Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Charity Work

(Didn't plan on keeping up te theme of the last post, but guess it's on my mind.)  Ever since our 4 month old labrador puppy died we have been wanting to do something in her memory.  We actually wanted the three of us to do charity work with animals but to be honest it's not been easy finding something where they allow a 6yr old to join.  The holidays rolled around and the planning was put on the back burner until the new year.

But the feeling hasn't gone away, this need to help.  As Sinterklaas (Dutch holiday) and Christmas passed, I was overwhelmed with access around us.  And I don't mean our home alone, I mean the packed stores, the list of presents you hear people received, the endless parties full of food and drinks.  It made me think of the less fortunate... it made me often think if them.  Here some many people are ticking off their wish list when so many people have nothing or are extremely struggling.  I again expressed to my husband how much I want to sign up somewhere to offer our time.  But when you sign both parents up you start dealing with babysitters and logistics.

Then I was talking to my mother-in-law and she was having the same feelings as me, and we have decided to start exploring our options.  We hope to at least volunteer one time a month and see where it goes from there.  She is collecting a list of local places we can volunteer, and I can't wait to sit down with her and finally pick something.  Less talk and more action!

Do any of you volunteer?  If so, what have you found to be the most beneficial?  And for those of you in the Eindhoven area, do you recommend a place to volunteer?

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste! Salut!
:) Danica

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Helping Out

Sometimes we find ourselves in a position when we can help others... it can be little things like, a smile, holding a door, letting someone pull out in front of you instead of making them wait for the line of cars behind you... the list goes on and on.

I've mentioned before I help out at my daughters school quite often, but I don't just volunteer my time... another way I help is through photos.  Since I am at the school so often and get to witness little things here & there that other parents miss, I try my best to capture it on camera.  Like this morning for instance, the school was putting on a Christmas performance with the Kindergartners & 1st graders (Dutch group 1 & 2) for the parents, my husband & I arrived early and had great seats.  Turns out our daughter was in the back and there was no seat in which we really could have seen her.  Since I wasn't really able to capture her I decided to help out other parents I know that didn't have the best seats or only a phone for a camera.  I took pics of as many kids as I could and emailed the photos to their parents when I returned home.  Trust me, I wish I had those photos of my daughter, but at least I know I made someone happy.

Another way I help people out is by donating items instead of throwing them away.  What a waste to just toss a perfectly good shirt or household item in the trash when there are plenty of people with very little in their homes.  For a couple months now I have been collecting random items in one of our old moving boxes, and today (or tomorrow) is the day they finally get taken to the charity shop.  Hopefully in time to help someone out before Christmas.  I don't always take our old goods to just one secondhand shop, I  have been known to hit up 3 in one day just to spread the goods, and some items even go into a different container to be donated instead of resold.

So during this Christmas season (and throughout the new year), try and every once in a while to help someone else out.  If we all did one small kind act a week (or day) think about how much happiness we could spread!

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste! Salut!
:) Danica

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Anyone still there?

HELLO!!!  I know it's been a while, ok 5 months, but here I am again.  Trust me I think of the blog often but it takes a certain dedication I just don't have right now.  Plus everything that pops in my head is either too personal or too normal to post.

The main reason I took up blogging was to share my normal life abroad with others throughout the world.  And to help nearby expats find their way.  But now that I no longer live in a major city, I feel like I have nothing new to offer.  I am out of touch with big events in Eindhoven, and things that happen near the village I live in are too small to involve the international community.  But one thing I do have is 13 yrs of built up knowledge, so I can always fall back on that!

I think one of the neatest things that has happened to me through blogging was being contacted by a woman in Argentina who was going to move to The Netherlands.  She had questions about elementary school and life here in general.  We ended up emailing back & forth until she moved  And the other day as we sat having coffee together, watching the kids play, I was just amazed that our new found friendship started from this small blog.

Since I am not class mom this year at school I feel like I have had less opportunities to help out the new moms in the area.  But luckily my daughter is quite social and I met a few newbies recently.  Actually have a couple new play dates (inc coffee for the moms) lined up.

I find it so fascinating to meet people from all over the world.  To hear about what is normal to them, and share our cultures with each other.  It's also amazing just how many people take that step and move abroad, far from what they understand or are comfortable with.

Must admit though, my move here was quite cushioned considering my American husband was raised here and spoke Dutch.  And all of my in-laws are here.  I take my hat off to those expats who move without that cushion... who knows, maybe one day that will be us too.

I'll close for now, and fingers crossed that I post again this month!

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste! Salut!
:) Danica