when someone wants to do it for me!