Shit, that must be the messiest title I’ve ever written but I can’t think of anything else so let’s just go with it? I’m sorry.
I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a really long time now. I don’t know why I just never took the time to sit down and write this blog but I’m here now so let’s start with the introduction. This year in June, it will be 2 years since I’ve officially immigrated. For those who don’t know, I’m originally from South Africa. I came to the Netherlands just after finishing high school and met my husband six months in. We fell in love and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together but we needed to figure some stuff out. How will we make the distance work? My au pair year ended and I went back to South Africa with the idea that I will come back after a few months and stay with Onno for the entire three months of my tourist visa. This was our test. Do we want to take our relationship further? He proposed just before I came back and for the next year or so, we worked on the partner Visa so I could immigrate to the Netherlands. It was a long process as we had to wait 6 months until I turned 21 to start the process. Onno came to South Africa to meet my family. We had a little wedding ceremony for my family in South Africa as we planned to marry in the Netherlands later that year. We started the long process early February and I landed in the Netherlands as an immigrant on Onno’s birthday. It was surreal. Although it was my third time coming to the Netherlands, I always had a return ticket, but this time there wasn’t anything like that. It was different. I did promise my parents that I will try to come back to South Africa every two to three years and so far, I’m planning on keeping that promise with a planned trip to go to South Africa in August 2020. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve lived in the Netherlands for a while now and I like to think I’ve adjusted to my new life here. I still struggle in the winter but that’s just because it’s really fucking cold. I love the snow though. I will take the cold every day if it means I get to play in the snow.
Things that were strange to me, in the beginning, is perfectly normal now. So much has changed over the years and I’m so thankful to call this country my home. I thought it would be fun to compare my daily life in the Netherlands and my daily life in South Africa. It’s completely different. Let’s start with South Africa.
The time frame of this is only a few months before I immigrated. I lived with my father for a few months as I thought it would be really nice. I grew up with my mother I really wanted to live with my father before I left the country. At this time, I was doing the online nutrition course so I feel it kind of compares to my blog and book workload at the moment. As weekends were always different, then and now, I’m just going to choose a random workday. Let’s make it a Tuesday.
My morning started really early when I lived with my father. He gets up for work before the sun rises so I got up with him to make him his breakfast, lunch, and iron a work shirt if needed. Waking up at 05:30 was incredibly hard in the beginning and 8/10 times I would climb back into bed after he left for work but eventually my body adjusted and I would stay awake. As those times were rare, I’m going to say I went back to bed at 6am once my dad left for work. Depending on how tired I am, I would a) read until 07:30 or b) sleep until 07:30. If I chose to sleep until 07:30 I would then read for 30 minutes and get up at 8am. On average I was out and about at 8am. I would then make myself a cup of coffee and open up the backyard so the dogs can go for a run on the field next to my father’s house. Most of the time I would sit on the chair in the sun while the dogs ran and enjoy my cup of coffee (oh how I miss coffee). The dogs would come back in at 08:30 and I will go back inside and clean up from the night before. This could be packing the clean dishes away from the night before or just cleaning the countertop. I didn’t deep clean or anything like that, it would be just a quick clean in the kitchen and that’s about it. At 9am I will return to my room, get dressed and start my studies. I would then study for about 3 hours before finally having breakfast at 11am. After breakfast I would a) return to my studies if I need to or b) go to the shops. I went to the shops quite often as there was always something I needed to do. If I didn’t drop off one of my dad’s work pants to get fixed, I would go pick up his pills at the doctor. I would usually buy all the groceries at the end of the month but I would run to the shop to top on milk, bread, vegetables and fruits for me and etc. Most of the time I would need to go to the shops once a week. I would take my father’s car and get everything done and be back at the house