Living in Amsterdam

We moved to Amsterdam on the 24th of March and plan to live here until the end of September. This is the first time for either Beth or I to live outside the U.S. Just within these first few weeks, we've had numerous experiences that we want to be sure not to forget, and many that we want badly to share with our friends and family. So we will resurrect the blog for the purpose of sharing some stories and photos from our adventure.

We had a lot of people supporting us in our move. My company relocated us, and made available professionals to take care of everything from visas to packing, from apartment-hunting to cultural training. We made an "orientation" visit to check out neighborhoods about a month before our move, and we purchased and read many books on Amsterdam and The Netherlands.

So it was surprising how difficult it was to do the simplest things when we got here in late March. We arrived with four suitcases (well, we didn't exactly arrive with them, but they made it eventually), and that was all we had for the first two weeks we were here. The apartment came with furniture, but when it came to "stuff" for the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. we had to start from scratch.

Beth and I soon agreed that rather than filling us in on all of the cultural differences between the Dutch and Americans, it would have been a much better use of our "support team" for someone to just take us on a shopping trip! Just show us where to go to get a hair dryer, help us recognize the difference between laundry detergent and fabric softener, point us to a reasonably-priced secondhand bike shop, ... everywhere we turned there was some small need that we found ourselves unable to address.

There are still a few of these things left (we still need to get a dutch mobile phone), but over the past few weeks we've been able to solve most of these "problems" and form a routine. Our life here is night-and-day different than New York -- in some ways better and in some ways not. We are doing our best to live as locals, not tourists. We want to experience as much as we possibly can during this window of opportunity.

I already have subjects for the next 11 posts. I'll try to get around to writing as often as I can. It's nice to think that we can, in a limited way, share our life here with our friends. Until next time...