Posted on: November 1, 2020 Posted by: Soreh Milchtein Comments: 21
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Moving to and living in the Netherlands has been challenging for me. I’m not gonna lie. I’ve spent plenty of days crying and almost buying a plane ticket back to the US. The first year was the worst. This year, my second year has been much better. I’ve made friends and gotten into the groove of things. I’ve even picked up a bunch of good habits. I don’t think I ever would have been able to implement these with the crazy work schedule in NYC.

1. Cooking at home

When I lived in NY, I was the worst at making meals at home. I probably ate like 90% of my meals out. Like I’d eat a snack at home, buy a bagel for lunch, and then go out to a restaurant for dinner. I still can’t believe I spent so much money on eating out. Now, I make a lot of my meals at home. My boyfriend and I normally eat out/order take out only once a week.

Simple home cooked dinner: boiled broccoli, tomato corn salad and barbecued steak.

2. Buying Super Fresh Produce

I’ve always liked the smell of super fresh produce. My family and I went a lot as a kid to farmers’ markets. So I’m trying to get back into it. I love the fresh Dutch strawberries that they sell here. The taste is incomparable to the ones sold at the grocery store. They are so juicy and delicious.

Fresh pumpkins from the farm.

3. Spending Smartly

I used to spend hundreds of dollars a year on coffee. Buying a latte or just a coffee at Starbucks or the coffee card near my office. I invested in a good coffee machine. It cost around $250 or something, but it’ll make me coffee for years. I spend maybe $30 total now on getting coffee out a year. 

Invested in a nice coffee machine.

You wouldn’t believe how much money I spent on Uber per year living in NYC. We don’t have Uber in Roosendaal, the city where I live in the Netherlands. I had to find another mode of transport. For the Dutch, that’s a bicycle.

4. Biking Everywhere

Speaking of biking, I’ve become truly Dutch. My bicycle is my main mode of transportation. It’s a healthy and easy way of getting around. Not to mention, it’s great for the environment. 

Just a girl and her bike.

5. Saying No if I Don’t Feel Like Saying Yes

I’ve learned to put my foot down and say no. I used to feel so pressured to always hang out with everyone who asked, even if I didn’t like them. I don’t do that anymore. I try to invest my time in people that I like and with who I can build long-lasting relationships.

6. Buying in Bulk When There’s a Sale

Buying in bulk? What is that? I was so bad at this because I was always worried about spending a lot of money at the same time. But now I do this all the time. Buying in bulk can often save you so much money. Why wouldn’t you do this? Recently the tuna was super cheap at the grocery store, so I bought a bunch instead of just buying the usual one or two cans.

The tuna that was on sale.

7. Not Feeling Pressured to Work 24/7

I love the Dutch work culture. You work your hours and then go home. Whatever you didn’t finish can be done tomorrow. They take proper vacations and cherish their time. I strongly dislike that in the US people are always working a few jobs at the same time. Many people aren’t satisfied and always want more money. The Dutch are completely the opposite. It’s so refreshing. 

Taking a break to enjoy every last drop of this delicious latte.

8. Trying Not to Judge

Coming from a very judgmental country, I’m learning to respect everyone as equals. Just because you clean or pick up trash for a living, it doesn’t make you less of a person. At the end of the day, we are all human and should act like it. Just because you have a different opinion than your colleague or family member, it doesn’t mean you have to cut all contact. 

9. Buying Off Brand Food Items

I’m a Hellman’s mayo, Heinz ketchup, and Skippy peanut butter kind of girl. Let’s be honest, those brands are expensive for no reason. There are plenty of less expensive alternatives that are just as good. I almost never buy the name brand foods anymore.

Follow my adventures and say hello to me on my Instagram scribble_a_dream.

What good habits have you picked up recently?


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21 People reacted on this

  1. I agree.moving to another country is hard but you are doing a great job of emersion. How well.do you speak the language, I took lessons and practiced everywhere. A Duchie will always be happy to help and correct you. Also I traveled the country by bus and train. I lived in AZ when I moved to NL so it seemed so small and nothing to travel so I spent every free day which for me was most days on a bus and train seeing the country and meeting people. It was the best 4 years of my young adult life.