around lunchtime. Depending on my father’s workday he would sometimes come home for lunchtime and other times I would drop off a meal at his work (if there weren’t enough leftovers from the night before). I would then take a small break as it would be too hot to really concentrate and I would be tired from the busy day. It’s then when I would switch on the TV and watch some program. It was a lot of day time TV. Usually around this time, Botched would be on and I would watch an episode while drinking another cup of coffee. After an hour break, I would get back to my studies and study until my father gets home. I would always try to finish my studies for the day by the time he got home so I could bond with him. He would get home between 17:30 and 18:00. Some days he ran later but, on most days, he would be home around then. We will catch up with each other’s day and just have a talk as we watch something on the TV before I start dinner. I like to start dinner at around 7pm. Most of my meals are quick to prepare so we will have dinner anywhere from 19:30 and 19:45. I think on some days I would make dinner earlier but it’s been a while so I’m not sure anymore. Did we eat dinner at 7pm or did I start dinner around 7pm? After dinner, I will watch a little TV with my dad and after an hour or so I will go clean up the kitchen and hop in the shower. I would then normally go sit in the lounge with my dad for another 30-45 minutes or so before he would go take a bath and get ready for bed around 9pm. Sometimes I would watch some more TV but most of the time I would be so tired from the long day I would climb crawl into bed around 9pm and read for an hour or so until I fall asleep. Oh, there was about two months where I would walk with the dogs on the field next door but I always did that when my dad was home and he could keep an eye on me as South Africa can be a dangerous place. Walking alone is a big no-no. Oh, and I would feed the dogs as dinner was on the go. Who could forget that?
I look back now and I smile. I enjoyed those few months I lived with my dad. It was a lot of fun, sometimes it was a bit frustrating as my dad wouldn’t really help with the house duties but I wouldn’t trade those days for anything. Oh, I always do the laundry on a Monday so sometimes I would iron my dad’s work shirts on a Tuesday but I would always postpone it until about Thursday or Friday. I hate ironing.
My morning here in the Netherlands starts bright and early. I usually wake up at 7am when the husband is up and about but on certain occasions, I would snooze until 08:30. I love reading in the morning so once I wake up, I will read until I feel like starting my day. I try to get up and start my day around 9am but I also don’t beat myself up if I snooze for a bit longer. It really depends on my frame of mind or my mental headspace. Ideally, I want to get up at 7am and work but those days are very rare. Anyway, so let’s just go with the usual where I’m up and about at 9am. I will get dressed and work behind my computer until 10:00 to 10:30. In this time I would normally work on my blog: respond to comments, write a blog or whatever I need to do for my website. If I’m not working on my blog at this time, I’m writing (creatively). I have a set routine when it comes to balancing my blog and my stories. I tend to work on my blog every day all day for a few weeks until I have about a month of blogs scheduled in advance and then I will switch over to working on whatever story I’m busy with. It’s a fine balance but overall, I write every single day. Hence why I developed tendinosis. Oh, I should probably explain this. About a month ago, I found a lump in my hand. Normally, I would let these types of things go. I’m not going to rush to the doctor and instead see if it will go away. My breast cramps, oh it’s probably normal. I won’t Google it because that will fuel paranoia but it’s probably nothing. I don’t feel lumps so it’s all good. There is blood in my poo, oh it’s okay. All normal here. It’s nothing big. I did eventually ask the doctor about it once when I was there for something else and it’s normal with people with celiac disease. So, nine out of ten, I just leave it with the thought that if it gets worse or anything changes, I will go see the doctor. But…this time around I couldn’t leave it. I’m in such a fragile piece of mind, one simple lump completely spun me for a loop. I had to know what it is. I couldn’t stop touching it or wait to see if it will go away. I need to know what it is. Two days after discovering the lump, I made a doctor’s appointment. It was quite embarrassing to go to the doctor for something so small but I just desperately needed that peace of mind of knowing it’s nothing or at least knowing what it is exactly. I have tendinosis. Tendinosis is a degeneration of the tendon’s collagen in response to chronic overuse; when