Expat Magazine

Blast from the Past: Expat's Best Friend

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips
Blast from the Past: Expat's Best Friend Blast from the Past: Expat's Best Friend I'm off on vacation until September 6th. But while I'm taking a break, that doesn't mean you get to too! To keep your little expat minds occupied, here are some past posts I thought you might enjoy. See you in a few weeks!
Expat's Best Friend originally posted on September 9, 2009
Blast from the Past: Expat's Best FriendWhen I said "yes" about twenty times to my husband's proposal, I knew I would be making a huge step and moving to another country.
Making new friends, finding a new job, meeting new people, getting involved in new things, learning a new language, getting used to a new home and new surroundings, learning a new culture would all be on my to-do list.
What neither of us thought about is how the move would effect my dog Turner.
It was agreed upon when we decided that I would move to the Netherlands that Turner would come too. We agreed that I would need a friend - someone to spend time with and share my lonely, home-bound days with while I was just starting out and adjusting.
I also knew how much he depended on me and was afraid how of he might react if I left him in the States.
While in the US, we were so concerned with wedding plans, moving details, and all the administrative stuff we had to do to get myself and my dog into the Netherlands. It never occurred to me how the long journey, country change, and country-to-city transition would effect him.
The last thing he knew, he was sitting in his car and went to sleep. All the sudden, he wakes up to new people, things, places, smells, sights, and a different language. The home he had known for well over half of his life was gone and the people he was always surrounded by were gone too.
So many cars, bicycles (something he'd never seen before), lots of people, lots of dogs, busy streets, loud noises. Taking him out for a walk was a great adventure those first few weeks!
He's come an awfully long way since then. He's still afraid of bicycles no matter how many times I take him out with mine. After almost three years, he's finally gotten to the point where he's not quite as upset by the huge city truck that comes once a week to empty the recycle bins across the street. Trash days still occasionally make him nervous, though.
He never fails to recognize my parents and, though my brother's only been able to visit once, Turner was beside himself in a way I had never seen when he realized it was his Uncle Timmy who had come to see him. That visit was almost two years ago, but it's obvious that Turner recognizes his voice when we Skype. It upsets him that he hears my brother's voice but can't figure out where he is.
What I wouldn't give to be in Turner's head and know what he's thinking. Or that he could speak and describe for me what it's all been like.
He adores my husband and lives for 6:30pm when he comes home from work and the two of them play on the rug in front of the TV for 5-10 minutes. And the fact that I have to take him out and walk him 3-4 times a day has really strengthened the bond between us.
He helped me take care of the boy I used to babysit, and we'd practice cycling on the way there and back. He's developed a taste for fine French cheeses, vla, and kwark. He's learned to shake with the commands "paw" and "poot" (Dutch for paw).
Turner's also become quite the gardener! He loves to sit out on the balcony with his nose in the daisies. But before he lays down to relax, he makes the rounds, checking inside every pot to make sure that everything's growing to his satisfaction.
As a result of the move, Turner's gotten worlds braver - if you'd known him in the States, you'd hardly recognize him now! He relishes the parties we throw and loves having people over (normally he would hide whenever we had gusts). He insists on sitting right in the middle of the group, no matter how in the way he is. My little social butterfly!
And he's become quite famous. Turner was Family-Matters Magazine's pet of the issue for October 2009, and  has been pictured in the IWCU bi-monthly newsletter The Contact twice and mentioned three times.
I think, like me, he's learned to love it here. And it's obvious how much it means to him to have a family of his own.
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