Saturday, November 11, 2023

Six Weeks in the Netherlands

Today marks six (6) weeks since I landed in Amsterdam. It has gone by so quickly! Most of that is because I have been crazy busy. It is not from traveling but simply settling in. Although I am on a train right now on the way to Copenhagen. Woohoo!

Settling into the regular cadence of life such as unpacking, finding where to buy groceries, and where to grab a cocktail has been easy. Not much different than my move from Minnesota to California, actually. I had an apartment lined up prior to arriving and unpacking two duffel bags and a carry-on does not take long. I have created such a simple life for myself the transition is easy. I live in the Dapperburrt neighborhood in the East district of Amsterdam just a short walk to the Centrum, where all the fun is had. My apartment feels a bit big (73sm/785sf) but I love the neighborhood and it is nice. 

I got this opportunity to live in Europe because of work sponsoring me and work is one of the things that is keeping me busy. Not only did I move across the world but I also took on a new role with ServiceNow. I am enjoying it but with any new job comes additional energy. I have been going into the office once a week which is a short train ride from my home. 

For the first three (3) weeks, in addition to working full time, I navigated the Dutch system of adulting. The first critical step was registering my address with the Dutch government so I could receive a BSN ("SSN") and give them my fingerprints and photo for my residency card. I needed those two things before I could do anything else. They definitely have gates to prevent anyone from being here without permission. The biggest challenge was getting my utilities (water, electricity, gas) set up, getting a Dutch cell number, opening a bank account so I could get paid, and setting up my home internet. First, I speak no Dutch. I am a Google Translate expert but that only goes so far. Full disclosure: I am still not sure I have all my utilities fully set up. But I do have a residency card so I can go through the 'EU Passports Only' line at the airport!

My next goal is to meet some people and build my community. You may want to sit down before reading this next statement. I joined a rowing club. Everything I read about how to meet people in Amsterdam is to 'join a sports club'. I am the most unathletic person alive and when someone mentioned rowing to me I thought "How hard can it be?" My kids laughed. Annelies has been sending me TikToks because she has doubts. I have to admit I did not realize you only had one oar until watching the videos. It probably isn't called an oar. I Googled the club the woman suggested when I got home that night, saw it was only 23 minutes from my home, and figured I like being on the water and there is only one position and/or thing to do. Right? And not to mention, it will be freaking awesome to row in the canals of Amsterdam! I hope they let me take photos. 

Everyone asks if I have purchased a bike, and although my employer pays for one, I am not confident I would enjoy it. Biking hurts my crotch and I stress the entire time I am away from it that it will get stolen. But walking is my favorite part of the day so I am sticking with that mode of transportation for now. I will say though I am a minority walking in this city. Bikes have the right away, followed by cars, and then walkers. I look left, right, left again, right again, cross my fingers and run when I cross the street.

Here are a few things I have done since I have been here:

Volunteered with my company cleaning the canals of Amsterdam...

Went on a Cheese Tour because cheese is amazing...

Went on a walking tour of the canals... 

Took a trip to Staines, UK for work, where I stayed near where the Magna Carta was signed...

Joined a group of wool-lovers at a gathering in the country...

And joined a 'Learn Dutch' Zoom group. 

I guess I have done a few things. ;-)

This week I had my first guests! My high school friend asked if her daughter could stay the night as she had an early flight the next day. It was so fun to meet her. I love talking to young people and supporting their wanderlust!

My guest bed is ready my friends. Let me know when you are coming for a visit! Life is good in Amsterdam. 

No comments:

Post a Comment