living abroad

A Foreigner’s Guide to Baking in the Netherlands

Baking in the Netherlands

There are a lot of challenges one must tackle when moving abroad. My life in the Netherlands comes with its own specific set, like trying not to get run over by bicycles, or eating a stroopwafel without half of it ending up in my hair.

Also on the list? Baking.

And no — I’m not talking about getting stoned. (Go on, get all those Dutch marijuana jokes out of your system right now. I’ll wait.)

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My Second Year in the Netherlands

My Second Year in the Netherlands -- Em Dashed

Yes friends, it’s time again for the official, rarely-imitated-so-accordingly-rarely-duplicated annual check-up. Actually, it was time a few weeks ago, but I mean: what is time, really? Think about that for a minute.

Anyway, I moved to the Netherlands back in September of 2014, which means we’ve just celebrated our second anniversary. (Gefeliciteerd, Nederland!) Let’s take a look at how things went this past year.

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Summer 2016 Wrap-Up

Summer Wrap-Up: Netherlands + Minnesota -- Em Dashed

This past “summer” in the Netherlands was pretty much what I’ve come to expect after two years.

It was cold. It was cloudy. It was wet. I grumbled and pouted and questioned nearly every day why I had chosen to live in such a godforsaken place, which I can only assume means I should get my Dutch passport in the mail any day now. (“Je bent één van ons. Veel sterkte.”)

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“Going Home” When You Live Abroad

Going Home When You Live Abroad

When you’ve been living abroad for as long as I have, the idea of “going home” starts to become a bit fuzzy.

Though I use the word frequently — both to refer to my apartment here in Dedemsvaart, and my hometown of Minneapolis — if someone were to straight up ask me what I consider home, I wouldn’t be able to answer. At least, not in the traditional sense.

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Why Travel Has Everything To Do With Your So-Called “Politics”

Why Travel Has Everything To Do With Your So-Called Politics -- Em Dashed

“This friend of mine, we have really different views on a lot of things — but we just don’t talk about politics!” Sound familiar?

Or what about this one? “This is not the place to discuss politics. This is a travel blog/make-up channel/fashion account. I don’t follow you/read your posts to hear about your ~causes~!”

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28 Fun Facts About Dutch Life

Observations on Dutch Life

On Sunday, the first of May, I will turn 28. This will be the second birthday I’ve spent here in the Netherlands, and the sixth that I’ve spent abroad. In what is perhaps an odd personality twist (given how much I like celebrating certain other holidays), I’m not really that into my birthday — aside from using it as an excuse for a night out and/or to eat a tower of bitterballen, anyway.

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The 2016 I Am Expat Fair — Amsterdam

2016 I Am Expat Fair Amsterdam

Though I am rapidly approaching my 28th birthday and can remember to change my sheets on an (almost) weekly basis, there are a few “not a girl, not yet a women”-era traits I find myself clinging to. Holdovers from the university and backpacking years of my late teens and early twenties that I just can’t seem to shake (not that I’m trying all that hard). One of these is a magnetic attraction to anything “free.”

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The Glories of Dutch Junk Food

Dutch Junk Food

I am aware there are many, many things that people Do Not Understand about my home country, the United States. Some of them I can explain (tax rates are different everywhere! that’s why we add the tax at point of sale and don’t include it in listed prices!); some of them I can’t (but that’s a post for another time).

Somewhere in the middle, there are things that I “get,” myself, but can’t seem to articulate to people from other countries. King among these is the American art of terrible, terrible junk food.

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How I Wound Up in the Netherlands

How I Wound Up in the Netherlands

As a foreigner in the Netherlands, I’m asked quite frequently what I think of this country — often by people who don’t seem to like it all that much themselves.

In fact, the question I probably get more than any other is, “Why would you want to live here?” (Usually accompanied by a raised eyebrow and that generally unimpressed tone the Dutch have when they speak in English.)

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My First Year in the Netherlands

Autumn in Dedemsvaart

Despite my best efforts (which, admittedly, were quite pathetic, and generally restricted to “wishing and hoping summer would last forever”), autumn has arrived here in the Netherlands. I am of two minds about it.

On one hand, I have never been a fall person. You know fall people; they’re the ones who start posting about pumpkin spice lattes on August 15th and hold big leaves up for instagram photos. Other than my geeky affinity for school, fall has always represented one thing to me: the imminent onset of winter. Which, in Minnesota, means several months of ice and snow, and around three people per day telling you, “What, this? Nah, it’s gonna get way worse.”

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