Moving to the Netherlands

Moving to the Netherlands

Barely six months after graduating from UCSB, I decided to become an au pair for a year in Europe. I had done previous research about au pairing as it’s a convenient way to travel with low- costs, but when I was browsing through families on, I wasn’t seriously considering it. Not really. I think the best way to describe what I was doing is to say that I was day- dreaming. Until I met a really sweet family from the Netherlands. And within two months I was packing my bags and hopping on a flight to Europe, without a return ticket.

The first big adventure of that trip was that I almost didn’t make it on the flight. I decided to book a ticket to Moscow with no intention of ever making it to Russia. This flight was far cheaper than others I had looked at and it had a layover in Munich, my destination at the time. Luckily, I was meeting my parents and brother in Munich for a two-week long Christmas holiday, so they were able to take my checked luggage with them (I only checked one bag! If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is), so I could realistically take this flight without incident. Or so I thought. The day of my flight, while driving to LAX, I was trying to check into my flight on my phone to avoid the hassle of the lines, but I couldn’t complete check-in. The airline wanted proof of a visa I was supposed to have to enter Russia. Oops. We still had an hour or so left in the drive before LAX and I was a nervous wreck. Luckily, Nick wasn’t. I got to check-in (and there were no lines!) and immediately spoke to a really nice attendant. I asked if I could cancel a leg of my trip. And he said yes! I looked at him in disbelief and said “really?”, his reply: of course, it’s your trip! Sometimes things just work out, I guess.

One of the Christmas Markets we visited while in Munich!

After a wonderful two- week holiday with my family (read this post if you’re interested in our travels!), we parted ways in Berlin. They left for the airport at 4am on January 1st, and after a few too many glasses of champagne I can safely say I was not jealous. I was able to sleep in a couple more hours and made it to the station on time for my 10.00 train! Though I was slightly hungover and stuck in a train all day, I was too excited to really mind. My last train stopped in Leer and I was to catch a bus when I heard someone shout my name. It hadn’t even registered yet that it was strange to be hearing my name in a city where I knew no one; I instinctively turned and looked around. And that’s when I saw this cute family on the other side of the train tracks waving at me. It surprisingly took a minute to click that this was the family I was traveling to (apparently the train rides took their toll on me), but quickly I realized and was so glad to see them! They drove an hour to Leer to meet me so I wouldn’t have to sit on the bus to Groningen (which is about half the distance from where we were headed but the same amount of time). We stopped at the house so I could see where I would live for the next year and freshen up before heading to Imca’s (the mom in the family) parents’ house for a family dinner.

Meet Theijn(to the right), pronounced /tine/, and Julien (to the left):


Also, did you notice what his onsie says? “Made in Holland”, how cute is that!


Now, almost six months into our year together, I think I can say that our match was really a successful one. Luckily, we clicked in person as much as we did online!


1 thought on “Moving to the Netherlands”

  • I have been reading your blog and loved it! I read it all. Love the photos and the descriptions! We have missed you. Looking forward to having you back in Oceanside and can’t wait to hear your stories! xoxo Chamaine and the Rietman family

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