Thursday, January 28, 2016

Clear the Halls

We received an official letter with a notice of upcoming painting scheduled for our apartment building. The letter included a warning that all inhabitants of our building will be equally billed if painters have to clear the public spaces. A week later, there are still broken bikes and old couches in the basement. Since we have several foreign neighbors, I printed a friendly note in English and dropped a copy in everyone's mailboxes. Then I saw a to-the-point Dutch note already hanging in the hall. 

It's fascinating because this sort of issue brings up conflict. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New in Rotterdam

I often see comments and questions in the expat facebook group from people who have just moved to Rotterdam from another country. I had a chance to adjust gradually - 5 years in a village in the north of Holland, then a year and a half in a town nearby Rotterdam. By the time I actually moved into this metropolis I was fluent in Dutch and knew my way around the city.

But to come here directly... that could be quite a shock.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


I'm a member of a Rotterdam expatriates Facebook group. It's a great place for discussions on Dutch culture, travel tips, and articles on parenting. Today a parent referred to James Dobson's attitude that sleepovers should be discouraged for safety reasons. Not surprisingly, other parents commented with their own opinions, and it turned into a fascinating discussion. Is the discouraging of sleepovers just fear-mongering? Or a good policy for concerned parents in today's world? Some people responded to the post in just a few words, while others wrote long replies. Here's mine.

As expats, we're already creating a different-than-average life for ourselves and our children. We question educational methods, the price of renting-vs-buying, and the safety of biking in the city. Then we decide what is right for our own families. Why not question the value of sleepovers?