Story Time

The Big Move: Immigrating From South Africa To The Netherlands

This blog was interestingly enough difficult to write. There is only so much I can say about the move and why I did it. I can go into detail that I left my home country to be with my beloved in his country. I can go into detail about the absolutely horror that happens in my home country as we speak. I can do all that, but yet it doesn’t feel like the reason why I left. Yes, it contributed to my decision but it’s so much more than that.

I fell in love with the Netherlands not long after I came here the first time around. One day I took my bicycle and just went for a ride through the country and it stole my heart. I loved everything about it. I loved how safe I felt. I loved the culture. I grew to love the language. I believe that everyone has a place that is home. South Africa just wasn’t that for me. And then I met Onno and it was just a cherry on top. I knew he was my future husband. I also knew that we will choose to live our life together in the Netherlands.

We discussed our options. Onno could move to South Africa. We could both immigrate to New Zealand or Australia. It wasn’t completely impossible for a South African. Onno is Dutch and with his degree he will have options all over the world. We had options. We really did. It just didn’t feel right. I just hated the idea of leaving the Netherlands behind. The country where I found myself.

The process leading up to the move was difficult. It was incredibly long and frustrating. We had to prove our relationship. We had to promise our intentions were pure. We had to endure months apart as we waited. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it. There really isn’t much to say. I love living here in the Netherlands. It was a bit difficult to adjust and I was overwhelmed a few times. I miss my family and friends. I miss my culture and language. I miss a lot of things but I don’t regret my decision and I never will. This is my home now.

I wrote this the day I left as a little memoir.

2 June 2017

(Fun fact: I landed on Onno’s birthday! He truly received the best present he could’ve asked for!)

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Thank you for reading!

xoxo

 

Story Time

A Wedding Before My Wedding (My Pre-Wedding Experience)

Every girl dreams of this day. It’s the day that they prepare for since their pigtail days. It’s the day that’s perfectly planned out from the tune of the bells to the clear silk of the dress. Every bead, every rosebud and every silver wear perfectly aligned in their rightful place. I can only be talking about one thing. Oh yes. There’s nothing alike. Her W-E-D-D-I-N-G day! In my case it my Pre-Wedding and to explain it briefly; It was basically a wedding without the legal part of it. It was for my family and friends in South Africa before I immigrate to the Netherlands. Obviously because we want our union to be recognized in the Netherlands we had to wait till I was abroad before we could take the steps to tie the knot for the real. It’s on the 22nd of August in the court. Afterwards we’re going to enjoy a lovely meal at a pizza restaurant that serves gluten free food. Something I wanted in the first place.

My time arrived quite early in my life in a time where my adult mind could make decisions that my child self would never come to. One of these decisions is that no, I don’t want the fancy dress, all the flowers, the big event and food that no one really enjoys. What I do want is to spend the rest of my life on this earth with the man I love. I don’t need an over top ceremony to make this possible. Unfortunately I’m a great person and listen to the wishes of my parents. One of those wishes was an over top ceremony that I managed to compromise to something smaller but the bells, rosebuds and silky white dress I couldn’t escape. The idea that I, a woman that loves wearing princess dresses doesn’t want a wedding was something no one could wrap their mind around.

I wish I can say everything went smoothly and I enjoyed every last second of the entire process, but I had frustrations left and right. The first thing that comes to mind was the venue. I’ve never dealt with a business that I loathed more. The memory of the horrors they pushed me through is enough to make me clench my teeth. Then came choosing the dress, it would come to no surprise that I had no cooking clue what I wanted as the entire wedding ceremony was all a smokey haze. I was lucky enough to have a father willing to buy my wedding dress but unlucky enough that his wife is a controlling woman that felt like it was her right to choose my dress. As I only had three months to put the entire thing together, a lot of things I would’ve enjoyed to have on the day wasn’t possible, but let’s move away from the long list negatives.

The positive thing was that I saw most of my cared for family and friends. I made lovely memories.  My uncle’s ceremony. Onno’s vows. My parents speeches. My grandma’s speech. My first dance. My dances with my parents. Oh and I got some great pictures out of the thing so there is that too. But honestly, I encourage you to take control of the situation and celebrate your marriage to the person you love more than anything as YOU TWO wish it to be. Don’t compromise. Don’t let anyone ruin or change this special moment. Don’t please them, please the two of you. Your happiness is important.

