Living in the Netherlands

The Leaves They Are A-Changin’

When I tell people I’m from California, they give me a look that says “oh girl, you must be freezing.” Surprisingly though, I’ve been loving the weather — this is the first time I’ve really witnessed the changing of seasons.

room view

As I say goodbye to the colorful leaves and welcome the snow, there are some exciting changes happening to me as well. While I have been having a fantastic time meeting new people and traveling, I haven’t been completely forthcoming about my experience in Venlo. There were some aspects of my living situation and work load that I found uncomfortable.

After talking with other au pairs, some friends and family, and doing a lot of self-reflection, I decided to search for a new host family. Luckily for me, there happened to be a family that was searching for an au pair at the exact same time. I visited them at their home in Breukeleveen, and I instantly felt a connection. The parents were so accommodating and kind to me, and the three children (Luca 3 yrs, Fay & Ivy – twin girls, 3 mos!) were adorable. We talked for hours, and they invited me to stay for dinner as we continued to chat over a couple glasses of wine.

On the phone the following night we reached the same conclusion – we were a match!

I have been living with this family for about two weeks, and I could not be happier about my decision. Love permeates this home. Music is a frequent guest, particularly PSY’s “Gangnam Style” (Luca puts my dance moves to shame). I feel so fortunate to be living with a family that makes a conscious effort to make me feel comfortable and welcome.


Here are Fay and Ivy (left-right). I spend a lot of time with these two, and I love nearly every minute of it. They’re fraternal twins, so it’s pretty easy to tell them apart from each other (and you can see that Ivy has quite a head of hair). Fay’s big blue eyes are often a source of amusement, particularly when she’s staring at me from across the dinner table. It usually causes me to erupt in a fit of laughter, and I’ve had to excuse myself on more than one occasion to try to regain my composure.


And here is a better picture of Ivy. This girl normally smiles all the time, but every time I tried to take a picture, she was too intrigued by the camera to smile.

I live on a street that is nestled in between two lakes, yielding phenomenal views from my second-story loft-style bedroom. Here’s a shot of the lake from the backyard.


The next couple months should be busy ones. My friend and I are trying to plan a holiday trip, maybe to Lille, Bruges, or Berlin. We’ve also considered a stay-cation in the Netherlands, perhaps renting a car and driving around to different Dutch cities. And the family has invited me join them on their upcoming trips to Belgium and Spain. It’s really amazing how accessible everything is in Europe, and it reminds me of how lucky I am to be here. Stay tuned for news about my upcoming trips.


5 thoughts on “The Leaves They Are A-Changin’

  1. I am not too sure about the family’s taste in music (Gangnam Style????) but the kids are so cute and the view is fantastic. So happy you’re enjoying your year in Hooland and have a great trip!

  2. It is so beautiful there cousin! You are sooooo lucky!! And those kiddos are precious. I am so very glad you are more comfortable now, I hope nothing too awful happened before :/ say the word, and I will tell Erik that I must go rescue my cousin in Europe, and perhaps make a couple of detours while we are there 🙂 Continue to seize each moment – we miss you bunches, but are so excited to see what your next adventure will be! PS – totally want a post card when you get a chance, saw that Ms. Ashley got one, and I though, oh em geeeee, why didn’t I ask for one! so I am 🙂 Love you! xoxoxo

  3. Ahhh. I’m so sorry to hear about the first family but EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the new family. The babies are so cute!!! I literally get so excited when I see there’s a new blog. i am freezing just looking at the pictures of the snow. You’re crazy. I wanna hear more about your friends. Do you have some what of a support system there? Miss you! Love you!

  4. Hey there! We got our postcard too. It was so great to hear from you. I meant to send you a Christmas card and sat down several times to do so, but always seemed to get side tracked. Missed you at Christmas, but I thought of you in the snow and was happy for you where you are. Much love!

  5. Julie, your writing is so elegant! I am quite jealous. Your adventures sound amazing – I’m sorry about the bad match in the beginning but I’m so glad you found a family that suits you better! Can’t wait to hear about more of your travels. ❤ Love you and keep up the adventures!

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