Tiptoe Through the Tulips with Jennifer

Jennifer is yet another IWCU member as well as a fellow American living in the Netherlands. Different from past interviewees, Jennifer and her husband moved here for the sole purpose of giving life abroad a go! Jennifer doesn’t have a website, but can be reached via email at bb5210.jennifer@gmail.com.

How long have you been living in the Netherlands and what brought you here?
I have been living here a little over 2 years, and came here because my husband and I wanted to try living abroad in Europe. My husband introduced me to the Netherlands (early-dating travels) so we decided to seize a job offer presented to my husband. My joke (overused) is that we came here for the kaas natuurlijk!

Do you plan to stay in the Netherlands, move back to your home country, or try somewhere else?
We have had a real struggle with deciding whether to stay or return to our home country. At this point, we are here for now but it changes like the wind despite trying to convince ourselves to stick with a decision. It has been by far the biggest challenge for our relationship.

What do you do during the day (job, stay at home mom, entrepreneur, student, etc)?
I work part-time, otherwise I am home with my daughter on my ouderschapverlof days. I was able to find a job with an international company that allowed me to stay in my general field but did not require Dutch fluency.

What’s the most notable difference between your home country and the Netherlands?
Better use of tax payer money – you truly see the worth of what your money goes towards.

Where is your favorite place to visit in the Netherlands?
Ahh, this will sound silly as I live there, but I would have to say Utrecht – I really love the cities a bit more than the country or sea-side towns.

Give us one thing you love about the Netherlands and one thing you loathe…
Love the bikes/bike system; hate the lack of customer service.

What’s one thing you’ve had to adjust to since coming to the Netherlands and how did you adjust (or are you still working on it)?
I guess the language is the biggest ‘adjustment’ – but I don’t think that is the question. So, I guess the eating habits/food. I think I have definitely succumbed to the Dutch diet in many ways, and continue to grow ‘soft’ on certain things. But I am not sure I would ever want to give up some of my habits/choices that I grew up with. For example, I eat my pannenkoeken for breakfast, not dinner! And don’t get me started on the fillings…

Do you have an embarrassing moment since you’ve moved that you would like to share with us (an unfortunate language blunder, or a funny getting-back-on-the-bike story)?
Not particularly – I make language mistakes all the time. I guess something embarrassing is that some Dutch names are so obscure to me I assign a gender to them which is often the opposite of the truth. For example, I thought Joke was a guy’s name and told the HR person I was so surprised that she was a woman! She wasn’t as amused…

What’s the best piece of advice you received that you would like to pass along to anyone coming to the Netherlands?
Have fun, and the language will come. Also, it is not assimilation that is necessary… but acculturation. In this way, you don’t feel you need to give up yourself, but instead embrace and learn more about a culture.

Do you have any blogs or websites that you would like to recommend?
I like http://www.weeronline.nl (very handy in this country!). I work in nutrition, and have found voedingscentrum.nl to be handy and there is a fair amount of info in English.


Images courtesy of Jennifer

Interested in doing an interview of your own? Send me an email at clogsandtulipsblog@gmail.com with ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips’ in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

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4 Replies to “Tiptoe Through the Tulips with Jennifer”

  1. The "Joke" mistake is funny.

    Could you share with me the manufacturer of the bike with child seat you're using (in the photo)?

  2. @Laane – Thanks for that! It looks like my Dutch spelling is just as atrocious as my English spelling 🙂 I will go through and correct it when I put a new word of the week up (hopefully spelled correctly).

  3. I very much like the "most notable difference" question, and hope to turn it into a journal/discussion prompt. Great interview. Peace and all good things for you in your work and in life. Sincerely ~ Diane

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