Brown and blue

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Things I didn't realized I missed about home

1. Free water at restaurants that keeps on coming if you run out!
2. Waiters checking on you at your table without having to flag them down.
3.  Being able to see the stop light when you stop the designated line.
4.  Having the option to shop or do anything I want on Sundays. Not that I'm doing anything.
5. Calling up a neighbor when you're out of something while you're making dinner for the night.
6. Our big comfy couch
7.  All the options for EVERYTHING at the grocery store. This is both good and bad
8. Being able to read what it is I'm buying
9. My GIANT refrigerator
10. How fast and big the washer and dryer are.

Not everything is better in the U.S. though:
1. The bread
2.  Being able to understand everyone and their annoying conversations that they should have in private, not on the phones in airports.
3. The fruit in the winter time

I'm sure the list will continue to grow but these are just a few funny things I have noticed this week alone!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Our trip home

Our trip home started out a little shaky but only got better as the 13 plus hours went on.  We had rented a van to carry our 4 suitcases 3 carry ons, 1 dog cage, the stroller, the car seat and the 3 of us. We wouldn't have fit in anything else.  What the rental company gave us was what they call a "bus" in the Netherlands. It was great we fit no problem. We could've had at least 5 other people in there with us!  What wasn't so great was no one told us it wouldn't fit in the parking ramp at the airport!

Lucky for me, Josh dropped Jackson and I off at the departures gate with 2 suitcases and the stroller. This alone was a ridiculous feat. I was pushing those silly aiport carts ( you know the ones you have to hold down the bar in order for it to go) and the stroller.  I'm sure you can see it now, the stroller went one way and the cart went the other!! I had to run Jackson across the road, leave the luggage and then run back to it.  Some nice lady helped me get into the airport from there.  Thank goodness!!!

Josh had it WAY worse!! He was returning the rental van or bus I should say and got to the parking ramp and it was too tall to go in. Josh parked on the road and had to run in and find someone to help him.  Of course they had no idea what to do, they NEVER get this type of car here.  Why would the rental company give it to us to return at the airport we will never know! It only gets worse, after arguing discussing with them about what to do with it Josh finally left it with them.  Now he has to get another cart to put the remaining suitcases, carry ons, and the poor dog Grace!  Let's just say it was a horrible mile long walk into the airport. After about an hour he shows up and I just gasp.  He looks so worked up his face is almost purple!  Poor guy!!

Next it's time to check in.  We're the people in the aiport you feel sorry for so a woman with KLM helps us to the front of the line to get us checked in.  The story doesn't get better here. We're traveling with Delta but it's operated by KLM out of Amsterdam. I'm not sure if this was the problem or what. They look at Grace's pet passport and say, I'm sorry but the U.S. will not accept your dog because she hasn't had her rabbies vaccination within 30 days. WHAT??? Wrong!  I have done hours of research on this and she had it completely backwards. The U.S. requires the vaccination be done longer than 30 days before travel so it has time to take effect. Finally, Josh just says you're taking the dog.  She said ok, but it's your liability then. It turns out we were correct and had no problems get Grace through customs.

Now it's on to security for us. In Amsterdam it is a little different. They have security at each gate.  We get through just in time to board the plane. Where a lady kindly tells us they will not allow us to take out car seat on to the plane. It is against Delta's policy. WRONG again!! We know for sure you can take carseats on the plane. We made her call some one else and they let us on with the carseat. Just one thought came to both of our minds. "Typical Dutch!"  That sounds terrible but Dutch people love to argue with you and think they're always right.  Not so true!!

From then on it was smooth sailing for us!  We made it to Minneapolis with no problems. Jackson slept 3 1/2 hours on the flight and was happy the rest of the time. We even saw Paul Rhoads in the airport. (ISU's football coach, for those of you who don't know). The short flight back to Des Moines wasn't so great but it was only 45 minutes so we survived.

It never felt so good to be home and we saw our family waiting for us at the airport, although we were already sweaty and arms trembling from carrying Jackson, the car seat and all 3 carry ons. Over all a really great trip home and Iowa has welcomed us with freezing cold temperatures and about 6 inches of snow today. 

I'm not sure we will be setting foot on an airplane anytime soon although Mexico is sounding pretty great right now!

Friday, February 8, 2013

One week to go!

With one week left to go I find myself remembering how I felt when I found out we would be leaving home for 2 years, after just finding out we were having a baby. I put on my big girl pants, said I was ok leaving our families, friends, free babysitters, support system, and off we went!  What was I thinking, haha!! I'm sure that's what our parents were thinking!

Moving to the Netherlands was both one of the most amazing things I have ever done and at the very same time one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I was always pretty much a home body and never really planned to move out of Iowa.  I'm glad we felt like this was something we could not turn down and we took ourselves out of our comfort zone.

I was hard at first but we soon fell into routine and it became our new normal.  I am little overwhelmed to think about places, like Wal Mart, Costco, fast food everywhere and an entire aisle of cereal to choose from.  America never sleeps and the Dutch sleep A LOT!  It will be a big adjustment coming home!

I have always loved to travel but hadn't really had much chance to get to Europe, other than a short highschool trip to Spain. So we have really taken advantage of being here and I sometimes joke we have now been to more countries than states.  I'm not exactly sure on the tally but it is probably pretty close.  We were lucky enough to go to France, Spain, Germany, England, Italy, Belgium, a tiny bit of Austria, and of course all over in the Netherlands.  That in itself was a perfect reason to come live here for a short while!

We have also met some of the nicest people while living here. Pretty much everyone is in the exact same situation, so they understand the difficulties of living abroad. Things like no shopping on Sundays, no easy mac or cheerios or any easy kid food, crazy drivers, crazy rainy weather, no sun, stubborn Dutch personalities, I'm sure my list could go on and on. It has been so great to get to know so many people from all over the world. It has opened my eyes to so many new things and I'm so greatful for that! 

I never thought I would be sad to leave, but I am a little bit.  This has been the best time for us to spend just with Jackson. He met his first best friend here, took his first steps here, said his first words here and so many other firsts. We may have had some rough patches here, but mostly we will have nothing but fond memories to think back on.

Thank you to everyone that has helped us out while we have been away, helped us learn our way around a new country, come to visit us, had play dates with us, and been great friends to us here!  We will miss you all and can't wait until we will meet again!