The Delft Mama Blog is growing! We are currently looking for fresh, local voices who are passionate about Delft and interested in sharing their stories. This is a volunteer role, but there are some really fun perks to make it all worthwhile. Here’s what you need to know… Read more
NOTE FROM THE EDITORS
Initiated over 2 years ago, the Delft Mama blog has delivered numerous creative, heartwarming contributions throughout the years. Looking back at those earlier posts — in our role as current editors — we realized there were quite a few that we missed. Surely we aren’t the only ones, especially with new members joining Delft Mama each year. With that in mind, we decided to take a look back a couple times each year to recall one of those “Oldies but Goodies”.
Here’s the first installment, a rather recognizable, yet shocking and frankly funny post that speaks to the core of one of Delft Mama’s missions — to help build networks and provide support that makes families (and families-to-be) feel at home here in Delft.
It’s been awfully quiet around here, huh? The previous Delft MaMa (DMM) blog coordinators, Tarja and Marie, have moved on to other things. So, understandably, things have slowed down a bit here. That doesn’t mean it’s been quiet with DMM… There’s plenty happening behind the scenes. Some of which you may have noticed if you follow our Facebook page.
The DMM blog has not been forgotten!
Many of us agree that the DMM website has been a great starting point and resource for many expat parents new to parenting in Delft. We feel that the blog is a great way to keep adding informational content on a regular basis. That’s why we have a new team for the blog, not of writers, but editors. Onica and I take feedback from you, the DMM community, for topics you’d like to see on the blog, and we look for writers to get those articles out into the world.
Two new faces
I’m Kate. I joined the blogging team in January after innocently making a suggestion for improving the blog and winning the responsibility to see it through. After living in several places in the U.S., I moved to Europe in 2006, starting in the Czech Republic and ending up in Italy, working as an English teacher and educational researcher. One fateful Christmas I took a holiday trip to the Netherlands and sat across from a handsome, smart and funny man at his family’s Christmas dinner. Fast forward a few years of a long distance relationship and marriage, I moved to the Netherlands when I was pregnant with our daughter. These days, in addition to being a mom to a rambunctious little girl and two lazy furkids, I’m making another attempt at finishing my PhD and figuring out what I’d like to do when I grow up.
Here’s Onica, her words taken from another part of the blogosphere:
Okay. So my name is Onica – don’t ask, think my father made up the name back in the day. I’m more bi-polar (depending on how much sleep I get) than type – A or B. In a nutshell, I’m a US expat who married a tall dark and handsome (to me) Dutch man and am now living and raising our little in the lovely historic Dutch town of Delft. The more convoluted version includes Trinidad, Venezuela, UK, Italy, and various other stops in between. Formerly an ICT Researcher/Consultant (still trying to figure out how and why that happened given my Philosophy and Economics background), I now spend a considerable amount of time shuffling our little around to endless activities, trying to avoid the endless chocolatiers and cafés that have recently emerged in Delft center, and sporting (primarily tennis) to minimize the impact of those failed attempts.
Our journey in the search for writers has been very interesting—our writers all come from the DMM community and come from all walks of life. Other than the topics we’ve proposed, some of the writers end up proposing something completely awesome that didn’t even occur to us. We send them into the wild to write their articles, which are then edited by us, or our team of proof-readers, before publishing on the blog. Sometimes we look for “experts”—either specialists in their field, or those who have valuable anecdotal experience on the topic—to work with our writers. We look forward to seeing so many diverse perspectives on the blog in the future!
What to expect
Over the next few months you’ll begin to see a mixture of interviews with feature moms from the community—formerly Delft Mama of the Week—and articles about topics interesting to us expat parents raising their littles in Delft and the Netherlands in general.
What are “topics interesting to us expat parents”? Glad you asked! Last month, if you recall, we sent out a short survey about the blog and newsletter to which we received 44 complete responses.
Here’s what those responses wanted to see on the DMM blog.
Other topics of interest included language, healthcare, education and the general sharing of experiences with other parents having/raising a child in a foreign country.
Of course, 44 respondents can hardly represent the hundreds of members in the DMM community, but the responses are an amazing starting point for us to develop themes, combined with input from you, the DMM community.
On the horizon
We’ll be kicking off the new DMM blog with two series of articles—one, organized by Onica, will focus on Delft activities for primary school-aged children; the other, organized by me, will focus on play—toys and even where to borrow them.
We don’t want to spoil the surprise for the rest coming up after these two series, but know that we should expect to see some very interesting articles pop up on the blog in the coming months. If you’d like to contribute, contact us. We’d love to talk with you about your ideas. Even if you don’t want to write something yourself, please contact us with your ideas and suggestions. This blog is for YOU!
We’re looking forward to this journey with you,
Kate and Onica
Ever since I started writing about the moms of the week for Delft MaMa blog, I’ve been asking those who I interview to nominate other mothers to be the next moms of the week. The list is ever-growing, but sometimes someone is nominated multiple times and it’s time to get to know them better. This is exactly the case with our mom of the week, Olga, who has been nominated by others who look up to her every now and again.
