Sunday, September 30, 2012


Day 17: September 30, 2012
Another great day off!Toda Corry went to Friesland with Guusje and Luca for her Beppe's bithday and I came along for the drive. Corry dropped me off at the Van Velde home- their daughter Lisanne lived with my parents for several months last year as part of an exchange program They had a Canadian flag hanging outside their home for me! How sweet

It was around 11:00 when I arrived so we right away had filtered coffee (finally!) and tompouce- a typical Dutch cake. The brittleness of the pastry makes it almost impossible to eat with a fork, so the way to eat this cake is to remove the top frosted layer of the pastry and hold it in one hand, while eating the bottom half with a fork.
For lunch we had dutch soup, ham, bread with salmon dip, filet americain. Lisanne, her sister, her mom and I then went for a very nice bike ride around their village.
In the Netherlands they typically eat one warm meal a day, since we had our warm meal in the afternoon, we had sandwiches at dinner time. Lisanne and her sister dropped me off back with Corry and we headed back to Capelle. Arrived home around 9:30pm so I could skype with Curtis then head to bed. Fun day!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My First Friend!

Day 16: September 29, 2012
Wow! Awesome day! I slept in until 8:00, had some breakfast then went for a run. I had dutch pancakes for lunch with appelstroop (a dark brown, sweet, apple spread) -yum! We then all went to the neighbour's house for a birthday party, their son and twin children were all born on the same day so it was a big birthday party for all three kids.

Around 3:00 I took the train to utrecht to meet up with my first friend yet- Nanna Farrup. I found her online on a website called Expat Netherlands. She made a post on there looking for friendship- she's an au pair from Denmark. We hit it off right away! We walked around and stopped for drinks. Walked around some more then found a nice little diner for dinner (american style). We had some more drinks and just relaxed- it was refreshing to finally meet someone to relate with and have a fun girl's night with. I bussed back home no problem.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day 10

September 23, 2012 (Sunday)
Today was a lazy/relaxing day. I walked to the park with Corry, Guusje, and Luca after breakfast. I had delicious ham and gouda tosti's with Corry and Bart for lunch (after the kids ate lunch). I just watched Teen Mom and relaxed in my bedroom until 3:00. Bart took me and Guusje on a boat tour- Spido Rotterdam. Bart said any time they take me out for a tour like this they will be paying for it! I hate when other people pay for me, but when you're on a tight au pair budget, I really appreciate anything they are willing to pay for. The boat tour was really neat! But unfortunately, a very overcast day so I was not able to take good pictures.
Corry made a very impressive lasagne dinner and we tried eating all 6 of us together, but that is difficult with 3 high energy kids! Afterwards I went back up to my room to skype.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Day 9: September 22, 2012
Just last Saturday I was arriving in my new home and ciry- I feel like I"m settling in well. Today at 10:00 Bart brought me to the metro station in Rotterdam and taught me how to use the transit system- a little overwhelming at first. I rode the train to Gouda (How-da) and walked around for hours. It was a very cute city, but would have been more fun to explore if I had a travelling partner.
I took the train back to Rotterdam Central, and since I was there decided to check out the city center. They also had a very impressive city hall:
I returned home at 3:30pm, Corry asked me if I wanted to go for a run- I said sure, I could probably only handle running 5km as I had been walking for four hours. I didn't realize that she had invited me to an actual organized race in Capelle! I thought it was just us doing a run with some neighbours for fun. There were not too many runners as this was the first time they were holding this particular race. It was SO hard- I tried desperately to keep up with all of the runners, scared of getting lost and off route. Corry finished in 43 minutes- what an amazing woman! I finished in exactly 55.

We had steak sandwiches for supper (with spicey dutch mustard), then Corry and Bart went to a birthday dinner while I babysat. I watched Die Hard 4.0 and talked to Ma on skype.

Tonight Curtis's friend Baitley is getting married, and Curtis is a groomsman. I wish I could be there to see him in his tux! He sent me a message to say he was thinking of me the whole time. December cannot come soon enough!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dainty Fainty

Day 6: September 19, 2012
Bad Day. I woke up at 7:00am, walked downstairs to help wash the kids and I fainted- hitting the side of my head on the sink. So embarassing! Plus it scared the kids. I regained consciousness with Corry over me holding a cloth to my forehead- I got a goose egg above my eye from sitting the sink. Corry told me to go back to bed and rest. I pretty much slept all day- I must have been more exhausted then I realized.
I was talking to an American au pair who had a similar experience her first week here, she didn't actually faint, but she felt dizzy and had to sit down. I did some research and found out being jet lagged is not linked to the length of the flight, but to the trans-meridian (west–east) distance travelled.

