But it's a bit nerve wracking as well. We're moving to a country the size of New Jersey, with roughly 2 1/2 times as many people. The national language is Dutch, so the French we took in high school won't be much help. I'm starting a new job at a new company, where I don't know anyone. And since I'll be working in the city, we've decided to give city life a try. It will be a whole lot different than Maine!
The first challenge, getting our dog there. After a series of vaccinations, vet exams, tons of paperwork and a personal meeting with the State Veterinarian, we had all her papers in order. But we couldn't find an airline with a direct flight from Boston that would accept a dog, so we had to rent a car and drive to JFK Airport in New York City (can year hear Richard groaning from here?) for our flight.
Since we are keeping our house in Maine, the only thing we brought with us were the clothes in our luggage. Okay, a lot of luggage. $800 in extra luggage costs to be exact. Geez......plus $250 for the dog. We got to the airport and checked in. I'm not sure who was more worried - Daphne or me - about a dog in the cargo hold, but she did fine on the flight.
We arrived in Amsterdam on a bright, sunny day (little did we know that isn't the norm!) and a big van picked us up and took us to our temporary living quarters.
|New Neighborhood. We're in one of the buildings on the left.|
They had a warm welcome for us and we immediately started to settle in. And to learn about some of the differences that come with living in a different country.
So here were the big surprises!!
|You'll never fit a turkey in here!!|
|Our first meal in Amsterdam!|
The refrigerator is a little bigger than the one in your college dorm. And the freezer - it's really only good for chilling a bottle of wine.
|Yup, that's the whole freezer....conveniently sized for a bottle of wine|
2) The Guest Toilet - The toilet gets its own room.. And it's not in the bathroom, which is at the other end of the apartment. Oh, and it's really tiny in there!
|Here is the bathroom - bidet but no toilet|
3) No car (at least not at first) - you walk or take mass transit for everything. So for your grocery trip? You only buy what you can carry (oh, and it's bring your own bags!). It's a long walk home, so you think about your purchases from a weight perspective
4) WiFi - the apartment didn't come with it. So they gave us a gadget called a dongle, that was a sort of glorified hot spot. But we quickly learned that it only worked well if you dangled the dongle out the window and sat close to it. Awkward!
5) Banking - this was a BIG one. We made a not so smart assumption that we could simply transfer money from our US account into our new Dutch one. Wrong! With all the changes in banking laws, that was impossible. So we had to keep withdrawing cash (with a hefty fee) and physically move it to our Dutch account, until I got my first paycheck. As you can imagine, that was awkward and expensive, so we tried to be very cautious with spending.
But despite some of the changes, we are thrilled with life in Amsterdam and look forward to learning more about our new city!