Dutch windmills

Say that again.

"One-third of your life in the Netherlands." - Tells me David while we're having lunch. 

Definitely, there's no better way to start this post, and if you've read Moving Abroad this affirmation will make even more sense. 

Like the old people say "It's true. Ten years!". Ten years that simply flew by collecting so many meaningful events of my life our lives.

This wasn't just a mere decade but a life period that is in itself already quite agitated. I was only twenty-one when I sat foot in the Netherlands to stay. A child who thought she knew a lot about life.

Exactly ten years ago, there I was extremely vulnerable crying my heart out in the airplane leaving the land that raised me and on my way to the land that I would surprisingly quickly come to call home.

Whilst David asked me "So, what's the feeling of being here for ten years?" I was sure that, right now, I wouldn't like to be anywhere else, and that is undoubtedly the best realization to celebrate this last decade.

Dutch clogs

Was it hard to take the decision to leave the country by the sea with the most beautiful light I have ever seen? Leaving family and friends more than two thousand kilometers behind and start everything from scratch? Yes. Would I have done it again? In a blink of an eye.

Clearly, I recommend everyone to leave their home country at least once in their lifetime. Making a living somewhere else is such an enriching experience that will open your horizons like no other. Leaving my country forced me to look at everything from a different perspective and explore different possibilities. A reset happened and a new side of me was born. It was, no doubt, the long-awaited push that I needed in order to get out of the hole I was at at the time and that seemed so impossible to climb.

In ten years, lots were the moments of self-reflection and growing. Making my peace with the past, lose the fear of changing, and finally gain the courage to conquer the seven-headed monsters that, in fact, were just the most important steps to take for my life to get better.


I discovered so many new things that it would be completely unfair to try and condense it all in just one post. So many are the languages and the different cultures that I encounter daily. The places I visited so far, some of them even childhood dreams that otherwise would be very difficult to achieve. I've met so many people from across the globe. Many were the friends made for life and others that I encountered here after years without seeing each other. Visits of family and friends who had never left Portugal. Hundreds were certainly the gaffes in the dutch language, and I'm sure many more will come. The pile of postcards received keeps growing, always with a touch of melancholy. And the hugs at the arrival and departure gained a whole different taste.

Amsterdam canals

Despite the very shy and anxious (oh, so anxious!) beginning, we quickly found ourselves purchasing the house we live in and that already has so many stories to tell. It was inside these walls that our family grew and I'm sure many more meaningful events will follow from now on.

It was in Portugal that I grew as a child and adult, but it was for sure in the Netherlands that I grew as a woman and mother.

Zaanse Schans

The food and weather were probably themes of most of our conversations in the first years. Family and friends are still recurrent themes and that will probably always stay that way. The so typical question "Why leave sunny Portugal for this grey weather?" is slowly being less questioned as the years pile up.

One decade later, the veggies could have more taste and the blue sky could say hi more often. But these are actually just some factors that taught me to give more value to everything around me. If one day I hated to be caught out in the rain, now I'm happy to feel every raindrop on my face while I'm biking somewhere. If before it was just another sunny day, now is more than a reason to make bbq and picnics at the park and enjoy it like it was the last. If in the first days dutch people seemed colder, now they're simply much more practical and with no need to run around the bush, just the way I like it.

Ten years, two moves, three bunnies, one house, three daughters, one boyfriend who made it all possible and to whom I couldn't be more grateful, two bikes and one bakfiets
Where will I be in ten more?


  1. Beautiful words, Inês. I'm glad I met you yea many years ago on dA.

  2. Thank you! Indeed it was long ago, and hopefully many more years will come. Can't wait to see the pictures of your upcoming adventures.