The festivities have died down, the firework rubbish has been cleared away (in some places at least), peace has been restored and we’re all ready to tackle whatever 2018 throws at us.
But before you get too comfortable with 2018 there is something you should be aware of in the Netherlands. You may have already noticed since midnight struck on the 1st January that anyone Dutch you come into contact with puckers up as they approach you, armed with a grin whilst joyously wishing you a ‘gelukkig nieuw jaar’ or ‘beste wensen voor 2018’.
The beginning of January means a lots of cheek kissing and hand shaking in the Netherlands. This will continue until you have been through your friend and acquaintance list once. Once February rolls in you are on safe ground again and the kissing stops.
And you can get on with your year.
So what does 2018 hold? For us it will be a stabilising year after the dramatic changes of 2017.
This year personally will be about getting our feet under the table in our new community and making ourselves truly at home. On a work level all the plans that were put on the back burner last year because of the move will be reignited. On a more general level, 2018 will be Brexit heavy and I plan to swap my British passport for a Dutch one. There’s a deep dark place Mrs May can stick her nostalgic blue British passports. I’ll be watching closely what consequences there will be for Brits living in the EU.
I’m hoping 2018 will be the end of renovations on our new house too. The attic is being worked on this month and when that is complete we will have a spare room and a play room and storage space. We can then move into the spare room so that work on the bathroom (the old one) and our bedroom can begin. At some point this year.
In a few weeks time we’ll be attending a pronkzitting – a first experience for both me and my Dutch husband. It’s all carnival related and we’re not quite sure what to expect but we’re told it’s gezellig, social and fun. There’s song and dance and humour. More importantly we have a babysitter for the first time in I don’t know how long. There’ll be adults there and drink involved so we’re giving it a go! There’ll be a lot of Achterhoeks spoken so believe me when I say the alcohol will be welcome.
My best friend is popping over in February with her two children from England so we’re all excited to show them around our new home. If she’s lucky the guest room will even be ready for them.
And it’s carnival time in the village as she arrives. Our first experience with Dutch carnival. Hesitant but curious…..
It will certainly be two months I emerge from with much more Dutchness running through my veins.
Later in 2108
That’s about as far as my planning goes for this new year. I’m recovering from the military operation that I carried out last year getting us from Zoetermeer to the Achterhoek and getting the family settled. So I’m on a planning break for now.
One last exception to that is a summer holiday this year. Last year we moved instead of taking a vacation but this year normality will be restored. At the dining table on the first day of the year I posed the question of where we should holiday this year. All three boys came back with “Lego Land Germany”. We stayed there for a few nights as part of our summer holiday in 2015 but apparently they want to be there for five weeks this time around. In any case I’m on the prowl for family vacation ideas for the summer….. hit me with your tips.
So all that’s left for me to do is wish you all a very happy, healthy and adventure filled 2018!
Over to You: What exciting things does this new year hold for you?