Wow! It’s hard to believe that today marks 1 year since we said goodbye to Boston, packed our bags and shipped off to start a new adventure in the Netherlands. In some ways this year has gone by so fast, yet in reflection, we have experienced so many new things – navigating a new (and at times confusing) culture, making new friends and colleagues, exploring European cities and countries, etc.
Though challenging at times to navigate life as expats, we’ve been able to make our place in Eindhoven feel like home. At the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy, I’ve realized that this is largely because home for me is wherever Bill and I are together. So as we embark on our next chapter, moving to Amsterdam at the end of April, I know that although new challenges and adventures lie ahead, home is where we make it.
Highlights from my first year abroad_
Champagne tasting in the Champagne region of France
In early May, we took advantage of Dutch holidays, rented a car and drove 4 hours to Reims, France. We enjoyed a champagne tasting in both small, family-owned and also large, well-known Champagne Houses, toured the several kilometers of cellars and drank a lot of bubbly.
Celebrating 1st wedding anniversary in Italy
We celebrated 1 year of marriage with several days in Venice and on our actual anniversary, went on a guided wine tasting in the Valpolicella wine region. Are you sensing a theme (wine/champagne tasting)? I’m just reporting my highlights in chronological order, but we do enjoy going on a wine or food tour in the cities that we visit. We always have a local tour guide and get a lot of facts and tips about the place we are exploring while also enjoying other cultural benefits (wine & food)!
Filming an Adidas running commercial
Probably my most random highlight, but it was an experience. You can read more about it here.
Accomplishing running goals
I joined a running team in Eindhoven and set some new goals and challenges for myself to increase my speed and run the Eindhoven half marathon. Joining the running team was a great way to make some Dutch friends and explore new parts of my new city during our trainings.
Working out with my fitness IDOL
Fan girl. I’m not ashamed to say it. I love ShaunT and Insanity and the day I got to meet him, in a park, in Amsterdam, and work out with him and his husband was the absolute best. He has such a positive energy, was incredibly motivating, super nice and he smelled pretty great, too 😉
Drinking rosé all day on the beach in Nice
Nice was a completely different France than we had been exposed to previously. The people were generally friendlier, perhaps due to the beach, water and relaxed atmosphere. The food and drinks were tasty, and while I still can’t quite get used to a pebble beach and prefer soft, silky sand, I can definitely get used to the Mediterranean, especially while bathing in the sun, sipping on rosé and eating fresh pastries from a local patisserie.
Boat day in Croatia
Pretty much everything about Croatia was amazing. But the day we rented a boat in Dubrovnik, cruised the Adriatic Sea, drank Rakija while swimming in a cave, jammed out to tunes and started our epic music video was most definitely one of my favorite days of the year. It helped that our best buds came along for the adventure!
Visits from friends and family
We spent several weekends with visitors over the year in my favorite city, and soon-to-be new home, Amsterdam. I loved sharing this city with my favorite people. With our move to Amsterdam quickly approaching, I expect a lot more visitors. Have you booked your trip yet?
Of course I could keep going with yearly highlights (Germany, Belgium, Austria) but I wouldn’t want to make you too jealous 😛 I am incredibly grateful for the year that I have had, for the opportunities I have been given, and for the people I have met along the way. I’m ready for the next year.
New city. New challenges. New adventures. New Drinks. New Dreams.