Today my Dutch Australian friend Kristen came to visit. She lives about a half hour drive away, is Australian and like me, has married a Dutch man and had two little Dutch Australian children! We met here in The Netherlands back in 2003 via a ‘Aussies in Holland’ only forum and have stayed in touch since. We’ve led quite parallel lives, where we both lived here first, then moved back to Australia, then moved back to The Netherlands again!
She’s been back here for a year already so it was good to get some tips from her about settling in (again) here, but particularly with children. She told me about a programme for young children who need to improve their Dutch language – they go to peuterspeelzaal (which many dutch children go to) but with a subsidy. Though Sophia is due to start school at the end of this month, I’ll look into this for Isabella. (Note later – we discovered that in our local area, it was very restricted where she could go, and though it was much cheaper, we decided to stick with the “regular” peuterspeelzaal)
If you’re moving to a new country, I really highly recommend seeking out others who are from your original country and have done the same. Though it’s a great idea to integrate with locals, spending time with someone from your own culture can really help. They can empathise with the tough side of it and give practical tips from a similar perspective to yours.
Overall, the girls seem to be coping with the changes ok. They love their new colourful quilt covers and are currently sharing a room, as we still need to put flooring down in the other bedroom! I have noticed something that I’ve heard is very normal – our 3 year old was very nearly toilet trained before we left Australia but has reverted back to needing nappies. Here they are sleeping in this morning on the 2nd night in our new house:
Picnic lunch with 4 little Dutch Australians. They spoke a cute mix of Dutch and English with each other.
This neat playground and man-made beach is not far from our new house. It seems they train the Dutch kids to work with water from a very young age…
How did we get around today? By bike of course! I’m nervous without helmets but seems none of the kids wear them and my husband insists they don’t need them. At least with the nice, wide bike paths away from the roads, it does seem a lot safer.
Back at home I’m still working on laying the vinyl floors in the living room.