Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sint Maarten

On 11 November many provinces in Holland celebrate Sint Maarten's Day. Even though it is very popular, noone has been able to explain me the real origins of this Dutch tradition. But that is not really important, because what really matters to every kid is that on the evening of 11 November they can go door by door with their self-made hand-crafted lanterns to sing Sint Maarten songs and get -in return- candies, lots and lots and lots of candies!!

Tonight it was the first time that we participate. Noah (our eldest son) is now almost 3 year old and has decorated his own lantern at the kindergarden. He also learned some songs and practiced a lot.
At the beginning Noah did not really get the idea of singing and getting candies in return. But it only took him 2 or 3 houses to understand it and from then on, he started a non-stop tour with his friend Thijs. One door bell for Thijs, next door bell for Noah and they went on and on and on....
They were simply adorable, truly lovely to watch. Can't wait for next year when Fedde (our youngest son) will also walk with his lantern!
Noah, Onno and Thijs

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Integration complete

In September last year (2013) I realized that I met the requirements to apply for a Dutch naturalization!
The IND office (Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst, Inmigration and Naturalitation Service) controls the very long list of possible scenarios to apply for visas, resident permits or other documents to allow you to stay in The Netherlands. My husband and I had a very positive experience so far with the procedures to bring me from Argentina to Holland, but applying for my Dutch citizenship was the final piece of the big jigsaw puzzle.

I applied for my Dutch naturalization in November 2013, after living together for more than 3 years with a Dutch citizen who happens to be also my husband. Next to that, one key requirement that I also met was to have a Dutch diploma proving that I DO master the Dutch language good enough to live and interact with the Dutch society.
Around May this year (2014) I heard that the King had approved my request and that my naturalization would be official once I participated of a formal ceremony at the city council.

That ceremony (a very nice one) took place today (July 8th) so I am now Argentine and Dutch. I did not have to give up my Argentine citizenship due to international regulations but I got the Dutch one as a second one.
I am soooooooo happy! No more worries about residence permits and meeting requirements to stay in Holland with my beloved men. From now on, just enjoy life and being together.
My husband surprised me with a big bouquet of red roses with a card that says: "Gezellig" and the name of my husband and sons. It is a huge bouquet because he bought as many roses as my current age. I will not reveal my age, but you may try to count them on the following photo if you can.... :)


Friday, January 31, 2014

No recipe

It's been more than one year ago since I wrote my last post. I am really tempted to continue writing only in Spanish (as it's much easier for me), but that would be difficult for all English speaking readers. Hence, here I am again, trying to organize my Spanish thoughts in a not-so-spectacular English. :)

It's already January 2014. This coming May it will be 4 years that I am leaving in The Netherlands. Certainly I did not have a 'recipe' to do the move from my home land to Holland, nor manual or instruction book to indicate the steps I would need take along the way and how I would feel. These have been 4 busy years...

During my first year in Holland, everyone here asked me if I liked it to be here and if I would miss my family and friends. Nobody asks that question anymore now.  Probably it's not so important anymore whether or not I like to live in Holland (by the way, I do).  But how about the 'missing' part? Let me tell you something: I do miss everyone, and not a little bit, a LOT !
It's awkward, because it's a feeling that I can compare with the lost of my dad. When I lost my dad the pain was great, but with time it slowly became a silent companion I was always aware of.  It's the same now: I miss my family and friends a lot, but I -sort of- got used to the feeling, and I look forward (with a positive attitude) to our next trip to Buenos Aires or to a trip that someone from Argentina will do to come this way.

So how do you settle down in a new life (because it's not just a country) without a 'recipe'?
The first things I did when I arrived in Holland was to get the 'basics' to get back my independence: learn the Dutch language, get my Dutch drivers license, find a job, practical stuff. I even went to the supermarket with a notebook and a pen and spent 3 hours studying all the products available in a Dutch supermarket, trying to find back the ingredients I was used to find in Argentina.
In no-time I was reconnected to my professional environment but I gave me no space/room to adapt to my new reality in a new country.
Everything was fine, but after a while I started to feel the lack of a social network here, someone to share a coffee with, someone that would share a bit of my past with me.
Sometimes I ask myself: I am the only one that is different here?  I know that there are lots of expats in The Netherlands, but somehow I have the impression that for them it's easier than for me to adapt to a new culture and language.

During the 2nd year, I got pregnant with Noah (our eldest son). From the moment we heard we were expecting, I started preparing myself to give birth in a different country. Since it was my first pregnancy, I had no clue (even not in Spanish) what to expect, so I read dozens of magazines and books (in Dutch) to learn the vocabulary that would be used during my regular check-ups.  It was tough at the beginning: I could not understand a word of what was explained to me during the first echo.

Since Noah is born (Feb 2012) it looks like the time really flies, and I realize now that almost 4 years have passed by. Fantastic things have happened to me (and to my husband) and we did it all with 'no recipe' at all.

I am blessed; I am REALLY blessed.
My husband loves me (and I am crazy about him too) and we have now 2 adorable boys, Noah and Fedde (born in Dec 2013). Both boys are healthy and sweet and sometimes I cannot believe they are ours, so beautiful they are.
My family and friends in Argentina are the best and they are always there for me, even when an ocean put some obstacles in our way to stay close.
And now that I have become a mother, a entire new world of challenges begin for me, it's again the 'unknown' waiting around the corner, cooking with no recipe, travelling with no map....
But that is life, and that is exactly what makes life wonderful, the unexpected, the surprise, the unknown, the magic. And I am lucky enough to walk that path hand-in-hand with the love of my life and our dear sons. No recipe is needed, let us go and improvise!