Today is the launch of my Host Blog. Throughout this year I will be hosting articles from some amazing expat women that I know who are managing to juggle bringing up a family while running successful businesses and at the same time getting to grips with living in The Netherlands.
Some of these women have only lived a few years in the Netherlands while others have been here for considerably longer but either way they are all embracing the challenges of living in a foreign country and culture.
There is already a lot of information about me and what I do on this website so today I am going to open up and begin by telling you a bit about how I came to be a ‘trailing spouse’ and how this gave me the opportunity to do something I really enjoy.
I am married with two children who were 10 and 7 when we had to move. I gave up a job I really enjoyed and took my kids away from their friends and all because of my husband’s work.
My husband moved to Holland in April 2006 and the children and I followed in the summer. The day after we arrived was the start of 2 weeks of thunder storms and non-stop rain – you might think that I’d be used to it coming from Scotland but honestly we don’t have that much rain!
Having given up a job I enjoyed to move to Holland brought several allenchges for me. Since graduating from university I have always worked either for large companies or more recently for myself and even after having children I went back to work on a part time basis. So the thought of having an extended ‘holiday’ in Holland sounded intriguing, fun and maybe even a little daunting.
My children started at the European School in Bergen where they very quickly settled in and we all made some great friends. However I knew that I could never be ‘a lady who lunched’ – well not every day anyway! After always being busy juggling work and family commitments I soon realized that I needed something more but how could I work when I couldn’t speak much Dutch? It took a lot of soul searching and wasted days before it dawned on me that before moving to Holland I had always set myself goals both work and personal so why should it be any different here. If I can jump out of an airplane for charity (and believe me that was a huge achievement for me as I am scared of heights!) then I can get a job in Holland. And so this became my next goal.
I spent a lot of time on personal development as I realized that I needed to expand my skills and start putting to use all the knowledge I had of setting up and running my own business. I enrolled in correspondence courses, transferred my business from Scotland and got a new website while continuing to make time for all my new friends and attending Dutch lessons twice a week.
What do I like about expat life? Meeting some fantastic, inspirational people who have done some amazing things since moving to Holland. They haven’t let the language barrier stand in their way whether they have taken up new interests in pursuit of a career, have got a job that has forced them to speak more Dutch or started their own business. One of the things they have in common is that they have all achieved so much more than they realize themselves.
The thing I like least about being an expat is when the friends I have made here up and leave to their next expat post – this can be hard and also for the kids.
I will admit that I had some very big ‘lows’ in the early days and when the kids had a bad day it was always my fault for having moved them here but life is short and you
have to grab opportunities when you can, and make the most of them. After more than 5 years I still come up against new challenges but I guess that’s what makes us grow and of course my clients success stories and positive feedback always motivate and inspire me to keep doing what I do – including starting a strategic alliance, Two Motivating Minds, which provides a range of workshops and coaching tools.
If you would like to share your expat success story you can add it as a comment below. Please click on the subscribe button to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the monthly articles by some really inspiring women – I’m sure they will show you how with a little effort, creativity and a positive attitude you can do whatever you want.
And if you need any help in setting yourself some goals to achieve success either in your business or your career, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org