2019, where have you gone?

I cannot believe it is seriously almost June already?!?! I recently received this message, which reminded me that I’ve been neglecting blogging. It made me laugh but it was a reality check that it has literally been months since I put my preverbal pen to paper and a month later I’m taking action on the message. Screen Shot 2019-05-26 at 20.15.41

2019 and I have really haven’t gotten on. Last year, I knew coming into the year, that it was going to be a busy and challenging year, it has not disappointed in either area.  I literally am unable to tell you where the first half of the year has gone.

I’ve previously been told that expats find medical care in the Netherlands to a lower standard than they are previously use to. Unfortunately I started the year sick, I came back from Eastern Europe with what turned out to be a inner ear infection and strep throat. Frustratingly, this turned out to be a 13 week struggle to get antibiotics. For many years within Europe, antibiotics use lowest in the Netherlands and Dutch doctors prescribe the least antibiotics, which is a fantastic statistic that the country regularly likes to quote. However, when it comes to being sick, its incredibly frustrating not be able to get antibiotics when you know they serve a purpose and make you healthy again. My Dutch colleagues gave me the advice ‘to add another 2 weeks on to the length of time you’ve been ill, to ensure the doctor takes you seriously.’ I think any time its a national tip that you lie to your doctor to be taken seriously, there is a much bigger problem at the core of the system. The Dutch Doctors approach is to tell patients to take Paracetamol, for everything. Do you have pain? Take paracetamol. Do you feel bad? Take Paracetamol. Do you need an amputation? Take Paracetamol. This is a pain killer that I now loathe. At the peak of my sickness, I was taking dangerous amounts (without realising), however, I am still somewhere between laughing and being highly sarcastic, so clearly no damage was done at the time. However, what I did discover was that the paracetamol was actually covering/hiding my symptoms, meaning that the doctor didn’t feel it necessary to prescribe antibiotics at the time. The paracetamol worked in a way that I would feel bad for 3-5 days and then I’d feel better 2-4 days and so it carried on for weeks (12 before I could antibiotics). Essentially the first 3 months of the year were spent feeling like a death and wondering why in a first world country,  why sick people are made to suffer when an immediate health care solution is available. I summarised from this 3 months that Dutch doctors like to see people suffer – whilst this is an exaggeration and I’m sure not true for some Dutch doctors, it was a truly horrific experience for me that has put me off Dutch healthcare. I did get some antibiotics from my doctor at the 12 week mark, unfortunately they didn’t fully remedy my issues and I resorted to getting antibiotics from another source, which I think is utterly ridiculous. However, I was no longer prepared to suffer, continue to be ill or fight with my doctor for further medication.

Adulting, I’m doing a lot of it this year! After having turned 36 in February, Im officially on the wrong the side of 35 and the next stop is 40! For the last four years, I ran a very small charity working with vulnerable individuals in eastern Europe. At the beginning of this year, my fellow trustees and I am made the difficult decision to close the charity. This a hard decision but the right one. Its taken a few months to wind down the charity, complete all the paperwork and do the necessary things to close a registered charity. I’ve had an offer through my contacts to work with their organisation and I’m seriously considering it. I think I need a break first and to buy a house and be settled but I cant imagine not being involved in charity work, in one avenue or another.

I am currently in the process buying  property in the Netherlands. After 2 years of renting in Amstelveen, I’ve realised that I am a suburbanite through and through, I like of love suburbia. I equally love being close to the city but I adore the peace and quiet that you get from not being in the city. My cats need a garden and on nice days I want to sit in and ideally hear next to nothing, which doesn’t happen in the city. Its highly likely I will end up in Utrecht but I am looking at properties and areas within a short commute to Amsterdam. This has really been an interesting experience so far. Ive been stressed out, ready to pull my hair out and wondering why no customer service exists in this country. I completely understand why people say that purchasing a home is one of the most stressful events of your life.

 

2019 has so far has been crazy for me. I sadly dont see this changing for the next few months. Im hoping that the last quarter of the year is quiet or that 2020 will be ear marked for an utterly boring, quiet and uneventful year!

Boxes and stress = moving house

Moving house and moving country is exciting but its also very stressful. Im currently breaking out like convicts on mothers day, just to add insult to injury.

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Last weekend was spent at the new house in the Netherlands, putting together beds and organising/putting away the first delivery of goods. New mode of transportation was bought, Im officially now on two wheels! If Im not a size six by Christmas, there is something medically wrong with me. The irony being that I really hate cyclists and now Im a proper dodgy one.  If you’re going to live in the Netherlands, then you need to ride and have several bikes! Ive now started the process of pimping my bike. 3 beds were put together, 2 bikes were bought, and a mountain of cardboard was created.

This week is my official move week, I have the 7am flight on the 17th of August, which is also the same day the cats will cats will arrive in the Netherlands.

The living room has been turned into a literal box room, with boxes taking over the entirety of the room.  The kittens have enjoyed what can only be called a the cardboard box jungle gym that has now been provided to them.  20170812_113934

 

The kitchen cabinets are slowly yet quickly being emptied! Which does make me wonder what and how Im eating over the new few days!
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I traditionally put everything off until the last minute, as I then have no time left to procrastinate. Ive tried to be prepared for this move but Im still putting off a few things until the last minute, as nothing quite motivates me like having literally no time at all.

Ive been waking up every morning at 4:30 for the last two weeks with my brain on go, go, go, thinking of all the things I need to do.  This is frustrating and earns me lots of nasty looks from the cats, as its simply too early for them.

Im still as convinced as ever that the move is the right thing. Brexit has changed the UK and not for the better, is no longer a country that I recognise.

I think its easy to get excited about moving and having a new life but you cannot forget all the hard work, long hours, and stress that goes into the actual move.