A Matter of Perspective

Looking at my blog stats today, I saw that someone got here after doing a search for “utrecht living depressing”. How sad! I’m pretty sure they didn’t find what they were looking for here, at least I hope not. I love Utrecht and don’t find it depressing at all. Quite the opposite!

I know some people who move here (the Netherlands in general, not just Utrecht) have trouble adjusting and end up sad and frustrated and unhappy. So far, I’m not one of those people. I suspect that someone who hates it here isn’t truly hating Utrecht or the Netherlands; they’re just unhappy with something in their personal life and taking out their unhappiness on the city/country. I’m lucky, in that I had a say in which country we moved to when we moved. (Although I didn’t actually visit and took G at his word when he said it was a great place.) Maybe I’m just very easy going. I’ve ultimately settled in well no matter where I’ve moved, even when the move wasn’t something I wanted or was expecting.

So to anyone who might be thinking of moving to Utrecht or the Netherlands, I want to be an alternative, optimistic, happy voice, a different perspective to what I see so many of my fellow expat/immigrants expressing. Some of us are quite happy here and have no regrets! That said, everyone is going to have their own reactions and experiences and I’m not trying to belittle the unhappiness of those who aren’t happy here. Just don’t blame it all on the country.

6 thoughts on “A Matter of Perspective

  1. biggest mistake: blame the country. I have seen SO many people come (and go back!) to the Netherlands who absolutely hated it here, who refused to learn the language, who wouldn’t even TRY. It’s a miserable existence. No one ever said it’s easy and no one ever said you had to be happy-go-lucky with it every single day, but making an effort makes a world of difference.

    How long have you been here again?

  2. I’ve been here for about a year and a half. Sure, today I was swearing — as I always do — while vacuuming, because I miss my upright vacuum. Sure, I have days when I feel overwhelmed by the fact that even making a simple transaction in a store can be fraught with miscommunication or embarrassment on my part when I realized I don’t know (or understand) the Dutch being spoken to me (yet again). But on the other hand, I’ve had lots of great experiences and I just don’t find life so drastically different here. I’m particularly fond of Utrecht. It’s gorgeous and interesting and there are lots of great little spots to explore and investigate.

    My boyfriend and I don’t have the benefit of having a Dutch partner to fall back on when we’re faced with something confusing or unknown to us. Fortunately, we’re lucky to have made very good friends with the Dutch couple from whom we bought our house. They’ve been invaluable to us and are also a lovely example of Dutch people. They don’t resemble the horrible creatures I’m so often reading about on expat message boards. 😉

  3. I’ve been around for three years and, while the experience can occasionally be frustrating, I have had a wonderful time and wouldn’t trade a week of it away.

    I do think that people’s expressed attitudes depend on their willingness to engage and to be open to different (not “wrong”) ways of doing things. I’ve learned that things will take time and require learning on my part (e.g.: strippenkarts): I can’t just plunge in and demand a process to work as it would in the US (“Where do I put my dime?”). (In fact, it probably wouldn’t work as well if it did)

    I seldom see a genuinely and consistently negative expat bloggers (but then, I probably wouldn’t read them much if I did…) While a rueful post about dealing with KPN or VGZ might seem negative, it’s also a way to vent and to warn others sometimes, share experiences or advice.

    • Most bloggers don’t complain much, or at least only occasionally. It’s the people on the expat forums who seem to do nothing but complain. I was curious about sites like expatica when I first moved here, but they just depressed me and frustrated me, so I stopped reading them.

      I think you put it perfectly. Look at things as being different rather than wrong.

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