Why I haven’t posted any new content for so long
I have seen bloggers take a break for a year or two without any reason. I’ve followed many blogs over the years, and sometimes someone drops off the face of the earth (or so it feels) and stops posting for a year or two. Most of them return eventually, but some just never come back. Most of the time, they’ve had a big change in their lives. I always thought how inconsiderate it is to stop posting without reason. I felt that they owed their readers an explanation. And now, I understand entirely. Now that I’ve been in their shoes, I know that sometimes the words just won’t come. That life happened, and blogging was the last thing on their minds. Though you might want to inform your readers that you will be gone for a while, you sometimes can’t get it done.
So, what happened?
Following the pandemic and trying to establish a blog while still working full-time, I, like many others, suffered from burnout. The start of 2021 came, and I hit a dead end. I was overwhelmed, suffering from anxiety attacks and decision fatigue, and I knew I would have to do something about it.
I decided to try life coaching, and it helped a lot. We set a lot of goals for the year and used visualisation techniques to help me cope with the abovementioned emotions. We worked through brain functions which helped me understand what happens when we experience this and how to help us move forward. But I still needed to find the right words to constantly create new content.
I spent a lot of time in 2021 on opening my Etsy Shop for cross-stitch patterns. It was built from a hobby, which I love, that felt right at the time. So I focussed on my shop and put my energy into that while staying emotionally available for my family. But there were other things keeping me from blogging.
In 2012, Marinus and I toured Europe. We’ve been talking about living and working in The Netherlands ever since. Jokingly at first, and then more serious as time passed. Since 2020, we have prayed about it. We wanted to be sure that it was the path God had planned for us before we took the leap. And at the end of 2021, Marinus received a job offer in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
Everything happened very quickly, and since March 2022, we’ve been living in The Netherlands. It was scary to prepare to move not only to a new house, town, province, country or continent but also to a new hemisphere. But we could see God’s hand in all the details, and we trusted that all would be ok, that we were in His hands.
Selling the house and moving
We decided to sell our house, and after eight years there, it was hard to say goodbye. We put in so much time and effort to make it our own and made many memories as a family there.
It was only a short time before we had an offer on the table, and then it was time to pack up the house. We were able to take a shipping container over with our furniture, and it was nice to know we would have our belongings with us. You are not allowed to pack your stuff when you use a container, so we watched as a team of five packed up our house, loaded all the boxes into a big yellow container, and watched as the truck drove away.
I had the strangest feeling as I walked around the empty house. It still felt so much like our home, even without our belongings. I guess it is because we put so much of ourselves into the place. It was a bittersweet moment as I sat outside in the garden and watched the final sunset from our porch. And then came the big change.
Adjusting to life in The Netherlands
The Houses are different
We’ve been in The Netherlands for a year now and living in a rental house. It is the first time we’ve lived in a rental, and it feels strange not to have house projects or even do maintenance. It is frustrating to have our family pictures boxed up because we are not allowed to hang artwork on the walls. We decided to spend as little money as possible on the rental. We had to buy some things to make it more practical, but we can take all that with us when we move. Our aim was to stay in a rental for about a year, so we did not even look into “rental-friendly decorating.” But it does feel like home, and we made some memories here as well.
But the houses are so different from what we had in South Africa. The yard sizes are small, with a teeny tiny garden at best. We were used to a 1200m² yard with a swimming pool. The houses mostly have three levels with a steep and narrow staircases, making it difficult to move furniture upstairs. We had a one-level home. They all have only one bathroom, whereas we were used to an en-suite. The kitchens are small, and storage all over the house is a challenge as there is almost no built-in storage. So it has been an interesting journey.
We could see God’s hand in this plan for our lives, and we were so brave. I can’t remember that I’ve ever been that brave. But the bravery faltered, and the walls crumbled when we arrived here. I doubted our decision pretty soon after arriving here. We miss family and friends, and things I really miss are my kids’ school and our church. We were so happy there; I don’t know why we gave it all up anymore. I shed a tear most days, but it gets a bit easier as time passes. The days we struggle most are when our family back home goes through a tough time, and we are not there to support them.
We thought this move would be permanent, but we have since changed our outlook to allow ourselves to believe that we can return if this does not work out. But we still believe in God’s plan for our lives and trust in him that this is where we need to be for now. For now, we take it one day at a time and try to make the best of our time here.
We bought a House
Because of the rental house and lack of decorating opportunities, I was not inspired to start writing at all. I’ve walked through numerous homeware stores this past year and felt lost and confused. I was so used to planning the next room to renovate or updating items in my home, and suddenly I had nothing. It feels like I lost a part of myself, and I hope I can get it back as we move on to the next chapter.
I am happy to announce that we bought a house! We receive the keys next Friday and are excited about all the new projects and challenges in our new home. My oldest son said it so beautifully the other day: “I hope we can make a lot of happy memories there as we did in our old house.”
We have a couple of projects we will need to complete before moving in, so we aim to move into the new house in June. I hope the projects in this new house will inspire me to continue writing once again.
How the future will look like for Windmill & Protea
I hope to get back to blogging and share my ideas with my readers again. But I won’t put too much pressure on myself, so I will take things slow. Next, I will post the final home tour of our previous home. I photographed all the rooms before we started to pack up with a last home tour in mind. I forgot to take photos of the empty house, but maybe we should remember the house as we knew it. And it will be a good way for me to finally say goodbye to our old home before we move into the new one.
From there, I will start posting about our new home. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Till next time, take care.