Posts Tagged With: Expat

Reester bunny (Or: Chocolate and eggs everywhere)

Today Marco and I went to Kelly’s Expat Shopping here in The Hague. It’s a great store for American and British food and a store I’ve blogged about before. The one thing I get almost every time is Ritz crackers. Yum! Snagged another box today…

I was quite amused by the “Reester bunny” you could buy:

Reese's chocolate bunny (Or Reester bunny)

Their Easter selection is pretty good when it comes to chocolate, I must admit. Lots of Cadbury eggs.

Pop or soda for 10 euros - 12 pack

Did you know it costs 10 euros for a 12 pack of pop/soda? And that’s a discounted price! Back home you could get it for 2/$5 during the right sale. Of course, that’s just how it goes when you’re an expat so far from home.

And here is a fun photo from the Albert Heijn XL on Elandstraat:

Chocolate easter eggs for sale at Albert Heijn XL, The HagueAnyone need any chocolate eggs? There are lots of flavors to choose from… But still, it doesn’t compare to the Reester bunny. Don’t you just want to nibble on those ears?

Categories: Food, Holidays, The Hague | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Super Bowl 50 (Or: Yay! Expats can watch too)

Guess what I am currently doing at 12:11 am? Watching the Super Bowl on our Apple TV via the CBS sports app!


The best part is that it is through CBS so you get access to the commercials as well. For a few years we had an NHL app and the commercials were blocked on there due to it being shown internationally.

Marco and I both have the day off tomorrow so we can stay up extra late, provided the stream cooperates. But it is fun to be able to watch NFL again, and fun to see the commercials. I’ve missed it. For a few years we could see the big game on Dutch TV but with Dutch commentary. It sucked. They spent most of the game explaining how football worked. (Looks like it is available again this year through Fox, still with the horrible Dutch commentary.)

But we will see how long this lasts. The stream keeps failing. Grrr. 🙂

Categories: Sports, The Hague | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Another letter from DUO (Of: Niet meer inburgeringsverplicht!)

Yesterday I received what might just be my last letter from DUO. At least on the topic of inburgeringsverplicht (the civic integration requirement).

letter from DUO

The letter says (roughly translated):

We (previously) sent you a letter. At the time we said that you had civic integration requirements. This letter informs you about the (current) status of your civic integration requirements.

You have received a complete exemption from your civic integration requirements.

Why have you received this exemption?

You have successfully obtained a Dutch language diploma. This diploma shows that you have done enough on your civic integration requirements. Therefore you are not required to do the civic integration examination.

Categories: NT2 Staatsexamen Programma II | Tags: | 4 Comments

Not what I thought (Or: Letter from Duo)

As some of you remember, last month I took the Staatsexamen Programma II to test my aptitude for the Dutch language. We were told that we would be able to access the results online after about 5 weeks, and receive a letter in the mail after 6 weeks. It’s getting closer to 5 weeks now, so I have started to check the website. I did this yesterday morning, but did not see anything. No problem – it’s not been five weeks yet.

So imagine my surprise when Marco and I came home in the afternoon and had a letter in the mailbox from Duo (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs, or Department of Education). That was quick! It hasn’t been six weeks yet…

And then I opened it.

letter from Duo about inburgeringsplicht

It turns out that it was yet another form letter (I get one every six months) telling me that they had no evidence on record that I had completed my requirements for my inburgeringsverplicht, i.e. requirements to stay in the Netherlands. (For the record, the requirement I need to complete is to pass the test that I am currently waiting on results from.) Irony!

Of course, since the results aren’t in the system yet, obviously the form letter still gets sent. Still…not what I expected when I opened it, that’s for sure. Back to waiting…

Categories: NT2 Staatsexamen Programma II | Tags: | Leave a comment

Een jaar geleden verhuisde ik naar Nederland!

One year ago today I moved to the Netherlands. One year ago today I nervously had this conversation with the passport control worker at Schiphol:

Worker: And what is your business in the Netherlands?

Me: Ummm.. I’m moving here? (pause as he looks a bit confused. He definitely wasn’t expecting that response!) But there’s an MVV in the back? (MVV being a sticker which gave me permission to enter the country with the purpose of moving here.)

Worker: (flips to the back of the passport) Oh okay. (stamps the sticker) Thanks.

And that was it… done. We (I) fretted about that moment for weeks, and it was that simple!

Christmas tree in Bijenkorf

Christmas tree in De Bijenkorf, Den Haag

Categories: Marco&Niki | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Turkey AND chicken (Or: Thanksgiving in the Netherlands)

Here is a glimpse of the somewhat simpler Thanksgiving dinner Marco and I had in the Netherlands:


Since a real turkey is a bit harder to find (and cooking one is more annoying!) we got a half chicken from Albert Heijn as well as some turkey breast in the back of the photo. We also had green beans, applesauce, sweet rolls, as well as mashed potatoes and gravy. Let it be known Marco bought potatoes and mashed them himself like a true Dutchie. 😛

So yay – Thanksgiving in the Netherlands!

