Moving

11 Things I Love about My New Home After 3 Months.

I have been feeling a little down in the dumps ever since my mom left. It is not that I necessarily miss the States, it is just that I do miss my family and friends. To get over this, I decided to make one of my world famous lists. So, after a little over 3 months of living in The Netherlands, here is a small list of things I love about my new country.


1. I love public transportation. Sure, when we go to ikea, and buy something that is too small to justify the expense of having it delivered, I miss my car. But I like that I can get anywhere by bus or by train and maybe even a walk. Plus, trains haven’t lost their romance for me yet. I am not sure that they ever will. I blame Funny Face and Before Sunrise for this. Although, people with strollers on trains, but especially buses, still shock me. So,maybe a car before baby. And babies not for years.
Me and Mom on the train. 

2. Potatoes. If you are not a potato fan, I am not sure this is the country for you. Seriously, anyway you can think of to cook a potato, they do. Lately, I have been a huge fan of Hutspot- potatoes, carrots, and onions all smashed together. Think of when you were little and would mix your corn and potatoes together. It is like that but they do it with a ton of veggies. So yummy! And we won’t even mention the frites!  

3. No one looks at me like I am a freak when I drown things in Mayo. Seriously, in the States, I made a mayo hating friend puke once. I don’t remember this, but she assures me it happened. Sorry! But well,  I love it and so do the Dutch.

4. Pureed salads. This has to do with the whole mayo thing, but the Dutch tend to puree their meat to add to salads. So instead of chucks in Chicken Salad, you get something much more like a spread. I have been eating a ton of salmon salad with bacon sandwiches. Don’t knock it until you try it.

5. The merging. Growing up in Atlanta, we don’t know how to merge on the street let alone when we are walking. You would assume that the Dutch would stand in an orderly line when it is time to get on the train or bus. They don’t. They stand in a bug blob and merge to get on the bus. At first, I was all like “ hey, they are going to get on before me! and I’ve been standing here longer” but now, it is just something that is done and that works pretty well.

6. My museumkaart: Less than 50 euros a year and I can get in for free or almost free to over 100 museums around Holland. This is my card of Heaven! If you are planning on spending sometime in The Netherlands, you might want to pick one up as well.

7. The sky. You know when you look at one of the landscapes for The Dutch Golden Age and the sky just looks, so beautiful and the golden sunbeams are barely going through the clouds painting the building and landscape in a surreal light. Yeah, you probably don’t. I know, I know, art freak! Anyway, because it is so far North here, the sun is lower in the sky and the light is unique and I love it!

Delft

8. The Censorship or lack there of. I have been a rule stickler all my life. I wouldn’t even Jaywalk before I moved here. But something about censorship has always bugged the crap out of me. Something being banned for content has always pissed me off. Which is why if you slap an NC17 rating on something, I want to watch it. Or ban a book I instantly want to read it. Hey, we all have our small rebellions. Which is why here, where the F* bomb flows free on tv and the preview for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is playing later on tv has Jason Segal’s towel dropping in all it’s hilarious glory, makes me insanely happy. No offense to Mr, Segal, who I love, but strange penises are always funny. Not that it is strange in that way, just that it is foreign as I have never seen it in real life. Anyway, it is just nudity, and I make the choice as to whether or not I want to see it. Movies are better not edited for TV. Also, it takes the responsibility for parenting kids off the tv channel and onto parents.

9. I love the city architecture. Loek and I live on the outskirts of Utrecht. But, I love the old city centers with their quaint little squares. I love that I never really feel helplessly lost even in Amsterdam ( Den Haag, yes) Amsterdam, no. I love the tall, skinny townhomes, and the narrow cobblestone streets. The hiden gardens and the open windows.

10. I love all the birds. When Loek came to visit the States, he made me come outside to look at the squirrels. He was so excited, you never see them here. Maybe they are in the woods, but not running around. Instead you get birds and bunnies. Although, seagulls are on my shit list, ever since one well...Shit on me!

11. Loek and Atti, of course, they make my life gezellig. Gezellig is my favorite Nederlands word. There is no English translation that does it justice. It is coming home to your family and having dinner be ready. Or spending the evening drinking beers in a cafe with friends. Or for me, curling up with a warm cup of Chocomel with Whipped Cream and a good book.

Loek and Atti. Don't mind the walls.

As strange as it is to be a stranger in a strange land, I feel at home here. Now if only I could master Nederlands enough to communicate at Loek’s parent’s parties!

Our First House Guest Arrives in 4 Hours!

It is roughly 4:20 in the morning here in beautiful Holland. I couldn't sleep a wink because, well let's face it I don't sleep like a normal human, and...My mom lands in 4 hours! Which means I would have to get up in 2 hours anyway. My mom will be mine and Loek's first visitor since I moved here 3 months ago. Wow, 3 months! This will be my mom's first time to The Netherlands and I of course, want her to love it. 

