are we there yet?

Indeed we are!  Well, we are actually going on 4 days now, so I thought it was time to give everyone an update.  I am going to do Wed-Fri here and will post separately about the weekend…want to keep the reading light!

It all began last Wednesday with a nice 8+ hour flight from Chicago.  I didn’t get the 8 hours of sleep that I was hoping for, given the free movie options that I felt I should take advantage of, but I did get about 4 hours. Anyway, we arrived at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam on Thursday morning with all 6 of our checked bags and our 4 carry-ons. (and I always thought I was a good packer!).

A short half-hour ride (during which I made my first Dutch windmill sighting), and we were at the site of our temporary apartment, right in the heart of the city near shopping, cafe’s, ect.  It wasn’t long after that, and BC had found the Olympics on television (we are more real-time, so I will try not to spoil any results for you).  We didn’t watch long before we were out…catching up on overdue, much needed sleep.  We did venture out after our 5-6 hour nap to the convenience store down the block though, for some “coca-cola light” and a frozen pizza!

Friday, we needed an early start, as we were expected at 8:00 am at BC’s future office to meet his team for coffee.  Easy enough, right?  Incorrect.  This meant navigating our way through town with no idea how to get there.  We decided to head to the nearby Central Station where we could surely find a bus or tram that dropped off close to the office. After wandering around looking for a map or anything in English (none of the signs are, as expected), we settle on taking a taxi.  Apparently this was a silly choice, as the ride was only 5 minutes or maybe less.  Now the next decision, do we tip our driver?  We had been told tipping is much less frequent here.  We opt for no…and I wonder for a while if we looked like jerks?  Anywhoo, the meeting went well!  BC has a great, friendly team, the office was really nice, and the coffee was tasty…couldn’t have been better.  We decided to walk back to the apartment, which took about 25 minutes but was a good exploration.

Next up, a city tour with our relocation specialists.  One of the ladies picked us up and gave us the grand tour by car all around the city to show everything it has to offer.  (this is the point in which i determined that no driving will be done by me for quite some time.)  We even made a quick stop at a shopping center during the tour (much needed as I had been without a hair dryer and straightener that morning).  She also helped us talk to the man at the mobile phone place about how their costs work…much appreciated translation!  She then took us for lunch, where I tried a traditional Dutch food called kroketten…tasty!  Then on to apartment hunting, where we think we have found the perfect apartment, in a very nice neighborhood, Archipel.  One more look on Monday, but we are confident this will be the winner!

After such a successful day, we decide to journey out for dinner shortly after 7:00pm.  We wandered about the city center before we settled upon a spot.  A blank stare to the waiter as he asked in Dutch what we would like to drink, and he quickly determined we would need the English version of the menu.  Drinks ordered, drinks finished…  We had been told to bring our patience out to dinner, as the process is much slower, so we wait.  1/2 hour goes by and we have yet to order our food…ok, this cant be right.  Finally, 45 minutes after we arrived, we spot our waiter only to find out that the kitchen closed 15 minutes ago at 8:00.  Fail.  We made a quick stop at the super market and found an alternative to eat while taking in more Olympics back at the apartment.

All-in-all, despite some confusion, a great couple of days to start our new adventure!

Until next time,