Thursday 17 April 2014

My Reverse Expat Bucket List

Instead of keeping track of all the things I still want to do in life, I loved Erika from America's idea of capturing all the experiences and achievements that she has already been fortunate enough to have.

And as a contra to some of the most recent posts I have written about the tougher aspects of expat life, I thought it would be nice to dwell on all the great things I have done, seen and achieved because of my expat life.

You can read more about how this idea evolved here. But I don't want to just throw my reverse expat bucket list out there - I want to read yours too, hence the idea of a blogging link up. You can find the link up button and a picture you can use at the end of this post.

So here goes. This is my reverse bucket list made possible because I became an expat and moved to the Netherlands.
  1. Be a mama to three beautiful Dutch boys
  2. Abandon your comfort zone and take a huge risk
  3. Expand your world
  4. Fit all your worldly possessions into a borrowed police trailer and take it from England to the Netherlands to make a new life
  5. Marry a Dutchman
  6. Get married at a mill (even if it is water and not wind)
  7. Live daily life in a second language
  8. Go through the classic culture shock curve and come out smiling
  9. Adapt to a new culture
  10. Appreciate your British culture
  11. Learn what is important in life by watching the Dutch masters of work life balance
  12. Have Dutch people speak Dutch back to you when you speak Dutch to them
  13. Have three bilingual children
  14. Have three dual nationality children
  15. Bring three children up in two cultures
  16. Visit four countries in one day 
  17. Find three ways to travel from the Netherlands to England
  18. Take a high speed train to Paris
  19. Visit a Christmas market in Germany
  20. Drive to Denmark and visit Legoland
  21. Drive to Euro Disney
  22. Visit Movie World in Germany by car
  23. Visit Muiderslot
  24. Visit Keukenhof at its most beautiful 
  25. See the Dutch flower fields up close and personal
  26. Visit the Zaanse Schans
  27. View the Netherlands from above in a very, very small plane.
    Fly it yourself for seven seconds before you freak out and give the control back to an experienced pilot
  28. Have a family photo session outside the Dutch parliament
  29. Get back on a bicycle after a twenty year abstention
  30. Plan for a home birth
  31. Plan to give birth without pain relief
  32. Have three children born in a Dutch hospital
  33. Welcome kraamzorg in to your home three times and realise just how lucky you are to have postnatal help
  34. Own a home abroad
  35. Cook a Dutch meal
  36. Eat a sweet pancake and call it dinner, not pudding
  37. Eat speculoos with abandonment
  38. Eat an orange tompouce
  39. Eat Indonesian food
  40. Renovate an old worker's house in The Hague
  41. Understand the terms and conditions of your mortgage written solely in Dutch
  42. Watch The Bridge spoken in original language with Dutch subtitles and understand what is going on
  43. Watch Borgen in Danish with Dutch subtitles and totally get it
  44. Watch a Dutch film and actually laugh at the funny bits
  45. Watch a musical in Dutch and sing along - quietly
  46. Read a book you are not familiar with in Dutch and be able to follow the plot
  47. Listen to Dutch music
  48. See Dutch musicians in concert and sing along - quietly
  49. Meet inspirational people from all corners of the world, including from countries you barely knew the existence 
  50. Love the diversity of culture in your life
  51. Make Dutch friends
  52. Be brave and quite your job in the corporate world and start a career you are passionate about, one that makes your heart sing 
  53. Take a distance learning course in journalism
  54. Start a blog about expat life
  55. Write expat articles
  56. Write for Smitten by Britain
  57. Have an idea for a book
  58. Interview the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest from both the north and south sides
  59. Celebrate Queen's Night in The Hague
  60. Celebrate Queen's Day in Amsterdam
  61. Celebrate Sinterklaas
  62. Celebrate new year's eve in the Netherlands
  63. See a Chinese New Year celebration in The Hague
  64. Celebrate Bonfire Night in Amsterdam
  65. See the preparations made for a Nuclear Security Summit
  66. Stand two feet away from the Dutch Prime Minister
  67. Stand so close to a Dutch Crown Prince you could almost touch him, a risk not worth taking because of the inconspicuous security he has near him
  68. See behind the scenes at a Dutch hospital
  69. Get whisked away to hospital in a Dutch ambulance
  70. Go on natural ice - a frozen pond or canal
  71. Hang a birthday calendar in the smallest room of your house instead of writing birthdays out year after year
  72. Learn it is better to pay to use a clean toilet than to visit a dirty one for free
  73. Use a cheese slicer without losing a finger, or a part thereof
  74. Go to a Dutch birthday circle and survive to tell the tale
  75. Watch a football tournament with English and Dutch teams in the Amsterdam Arena 
  76. See a football team you care about make it to the World Cup Final
  77. Help out in a Dutch classroom for a morning and be proud that the children actually know what you are saying to them in Dutch
  78. See Bruce Springsteen in concert in Feyenoord's stadium

Expat Life with a Double Buggy


  1. Fabulous Amanda. So many achievements! You must be so proud. It's funny the things that become achievements that we thought we'd never do or never imagined ourselves doing them. Thank you so much for including me in this.

  2. Amanda, what a rich, very Dutch life you have! As someone who struggles with Polish, I'm very impressed with your language accomplishments!

    This was a great idea, reflecting on our expat lives, and I'm happy to have taken part. Thanks!

  3. I love your list! You've done amazing things in your journey as an expat. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Amanda -- wow, this is so awesome! I love reading other people's Reverse Bucket Lists and this is no exception! You've done some awesome things... some things I need to add to my own RBL and even more that I need to add TO my bucket list! This is a wonderful way of looking at all of your positive expat experiences! Thanks for referencing my post and your idea to have people link up is so great! :)

    -- Erika from America

  5. Thank you all for linking up and being so enthusiastic about this idea :-)

  6. Thanks for a great post and great idea!! Here's mine: