/ / / Our Story of Becoming Expats

Our Story of Becoming Expats

Have you ever wondered why families might move to Europe? Do you dream of becoming an expat and exploring the world? We sure did!  And now we are living the expat life in the Netherlands!

children standing in front of a windmill
Our first windmill!

It’s about time I shared our story about why we moved from the United States to the Netherlands.  If you don’t follow me on Instagram then you might not know that in November of 2019 we moved our family of 6 from California to Rotterdam, Netherlands.

It was a bit of a crazy whirlwind journey to becoming an expat family and we have learned so much in the process, which of course I will share with all of you!

A short necessary backstory

Just to give you a little background on our family, when my husband, Mitchell, and I graduated from Brigham Young University in Utah, he commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army.

So we packed everything up and moved with our 1 year old daughter to Fort Lee, Virginia where he did his initial officer’s training before moving again to Savannah, Georgia.

We lived there for almost 3 years before we got out of the military, packed everything up again, and moved with our two children (ages 4 and almost 2) to Los Angeles, California. In case you’ve lost track, that’s 3 moves between 3 states in less than 4 years.

my husband in his LAPD uniform and our 4 children
Mitchell’s last day of work with LAPD

There Mitchell worked as a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department for 6 years. Eventually he wanted a change and decided he would like to transition to the business world. 

Unfortunately getting an interview was impossible. At the beginning of 2019 we decided it made the most sense to go to business school to help him transition.

The decision

We were hoping to get a job in Europe after school, especially since Mitchell speaks German, but it wasn’t until a friend who was helping us with the application process suggested that we look at attending an international school that we even considered that as an option. 

It sounded pretty crazy to us, but we decided to keep an open mind.

Everything just snowballed from there.  We started looking at programs that would start in the fall of 2020 or in January of 2021 to give us time to save up and figure everything out. 

Mitchell reached out to a couple schools to get program catalogs and was doing a lot of research into different programs. He came up with a list of his top 5 programs to apply to and was working hard on studying for the GMAT.

In June of 2019, a school that he had contacted in his initial search reached out to him inviting him to meet with their representative while he was visiting in Los Angeles. It wasn’t a school on our list but in looking at it more we realized it might be a really good fit for our family. 

a newborn baby and its mother
Welcome to the world little one!

I was pregnant with our fourth child who was due in July of 2019. Mitchell set up a video chat with the representative that ended up taking place the day after our son was born, while we were still in the hospital!

The conversation went really well and they wanted him to apply for the January 2020 school year. Commence freak out!

We are moving where? And when?

Mitchell ended up spending the rest of the time in the hospital filling out application forms and writing essays. Just two weeks after our youngest was born we got the call that he had been accepted! 

We were moving to the Netherlands!

a sign welcoming incoming MBA students

Then came the whirlwind of filling out immigration applications (times 6), going through everything we owned, getting passports for everyone, finding flights, researching housing and schools, and trying desperately to learn Dutch!

We made a ton of mistakes in the process but what kind of an adventure would it be if we didn’t make a bunch of mistakes. You can read all about our top mistakes made when moving abroad here.

colorful suitcases outside of a house
Arriving to our Airbnb with all of our stuff

By November we made it to the land of bikes, crazy stairs, clogs, Gouda stroopwafles, and windmills.

We spent a month living in an Airbnb looking for a permanent flat big enough to house our not-so-little family and spent Christmas in a very bare flat sleeping on mattresses on the ground.

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collage with bikes, a boy in giant clogs, 3 people holding stroopwafels, and steep Dutch stairs
Clockwise from top left: double decker bike storage, giant clogs, first time trying stroopwafels, and crazy steep Dutch stairs

That’s the beginning of this crazy life we now lead where I’m learning how to navigate grocery shopping in the Netherlands, the kids are attending Dutch school, and we are eating lots of delicious Dutch food.

We are here for a year and then who knows after graduation. We hope to stay in Europe but are open to wherever our adventure takes us.

Want to follow our adventures traveling and living abroad ? Follow Jonesin’ For Taste on Instagram to catch all of our latest adventures? Stop by, send me a DM, and let me know what else you would like to know about being an expat!

2 Comments

  1. I hope that you are enjoying your big adventure. It turned out to be a more interesting adventure than you anticipated I’m sure with COVID, but if there is anything sure about life, it is that there will be some surprises along the way. I like the progress that you have made with your blog. Enjoy the ride!

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