Do you ever go online and look at houses? Or do a drive by through a neighborhood that you really like? Maybe we’re just strange that way but it’s something we totally do. Especially when we are on vacation. On our trip to Portugal this spring, we actually got as far as googling international schools in the area. It’s all about fantasizing about a different life. Not necessarily better, just different.
So it wasn’t anything odd that I was doing just this when Josh and I were both in the US at the end of August (yes, I’ve been waiting months to talk about this!). We were just chilling out and I was just playing around online. I was looking on Realtor.com for houses in MA, idealista.com for apartments in Barcelona and on Funda.com for houses in the Netherlands. Every now and again I’d shoot one over to Josh and go “oh, what do you think of this one?? Wouldn’t that be amazing if we moved back to MA??” I sent a few over that were in our general area in the Netherlands too – an area we hadn’t planned on living in but would be much, much more convenient for us.
What surprised me though was when Josh saw the last one I sent to him on August 28 (the day after we returned from the States as we lazed around on the couch fighting the jetlag) and replied back with “Make an appointment to see that one.” What the what???? Seriously? You are joking right? Are we really doing this? Here we were talking about possibly moving back to the States or possibly back to Spain and now suddenly we are in talks about staying in the Netherlands indefinitely?? Well, that was a complete 180!
This wasn’t in the “game plan”. This wasn’t something we had even considered really. We knew that the way mortgages worked here that we could actually pay less in a mortgage than we currently pay in rent. And there aren’t many rentals available here so we weren’t sure what would happen at the end of this school year if we had decided to stay. But we had figured we missed the window on that since we’d already been here 2 years and weren’t going to stay for that many more. But if I’ve learned anything on this expat journey it’s that nothing you plan actually ends up happening but instead something else new and exciting often happens in it’s place.
I made the appointment for that Tuesday and brought Aidan along with me. Aidan’s not a big fan of change and just coming off 5 week trip to the US, he definitely wasn’t a fan of being in the Netherlands. And yet, he said to me as we left the house – “we need to buy that house.” That said it all to me.
I loved the house. It was 95% move in ready. Josh loved it just from viewing it online. I asked if I could come back with Josh later in the week and we arranged a visit on Friday. He, too, loved it. Are we really doing this?????
The house is on the water and had the option of purchasing their small boat along with the house. While we had a description of the boat, you couldn’t really put in an offer without having test driven it. So back we went again for the third time in a week. Thankfully the owners were so beyond nice, like future BFF kind of nice.
I’ve got another post going about the process of buying a house here in the Netherlands, so I won’t bore you with the details here. But know that we are super excited about this new adventure we are about to embark on. We are living in the now and trying to embrace our time here, give our children some much needed stability (as well as ourselves) and it will be nice after 7 years of renting to finally be able to hang a few frames on the walls 😉
I’m excited the most for Aidan. He’s been ready for some freedom and independence for quite some time but hasn’t had access to it based on our location. Even though we are only a 10 minute drive from school, it’s 10 mins by highway mostly and it’s a 40 min bike ride for him to school and then beyond that to see most of his friends who live on just the other side of school (mostly). He’s now going to be between a 4 and 15 min bike ride from the majority of his friends. He’ll be able to bike to school, being able to control his schedule instead of waiting on me (like on Wednesdays when he finishes around 2 but I can’t pick him up til 4 because Liam has swimming at 3) and getting to hang out with his friends without having to organize with me. While I’m sad to say goodbye to my little boy, I’m thrilled for my young man to have this opportunity and I think it’s going to be sooooo good for him!
I’m also excited to spend much less time in my car. With Aidan having a different schedule than Liam for not just school but activities, I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the car, sometimes shuttling to school 3 times in a day. The traffic here rivals Boston and my 10-15 minute commute (each child is in a different school about 5 mins drive apart) to school is often 45 mins or more to get home after dropping them off. Aidan will be on his own and I’ll only need to worry about Liam – maybe we’ll even bike (maybe in the spring as we’ll move in January and I’m not sure I’m so hot on doing it then!).
Josh is excited for the boat (which Aidan has dubbed the Make Out Boat…WTF?????) and living on the water. He’s also excited to make something ours. This surprised me because he’s not usually into material things and claimed he didn’t want to own a house again. That’s how much he loved it and how excited he is for it. His commute will be more or less the same give or take about 5 mins. I think it’s a few minutes less by bike but a few more on the train.
And Liam is the typical go with the flow kid and is just happy that we can make a Dr. Who room for him 😉 I’ve now got to research Tardis wall decals!
All in all we are super thrilled for this opportunity to live for the now but also settle down for at least a few years. I know that our family at home is a little saddened that this means we won’t be coming home at the end of this school year, but I’m sure they are also tired of hearing the promises year after year and are happy to see that at least we’ve made some kind of decision.
The pictures below are from the real estate website since we obviously haven’t moved in, we’ll post more with our updates once we are in the house. We are closing at the end of December and hopefully will be in our new house by the end of January once we’ve made a few updates.
We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the purchase since the process is a bit different than the US, the adventures of our move (yet another one, right?) and getting settled in our new place. And most of all, we hope our friends and family will come visit!!
Knuffels en kussen,