Monday, September 17, 2012

First Day of "Work"

Day 4: September 17
Today was my first day of 'work' as it is now Monday. I will be working Monday-Thursday morning-night and then I get Friday-Sunday off! Corry took the day off today so that I would not be overwhelmed. I ate breakfast while she brought Liv to school and the other two to day care. Curtis made my day by telling me he booked a flight to Holland!! :) He'll be here December 15-January 8 I CANNOT WAIT!!
I just relaxed around the house and Corry took me to get registered with the city of Capelle. At 3:00 we biked to Liv's school and to the daycare to pick up all the kids. I took Guusje and Luca to the park. All 3 kids were put to bed at 7:00pm and then we adults had our dinner.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Jet Lagged

Day 3: September 16, 2012
Feeling much better today and not too jet lagged. This morning the family took me to the North Sea! We had to take two vehicles because the cars here are so tiny and only hold five people. We walked along the Scheveningen Strand in Den Haag- it was amazing. They had beds all along the beach that you can rent for the day. I can't wait to come back here next summer when it is warm.
For lunch we ate at a restaurant along the beach, which they call 'a bar'. I ordered a 'tosti' which is Holland's version of a grilled cheese sandwich, but much more gourmet.
We then went to Madurodam- an interactive miniature park of Holland- very cute!
After that I went for a walk in my neighbourhood compound to become familliar with the area. I brought along my camera and took a lot of pictures- everything is just so surreal. Everything is just slightly different from Canada- the biggest difference is the lack of property people have. Even my own dutch house does not have a yard. I was uncertain what the rules of the road were here, so I walked along the bike path hoping that was allowed- I later found out it was.
Back at the house Corry made a delicious chicken dinner and apple pie for dessert. Great day!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

And the Adventure Begins!

Day 2: September 15, 2012
I arrived in Amsterdam at 7:00am. Corry (host mom) and the children were supposed to pick me up at the airport, but they were all sick the night before. Bart (host dad) picked me up and we drove to Capelle aan den IJssel- about an hour drive. I saw lots of cute little farms and windmills along the way- felt very surreal!
The family had a big breakfast ready for me when I arrived at the house. It was hard to eat anything as it was actually 3:00am in the morning Eastern Standard Time. We walked to the super market and visited a children's festival that was taking place in the neighbourhood compound. I napped for a little bit. I enjoyed a nice pasta dinner with Corry and Bart and went to bed at 10:00pm. Here's a pic of my new home:

The Family

My host dad, Bart, is a lawyer and my host mom, Corry, is a project manager. They have 3 kids:
Liv (age 5) goes to school Monday-Friday full days except for Wednesdays and Fridays. She also has swimming lessons on Saturday. She speaks English perfectly thanks to English lessons in Abu-Dabi and she is a great helper with her younger siblings!
Guusje (almost 3) pronounced Goo-sha in English is still in child care full-time until the end of October (8am-5pm). She is fantastic at doing puzzles and can speak English fairly well. She has gymnastics on Fridays and swimming lessons on Saturday.
And then there is Luca (age 1.5) who is a bundle of energy and loves to climb. You have to watch him like a hawk because he loves getting into everything he isn't supposed to. He is also in child care full-time until the end of October (8am-5pm). He seems to understand me when I speak to him in English. He has gymnastics on Friday mornings.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Preparing for my trip of a lifetime!

Day 1: September 14, 2012
Had a sad goodbye with Curtis then I started packing at 7:00am. I was allowed two suitcases with a combined total of 70 pounds. Curtis stopped by the house again for another goodbye and a bowl of Raisin Bran. I also stopped by the neighbour's house (Bob and Marilyn) to say goodbye to them. Dad came over and brought me chargers for Europe.
Mom left work at noon to drive me to the airport. Dad insisted we were going to be late, and it was pouring rain the entire drive making it difficult to drive faster. Dad surprised me by being at the airport as well. Went for a final Tim Hortons break and off I went to Holland! My flight left at 5:40pm.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quarter-Life Crisis

It was March 5, 2012, and my 25th birthday. The first birthday I felt old and unhappy- I was in Hawaii with my mom, and it seemed like everyone else was more excited that it was my birthday then I was. I was not at a place in my life where I thought I would be at this age. I was still in Edmonton, afraid I'd be trapped there forever. Even though I loved the province of Alberta, it's not where I wanted to settle down, and I felt there was more of the world to explore.

I started researching online for opportunities to live and work overseas. I found opportunities to teach English in South korea, but I didn't know if I could do that for an entire year because of the extreme difference in culture. I continued researching and found an agency called Travel Active. They connected me with a Canadian agency called Scotia Personnel (located in Nova Scotia). They gave me a call and told me about some opportunities I could consider. What stood out to me the most was to au pair in Holland! Something about that seemed right, and I continued to research the Netherlands.

Everything fell into place so smoothly. It was a lot of paperwork, but everything eventually came together. I didn't want to move until September so that I could enjoy one last summer in Ontario before I crossed the seas. I was matched with the exact family I was hoping for. We began emailing regularly, and had a chance to talk on skype.

On August 15, I drove my car to Ontario with my dad, and spent an entire month there saying goodbye to everyone one last time and enjoying the beach! Fortunately (and unfortunately!) I also met the love of my life! Curtis Walt, it was love at first sight for both of us, and we began an exciting romance immediately, spending every spare second together before I had to leave.