The Merlion Safely completed Year 1

Psst! Psst! Hey, I have survived a year in the Netherlands! I don’t know how I did it but I did. Will you now throw some confetti, send me 3 kisses and tell me I did well? 🙂

Yes, it’s been a year and this year surely went fast! Sometimes, I feel like Sheldon in an episode of Big Bang Theory where he was FLASH. For me, It is like in a twinkling of an eye. I’ve traveled back and forth Singapore & Netherlands a few times, Touched the sand on Barcelona Beach, Enjoyed the Sun in Brussels City, Kissed the morning dew in Dusseldorf, Ran after the train in Paris, Smelled the Romantic Air of Ghent, Chilled in Hyde Park in London and walked more than a hundred miles in so many part of the Netherlands! All these in less than a year! And in between all that, I have to work 5 days a week, go for my Dutch Lesson 2 times a week (and skipped many of course), Running to the Gym at least two times a week and think of what to wear to face the amazing weather every single day! *Applause*

Recalling all those moments, Thank GOD, I can only smile. 🙂

Although I cannot say I was happy all the time because there was time I miss home real bad and not being in my comfort zone feels horrible, I must say it has been a terrific one year. The ups makes me happy and the downs just makes me stronger. Both of them together gives me an experience of a lifetime! I guess this is what human relates to being ALIVE & in “LIFE”

I will not bring you through the lengthy details of my ups & downs and surely would not repeat the story of what I did the whole year since most of it are in the blog posts. However, I should be proud enough to point out some little achievements that I’ve achieved during this year… and here we go:

Achievement 1 – Driving

I started driving on my own during the 1st month I live in the Netherlands. With the help of the navigation systems in the car, I go everywhere. And, from constantly driving very close to the right side of any road and at some point having bright head light of another on coming vehicle (of any kind) flashing at me. To Today; I’ve already gotten 2 speeding tickets till date. And yes, speeding ticket in Netherlands is nasty and unkind. Now I set my car to cruise control and pray I don’t fall asleep…

Me shivering on the left hand drive…

Achievement 2 – Language

During the part of my time in Netherlands, all I could clearly say and understand was; NIET GOED (Not Good), WAAROM (Why) & HOE GAAT HET MET JOU (how are you?). Until a point where Jos said, it is time you go back to your Dutch Lesson and start picking up more new words (he said that even though I already have lesson); nasty boyfriend I have.

Today, although I still don’t speak the Dutch Language as much as I like to, I think I grow to like the language (FOR THE RECORD – I HATE IT FROM THE START) and uses it when speaking to Jos and he understood. Just last night, I completed my Dutch homework without much of his help. *Applause* ! The only time I needed help was when I do not understand the meaning of a particular word. But surely, I have and improved by 100 folds (I think). Although there is possibly a thousand folds so mathematically, it’s only 10 percent but all I want to achieve is to first understand this Dutchies so encouragement please?

I remember I blog about speaking to Dutch is like chicken and duck talk. Now… it is no where close. i understand you more now Dutchie.. DO NOT SPEAK BEHIND MY BACK! 🙂

Achievement 3 – Work

When I starting working and had to communicate on email and made phone calls to the Dutch. It was hard. Although they could speak English quite well but at some point, speaking to a foreigner can be really annoying to them (I guess). Our culture are different. The way we put across a message is different. The pace of working are different by a big wide gap.

As Singaporean, we live and worked in a very fast pace environment. We are expected to stay in the office and work till we get the job done. Here in the Netherlands is different, we work our ass out during the 8 hours in the office but no one else work once the clock strike 5pm. The phone will ring and ring and no one will pick up the call. I was frustrated when I can not get the work done before 5pm since there will be no answer. I was nervous and stressed out. Today I understand, no matter how stress out and unhappy you are about the situation, nothing is gonna change. I will not get my answer and I should just leave the office and enjoy my evening. That is truly … Life. And as I gotten more and more use to the pace, I become happier and happier to work in an environment like this one! Ane being happy also allow me to handle every situation better. As such, working is no longer stressful. I hearts my JOB. 🙂

Besides the little achievements above…cutting the distance and living with Jos is also one big achievement. We have master the art of living together and be still in love. On top of all that, I have learn a great deal about life. Somethings I learn cannot be well described in words but yet it is the best lesson in life. It is meant for every individual to go through it to learn. Not one I can tell or teach.

Well, but because I survived the many ups and downs of living in a foreign country, I was just being qualified (by myself) to write a list of (proven) tips to survive the ups & downs of Life; whether you are living abroad or in your home country, I realize it does not differs.


Speaking from a survival point of view …..

To survive THE UPS; one need to :

  • Smile
  • Share
  • Snap Shots

To survive THE DOWNS; it is as easy as ABC:

  • A- Allow People Around You, Do Not SHUT OUT from friends & love ones.
  • B – Breathe (And tell yourself this: “Oh great! I’m still breathing!”
  • C – Cry (Let the tears flow on any willing shoulders. Mine has always been Jos! 🙂 )

After the ABC, memories the below:

  • It isn’t that bad. You must be imagining.
  • Life isn’t fair. But Its still Good.
  • No One is Perfect. As long as you are alive, you can still correct it.
  • Nothing last forever, including sadness.

If all else fails, you know you have me… faithfully me. 🙂

Me enjoying the Winter

To end the 1st year, we celebrate by going to A Villa for dinner! Tell you more about this Villa in my next post! Ciao!


2 thoughts on “The Merlion Safely completed Year 1

  1. Wohoo! Congrats! 🙂 I must say I’m really impressed… it has been a very busy year for you. All these travels, work, learning damn Dutch (it’s such a cool feeling when you finally start understanding, isn’t it? And at least when you’re meeting neighbors in an elevator you don’t feel like an alien/idiot staring at them and wondering “what the hell did you just say? Can’t you get busy with your phone/mail/dog or whatever and not bother me with this language?!”). I’m also impressed that you started driving straight away (I still don’t do it here :/). Bravo bravo and new successes in the coming year 🙂

    • Thanks Justine! Yes it’s been a busy year and I foresee another one coming up! By the way, I think you should be able to speak more dutch and pronounce it better than me! i always thinks so with my other classmates. They are polish too!

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