Realizing for the first time the consequences he faced as a result of not sharing in the coordination of our international move, he was given an answer that would define nearly a decade of expatriate life, “As an expat, Europe is now my playground. A person’s home should reflect not only who they are, but where they’ve been and where they’re going.” By bringing only our favorite possessions, I gave us room to grow into the people we’d become through living abroad.
Needing a table on which to dine, as well as the china to set on it, we began searching the flea markets of Europe, letting our travel choices dictate our décor. “Darling,” I rang my husband’s office one day, “We need a buffet and I’ve just read an article on the selection of antique side boards available in the Costa Blanca. Shall we go to Spain this Easter to see the procession and to stop by an excellent source for richly carved chestnut chests?” Weekends were passed flea marketing in the French countryside as we filled our home and stomachs while sampling the specialties of the regions. As our waistlines expanded, we’d return to 6eme Parisian apartment with a shabby chateau canapé that would groan when sat upon and Napoleon III side tables lacquered and adorned with mother of pearl embellishments.
When we moved to Holland, Belgium became our favorite getaway as it brought back memories of France with its abundance of French antiques, but better Belgium prices. Trips across Germany have filled our home with the type of knick knacks we never knew we needed until they completed a tableau. While visits to see friends living in Switzerland resulted in us starting a new collection of antique globes found at their many brocantes and led us to purchasing a politically incorrect vintage fur throw straight from a chalet at a bargain bin price.
Guests visiting us in The Netherlands nearly a decade after our expat journey began tour our home and comment on the eclectic international décor and when I point out a pile of plates that I peddled home in a box tied with a bungee cord to the back of my bike, they exclaim, “It’s just so you!”
PS: To read the country overviews I wrote for Expatica, simply click on the links below!