Christmas Tree Fail

Today we went to get our Christmas tree.  We went to Intratuin – a gardening center in Almere – that we know sells trees before the 5th of December.  Most Dutch don’t buy their tree this early because they first celebrate Sinterklaas and then after he leaves, they then focus on Christmas.  Last year we got a lot of chuckles from people regarding how “early” we’d bought our tree. Meanwhile, it’s an American tradition to buy right after Thanksgiving. Ahhhh different cultures…always something! Continue reading

Getting a Car in the Netherlands

Getting a car here has been a project.  Thankfully it’s a project that was assigned to Josh 🙂  Knowing that we were going to be living in the suburbs, a car is essential for us here.  Unlike in the US though, we will only need one car, like we had in Barcelona.  However, we managed without a car in Barcelona for 3 years something that just isn’t feasible here based on our location.

When we leased a car in Barcelona it wasn’t all that difficult.  A friend of mine went with me to do the translations.  We found that private leasing wasn’t very common in Spain which limited our choices. This is not Continue reading

Managing the Unexpected

Anyone who has ever lived abroad will agree that there is always something challenging, some times on a daily basis.  It’s not to say that things at home aren’t challenging too, just differently so.   The unexpected can come in all different forms – medical emergencies, stolen wallets, towed cars… and car accidents.  Take my car accident in France 2 weeks ago.  It wasn’t just the accident that had me freaked, it was that here I am in France, I don’t speak French and I have no idea what the process is for European insurance.

Paying the Price for Technology

Do you remember the song “I can’t drive 55”?  Well, I knew it would happen sooner or later.  Driving in the city on a regular basis is just not the same as driving on the highway – you can’t stretch your “legs” quite the same but every now and again an opportunity comes along and you can put the pedal to the metal just a little bit.  Though perhaps it happened in the wrong location… where there was a radar device. Continue reading

The Rules of the Road

While I’m sure there are plenty of worse things that can happen, for today, there was nothing worse than coming out of my parent/teacher conferences to find that my car was no longer where I parked it.  It actually took me a minute to even realize it wasn’t there.  I actually crossed the street over to another campus building, passing by the side of the street where my car was (no longer) parked and didn’t make the connection that there was Continue reading

Driving Exam 1.5

I can’t really call it driving exam 2.0 because the first time I just showed up and nothing happened.  But yet this was still my second attempt today.  The day started off great – picked up my turkeys for our belated Thanksgiving this coming Saturday and then picked up my CAR (yes, my CAR – felt I needed to say it twice).  So far so good. Continue reading

Freedom!! My New Car (Still No License)!!

The last few weeks have been crazy between travel, work, kids and trying to buy our new car.  Last I updated, I had two options for my new car – a 2012 Golf and a 2013 Golf.  The 2013 was 10 euros more expensive per month and had less bells and whistles than the 2012.  I was waiting to hear back on if the car was still on hold or if I was going to have no choice but to go with the 2013. Continue reading

Almost There… License (and Car) Update

So on October 16, I took the theoretical exam again for my drivers license.  Seriously, I debated it.  If I hadn’t already forked over several hundred euros I was just going to call it a day.  My driving instructor had told me that you don’t need a Spanish license to drive or insure a car here, but if you get caught you could get in trouble.  I was thinking I was willing to take that chance rather than have to continue with this painful process.  But the goodie two-shoes in me decided that I have to do things the “right” way.  And so I took the exam again… and passed. Continue reading

Drivers License Update… Pass or Fail??

Ahhh Spain…. this whole drivers license thing is killing me, painfully and slowly killing me.  What made me decide that this was a good idea?  Why couldn’t I just go the route of most people and drive illegally?  Am I that much of a goody two shoes that I need to do this by the rules?  I’ve questioned this way too many times in the last few weeks. Continue reading