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A new expat’s view

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the Ritter family

the Ritter family

21 August 2013

by Farrah Ritter

My family and I arrived here in Oisterwijk almost exactly 10 months ago. We have a four-year-old and two-year-old twins and were completely unsure if we were making the biggest mistake of our lives- OR we were going to have the best experience of our lives. It’s hard to tell when you are heading to a country you’ve never lived in before- especially so with your kids!

Time and time again, I cannot say how lucky we have been with finding Oisterwijk and the Tilburg area. My husband’s company is in Tilburg- and we had the desire to live in a smaller village. Our main priority was finding a school that made us all happy. My boys have thrived on the new ‘main’ modes of transportation: walking, riding in my cargo bike and train. They all are in some sort of traditional Dutch school and I can’t believe how well they’re doing. They are immersed in a traditional Dutch classroom so it’s just learn as you go. Being this young- that’s all we really want for them. As for the language, my husband took lessons before we left the states and recently took an extremely intense week long course in Tilburg at Regina Coeli. My boys all pick it up at school and I am left to try and figure it out from them… needless to say, my Dutch is not very good!

The biggest challenges we faced in our move were simply adapting to the logistics of everyday life! I didn’t know how to get groceries, we were down to 1 car – I had no idea how to call a doctor or wash our clothes in the machine. The stove was also a big issue for me. At this point though- I feel very comfortable with 90% of daily life. I can’t believe we’ve already been here 10 months! I have yet to long for home (don’t tell my family) and we are already talking about a hopeful contract extension.

As for things I didn’t expect, much to my surprise, food seems to be much less expensive – and the online grocery delivery is amazing. I can get mine delivered for around 4 euros which is worth it when you have three kids to drag along with you to the store! Gas is, of course obscene compared to where we came from – but for the most part we’re very happy with the affordability of air and train travel as well.

I’m thrilled with the amount of support we’ve found with TIC. We only manage to attend a small number of functions- but there is so much to choose from, and they have great family-friendly activities too. I highly, highly highly encourage people to look into their own expat club, as well. What a wonderful resource!

We are so happy here in the Netherlands. My own personal blog readers, Twitter and Instagram followers (as well as Facebook friends) hear me wax poetic about it all of the time. Well, unless I’m talking about the weather 🙂

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