    1. Wow, seems like you traveled the whole country. I’m still working on seeing all of it. I speak okay Dutch, A2 level. Actually, a lot of Dutch people respond to me in English when I speak Dutch. Apparently, I have a strong accent haha. Nice of them though.

    2. Hi! We are from AZ. Are you still living in Holland? What part of AZ?
      We love it here too, but I’m not gonna lie. It is an adjustment. Just trying to figure out where to shop for the various things I am trying to find can be frustrating as well as figuring out the bus system instead of just jumping in my car when I want.
      I would love to meet some more Americans! I love the Dutch and am making friends, but the language barrier and culture differences make it a bit more challenging.

  2. Soreh I love this. am glad you are living a good life in Hollamd. I have often wondered about what it would be like,

  3. Love that little country. I was married to a villager 50 years Yearly Holland was a destination to family and a less complex. Life style. I never had difficulty A great joy to be in Holland. Except for Paling wiggle on my plate. Hehehehe

  4. You’re doing awesome! I live in The Hague from Florida in the US. I absolutely love it here. I get around by walking and public transportation. Not gonna do the biking thing as my Dutch husband agrees I am way to accident prone. I still don’t know the language well enough to carry on a conversation and I’ve been here 9 years. It seems to work out ok for me though as most people here speak pretty good English. But everything else you mentioned is right on point! Love Nederland strawberries. Nothing anywhere else compares!

  5. It was nice reading your dutch living experience away from the judgemental noisy,busy NYC.
    True all what you penned but please know you can learn dutch at the bibliotheek Eindhoven for free to start with ,but not sure now due to Covid if lessons are on .Taal cafe at eindhoven library.
    Every thursday 10:30 to 12:00 at De Witte Dame and De witte dam every thursday 10:00-11:30 at Waalre.I need motivation to bike yet .

  6. I completely agree about biking everywhere! It was such a huge adjustment for me because I lived in Florida, where there are no bike paths and you will probably die of heat stroke if you do decide to bike somewhere.

    I absolutely love the strawberries from the farmer’s markets as well. So incredible!!!

  7. I come from a similar culture: judgemental, crazy working hours, life was all about making money. I’ve moved to the Netherlands for 4 years. Since living here, I’ve picked up a few hobbies: embroidery and playing piano. It was impossible when I just worked and worked in my country. So I absolutely love the work-life balance culture and the surrounding nature. I live in Hilversum and it’s surrounded by natural reserves. People are more open-minded and relaxed than where I came from (Vietnam). Thanks for sharing your experience.

  8. Loved reading your perspective on living in the Netherlands. I plan on moving there from the U.S. in late summer/early fall 2022. I fell in love with the country, the lifestyle, the people and the attitudes towards religion, work, family, and everything else!

  9. First of all LOVE your smile in that top picture.
    Secondly, hate to break it to you, but you are on your way to becoming Dutch. #6,7, and 9 are giving you away. Your first year here may have been hard, but you are getting there.
    You may even experience a backward cultureshock when visiting the US the next time.

    How have you been experiencing/handling our Dutch directness.? That’s another example people from abroad mention often

    Anyway, love reading about you experiencing Dutch life.

  10. ….oooh and # 3 and 4 ofcourse. Dutch = biking and coffee.

    We are a coffee minded country. Buying a good coffeemachine that serves fresh coffee is a wise investment. Starbucks is expensive and many don’t consider that coffee, rather water that has run by coffee. I like starbucks and our Dutch equivalent: Douwe Egberts DE. But making a fresh one myself is the best and cheapest way to a lovely cup a coffee.
    My favorite is a cappucino. What’s yours?

  11. I was born in Roosendaal. If you go to the market there is a hair dresser business (near het raadhuis) where my mother had a millinery store. It was called Maison Antheunis. We were back for a visit 3 years ago. Still have an aunt and cousins who live there. We now live in Canada in the Ottawa Valley.

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