New Beginnings

One of my fondest memories from my first time in The Netherlands back in 2007 was a trip to Schiermonnikoog with my program. We stayed in an old farm house with lambs in the back yard, sleeping all together in one big room upstairs.

There are many moments in life that I don’t remember or appreciate. Sometimes individual memories can be different depending on the person remembering them. My sister read a post on this blog and is convinced I made up it up because she doesn’t remember the story at all.

But I actively wanted to make that Schiermonnikoog trip a memory. I felt so grateful, in wonder of this beautiful place: an island with green fields and sandy beaches and frolicking lambs. Having not traveled much beforehand, I knew I was lucky to be there.

This week, we’re on a similar trip with friends. After a year of hibernating and feeling fearful of others, we are at another Dutch farmhouse in the countryside, with big windows overlooking cloudy skies, close to sheep.

The area is typical of Holland – wet, green, and windmilled. Thirteen years later, I am still playing board games into the night with lukewarm enthusiasm. I am still grateful for the drafty rooms we are sharing with friends. And like before, I want to keep this memory. In a year of endless days that merge together and where time passes with a lack of special moments, I will try to remember the joy of watching my friend’s daughter read a book on the floor with my husband, and the look her son gives when he wakes up from a nap. Despite corona’s endless days, I can still make new memories worth keeping.

An Introduction

Hello my fine winter wanderers,

My name is Tory, and I am excited to introduce you into my life. However boring it may seem, I like to make each small experience into a story, ideally with a funny punchline at the end.

A brief note about me: I am in my mid-30s, living in The Netherlands for almost six years now, primarily in the Utrecht region, but originally from Boston with a blind and raging pride for my home state of Massachusetts (that I still struggle to spell). I have white hairs I am preoccupied with; they match the color of my cat. I live with my stereotypically looking Dutch husband, who I like. (We are still married and going strong in this pandemic life!) I have worked in universities, NYC tech start-ups and most recently in EMEA wide recruiting for global tech companies in The Netherlands. But this is not a Linkedin profile since I quit my last job at the end of January 2020 to go back to school full-time at the University of Amsterdam, finishing up (hopefully!) in June 2021. My degree, sitting at home in my PJs all day, has most closely matched with the start and potential end of this pandemic. I am concluding by doing my thesis on persuasive vaccine communication.

I have created this blog mainly because I like to write, but only when there is an audience. I live to entertain. More than 16 weeks ago, I started weekly emails to 30 or so close family members and friends to critical acclaim. (Talk about a biased audience.) So, now, feeling self satisfied and self righteous, I will start this new endeavor. I am expanding for more of the world to hear my important stories!

In these days of feeling lonely and socially isolated from each other, I have emerged as perhaps one of the most worried, the most strict, and the most cautious. As also someone who is the most loud and the most aggressive in my socialness, this paradox is challenging for me everyday. Mixed with the fact that I am following American news mostly, but living in a country under different restrictions, different mindsets and different realities, this all adds to my confusion. I found reading other people’s thoughts on the pandemic helpful when I was at my lowest; it made me feel less alone. So if nothing else, I hope I can do that for you. Also, I hope, maybe if just once, I can make you laugh.

This blog will be about my day-to-day life and my struggles as a 30 something American living in the Netherlands. I will talk about my husband, my cat, my brand new fancy Dutch digs in the suburbs, my experiences going back to school later in life, and likely whatever else may come to mind. As most other bloggers perhaps, I have always had dreams of writing an epic memoir, focusing on my dad who provided endless content until he didn’t. I never got around to writing that book, but he stays with me despite not being physically present anymore.

Through reading this blog, I’d love to say something relatable and perhaps even helpful to you. I imagine this blog for like-minded expats, fellow Americans, women in their 30s with kids or without, or men. Men are also fine, and welcome to read this! Perhaps some of my stories help other non-Dutch people navigate relationships with their Dutch partners. Perhaps you want to look at this blog for the cat pictures, or the countryside landscapes. I hope you visit often, and I hope to feel connected to you in this time of overconnected disconnectedness.

With all my love,