Although Olga lives in Rijswijk these days, she’s one of the Delft MaMa pioneers. She joined the playgroup that used to gather at St. Olofspark back in the day. Olga joined after she got someone call the police on her, so her journey so far has been not only long, but a noteworthy one as well. “I reached out and it was fantastic. It’s all the support you get. If you have a problem, you know someone who may know the answer, or at least they might know someone who knows the answer,” Olga says.
She’s sitting across the table from me in Bagels & Beans on the Markt, which she chose for us to meet. Olga orders macha latte, a very trendy drink indeed. “It’s Japanese green tea powder,” she clarifies while sipping her healthy looking drink.
Olga was born in Poland, but partly grew up in Germany. Her parents spoke several languages to her in her youth and when Olga did Erasmus exchange program in Hamburg, she met her German now husband, Nikolai. His studies took him to Winnipeg, Canada, where Olga followed, just to try her wings since given the chance. She loved her time in Canada, although she spent that time working in telemarketing and customer service, which is ironic because Olga has always found talking on the phone difficult. In the end she’s glad she did it, as it gave her a yet broader perspective of the world around her. After the year in Canada, the couple moved back to Germany, where their first-born, Klara (8), was born and soon enough the family settled in Delft. In the years to follow Klara got company from her little sister, Julia (6), and little brother, Markian (4).
By the time they settled down, Olga had lived on two continents, four countries and countless addresses. It’s no wonder when figuring out her national identity, Olga found it very natural to refer to herself as a European Mama for her blog.
Having studied German in the University, she wasn’t exactly sure what was in the future for her. Before she started blogging, she thought blogging was for people who mainly wrote about themselves. Little did she know there already was a whole community out there with similar feelings and experiences to her. Accidentally, she tumbled into blogging and over the years found her audience growing. “What I don’t understand about blogging is that everyone tells you to find your niche and stick to it. After a while I get bored about a subject,” Olga says.
Even with blogging, Olga has been following her own intuition and has been writing about what she gets inspired about. Currently she’s responsible for one major parenting newsletter and writing paid articles about various subjects, ranging from motherhood to tech. She’s also working on publishing her grandfather’s text about his experiences. “It’s his story in a holocaust. He lived in Ukraine, but moved to Warsaw when situation was getting tough there and they thought it would be safer in Poland. They got caught in Warsaw uprising and his first wife died. I was thinking what would have happened if she survived. I wouldn’t be here. I think I owe her my life in a way,” Olga says and struggles finding the words about what she means to her.
Personally, I’ve known Olga since 2011, and every time I meet her, she leaves me with more questions than what I had in mind before meeting up with her. Even though this time I came to her with a bunch of questions, when our time together is up, she still manages to intrigue my curiosity to the point that this expectation is yet again met.
The Delft MaMa blog is celebrating its first anniversary this April. Agnès Batllori Benet and I started this blog with lots of plans and even some structure, but most of all we learned most valuable lessons on the way. Agnès is moving onto other challenges while Marie Kummerlowe will take her position as one of the blog leaders.
During this past year, we have been lucky to have such great diversity of writers joining us regularly and temporarily and this is something we’re very much looking keeping this up in the future as well. Tuesdays blog posts will be published on Fridays from now on biweekly alternating with the mom of the week, which will have a bigger team of writers behind it as well.
Currently most children are enjoying their May holidays, which include the celebration of King’s Day. The toddler playgroups on Tuesdays and Fridays will go on normally during the holiday weeks, so if you’re looking for a few hours of downtime with other parents while kids are getting to know each other, that’s your place to go. If your plans aren’t still locked down, but you find yourself in the need of a day trip idea within the Netherlands, check out the DMM Pinterest page made just for this. For crafty parents (any skill level) the 2nd of May DMM is organizing a mosaic workshop. Also, don’t forget DelftMaMa Cinema Club is always open on Facebook for new and familiar faces! More ideas on what to do throughout the year, subscribe for the Delft MaMa newsletter at the bottom of this page!
Happy Spring everyone!
With lots of love to each and everyone,
Tarja van Veldhoven
It was a chilly Tuesday morning that was going to turn into a warm afternoon. I met our mom of the week, Renée, at café Kek in the center of Delft right after she had dropped her daughters Sophia (9) and Isabella (7) off to school. She was cycling from Ypenburg, which by land belongs to The Hague, but the phone numbers were the familiar 015 of Delft. If she could have, Renée would have bought a house that was built half in Delft and half in The Hague. Ypenburg was the closest compromise. Luckily for her, the day was going to be a warm day (warm for Dutch September). Renée wasn’t quite ready to give up her feeling of summer just yet, after having spent the entire holiday in Australia with her girls.
Lo and behold! The new website of Delft MaMa is live and with it the Brand New Blog created and coordinated by Tarja & Agnès, two expats living and multiplying in Delft.
Delft MaMa is turning nine this year. During these years the group has grown into a significant amount of members and it keeps growing each month. Most of us have met other parents in Delft and have seen the huge potential in each others stories. Read more