Categories: Food, Holidays | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Expensive imports (Or: Twinkies for 15 euros)

When Marco and I dropped my family off at Schiphol airport, we stopped at a shop next to the Starbucks. This shop is known for having a small selection of imported American items, including candy, barbecue sauce, and other less than healthy snacks. Imagine my surprise when I found a 15 euro box of twinkies:

15 euro box of twinkies

Granted, it is a box of 10 twinkies but that still works out to €1.50 per twinkie, or $2. I have also found similar price increases for pop-tarts (English | Dutch) which I have fond memories of being able to get 2 for $5 in America. Here it is €5.50 for one box, although we recently found a €4.50 deal at an Asian supermarket of all places.

The only import place I have visited in The Hague is Kelly’s expat shop which had some interesting stuff with about the prices you expect. Unfortunately sometimes it is easier and cheaper to shop on Amazon UK and have it delivered to the Netherlands. But it’s more fun to go to the stores directly.

Categories: Food | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Buttons (Or: Spreek Nederlands! Met Mij!)

I received this button during SamenSpraak at the Central Library in The Hague:

Spreek Nederlands met mij button

As you can see, it was originally made by the folks at Direct Dutch (a language school). Overall the concept is a pretty good one. I’ve heard time and time again that Dutch people will switch to English at the first opportunity if they think you are not a native Dutch speaker. They do it for two reasons: they like speaking English, and they want to help you out. Of course, that is a generalization!

The one thing I have against the button is the language used: Spreek Nederlands! Met mij! = Speak Dutch! With me! In both languages it sounds very… forward, commanding and slightly rude. It would be better to remove the exclamation points and add a “hoor” after. That word does not have a direct translation in English, but it conveys a friendly tone. Spreek Nederlands met mij, hoor.

Time will tell if they make a slightly more friendly version 2.

Categories: Speaking | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Snacks (Or: Kelly’s Expat Shopping)

A few weeks ago, I went to Kelly’s Expat Shopping in The Hague. I was looking for a few surprises to give Marco for Valentine’s Day. Originally I wanted to go there because the website said that they had sour nerds in stock, but that proved to be wrong unfortunately.

The store was bigger than I expected, and the aisles were definitely wide enough. Since it was my first time there, I took my time looking up and down the aisles to make sure I didn’t miss anything good.

I did end up getting him five things – a bag of sour skittles (to replace the non-existent nerds), Frank’s hot buffalo wing sauce, a small bag of Synder’s Jalapeno pretzel bits, Welch’s grape jelly, and Jack Daniel’s spicy barbecue sauce. The main one was the barbecue sauce, since it is classified as a liquid and thus can’t be ordered from America or the UK. You can bring it over in luggage, though. The grape jelly is good for peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, since it is hard to find jelly in this country. Mainly they just have jam, which is a slightly different taste.

Since there is currently roadwork going on this year, I was not able to take tram 17 like I said planned, but instead had to take tram 3. It just meant a bit further of a walk. But due to that I was able to get this image:

rocks for sale in a candy dispenser

It’s a candy dispenser, repurposed to sell polished rocks. You can see a sign underneath with a list of the various types of rocks available.

ignatiusparochie den haag

Ignatious Parish, a nearby church

Categories: The Hague | Tags: | 3 Comments

Two languages (Or: A letter from the burgemeester)

Yesterday I received another letter from the city of The Hague. Specifically from the mayor, Jozias van Aartsen. But this was definitely a form letter – you can tell because it starts with “Dear Mr., Mrs.,”…

letter from The Hague burgemeester

“Welcome to The Hague!” letter

Since the city now knows that I exist, they decided it would be a good time to welcome me into the city. Interestingly, one side of the letter is written in Dutch and the other side of the letter is written in English. But the information isn’t completely the same – for example, the Dutch side of the letter talks about finding out more information about the municipality (what they do and what they can do for you specifically) by reading the newspaper Stadskrant and De Posthoorn. But the English side of the letter instead has a section on the International Centre of the Hague, something that is completely missing on the Dutch side.

“Ik wens u een mooie tijd in Den Haag!”

I wish you a beautiful stay in The Hague!

On an unrelated note, here’s the lid off a dessert that Marco and I bought at Albert Heijn:

Mona brownie pudding dessert lid

This dessert is a chocolate brownie dessert – somewhere between a brownie and a pudding consistency. Getting it out of the container is always fun. You need to take the lid off (shown above), and then turn over the container on a plate. You then take the cover off the bottom of the dessert, exposing a small hole for you to blow air into, forcing the dessert to slide out of the container and onto the plate. It works pretty well actually.

But now for what the lid says above:

zeg tegen je moeder dat er een muis over het aanrecht loopt,

Tell your mother that there is a mouse walking on the counter

tegen je vader dat er voetbal op tv is

tell your father that there is football [soccer] on tv

en tegen je zus dat haar vriendje voor de deur staat

and tell your sister that her boyfriend is at the door

en jij? Eet smakelijk 😉

and you? Dig in! (or perhaps translate it like Bon appetit!)

Categories: Everyday purchases | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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