American Expat Living in Netherlands - Interview with Jessica

Published: 12 Mar at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Netherlands
Hoi from the Netherlands! Mijn naam is Jessica and I’m over the hills in love with my husband Royce, our four kids, our Lord, and our Catholic faith. Seeking union with HIM daily gives me the grace to be the mom HE wants me to be…especially for us Texans living in a foreign country, where we trudge through puddles of rain on our bikes more than tiptoeing through any tulips.

Some days I don’t feel courageous enough for living and raising a family in a foreign country, other times I feel unbelievably fearless and confident. It’s those days that I am forever grateful for the strength the good Lord up above has given me and my family. I look back at how far we have come and what we have accomplished…together! We truly felt called to take this leap of faith and trust in Him. In turn, it has lead us to LOVE the road we are on and trust this path He has laid before us. Jessica 's expat blog is called Tiptoeing Through Tulips... Texas Style (see listing here)


Here's the interview with Jessica ...


Where are you originally from?
My husband and I both were born in San Angelo, Texas and later I moved to Coppell, Texas with my family.

In which country and city are you living now?
Schijndel, The Netherlands

How long have you lived in Netherlands and how long are you planning to stay?
We have only lived here for seven months and plan to live here for three years.

Why did you move to Netherlands and what do you do?
My husband was asked to move within the company of Bosch-Rexroth for a three year job assignment in the Netherlands. He is an engineer and I get to tote kids around to and from school and activities by bike. In the afternoons or evenings, I magically turn into their English teacher.

Did you bring family with you?
Absolutely! My husband and I moved our family of six. We flew together with all four kids and our golden retriever across the Atlantic ocean!

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
It is not easy, but we did it! It is a team effort in moving a family of six to a foreign country. With the help from family, friends, Bosch-Rexroth, our language & cultural trainer, and our relocation agent, we were able to successfully make this move. What we found difficult was the obvious language barrier, waiting for the arrival of our sea and air freight, and obtaining cell phones in a new country.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Having school aged kids makes making friends and meeting people a little easier. Living here in Schijndel, I feel we are completely immersed in the Dutch language and culture. We socialize with both locals and expats. Because of the world wide web, I have communicated with other expats through Facebook or blogs that have been extremely welcoming and helpful!

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Our favorite things to do here in Schijndel are shopping market on Saturdays, eating at pannenkoekenhuisjes (Pancake Houses), visiting the nearby farms and dairies, Sunday visits to the Catholic church, family bicycle rides, and being a part of the Dutch culture celebrations such as Sinterklaas and Carnaval. We recently took a trip to Madurodam in Den Haag and have plans to visit the Keukenhof in Lisse to see the world's largest flower garden this spring. I recently found a Dutch website called, www.mamyloe.nl which is a blog dedicated to helping parents find outdoor and indoor activities in areas nearby.

What do you enjoy most about living in Netherlands?
We love the friendly people and the food! The vibrant colors of autumn are invigorating and thanks to to tilt of the polar vortex, this spring is especially warm and inviting! I love how every age is outside and active all the time, even in the midst of Holland rain showers.

How does the cost of living in Netherlands compare to home?
The cost of living can be close to the same, but if the company is helping cover the income tax it can be a little less expensive.

What negatives, if any, are there to living in Netherlands?
Not being able to fully speak, understand, or read the Dutch language.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Netherlands, what would it be?
Learn a little Dutch before you go and introduce yourself and your family. The Dutch are eager to help you. All you have to do is ask. The Dutch is a difficult language and there are many different dialects all over the country, so don't get discouraged and keep trying! Some of the Dutch know English and are more than willing to speak it!

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Having children long for family and friends in Texas, especially in the first few months. We use Skype, email, and exchange letters or postcards back home often, especially to their Grandparents. Family updates are essential and keep us communicating constantly!

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
We have been here for a short period of time, so as of right now I feel we will eagerly step back on Texas soils with happy hearts! As our friendships grow and love for our favorite Dutch foods, products, and places to visit expands, of course we will long for those once back home in America.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Learn the language as best you can before you go. Memorizing just a few simple phrases and downloading Google Translate on your phone will be of aid! If your company offers a language trainer or an online language program, take advantage of it, no matter how busy you are with the move.
  2. If you or your company can afford it, take a "look and see" trip with the family before you move to find a home, visit the schools, and churches. Make a list of questions and ask all of them and more to help you make your decisions with placement.
  3. Get out and explore...daily! Seek your interests or your kids' interests and get involved! Don't let the language barrier keep you inside and alone. While the older three go to school, the youngest and I go to a weekly Dutch music class together where we have met other expats and locals singing and dancing to popular kid Dutch songs. This one class alone has helped our three year old and I both tremendously with getting together with other moms and toddlers.
  4. Keep in constant contact with the school and their teachers to see how your children are progressing, go to them with any concerns or questions, and be involved in their education. To keep up with their English reading and language, have your children read aloud and write daily at home or while traveling.
  5. If you are hesitant, unsure, or anxious about driving a car or riding a bicycle in a foreign country take courses and classes to help keep you and your family safe!
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
Come join us as we have made this leap of faith over the big pond, are in the midst of exploring a new cultural, experiencing a new language, and living life as a family in the Netherlands!

I am extremely grateful for an amazing mother, friend, and professional web-designer, Lauren, with Santa Clara Designs, for her encouragement and talent in creating this family travel blog for us! To have the opportunity to reflect on our move and travels and be able to share with family and friends is more than words and pictures can describe!

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Via my blog.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingJessica is an American expat living in Netherlands. Blog description: our family journey to the netherlands
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