05 October 2011

Holland: Home Sweet 'Thuis

It is a huge relief for us to be in our own space at last. When we left Chicago, we had no idea where we would end up. Our previous experience with apartment hunting in the Netherlands was not positive, so it wasn't easy to not worry. In the end we found a great place for our family to live. It's not close to trees like we dreamed of, though. Instead, we are smack in the middle of town. In fact, we are in the newest part of this old town. And oh, the adventures have only begun.

We came to this place by pure chance. After weeks of research on-line, days of planning visits with various realtors, and visits to three possible homes, it came down to 45 minutes one evening and a lucky internet search. We walked my in-laws' house at 4:15 on a Thursday afternoon and hoped to make one appointment for the next day. It worked. A huge sigh of relief.

We had to arrange parking permits for the movers. One of our movers. We had things in storage at my in-laws, our car in transit from Chicago, and our goods in transit as well. Figuring out where we could park and what permits were available took a few phone calls and emails. Only by chance did we find out that the day that our goods from Chicago were scheduled to be delivered was the beginning of a city fair (kermis). The next possible date for a parking permit? Two weeks later. And we went for another round of last minute phone calls. We'll be waiting another week or so for that.

Now our excitement is internet. For reasons I may never fully understand, these things take weeks in the Netherlands. We ordered our internet/phone service about two weeks ago. They sent a modem last week. They were supposed to turn on our service today (we requested it for last Monday). No service yet. Lucky for us the library is next door. I don't anticipate this working out well, at least not in the near term. Grumble grumble grumble.

On the upside, though – mobile phones were a cinch and we have reasonably priced packages. We celebrated Peanut's third (THIRD!!!) birthday last week and he loved it, especially the singing. Apparently we can skip gifts as long as we sing “Happy Birthday” repeatedly. My kind of kid! Our neighbors have a little boy the same age as Peanut with almost the same name. They came by to drop of a sweet gift and stayed for coffee and are nice! For those of you not familiar with the Netherlands – this kind of paying attention to neighbors is almost shocking, it's too friendly. We're delighted. We have guests already scheduled to come and plenty of space for them, too. All in all – life shaping up just fine.

Do you see those chairs? There's a good story there, too.

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