We have so much planned in the week that she is here. I will even be venturing to some cities I have not yet visited and then there is the "meeting of the parent's". 

I promise to keep you all updated! 

I Can Stay!

Yesterday, I received some rather awesome news in the post! Just 2 weeks, after turning in all required paperwork to apply for my visa, I was granted my wish! That's right, I can now stay here with The Verlo- for at least a year! Words can not describe how elated I feel! I can also now look for a job here, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. 

So, how did we do it, you may be asking? Well, the first step in moving anywhere abroad should first be all the necessary research. Don't just rely on what you read online, actually call if you have questions. Here in The Netherlands, you have to be on the lease to register yourself as living with your partner. This process took us about two weeks to get the lease sent to us. After we registered at City Hall, we went to IND to get all the necessary paperwork to fill out. Since I am an American, I had to get my Civil Status Affidavit notarized at the US Consulate in Amsterdam. It took 3 weeks to get an appointment. You then have to take that paper to Den Haag to have it legalized for the Dutch Government. 

Since The Verlo- just  started a new job and didn't have a long enough contract. (see Immigration for where you want to move for all requirements,) We had to provide all his contracts and tax stubs for the last 3 years. As well as, all his paychecks for this year. In the end, we just had to fill out all the paperwork, along with about 50 pieces of various required papers, and pay our fees. 

I am so excited, that it has been working out for us and we could not be happier that I get to stay here. All I can say, as hokey as it sounds is: Listen to your heart, do the work, and your dreams really can come true! 

The Beautiful and The Damned

I love living with The Verlo- everyday is filled with love and laughter, and it is amazing to finally after four years live with the one I am supposed to be with. I also love where we live. We live in a section of Utrecht called Leidsche Rijn. It is an up and coming area, within biking distance of the city center, but with a I can be in the country in minutes feel. It is also right next to a park, where ruins of a castle that predates when the Romans invaded Utrecht. The ruins were part of the reason I was so excited to live in this community. Those who know me personally know how much of a history buff I am.

This however, has proved to be a curse, rather than a blessing because, I fear our apartment was built on the ancient burial grounds of the castle. Just too many weird stuff happens in this house for it to be pure coincidence. For starters, almost all of our electrical items have either not worked at all since we have moved or have just gone out. Loek's computer, our stovetop, and last night our washer broke and flooded our storage room. And you know that beautiful wallpaper my future inlaws put up for us? It is all peeling and falling down. They are not amateurs either. It is simply to strange and upsetting for words. We  haven't been able to hang up any overhead lights because we can not drill into the ceiling to attach them properly. Loek even got mildly electrocuted.

I know that I must sound like a lunatic, but I really believe this house has some bad cosmic energy. If anyone has any suggestions on how to improve the chi of our home, I am up for suggestions.And, in case you were wondering, I still love living in The Netherlands.

No, I am Not Dead!

Forgive me readers for I have sinned, it has been about 3 weeks since my last post. An eternity in internet years, I know. It is just that I have been busy, moving and building Ikea furniture.  Plus, apparently it takes almost a month to transfer you internet here, so I am without until the 11th.

Hence,  I am writing to you from a McDonalds, where I just had a fish filet. Apparently, ordering something not the way it comes is very odd to the Dutch. The Verlo-  makes me feel like a freak every time I tell him I want my food plain. I know, I am the world's pickiest eater.  Anyways, a lot has happened since my last post. We officially got my address changed, and went to IND. The guy there was super nice, and I have another appointment there after I go to the American Embassy to get my Certificate of Civil Status verified next week. It took about 2 weeks to get an open appt at the US Consulate. So much for trying to do stuff immediately..

I will try to make it to places with WiFi more often in the future. And I can't wait until I have internet again on the 11th. I just wanted to let you guys know I am fine and not dead and have not given up my blog in abandon.

 

In the meantime, Happy Halloween from Holland!

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Know Before You Go

I think I did a decent job of preparing myself before moving over here. I checked immigration websites, blogs, etc for any information I could find before I left. I thought that the verlo- and I were doing the responsible thing by going to City Hall and changing his address to our new apartment and my address to the same. 

After being sent back and forth between a few departments, we finally got a number to wait in line. Apparently, the verlo- could have just gone online and changed his. Something new to keep in mind if you are living here in The Netherlands. After waiting an hour, we were finally called. But unfortunately, my name is not on the rental agreement so they could not register me. So much for being responsible. The lady was really mean too, that famous Netherlander service I've heard so much about. 

