Hi There!

(For my Dutch-English translating and proofreading business, please go to my D-E Translating WordPress site. Thank you.)

Welcome to my blog.

I’m a 57-year-old Dutch immigrant. I didn’t come to America for a better life. My life was just peachy in the Netherlands. I came here for love — no other reason. I met my American husband while on vacation in Scotland. He tried to get a job in the private sector in Holland, but since he could only speak two languages — neither of them was Dutch and English really didn’t count, because everyone in the Netherlands can speak English –that wasn’t going well. So I moved to America. To the Rio Grande Valley first, and after twelve looooong, hot years we moved to Austin, where we’ve now lived for almost twelve years as well.

I love living in Austin but I’m chock-full of criticism of America in general. The Rockies bring me to tears, but so does the health care system. I’ve adopted Thanksgiving, but not the Pledge of Allegiance. If I seem elated and unbearably grouchy in sometimes dizzyingly quick succession, this is why.

I love the usual: my husband, my children, my friends and our pets. I hate heat, willful ignorance, bone spurs, spiders, and walking or cycling in place.

I collect raft books and I’ve developed a weird obsession with the bottoms of bridges.

When I lived in the Netherlands, twenty-three years ago, I loved hot tea, wild camping in Great Britain, gardening, reading for days on end, and I walked and cycled everywhere. Now that I live in a pretty darn hot part of the U.S., with kids who have to be driven everywhere by car, I love reminiscing about hot tea, wild camping in Great Britain, gardening, reading for days on end and walking and cycling everywhere…

My blog is a crazy—some might say completely unhinged–collection of posts about any of the above-mentioned issues and then some. Nothing is sacred. I blatantly ignore all American no-nos. Which means I talk politics, religion, I don’t idolize  teachers and I swear (though not that much — well, maybe a bit more than usual since November 2016).

As you read my posts you might laugh, seethe, weep or shrug your shoulders. If you like a post, great. Let me know. If you hate a post, great, let me know. I like to think I’m always right, but don’t let that stop you from telling me if you disagree. We Dutch love a good debate.

If you want to know more about how I got here and an overview of how that’s been, visit my About page.

Otherwise, have at it!

(In my posts, I refer to my husband as T, my 21-year-old son as B, and my 18-year-old daughter as R.)

31 responses to “Hi There!

  1. Hi Barbara, bedankt voor je reaktie en hoewel m’n blog in de eerste plaats voor familie en vrienden is en steeds onregelmatiger wordt bijgehouden (ideeën genoeg, maar tijd…) mag je het wel linken. Al eerder zo leuke mensen ontmoet en dat is altijd de moeite waard. Lees ook bijna geen andere blogs meer, maar het ziet er wel leuk uit en ik zie al direkt raakvlakken – talen, vertalen (heb in Colombia vertaal werk gedaan) en bibliotheek…. M’n oudste dochter zit op UT en komt in december klaar en ook voordien kwamen we min of meer regelmatig in Austin. Kom je weleens in SA? Laat me weten, als ik die dag niet werk en je zin in een kopje koffie hebt…


    • Hi Tosca,

      Prima, dan link ik je! Ik kom niet vaak in San Antonio. Als we op weg zijn naar de Rio Grande Valley komen we langs, maar ik ga zo weinig mogelijk terug naar de Valley. De laatste keer was twee jaar geleden. Misschien kunnen we elkaar een keer halverwege ontmoeten? Anders kom ik wel naar San Antonio, dan kan ik er een wandeling op de Riverwalk aan vast plakken. En laat maar weten als je in Austin bent. Leuk!


  2. VERY interesting blog! thanks for stopping by plucky umbrella.
    i am now one of your followers,


  3. I stumbled across you when you commented on a post. I am working on my fathers WWII Letters and saw you were doing some work on some WWII articles. Thanks for the link!


  4. Hi Barbara! I think I’m really going to enjoy your blog and your Dutch perspective of Americans. I think you’ll have many interesting things to say, indeed. 😉


  5. Hi Sebastien, yes, I’d be honored. Thanks! Your message will self-destruct in three, two, one…


  6. Looking very much forward to your posts. My husband is Dutch and was a resident alien for twelve years before recently taking the plunge into US citizenship.


  7. You’re so cool! I do not believe I have read through a single thing like that before. So wonderful to discover another person with a few genuine thoughts on this subject. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that is required on the web, someone with some originality!


  8. Hi, I have been American all my life but prefer the more pedestrian European style I saw in Germany. However, your view of America is interesting in that my German host brother lives in Atlanta and many things about Germany and Europe he did not care for. So it’s interesting to note that someone who grew up in this lifestyle did not seem to like it at all, the high taxes and controlling and rules of German government/society. Also, it was hard to get rich there and pretty easy for him to get relatively wealthy in Atlanta. I can’t really speak for working in Europe because I have never done it, but I do like how in shape all the people are over there without going to gyms. I bike to work in TN but I am less than 1% of Americans who do this. For America, I am safe to do this, for Europe, it might not be considered as “safe” the route I take.


    • Hi Dan,
      Yes, to us Dutch people it feels very unsafe to cycle in most American cities, because drivers haven’t learned to take cyclists into account, and there aren’t even any official rules for either party about how to behave.
      As for getting rich being easier here, that depends. Upward mobility in America is actually lower than England right now. But sure, in some sectors it’s possible to make more money than you would in the same sector in Europe. But you also have expenses here that you don’t have or need to have in Europe, like a car for every adult in the family, ridiculously high health insurance premiums and then the medical bills for everything the health insurance doesn’t pay, etc. If you want your kids to have a halfway decent education, you have exorbitant tuition payments. And then college…Also, it’s harder to have a vacation here. So different people have different ideas of what makes a good lifestyle. Sure, we make multiples more here than in Holland, but we have less to spend on the things we would like to spend money on at the end of the day. And this year it looks like our one-week vacation to Yellowstone is it. Seven days. I would rather be able to go everywhere by bike, have my health insurance garnered from my wages so I never see a single medical bill, and have seven weeks paid vacation a year. Oh, and did I mention guaranteed retirement? When you’re young, it’s easy to put off thinking about those things, but you can lose everything here even easier than you can make it. Just look at all the 80-year-old greeters at Walmart. Working til they die so they can pay their medical bills. That’s literally living to work instead of the other way around.


    • Thanks for visiting my post, by the way!


  9. I literally just joined word press today and yours was the first post I’ve read and I’m already excited to read more! I was born in the US, and have only been to Africa, so I’m interested in reading some of your views of everything! Thanks for writing!


  10. “Nothing is sacred” -> You are SO funny! This entire read had me laughing out loud. 😀
    I love that you hate stair stepping in place (so do I)!
    And an obsession with the bottom of bridges…that’s just awesome!
    Great writing and sense of humor, my friend!


  11. i like the cut of your jib young lady, as we see in GB! Enjoying your take on US life in a world of weird bloggers (not you!).


  12. ‘say’ not ‘ see’!!


  13. Hi Resident Alien in Austin, just discovered your great blog and viewpoint. Sorry for your pain at our American shortcomings (yes, many) but generally, I think it’s all (damn) good in Austin! And my 30-year-old gorgeous blonde body resides in an even older body than yours (sigh), but as my dad would have said, “It beats the alternative.” Laughingly following your blog now!


  14. I am extremely impressed with your writing abilities as well as
    wit the layout on your blog. Is that this a paid theme or did you modif itt your self?
    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is uncommon to loopk a
    nice blog like this one nowadays..


  15. Maybe you can put up one of those little counters on your website that show your readers which countries, and states of the United States those people who visit your website come from.


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