We have been home now for one month as of this past week. I originally wanted to give myself a few days to observe our transition and take note, and post in that first week, but then distraction and brain fog took over and, well, I’m finally taking some time to get out my thoughts.
We are less than a week away from returning to the US. We’re knee deep in boxes and half packed suitcases, but I came up for air to give a little glimpse of the last couple of weeks.
We’ve done a LOT of amazing travels with the kids. And we’ve enjoyed the majority of it. But I should be transparent on how some of our travel days go. On all our trips we have many highs and many lows when it comes to family “moments”. The lows are mostly due to long days, and the ever present conflict of adults wanting to see things that kids are less interested in. Or, the food being “different”. Or, the walk too long. Or, there not being any downtime. And, while I try to be patient, I sometimes lose my cool.
We took advantage of a two week long school break to finally see my cousin in Munich and then some friends in Sweden. Here’s part 1 of that vacation.
It has been a while since a Hays family life update. We’re getting so very close to the end of
fries) combined with a smaller city vibe than larger northern cities, loads of good restaurants, and excellent shopping. I really think it is the best place to land! Here’s a few things to know if you plan to move here.
Just last week we picked up the formal cards that show we are officially residents so I felt this was the time to update.
We are Americans living in Maastricht, Netherlands. Back home in the US, October is one of my favorite months. Not only because it is my birthday month, but also because the weather starts cooling down a little, and we get a promise of a few colder weeks ahead after a super long hot summer. Near the end of the month, my boys and I usually gather at my brother’s house with pumpkins to carve; we’ve been doing it since before the boys were born. We show up with a pumpkin per person, some wine, and Chris always has a pot of butternut squash soup on the stove. If we’re being honest here, I come more for the soup than the pumpkin carving (my artistic skills are slim). We typically spend Halloween together as well, letting our collective four boys run amuck, begging friendly neighbors for candy and trying to eat it all when our backs are turned. Often the neighbors on my street also host a pre-trick or treat party on the street with Halloween snacks, drinks, and treats. To me, all of this is the prologue to the holiday season ahead and I truly look forward to it every year.
We have just passed the two month mark here in Maastricht. What have we been up to? We’ve done a good bit of travel as well as a lot of hanging out together in our home here over the last two months. We’ve also started trying to integrate ourselves a bit better into the community. We want to know more people- families at the school as well as Dutch families who are living here. Here’s some of the things we’re doing to put ourselves out there. I should say, it isn’t always easy. It feels a bit vulnerable even. But, I feel like it will matter in the long run when we look back on this experience.
Our final 3 nights were in luxurious Santorini. I felt like we went from the equivalent of Islamorada in the Florida keys to South Beach. From a laid back vibe to high end everything. I’ll admit, getting off the crowded ferry at the port, I questioned our selection of the island. There were so many people, buses, drivers, it was hard to even pick your name out from the sea of name plates being held up.