Five Years of Canadutch

Breigh May 3, 2009 14

Yesterday was the five year anniversary of this blog.   It started out on May 2, 2004 when I was anxiously awaiting my upcoming trip to Canada.  I’d not been home in almost four years so I was long overdue.  Now here I am, five years later… looking back on it like it was just yesterday!

In the past five years a lot has changed on this site.  I’ve gone through a number of themes, changed the look endless times and went from writing in plain HTML, to Movabletype and finally WordPress, which I think I’ll be sticking with for a while.

Not just that but my feelings about the Netherlands has also changed quite drastically and not having as much to rant and complain about has made for a bit of a challenge when trying to figure out what to write.  I try to write about the more positive aspects nowadays, while still ‘keeping it real’ and being honest about the parts that still aren’t so great.

I’ve learned a lot over the years.  Mostly, what not to say.  I used to see this space as mine and mine alone, where I could say and do whatever I wanted and it was up to everyone else to suck it up or not read it.   While technically that may be true, it wasn’t exactly realistic.   In five years of maintaining this blog, it’s been a hard lesson in learning the balance between free speech and knowing when to shut my mouth and keep my thoughts to myself.

Honestly, it’s hard to believe it’s been five years… but then I say that about everything, don’t I?  I never stop being amazed by how quickly time goes by, especially since I’ve moved to the Netherlands.  This summer I’ll have been here for 10 years, that’s a scary thought when I think of how little I’ve managed to accomplish since living here.  I suspect, and hope, that the next 10 will be less difficult, less plagued with my issues and inability to adapt, and more about just enjoying life for both myself and my husband.

I do have a few regrets, things I wish I’d handled better, not ranted about or perhaps had taken a minute to think about before saying.   Unfortunately, I can’t change any of it now, all I can do is try to learn from it and not make the same mistakes in the future.   That said, a lot of good has come from this blog too.  Not just for me, but for other expats as well.

I met my best friend because her husband found my blog and told her about it.

I met most of my other friends the same way.

I’ve gotten many messages from other expats expressing how happy they were to find my blog, and how good it feels for them to know they aren’t alone in their struggles here.

I think I’ve also been able to be a bit of an example.  Not in the way you might think I mean that.  I would never consider myself to be an example of how to do anything in regards to coming here and making a life for yourself.   Rather, I am an example of how NOT to do it.   A lot of my 10 years has been wasted due to my stubbornness and inability to adapt.  Again, not something I can change, but I can try to urge other people to take action earlier and if need be, get some help with it.   Sitting around being bitter and angry, which I admit I still do at times, just less frequently… is going to do more harm than good.  Another lesson I had to learn the hard way, and don’t wish for any of my fellow expats.

A lot of my time now is spent trying to undo the damage all those years of fighting life here has caused, which makes my progress here still slower than it should be.  If I knew in the beginning the things I know now, I would have done things so much differently.   Hopefully being honest about my bad times as well as the good will urge other people who are new to the Netherlands not to follow in my footsteps, but to grab the world by the balls and do all they can to not just cope, but thrive, in their new surroundings.

So here I am, 5 years older (ugh, 34th birthday coming up on Friday), a little bit wiser, 2147 posts and 227,439 visitors later… still here, still writing and more in love with my Dutchie than ever (9 year anniversary next Tuesday).

To those of you who have been following me over the years, thanks!  Your comments and the friendships I’ve made as a result of writing this blog (you know who you are!) have made such a massive difference in my life and my level of happiness.  Much love!

14 Comments »

  1. yoshi May 3, 2009 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    happy anniversary! I hope I could actually update and keep my blog as long as you!

  2. DutchBitch May 3, 2009 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Congrats!

    I have been blogging about as long as you have and my current blog is having its blog-birthday on Wednesday! :)

    DutchBitchs last blog post… Bodily Malfunctions

  3. Amber May 3, 2009 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    Well congratulations on your string of anniversaries!

    You have very much been an example even in the short time I’ve been reading (about 14 months) and I think you’ve got a real talent for writing. I hope you continue to use it!

    Ambers last blog post… My Mini-Me

  4. Sonya May 3, 2009 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Wow a BIG congratulations to you!!! I can’t tell you how happy I am that I found your blog. I stumbled upon it and spent that whole day reading every post you had ever written. I was so happy to know that all the feelings I was having about being here was not totally crazy. That there are others out there who struggle like I do.

    Your posts make me laugh my butt off sometimes and I look forward to keeping up with you for the next 5 years:)

    Sonyas last blog post… Homemade Ranch Dressing

  5. Danielle Mutsaers May 3, 2009 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    ((((Tammy))))

  6. mmichele May 4, 2009 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Congratulations! I love the way you combine Dutch and Canadian culture… and you’re honest and funny too.

    mmicheles last blog post… Must…

  7. Edith May 4, 2009 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Happy anniversary!

    My husband (Aussie) went through a lot of the same things you had to go through. He sometimes still finds it very hard to get used to Holland. I’m glad you are starting to feel happy here :)

  8. Paule May 4, 2009 at 11:35 am - Reply

    Happy Anniversary Tammy;)

  9. Paule May 4, 2009 at 11:38 am - Reply

    (Ooops pressed Submit before I had finished).
    Well I am still at that disliking everything stage so your has blog has given me hope that things will eventually get better. Thanks.

  10. carol May 4, 2009 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    congrats on the slew of anniversaries! your blog is a work-of-art, the artist herself a work-in-progress…isn’t that the way it should be? at least i think so..you have a great eye, your fotos breathe with feeling; you have a great voice, your writing reflects your thoughts & emotions in all its rawness & wonderfulness; and you have produced a piece of work that so clearly shows how far you’ve leaped in 5 years! it makes me wildly curious to see how far you leap in the next five! enjoy & feel good – you do a damn good job! ;-)

  11. Tera May 5, 2009 at 8:37 am - Reply

    Congrats! And since I have discovered your blog I keep coming back, beacause living life over here is a true example of how it all plays out through your words. I appreciate your sharing with us.

    Teras last blog post… Pictures

  12. Breigh May 6, 2009 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Thanks all for your comments. When I started the blog it was meant to be therapeutic just in terms of being able to vent and get some release. I had no idea how many great people I’d meet in the process :) I’m glad some of you find what you are looking for here, even if it’s just someone who “gets it” :)

    Tera – You might want to check your website. When I try to visit, a red page shows up with the following message:

    The website at http://www.tank95.blogspot.com contains elements from the site goodcounter.org, which appears to host malware – software that can hurt your computer or otherwise operate without your consent. Just visiting a site that contains malware can infect your computer.

    Eeep! I didn’t go in, just in case!

  13. Genevieve May 6, 2009 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Hard to believe it’s been 10 years, I’m sure! It’s been 4 years for me and I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone by. I often wonder if our husbands would have had the same issues adapting in Canada that we have had moving here. I had a conversation with some expat girls last night about how it is we’ve managed to get married to Dutchies when we can’t, for the life of us, make actual Dutch friends when living amongst them. Congrats on the 10 years of living here, 9 years of marriage, and 5 years of blogging!

  14. kapgar May 7, 2009 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Happy blogiversary!

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