Day of moving
7am flights are so cruel, as it means you really need to be at the airport by 5am, as there is always some new security alert which means security really clamp down on how many travel sized items and contact lenses you take in your carry on. Thus you end up leaving your house at 4am just to make sure you get through it all in time for your flight. I had a terrible breakfast with even worse coffee, so decided like everyone else at 6am, I was absolutely desperate for a Starbucks, so I got in the exceptionally long line and then showed up very late at a almost closed gate.
Arrival was smooth in to Schiphol and Amstelveen is a 12 minute bus ride away from the airport, which is awesome. I could have walked it to the house but I had an exact 20 KG suitcase that I didnt fancy it, so thought Id take the 2 minute bus. Really I should have walked it, I got on the right bus, just in the wrong direction. I realised 2 stops in and was able to get off but yes. That was the first of two buses on the day that I got on that was wrong. I did think to myself, if this is the worst thing that happens to me on my day or week, then Im doing ok.
I then had a bank appointment, there are less than 10 banks to choose from but ABNA Amro offer English banking (cash points, online banking, etc), the alternative is to learn dutch VERY quickly to do business banking and given how many issues I already have with online banking (in English), I thought it would be better to be safe and go with the bank who offers English. No more free banking, in the UK, the majority of banking is free, hooray for free. Sadly, free banking does not exist in the Netherlands, the prices seem to range from €1.60 to €5 per month.
Kitties, no move is complete without my pampered pedigree pussies! It was decided that a pet courier would be used as opposed to flying them, as this isnt considered the safest or kindest form of transport. I picked Tranzpet to transport the cats and it was a success, they were collected at 8am and arrived in Amstelveen at 8pm the same day. I asked that the Maine Coons were together and that Elka got her own side, she seemed impressed with her own side. A great service! Kitties are now adapating to their new dutch life. Elkas dutch diet has most certainly started and Im waiting for Callies to kick in.
The garden is like a silk route through China and we have at least 6 cats that regularly make their way through the garden. This upsets and amuses the kittens, who insist on sitting in the windows for hours at a time every day on the look out for other cats. Whilst the garden is completely fenced off, it does have more holes that swiss cheese (hence all the cats using it as a walk through), so it needs to have serious work done to it before any cats will be allowed out.
In the days since moving
Amazon does not exist in the Netherlands, boo hiss! You can order things from .de or co.uk but Prime no longer exists AT ALL and the shipping times are all over the place, ranging from 2 weeks to 6 weeks.
Free shipping for online shopping is a luxury that few sites offer. (Ive been ruined by Amazon!)
Ikea is much more fun with power tools! There has been close to a week of allen keys, Im over it, that stuff is much heavier than it looks, dragging it up 26 steep stairs makes me wonder if I can do a good Hulk impression. Ikea also charge 10% of your order as a delivery cost, Ive paid a lot in shipping.
Ive relied on Google Translate a LOT, its not quite as magic as I thought it would be but its helped a great deal in a number of different situations. My dutch is slowly coming back and I think the longer Im here, the better it will get (it will have to, right?).
Important lessons that Ive learnt in my first weeks:
Being on 2 wheels is completely different from being on 4 (no duh), so Ive had to learn how to ensure that my bag doesnt fall off whilst riding. Im also all about pimping my bike and making it as personalised as possible. If Im not healthy by Christmas from all the riding, then there is something medically wrong with me!
Elka follows me around the house and helped me figure out how to use the washing machine and dryer. Not going to lie, Google Translate really didnt help in this situation but pressing a lot of different buttons at different times did make it work.
Not having a car limits the size of items you can purchase, in theory. Ive now learnt how to put big oversized items on the bike and my new accessory is bungee cords, lots of them.
Free condiments are a thing of the past, its a very European concept to have to pay for all condiments, starting at 50-60 cent a packet. Its a very dutch thing to have ‘fritessaus’ with your fries, this is either a mayonnaise (standard) or something that is a bit like tartar sauce with them. I now carry a small tube of sauce in my bag to avoid having to pay for it every time, now thats being dutch!
Albert Heijn is the most popular grocery store and is the most expensive, there are other stores, however AH is the most recognised. Managed to sign up to their online shopping and get a delivery, you have leave a deposit on the crates and they collect them with the next delivery.
The guest bedroom has been finished, 1 room down, it gives me hope for the other rooms and areas I need to unpack!
When it rains and you realise that the basement is not watertight, at all and that it actually floods. This gives me something to look forward to every time it rains, fingers crossed the management company will make serious attempts at fixing the problem.
Im not going to lie, it has been a manic stressful filled few weeks but Ive survived, everyday is a new adventure and seems to offer up a new dutch problem, which makes it all the more fun.