It is not too big of a deal, we just had to call the apartment people, and they have sent us a form in which we have to fill out and the process could take weeks. We called IND and they said it was ok, I just have to report within 3 months of landing, not the 3 days that I had originally read. So, at first I had a freakout, but now I am ok! We just didn't read anywhere about the rental agreement so I thought I should tell you. Other than that, things are going good so far. I have just been busy trying to get our new place ready to move in!  

Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Where to Begin?

 

Hello Lovelies,

It has been awhile. You will have to forgive me, I did after all move to a whole new country! So many new and interesting things have happened in just a few short days. I guess though, I should start with the flight. I left Atlanta at 10:40pm on Tuesday. My bags were at 49 and 50lbs respectfully. Which means, I only had to pay for an extra checked bag! Atti's US papers were briefly looked over, and after $200.00. We were free to go on our way. Saying goodbye to my parents was really hard, but honestly I was really excited so I did not get as emotional as I probably should have. But, I miss them already!

Going through security was interesting, Atti had to come out of his carrier and I had to carry him through security. He was on a leash but honestly, he was such a good boy he didn't need it. Even the TSA agent said, "what an experienced little traveler, and I said, "no ma'am, his first time. He is just the best boy ever." The man behind me was nice enough to help hold the carrier open, so I could get him back in. Without me even asking, oh the kindness of strangers. I got to my gate, but sat at another, so no one could see Atti. People tend to freak if they see an animal. I gave him a sedative and we got on the plane. He barely fit under the seat! I gave him some water and checked on him to make sure he was okay. He didn't make a peep the entire time. He also didn't drink anything.or use the bathroom. My flight landed at noon, a full hour early, which was great but Loek wasn't supposed to meet me until 1:45pm. There was no line at security, it was a breeze. I tried to call Loek, but my phone wouldn't work inside the airport. For those of you who have never been to Schiphol, there are several places for arrivals to come out. You look on a board by time to see which one the arrivals are coming out of.

By 1:20pm, my flight was no longer listed. I found a pay phone and tried to dial Loek. Every combination I tried, didn't work. I went to the help desk and asked how to make a call. They looked at me like I was dumb then told me to dial 0 not the country code.  Alright, I know silly. I got his voicemail. Finally I found him! After wondering around with all my luggage in a car and Atti on my shoulder. I was so relieved, For a second, I thought maybe he forgot about me! But, he didn't and it was fantastic seeing my guy standing there.

Well, that's how I got here, I'll update you on the rest a little later!

Flickr image by: antwerpenR

 

 

All My Bags are Packed I'm Ready to Go!

I leave on Tuesday, hard to believe I know! I feel like we have all been waiting so long for me to move and now, it is finally almost here. I don't know that it has hit me yet. Atti had his last vet appointment today, we just had to get the airline form filed out. I also had to buy him a bigger carrier because he grew again! As for me, all my stuff is packed. I ended up buying another giant duffel, which actually turns into a backpack! Now Loek and I can maybe go backpacking through Europe one day. I am checking both of those, bringing a weekender and Atti on the plane with me. My mom is bringing my summer clothes when she comes to visit in January. Since, I am basically ready to go, I am just going to hang out with my mom for these last few days (She is having a really hard time, I am her only). 

As for the apartment, Loek is working hard on it everyday. But since there is so much to do, we probably won't be able to move in the weekend after I land. Which is okay, I will just get to help get it together. I don't know if I will get to update this again before I leave. But just in case I don't: Thank you for reading about all my prep to leave! I promise there will be a different, but equally cool (or cooler) focus to my blog. 

What A Brand New Dutch Apartment Looks Like!

While I was partying hard this weekend, Loek was working on our brand new apartment! He picked up the 8 keys that we were supplied with on Friday. As well as, going to ikea to pick up our new floor. Saturday and Sunday he prepared the walls for wall paper. Today, my fantastic future in-laws have been working on putting up wallpaper and fixing our concrete walls so I can one day paint them. Hopefully, this week the walls get done, and Loek can start to put down our floor. 

Since we got the apartment a week later than we were expecting to, Loek will not be moved in until the weekend after I land. I expect to have to help him pack up his stuff after I land. Which is fine as I am now an expert packer! I promise to keep you all updated on our progress as it goes. But for now, please watch our video! 

 

 

A Send Off in Style

This past weekend was amazing, and more action packed than any one weekend has the right to be! My last day of work was on Friday and Loek got the keys to our brand new apartment! Look for a ton of posts about us making it into our home. Saturday was my going away party! Sunday was my bridal shower and today, I was asked to be a Godmother! This weekend could not have been better. I will fill you in with more details this week. 

Tomorrow, I have a ton of laundry to do and I am meeting my work friends for one last lunch. Sorry I have not been updating this as much as I would like. I am just preparing to move, you know. I leave a week from tomorrow!

 

 

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