Pinay Mom's Blogs
Motherhood between windmills and tulips

A tulip's tale

Bloom Where You're Planted: Embracing Tulip Season as an Expat in the Netherlands

Spring has sprung, and if you're anything like me, the sight of those first green shoots poking through the soil can feel like a personal victory. But here in the Netherlands, spring doesn't just mean a bit of green. It means the country turns into a masterpiece painted with the boldest and brightest colors imaginable, all thanks to one little hero: the tulip.
You're probably thinking, "But that's just a flower Tarah, right?" Oh, but in the Netherlands, tulips are so much more! They're a symbol of spring, a source of national pride, and for many of us expats, a memorable lesson in history, culture, and the art of patience and resilience, (hmm.. did I learn that in my dutch integration class?). In any case, let me take you on a little journey through the life of these extraordinary blooms and share some tips on how you can make the most of tulip season, only because I researched about it and sharing it with you!

A Tulip's Tale
Did you know that tulips aren't originally from the Netherlands? Shocking po and? I know! These beauties actually come from Central Asia, but they've become as Dutch as wooden shoes and windmills. Back in the 17th century, these colorful flowers caused such a frenzy that they were worth more than some houses!

From Bulb to Beauty
Planting a tulip bulb in the chilly autumn soil and waiting for it to burst into life in spring is a lesson in patience. I'm not a green thumb (my husband is) and I don't have much patience,  So it will be difficult for me to plant these myself. But these bulbs need their cold, dark period to gather the strength to bloom. Watching them grow and finally bloom, I can imagine would be like our expat journey, isn't it? Planting ourselves in new soil, weathering the cold, and finally, blooming in ways we never expected! Hehe.

The Journey to Your Vase
Ever wonder how these beautiful flowers end up brightening your living room? Dutch farmers are master artists, nurturing fields of tulips that look like they've been painted onto the landscape. Harvesting happens in the blink of an eye, with the flowers still in bud form to last longer once they're cut. From there, they make their way to florists and grocery stores, ready to bring a bit of Dutch spring into our homes here in the Netherlands, and also around the world!

Caring for Your Tulips
Bringing home a bunch of tulips is like bringing home a bit of Dutch spring, isn't it? It just makes my day whenever we have them here at home. Per my experience, cut the stems diagonally, use cold water but only a tad bit that the tips of stems are soaked around 3 to 4 inches high, and keep the flowers away from direct sunlight to make them last longer.  

Experiencing Tulip Season
If you can, please do visit the tulip fields and gardens. Places like Keukenhof are where you'll see the true spectacle of the tulip season. Imagine wandering through rows of color, each bloom nodding in the breeze as if to say, "Welcome to the Netherlands!" Just one thing to remember is to respect the flowers and the hard work of the farmers. No trampling through the fields for that perfect Instagram shot, okay?

What We Learn from Tulips
As expats and immigrants to this beautiful country, we're constantly planting ourselves in new places, facing the unknown, and hoping to bloom. Tulips remind us of that. And with a bit of patience, care, and resilience, we can find beauty and strength in our new surroundings. They remind us that sometimes, we just need to weather the cold to enjoy the bloom.

So here's to tulip season, ladies (and gents) – to the beauty of change, the promise of new beginnings, and the colorful journey of expat life. Let's bloom where we're planted and make this season a reflection of our own vibrant journeys.

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