Savannah Grace

My 6th Year Anniversary in Holland

This is no April Fool’s Joke, though it does feel like it might be one. Six years ago today, I stepped onto Dutch soil for the first time with just 40 euros in my pocket, wondering if the man of my dreams would be there to greet me. If I could take a glimpse into the future from my 18 year old eyes, what would I think? Would I think I had accomplished a lot or would I regret my decision, if I knew how it would all unfold?

Where was I in my life back then and who was I? I was an 18 year old girl, outrageously and hopelessly in love still living on my teenage, African travel romance. I’d been home for just 4 months after our grand 4 year, 80 country family backpacking trip when I decided to spend all of the money I’d earned at a part time bakery job to buy a two week airplane ticket from Vancouver, Canada to Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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About to board my first (of many) flights from Vancouver to Amsterdam

It’s hard to believe that I had that kind of courage, because today I don’t think I would do something so crazy, but I’ve proven to myself on several occasions, that when in dire situations, or when driven by a strong passion, the courage happens naturally. At that time, I was young and full of dreams which I give credit for the success I have now. Since that time, I finished 4 years of skipped high school in one year, written and published two full size books, and travelled to an additional 20 countries. I have learned (for the most part) a different language, have had grand adventures, rebuilt a 113 year old house in a tiny Dutch village, made lots of new friends and amazingly, despite all odds against us, am still with that same man who was afraid to let me into his heart. Well, who can blame him? I’m scary as hell.

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              Ethiopia                                                                                           Keukenhof

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    Las Vegas                         Mauritius                     Brugge, Belgium           Scuba Diving

I wouldn’t say I’m shocked by what I have and haven’t accomplished in that time, but I can definitely say I would have HOPED those things would happen, and they have. I feel I have made several dreams come true by being here, and Holland has given me many exciting, new opportunities that I know I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The only thing I cannot believe is how fast 6 years have passed.

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On Monday Twitter travel chat #TRLT co-founder Shane Dallas, (@thetravelcamel) arrived in Holland and is staying with me. It’s very exciting to finally meet him in person after starting #TRLT (The Road Less Travelled) 16 months ago with him. I will be writing a short post and share his photos with you soon. He has a very interesting story and is an excellent photographer. Tonight Kees and I are going down to Amsterdam to the Teschinski theatre with my book club to see “WILD”. I can’t wait and it’s the perfect group to spend an anniversary celebration.

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I found this article a few weeks ago and it gave me a real laugh so I thought I’d give you some insight into Dutch culture and lifestyle. I must admit I haven’t read them all yet, but from what I’ve seen, it’s pretty dang accurate!! My goodness. Kees (pronounced CASE. I only mention it again because I still have people talking about KEYS to me) has that exact fear of overly friendly people. Some of these make me feel relieved, like, “phewwwwfff, so it wasn’t just me this whole time! I’m not the only one thinking that.”

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  Off to the World Cup  2014                            “The Hut” our first home in Holland

Thank you for having me Holland, if you don’t mind, I’d like to stay a while longer.


“A Simple Love Story” original blog, back when I didn’t have any social media or my own website.



3 replies »

  1. What a great story! We spent 3 and 1/2 years living in Holland and miss so many wonderful things about it- which you’ve captured beautifully with some of these photos. The flowers, the houses, the canals…it’s just so pretty.

    Our time in Amsterdam didn’t end well and when it was time to go, it was time to go. But when we re-visited last year and were greeted so wonderfully by some very good Dutch friends who really looked out for us, so many great memories returned. So much so, that I’ve decided to lead a week long tour of Belgium and Amsterdam this September! 🙂

    Keep on rocking’ Holland! I miss it. Big cheers from the US!

    • Hey, thanks for your comment!! Great to know we have something like this in common. Sometimes it is difficult being an expat, but I know (from previous experiences) that I will only look back on it all with great and fond memories!!! The problem really is that now that I’ve lived here so long, no matter where I go afterwards, there will always be things I will miss from here. But I guess it’s better to have lived and experienced it than never at all. Waving hello from the tulip fields!

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