The Importance of Integration and Why My Dutch Friends Rock

According to the International Community Platform, there are around 500,000 internationals living and working in the Netherlands; and according to World Meters and World Population Overview, the total population (live estimate) is of 17,105,348. In my opinion, it is here where you ask yourself: In which perimeter would I like living on?

Before moving to the Netherlands, it was clear to me and my darling that I wanted all the way in: take a job where Dutch was required and work towards integration. I didn't want to miss out on life, or so that was and is my view. Has it been easy? Absolutely not. I have ridiculed myself on limitless occasions thanks to my broken Dutch. Has it been fun? I must say it usually has! It is a balance between forgiving myself and not taking words or situations too personal.

My advice for a successful integration is to get out of your comfort zone. It doesn't matter which country you come from, it is important that you invest time learning from others.…

Living In The Netherlands: Renovating Your Home Stairs

Is renovating your stairs a kind of couples' therapy session? Back in Mexico, you would look for someone wise (and hopefully not too expensive) to discuss how you can be closer to your partner and to learn some strategies in order to solve conflicts together. In the Netherlands? Just renovate your home and you will find enough time together which will definitely allow you to solve problems with patience and many trips to Praxis!
Now, let us get back to business. What previous knowledge did I have on renovating? Well, I knew what I had seen in Mexico. If you need some work done at home, you: 1. Ask around for some recommendations. 2. Call a few people picked out from the long list you'd put together. 3. Choose one to do the project. 4. Pay for it. 5. Sit down and wait till it is done. 

In the Netherlands, if you need to renovate your home, and it is not a big project: 1. Ask around for some recommendations. 2. Call the names you got (probably two or three). 3. Find out that it wi…

Learning Dutch through movies: What I learned from Weg van Jou

If you are one of those who complains about Dutch music and movies, this post is probably not for you. Why? Because I am about to tell you why watching movies is one of the best ways to learn Dutch and get a glimpse of the beauty found in Dutch culture. 

Let us begin with some info about the movie: It is a comedy-romance story. It was released in 2017 and the main actress is Katja Herbers (She also appears in the TV series Westworld!). Oh! You can watch it on Netflix with Dutch subtitles. How neat is that?!

Now, let's get to the exciting part! What have I learned from the movie?

Number One: Vocabulary
I watched the movie twice. The first one I played without stopping. The second time, I paused everytime I wanted to understand something specific from the subtitles. I will share with you my some of my favorite discoveries:

een slokje - a sipis wel tof - wat enig - wat leuktoe maar - go aheadlaat maar - never mindwedden - betdoop - baptismIk was echt een ramp. - I was really a…

The Importance of Laughter in One's Life

Back in 2015 and during the two weeks I traveled with my darling to better get to know each other, I cried almost every day: out of laughter! Today, 1178 days after, it is still one of the reasons why I fall for him every time he says something funny. Who could resist him? Definitely, not me.
     Now, let's approach this issue seriously: Which role does laughter play in our lives? Should it be important? Does it lead us to more fulfilling lives, happier and healthier? We will all probably agree with most of these benefits, but if we classify them in two, I would say one must laugh with others and at oneself. A JA JA! Here is where I trip over and over. It is difficult to laugh at myself: Sometimes I can't laugh about something and I get all worked out. Good news is I am learning to just let things go. My sweetheart is the best example and a patient teacher!
     Having said this, I leave you with one of my favorite poems by Neruda. It is called Your Laughter*. Enjoy!

Quítame …

Magic and lessons from a photographer in the Netherlands: Agnieszka Błachnio, Miss Butterfly

It was a sunny, September morning. I was sitting at her kitchen table, having coffee and observing every little detail around us: golden rimmed yellow cups, a crystal butterfly on the fridge handle, a luscious hanging plant above our sitting places, one of her cats by the window. Miss Butterfly had breakfast ready: butter in a tiny butter cup, wild berries jam, Amsterdam cheese, and an assorted selection of bread. As I took in the sweetness of the room, she got down to business and began preparing my cappuccino using both of her coffee machines: She favors one for making the coffee and the other for foaming the milk. The later has been with her since her days in Poland. I wonder if keeping it is not about the foam but about holding on to her once upon a time... 

     Our conversation is far from superficial. It's as we had known each other from before. Miss Butterfly, my Agnes, is a photographer, a mom and wife, a woman. A Polish woman. I ask why there weren't family portr…

My Baby Is Starting To Walk: ARTSY Language Studio

37 days ago was my last day at PostNL. I do miss my colleagues every day. I have been lucky enough to sometimes see Cindy or Loes. I know I have to get all of us together every now and then. I will work on that pretty soon. On the other hand, since I stopped being a postbezorger, a whole new world of opportunities has open. All beautiful. Let's see...

New Office Space

I had been wanting a space of my own in our home. My darling is not keen of changes, so I knew it would be a challenging negotiation. When I said Interior Designer Ayşe İçaçan would be in charge, he could only agree. And guess what?! She did a superb job in such a sweet and beautiful way! She was able to create a little magical world for me. Ayse combined my personality, the purpose of the office, and the colors of the logo. She considered every little detail: the students had to be comfortable and able to concentrate, the atmosphere should be modern and fresh, and I would find it inspiring for preparing my lessons. Th…

My Fight with Loneliness

My sister is 8259.17 km from me or I from her.It depends who you ask, doesn't it?  I have been missing her. A lot. Especially when she sent me the photo of her new tattoo: Two stars. One purple, one blue. Our favorite colors. The tattoo represents us, blood sisters. How far I felt! Sometimes, how lonely! And then, I remembered one of her posts on social media:

Obviously, the message of this phrase will depend on what you want it to mean to you. As the teacher in me, I would think of it as this: If you really want ______________ , you will __________________________ . If you don't, you will find an excuse.
Here, the homework begins: What does one really want? What is the point in all we do? Anyway, to make the long story short, I decided to focus on the element that has me struggling at the present: Loneliness. First, one must define it in order to understand it: "Loneliness creates a deep psychological wound, one that distorts our perceptions and scrambles our thinking. It mak…