Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm HERE!!!

So I’ve arrived!!! I know – it only took me six blogs!
My first hit of the Dutch was on the plane from Chicago to Amsterdam while sitting in the middle seat. To the right, an older gentleman who introduced himself as “Liam” and an “I guess we are going to be neighbors for the next seven hours.” Pretty adorable! But it didn’t matter, because to my left – my first hot dutch boy!! Of course I’m pretty sure he thought I was crazy since I was wearing sunglasses in a darkened plane and listlessly tuned into the Disney Channel (I really like Phineas and Ferb.)
Upon my arrival at Schipol Amsterdam airport, my next Dutch encounter was in the bathroom - a women in the bathroom wearing purple and black striped pants with boots looking like she was part of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band while doing the potty dance. But after she (thankfully in time) got her bathroom and I got mine, I discovered the wonders of a Dutch toilet. They are shaped to be flat on the bottom in order to allow you to “inpsect” what has been “deposited.” Seriously – the translation for it is “inspection shelf.”
I then got completely confused trying to call home on a telephone that would not allow me to use my credit card (still isn’t working – ugh gotta call those guys.) After buying a calling card and leaving a message, I met up with Rogier, the dad I’m working for. He was very nice although there was totally an awkward greeting moment where it was like “Do I shake your hand? Do we hug? I know you dutch like to do the triple cheek kiss, but I don’t think we know each other well enough, but I am going to be working for you, taking care of your daughter, and living in your house for a year so...” Seriously all that went through my mind in the three seconds before I met him.
Arriving at the house, I was greeted by one of the cutest two year olds I’ve ever met, Fien (rhymes with “seen,”) as well as Mags, the current aupair. We then walked around the city of Noordwijk (pronounced Nord-vike) where I was shown the happening street, the shopping street, and the boulevard an zee (on the sea) street – that’s right, I live on a beach. Here’s a statue near the main square, with me and the little one. After meeting the mother (I had pre-decided to go for the handshake on this one), I began to settle into my new home – a little summer house on the side of the main house. It has a living room, bathroom, kitchen, upstairs living room, and bedroom – all furnished by IKEA – seriously it looks like a showroom and it’s adorable and I love it. And there’s this cute system where if my window shade is open in the morning, Fien is allowed to come in and say good morning, so today, while drinking my coffee, I opened the door to this… So that’s it for now. I think I’m settling in nicely. Fien today told Mags that I’m “nice” and then she gave me a kiss goodnight and said (in Dutch) “thank you for the day and the food.”
I’m staying awake to talk to my parents since I don’t have to work until the afternoon tomorrow, and have killed time by watching Dutch subtitled “That 70s Show” and “Frasier” as well as google-translating all the things in my kitchen cabinets in which I have no idea what they are.
Talk to you soon!

Word of the day – “kip” - chicken

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


So I leave tomorrow! Always the procrastinator, I put off most stuff until the last minute. But I wanted to share some of my packing experience with you all! I will be taking a large suitcase, duffel bag, small (read: carry-on sized) backpackers’ pack, and purse. In it I need to fit all my worldly possessions…or at least a years worth. Now those of you who helped me pack up my house when I moved out of my apartment in June know how much crap I actually own, and chances are, you were part of the special task force enlisted to help get rid of some of it. Alas, it will still not all fit into my available luggage. There’s just to much…
For starters, books – I’m a nerd, and I read a lot. So, do they have English books in the Netherlands? Of course, but will I be able to find them, and will they be the ones I want to read? But do you know how much books weigh? And add them all together – I’m looking at an over-sized baggage fee. Plus they take up way to much space. I’ve already got two travel books, the princess bride (a must), my current trashy paperback series, and I think that’s all I’m going to allow myself.
Of course I’m worried about the little things that are going to make me feel like I’m at home. Pictures have been removed from their frames to be replaced by a roll of scotch tape. Decorative features have been replaced with a single box of fairy lights to be bought upon arrival. The teddy bear that has sat on my bed for the last 19 years has been put into a bag to make way for the sock monkey that I bought as a gift for the little girl.
Then there are the clothes, which includes accessories, hats, shoes etc. I have twenty different baseball hats alone…but they don’t play baseball in Europe so that’s one problem solved…no one is going to care that I’m an A’s fan, so I have decided to leave it at home in lieu of a plain black one for necessary protection from the sun. I’ve also decided to take a couple beanies for warmth, and I’m pulling out the old beret because I have a wonderful feeling that it’s making a comeback. Then I move onto the scarves I have acquired over the years to protect me from the harsh weather we experience three days a year here in California. Only problem is that there actually IS harsh weather in Holland, and I must choose which will actually keep me warm (which sadly means the leopard printed Prado scarf must stay behind.) Along with the necessity of warm accessories comes other warm clothing causing me to have gone out and acquired several protective, but bulky winter coats that are taking up way to much space. (Also on a side note, my sister won’t lend me her really cute fur hooded one because she’s a butthead.) So after that whole lot is done, it’s time to go from 37 pairs of shoes to five or six…hopefully. Being practical (but completely heartbroken) I have decided upon only two pairs of heels, a pair of boots, slip ons, and two sneakers. And with that I must take a break, because tearing out parts of your life is tiring.
I take the break time to comfort myself with Paula Deans taco meatloaf while beginning my children’s book I have been inspired to write by the “Where the Wild Things Are” movie. Feeling refreshed and with the next disc of arrested development in the dvd player, I move on to the hardest item of all…my actual clothes. Here’s my problem – the Netherlands has four distinct seasons requiring four different types of clothing meaning I need at least a weeks worth of clothes times four. Packing the staples like my comfy long dresses, jeans turtle necks, and my “Nothing wrong with a little junk in the trunk” t shirt, I think I’ve done it. I’ve also come to the amazing realization that (as I am prone to do anyway,) I CAN GO SHOPPING THERE!!!
With this new found appreciation for the retail industry, I continue pairing down my luggage (because the overweight baggage fees SUCK) and hope that eventually I will learn to become a savvy traveler. But for now I will make due with the fact that I have just fit my life into three bags, and for once, I’m excited about it.


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