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What I will miss

Posted on Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 at 11:33 am CET

As we plan to move from the Netherlands to the U.S., I have been thinking about what I will miss the most once we are settled in our new place. Besides our dear family, I am sure I will miss a few other things.

International Travel

The Netherlands is small which means that day trips to other countries are possible. During the time that I have lived here, we have had day trips for shopping in Germany, scuba diving in Belgium, and even sightseeing in France. Once we went to a comic convention in Luxembourg with the intention of staying overnight, but because of local flooding we returned home after visiting a few booths.

We’ve also been able to take international weekend trips to places like the United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, and Italy.

I will also miss easy travel to exotic locations such as the Gambia, Egypt, Tunisia, and Greece. These are all within a 6 hour flight of Amsterdam, and places we have had memorable holidays in the past.

When we live in the U.S., Canada and Mexico will be within reach. I’m sure we will enjoy the regional difference between areas in America and I am looking forward to exploring my home country with Arthur as we have explored Europe these past nine years.

European Cuisine

When I first moved here, I really missed a lot of different foods from America. On those early visits back home, we returned to Holland with luggage stuffed with American food. Today, there are still foods I miss from home, but the stash we bring back has dwindled dramatically over the years. I am now facing the same issue when we return to America – missing Dutch food!

Dutch frites, or French fries, are delicious! You might know that here they are commonly eaten with mayonnaise, which I never really enjoyed. But there are a lot of other sauces to choose from, and I love sate sauce, a spicy warm peanut sauce. I’ll be able to manage with American fries, but I’m really gonna miss that sate sauce! I’m sure a few jars will find their way into my luggage.

Italian food is so simple and flavorful here! It’s most delicious in Italy, of course, but the Italian restaurants here in Leiden serve delicious Italian food with a real Italian flavor, not an Americanized version of Italian that I am used to from the U.S. I’m really going to miss Italian food.

Bread here is totally different that what I was used to in the states. Grocery stores bake their bread fresh every day, and the amount of packaged bread loaves delivered from outside the individual shop is minimal. There are no bread aisles with soft loaves of name-brand bread here; instead, each grocery has a bakery section and that’s where you’ll find the bread. And the bread is delicious! Hard baguettes are my favorite, and I’m really going to miss them.

I wonder if I will be able to find kriek, or Belgian cherry beer, in the states? They carry this at our small local grocery store and while I don’t get it every month, it is nice to be able to pick up a six-pack whenever I want to.

Our local supermarket, Albert Heijn, has an amazing variety of house-brand groceries, many of which are more delicious than the popular name brand full-priced equivalents. I am surely going to miss their vegetarian patties a lot. Their selection of veggie burgers and patties is much larger than what the name brands offer and they are all quite tasty. The simple vegetable burger is my favorite, but they also have patties in Moroccan, Greek and Tuscan style, and they are all different and delicious. I have not seen such a wide selection of similar products in the states, but I hope we can find something that will suit our taste buds.

Daily Life

I know they have made changes to U.S. currency in the last few years, but dollars still aren’t as pretty as Euros. I’m going to miss using this strong, colorful and handy currency where the smallest practical coin is five cents (1c and 2c coins are not in common use) and the smallest bill is five euros. I had fun collecting the different country versions of all of the coins. I will have to play catch-up to get all of the U.S. quarters.

I think the lack of comprehensive public transport is going to be tough to get used to. We don’t want to live in a big city so that means we will probably not have a lot of public transport options like we have here in Holland. Trains service over 380 stations in the Netherlands, and buses run just about everywhere. I feel good about taking the train and Rotterdam metro to work every day. Besides the public transport I am sure I will miss being able to bicycle anywhere and everywhere. I hope we will be able to buy a home in a cycle-friendly community in the U.S.

While I hope we both will be able to work from home, the difference in holidays could be a difficult adjustment if we need to work for employers. Most people that work full-time outside the home here in Holland receive six weeks of paid holiday from their employer. The national holidays here work out to approximately the same amount of days. They are spread out more evenly throughout the year in the U.S., so I am looking forward to that! In the Netherlands, between Whit Monday in the spring and Christmas Day, there are no bank holidays. But with six weeks of paid vacation, who cares, right?

I know there will be a lot of different and wonderful birds wherever we end up, but I will miss seeing some of my favorite European birds: the European Goldfinches and the acrobatic little Blue Tits that visit our garden; the big White Storks that like to hang out on highway light poles; the pairs of Tufted Ducks floating in roadside ponds; the beautiful, brightly-colored male Pheasants that patrol fields and forest edges along with their elusive dully-colored mates.

If you’ve made the move from the Netherlands to the U.S., what have you missed the most?


Apr 24, 2008
8:17 pm
#1 ma wrote:

we now have a colorful 5-dollar bill (little bit, anyway)

Apr 27, 2008
7:58 pm
#2 Shyla wrote:

I think you will be surprised with the variety of new grocery stores in the US. A lot of smaller specialty chains have opened up, and they carry foods from all around the world. In Chicago we have Garden Fresh, and I always end up buying new and interesting food from around the world there.

May 29, 2008
10:49 pm
#3 Petra wrote:

You haven’t tried German food and bread otherwise you wouldn’t have intended to leave Europe. I’m glad we have a Plus in the village as they offer German and Italian brands as well like my favorite Barilla-pasta.
I “knew” Kriek was a typical female beer but I didn’t know a woman who liked it. Last our Belgium friends brought us a lot. Had I known… it ended up in the sink. I am much more into Westmalle, Kwak, and all other browns and doubles. Yammie.
Euro’s? I am still exchanging to Guilders and Deutsch Marks but that may have to do with my age 😉
Public Transport? Maybe ok when living outside Pijnacker!
Cycle friendly communities in USA? Do they exist? Earlier we came back from Leonie’s first performance at school by bike. Rob carrying both girls on the bike. I wouldn’t dare to do so. Something typical Dutch, I admire.
Hey, the white storks? Did you recognize them between Delf and Rotterdam on the highway?

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