overuse is continued without giving the tendon time to heal and rest, such as with repetitive strain injury, tendinosis results. Even tiny movements, such as clicking a mouse, can cause tendinosis when done repeatedly. So, my insane amount of writing every single day gave me a very painful bite in the ass. Typically, you treat this by resting and taking things slowly but well I’m always going to be a writer soooooooo …basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m hurting and I need to take more breaks in between to not aggravate the situation. I might see a physical therapist soon so I can get some massaging techniques to help but yeah. If it gets worse and I can no longer move my fingers, they will inject it with a steroid and then if that doesn’t work, they remove it surgically but that’s obviously the last choice on the table. All in all, this last month writing has been a bit painful. I get cramps if I write too much and it’s just sensitive all together. I’ve tried to limit how much I write a day but I’m working on something super special that I want to launch in April so I need to buckle down and work hard. I’m almost at the finish line and then I can take two weeks off from writing altogether. Maybe I will even take a month but I have no idea what I will do with myself if I’m not going to write my days away anymore. Oh, I know, study for the 2 big immigration tests I have to do this year. Did I mention I need to my driver license this year as well? Yes, it’s a lot of fun and I can’t wait. I’m completely off topic so let’s go back to my usual day here in the Netherlands.
After about an hour or so of work, I will go downstairs and open Dankie’s cage. After we cuddle for a bit, I will drink my supplements before I sit on the couch and chill. If I found a good book the night before, I would read in this time or if I found a good series, I would watch an episode. It depends on the mood. I usually drink a cup of tea. Dankie usually wants to go out for a potty break and I will let the cat in as Dankie goes out. Around 11am I will give the kitchen a quick clean although I don’t always do this. I do tend to some cleaning around this time but it’s not a heavy cleaning session. I just tidy everything up session. If I’m in a depressive state I will often just sit on the couch and watch series all day or read. I will go up around 12pm to work some more if my hand allows it. Ideally, I would then write for two or three hours. I normally stop when my hand hurts or I’m hungry. If the weather is nice Dankie will be outside in this time period and if it’s raining, he will be in his area with his toy. I normally eat around 2pm or 3pm for the first time. My appetite has been extremely weak this last year or so but I’m taking small steps to eat my three meals everyday. I usually cuddle with Dankie on the couch as I eat breakfast and I will continue to relax there for an hour or so. I usually do the shopping on a Tuesday or a Thursday as the shops are less busy on these days so if needed, I will go to the shops by bicycle, if not I will take Dankie for a walk although these last two weeks I’ve been walking Dankie at night with Onno. If I don’t go to the shops or walk the dog, I will usually just become one with my couch until 5pm. Depending on how I feel I will sometimes do a bit of housework, play around on the internet, read or play sims as I wait for the husband to come home. Sometimes I would even go back upstairs to write some more. I try to have everything finished by the time he gets home so we can just be together. He comes home around 7pm and I will talk his ear off before I start dinner. After dinner we chill on the couch and then if I didn’t walk the dog that day, we will walk him together around 9pm. After our 30-minute walk, I will hop into the shower and go up. Onno usually stay downstairs for another 30 minute or so. I usually read for a few hours once I’m in bed. It’s a pretty relaxed day. Some are crazier than others and some days the biggest task I do that day is getting out of my bed. I don’t punish myself for feeling like this, not anymore anyway. I realize that I’m not a perfect human being and as long as I take small steps every single day, then that’s good enough. Some days I’m a superwoman that does everything without a hint of break and other days I’m a couch potato. AND that’s okay.
Although I’m on the other side of the world, my day is still similar. I don’t mind that. It’s different but some things never change. I’m grateful that I get to spend my days here in the Netherlands. I’m grateful to have such a supporting and loving husband. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to follow my dreams. I hope you enjoyed this blog, it’s a bit random but I had fun so I guess that’s a win. I hope you all have a wonderful day!
Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!