Our ‘Navigate the Netherlands’ story:
– Lincoln, Kelly, Carter and Nolan Davidson –
From Alpharetta, Georgia in the United States to Amsterdam, the Netherlands
PART THREE: A COUPLE OF MONTHS AFTER YOUR ARRIVAL IN THE NETHERLANDS:
New2nl wants to connect with our readers. We want to know where they live, what they do, what their family looks like, and most of all, what brings them to the Netherlands. The best way to do this? Ask our fantastic clients directly!
In this ‘Our Navigate the Netherlands story’ series, we’ll interview a family three times during their process of moving to the Netherlands: just before they move, after their first few weeks in the Netherlands, and a couple of months after their arrival.
This is part three about the Davidson family’s move to the Netherlands, in which they settle further in Amsterdam. In case you have missed part 1, in which this American family explained why they were moving to the Netherlands, and how they prepared, you can read it here. The follow-up you can find in part 2.
Although we always try our utmost to find the best matching school for our clients, sometimes the preferred school is oversubscribed and we have to look for the most suitable alternatives.
This third and final story from the Davidson family shows that, whatever happens, with a positive mindset and realistic expectations you’ll settle in soon and things will work out great. If you are lucky, a place at your desired school might even open up later.
How is everything going for you?
We are loving life in the Netherlands. School has just finished for the year and both boys have graduated to the next level in school. Their Dutch is coming along great, they are making some great friends, and we’ve been enjoying traveling, hosting friends and family, and exploring our new country.
Do you already feel at home in your new home? What have you done to create this feeling?
Flying into Schiphol definitely feels like we are coming home now and after traveling and seeing so many different cities, we always breathe a sigh of relief when we return to Amsterdam. As much as we love exploring, it feels really good to come back. We have embraced the Netherlands by immersing ourselves in the country. So many of our friends are only here for a short time so have not tried hard to settle in. Our family hopes to be here for a very long time, so we have made it a priority to learn the language, become involved in the community, and make sure Amsterdam feels like home.
Have you or your family members made any friends yet? If yes, where did you meet?
I met my very best girlfriend in Amsterdam in our first week here, on Facebook. We are members of the same Amsterdam Mamas group and after she posted a little snippet introducing herself, I reached out to her. Our boys are the same ages and get along great. I count them among our best friends and so glad we have met. Our boys are so sociable and make friends everywhere they go. From school to parks to foreign countries, they are always making friends.
Which member of your family is currently most fluent in Dutch?
Both our boys have excelled at learning the language. Our oldest graduated out of the newcomers’ class within a few months and our youngest was fully immersed. Both my husband and I are taking lessons, and although our progress is much much slower, we can muddle through a cafe order or introducing ourselves to new people.
What has been your most valuable discovery so far? This can be anything you can think of!
We have made it a goal to discover new playgrounds. It seems like every time you turn a corner you uncover a fun new place to play!
What is the most fun thing you have experienced so far?
King’s Day was by far the most fun experience so far in the Netherlands. We stayed in the Jordaan and walked around the streets the entire day. The food was delicious, the entertainment kept us dancing, and it was amazing to see the crowds jam the streets.
How are your children doing at school?
Our first few weeks of school were very hard on my youngest son and the school as a whole was not a good fit for either of our kids. After the Christmas holidays we began at a new school and that changed our lives for the better. They were happy and thriving, and finally enjoying being in their new country! What a relief! Their language developed, they made some really great friends, and I finally saw my kids happy again.
Does the school meet your expectations?
The community at the first school was amazing and the parents really made us feel welcome. Once we switched schools, it was a bit harder to get involved as the school year was well underway but we’ve managed to meet some really fantastic people. I think there are always going to be bumps in the road with new schools and getting used to how things are done in a country that is so different than what you are used to, but I think this school year was a success.
How is your job going? Which differences at work did you have most difficulty getting used to?
Work is great. Being in Europe has opened up a lot of travel opportunities for the business. The time change is difficult as we are 6 and 9 hours ahead of the other offices.
Have you already been back to your own country since your move to the Netherlands? If yes, how was it?
Next week will be our fourth time returning to our own country!!!! We have had family weddings and managed to get permission from school to travel back for these exciting events. We have already warned our family that this is the last time we will be returning for a long, long time. Not only are the flights expensive, the jet lag makes it difficult to travel back and forth. It is also hard to make sure you see all your friends and family when you’re back as everyone thinks they deserve all of your time! We have definitely had to deal with hurt feelings on every trip because there just isn’t time to see everyone every time. Now we have told everyone it is their turn to come to us for the next few years!
What is the biggest obstacle/problem you have encountered so far? How did you overcome it?
I think loneliness can get the better of you if you’re not careful. I knew this could be an issue so I made sure the kids were actively involved in school, sports, and clubs, and also signed myself up for all sorts of opportunities to meet people. By taking language classes and art classes, finding a book club and arranging lots of coffee dates I made sure I was surrounded by new people. This was especially helpful when my husband traveled as we could have meals and play dates after school to fill up our days.
What tips would you give to families who are new to the Netherlands?
Moving to a new country is never easy, but whether you are here for six months, three years or forever, get yourself involved in the community and embrace this new experience. You will of course miss your family and friends back home, but make sure to reach out and make new relationships. There is no point in being miserable in this new situation, especially since this country is so incredible! Play tourist, go explore, and take advantage of what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have met so many couples in the next stage of life that had the chance to live abroad and turned it down. They count it as their biggest regret.
I know a lot of people can get depressed about the weather, but you have never truly appreciated a gorgeous blue sky until you’ve lived through a gray winter! Bundle up and get outside even when the weather is gross! There is still so much to see and do in winter, and staying cooped up inside doesn’t make it go any faster 😉 Invest in some good rain coats and perhaps some Vitamin D tablets. Cozy up in a cafe with a good book, hit the museums, or take some extra exercise classes! Winter passes quickly and then you can enjoy the aftermath – gorgeous tulips, long summer days, and brilliant blue skies. Hang in there!
Would you like to connect with Lincoln & Kelly Davidson? You may send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure to pass it on.
Have you also worked with New2nl and would you like to be featured in the next ‘Navigate the Netherlands’ story? Please answer the above questions and send them together with some high-res pictures of your family and some favorite places of yours in your home country to email@example.com. Thank you in advance!
Other stories in this series: