Welcome to Turning Dutch, my little space in the blogosphere I use to share the ebb and flow of my expat journey. I’m British by birth and I have lived in the Netherlands since 2000.
Here, I write about life as an expat mother, expat wife and an expat writer. I write about living life in a foreign language.
I have three little Dutch boys. I’m navigating my way through a school structure I was not educated in. I’m getting to grips with parenting in a culture I was not raised in. I’m acquiring the tools to raise my highly sensitive children with the support of a Dutch system (you can read all about parenting highly sensitive children, and parenting as a highly sensitive person over on my Happy Sensitive Kids blog.)
Oh, and lets take a step or two back; I experienced three pregnancies and births as an expat. Or put another way, I yelled for pain relief in a language not my own.
I am also a freelance writer and a published author. You can find my writing scattered over publications and websites such as The Weekly Telegraph, Bonbon Break, Brain,Child, Babble, The Good Men Project, Amsterdam Mamas and Smitten by Britain. (You can read much more at amandavanmulligen.com. Go take a look; I’ll be here when you get back.) And I have a Diploma with Distinction from the London School of Journalism. But, like most people who write for a living, I haven’t always been a writer.
Once upon a time, back when I lived in England, my career path started in the world of Human Resources (HR). I carried it on when I moved to the Netherlands but somewhere along the line, after numerous company reorganisations and redundancies, followed by only more of the same, I stopped caring about my job.
I went into HR to focus on people, to help others get the best out of people, but my naive idealism was never aligned with big business reality. In 2007, I left the world of HR to write, after my first son was born.
My expat life has opened doors for me, doors I am convinced would have remained shut had I stayed in England. Expat life has allowed me to pursue my passions.
But expat life is never straight forward, nor plain sailing. I’ve been through culture shock. I listened to those who told me to shut the hell up because living in the Netherlands is just like life in Britain. In the early days of expat life I doubted my jump across the North Sea more times than I like to think about now. Often, I thought about returning ‘home’. Luckily I didn’t. Instead I stayed and learned some hard expat lessons. I adapted. I evolved. I came through the other side of culture shock a little shaken, but happier than I’d ever been. There is no doubt that the Netherlands is now my home.
Expat life put the puzzle pieces of my life in place and I love the picture that is now my life – my expat life.
So that’s it in a nutshell. My expat life. Almost. I guess there’s one question left burning on your lips – why did I move to the Netherlands? I met a Dutchman. In an internet chat room in 1999. Lucky for us the world didn’t end as many had predicted as the year 2000 rolled in. We survived the millennium, but eight months later I lost my job in England.
“Move to the Netherlands,” my Dutch boyfriend said. So I did.
So now I’m a mother, a wife, a writer, an expat. And I’m sharing my journey with you here.
You can contact me at amandavanmulligen (at) gmail (dot) com.