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General Life Tips

So You Want To Au Pair Abroad? This Is What You Need To Know…

Leaving home isn’t always easy. So going abroad for a set amount of time and taking on the big responsibility of being an Au pair isn’t for everyone. BUT it’s an experience like no other and something I’m so happy and grateful for being able to have done. It’s life changing and eye opening. If it’s something you’re interested in then don’t let fear stop you. I was an Au pair in the Netherlands for one year with two kids. I can honestly say that it has changed me as person like no other experience could’ve.

  1. Kiddie Love

This probably sounds funny and obvious but I really can’t express it enough. You really need to love children and I mean all the different parts of it. The good and the bad. Children aren’t always easy. They’re going to test your limits and really see just how patient you can be. There will be days when you honestly don’t want to deal with the same nonsense and there will be days you love your host kids so much that the idea of leaving them physically hurts.

  1. Country Love

If you’re going to au pair in another country it really needs to be a country YOU are interested in. It’s going to be your new home for a year so it really needs to be a place you feel like you can fit in, experience new things and really embrace and learn from the culture.

  1. Host Parents

Please take your time with choosing a host family/parents. Don’t just choose a family because they chose you and your scared you won’t find a family. No. Kick this idea right out of your head. These people are not only going to be your family and basically the baseline in this strange and new country but they’re also going to be your boss. You have to have similar views and interest or it won’t always be a breeze in the park.

  1. Au Pair Friends

Having Au pair friends is really a blessing in disguise. They’re experiencing the exact same thing than you are: the frustrations that can come with looking after kids, the home sickness, the struggles with the new culture and language and overall they’re your support in this new environment. They’re your comedian relief. They’re someone to have fun, unwind and most importantly to grow with.

  1. Wise Company Choices

Choose your company wisely. They’re going to effect the entire experience in ways you won’t imagine. You can get absolutely wonderful companies that truly carries your best interest to heart, but then you get horror companies that basically…to put it nicely screw you over. Do your research on the company, specially Google their names with words like scandal, horrible company etc. If someone didn’t have a great experience with them it will be somewhere on the internet. Go to their Facebook page, try to contact other au pairs that went through them and not just that, go with your instinct. If you feel good about the company then that’s all you need to know. I recommend House-o-Orange for my South African Au Pairs: https://www.house-o-orange.nl/

Take the leap and Au pair. At least once.

child-594519PS: It’s not always going to be fun and games but again, it’s a great experience. You really ‘grow up’ while you Au pair. If you’re interested, go for it!

 

General Life Tips

How To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work

Relationships aren’t always easy. Its filled with great memories and pointless arguments. The other day my husband and I was arguing if the pasta in the container was gluten free or not. We went into great detail with references and we still couldn’t come to a conclusion. Onno still stands by the fact that it was gluten free pasta. He’s dead wrong in case you were wondering. We’ve been together for two years now and more than half of that time we spend apart with 10 000km between us. We weren’t even in the same country. Onno is born and bred in the Netherlands and I came out of a little hole in South Africa. After my VISA came to an end and I had no other choice but to go back home. There I  stayed for a year. Long distance relationships are ten times harder and you need to work double as hard. Doubts that you would never have in a normal relationship starts to pop up. Trust will go a long way.

  1. Stay in touch

This one probably sounds silly but you really need to stay in touch. Every morning send that lovely good morning message, update them throughout your day and then obviously never go to bed without a goodnight message. Include them in your day, tell them about the cat you saw or that weird person you saw on the train. You really need to put in the effort every day even if you both work 8 hours per day and nothing exciting happened..

     2.  Video call as much as possible

Really make it a habit to video call as much as possible. Seeing you loved one’s face can really make all the worlds of differences.

  1. Go on Dates

This probably sounds absolutely ridiculous considering I just mentioned there was 10 000km between us but hear me out. Oh the power of technology. We watched movies together which means we basically watch the exact same movie while Skype is on. We mute it and when we want to say something about the movie we signal the other one to pause. We did this at least twenty times. We also played games together (not as much though) which is basically the same concept as the movie date. You play the game and see who has the better score and etc. If I went to the beach with my family I would record a video. There was a lot of videos in general.

  1. Stay patient and talk about your feelings

As in any relationship you need to stay patient and open. Understand that there will be frustrations and the struggle will be real sometimes. Be completely open with your partner. Tell them when you’re having a bad day because you miss them more than anything in this world.

  1. Have that end goal

Having a date on when you will see each other again will make a massive difference. It’s something to look forward to and something that will make the distance feel a tiny bit smaller. Make it fun, plan what you’re going to do when you see each other again (after the welcome back cuddles obviously) and get that countdown going. The longest countdown we had in between seeing each other was 6 months.

It’s difficult but not impossible. If your love is true than it will work.

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