Day 1: Arrival in Amsterdam and Amstelveen

We arrived safely and happily in Amsterdam today. Everything went smoothly. All the luggage was gathered and accounted for and we walked right through customs in less than 2 minutes! We reserved a mini bus to pick us up with all our luggage and the driver was right near the bus stand waiting for us, as expected. I love when things go as planned!!

He drove us to our new home where Lion was already waiting for us, with the doors and windows open and airing out the place. I believe it was 29 degrees celsius which is hot for here. There were flowers on the table from the furniture rental place, a bottle of wine from the home owner and a bottle of champagne from the realtor. We also had our first piece of mail addressed to the Hartley Family from Dorine and Nadja!

Once we got all the bags in the house, Lion took me and the two younger travelers to the Albert Hijn for groceries and assundries and to buy me some fresh flowers. It was wonderful since he drove us and I didn’t have to make several trips, even though it is in walking distance from our home. He helped me to read the labels, use our new bank card with a chip and pin, and use a euro coin to release the shopping cart. The kids were fascinated and C was picking out affordable cereal so I think he was happy too!

We rested shortly and then walked to dinner at an Indonesian restaurant where we enjoyed rending, sayer lodeh, noodles, rice, and mixed veggies. It was delicious, but the kids were fading fast! We hurried them thru and made one more stop at Dirk’s for bathroom soap as I missed that the first time around. I noticed that workers and shoppers don’t seem to greet one another and hardly even smile. It was especially apparent when we were so lucky to drop a set of 6 glasses out of our basket and they crashed all over the floor and no one hardly looked up, offered any help, or yelled at us. Nothing happened and it felt surreal. Nothing happened as we checked out either with glass every where. Nothing happened when the next set of customers kicked the glass pile either!! Why? I have no idea yet as to what to expect. I just wanted to hurry out of there!!

We walked back home with our paid for Dirk’s bag and were greeted by our first set of neighbors. They invited us in for a drink and we visited for a short while as we were waiting for the plumber to arrive. Its nice to have some friendly faces right next door, who invited us I. And shared some small plastic bowls for cereal in the morning.

And so now we are settling in for the night before 9 pm. Little C is sleeping in our room b/c the sun is too hot and shining directly in his room. Slap lekker! xo

Day 21: 3 Weeks Until We Move!

20120704-232549.jpg

So 3 weeks from today we’ll be on an airplane to the Netherlands. I think it was about 4 months ago that this crazy idea began to germinate. We’ve done so much to prepare and most of the big items are done. When I agreed to this idea of being expats, I told my husband that I am happy to go and that I wanted to do everything I could beforehand to enjoy all the goodness that surrounds me. The crazy thing is I think I’ve packed more excitement into the past 4 months than I have in years. I’m thankful for this amazing gift of appreciation and time and awareness and for my supportive family and friends. I’m awestruck to say the least!!

When I started this blog 100+ days ago and called it: Here I Am, it was to commit to being fully present and living life in the moment. I like this feeling. I feel fulfilled and wish everyone the same joy. Remind me of this if I ever falter.

Being here and being the Fourth of July and attending the USA gymnastics Olympic trials this week and playing outside makes me aware of how much I love being an American. I love the flag, our patriotism, our national anthem, even our money. I’m aware that I will miss our American Holidays even though I look forward to the European ones. I’m excited and accept the changes that are to come and know this is an amazing opportunity yet I’m aware of the costs even though I know I’m coming back one day. Ying and yang. It’s all good.

The kids and I took all the coins we’ve been saving around the house and brought them to the Coinstar machine to be sorted and counted. We had over $200 in random coins! It was fun for them to feed the machine and watch the ticker count away. They were happy because they got to divide up the proceeds.
20120705-000836.jpg

So with that, I hope you celebrated with BBQs and watermelon, friendship and sparklers, fireworks and dessert and had an amazing day!

P.S. I’m taking a fitness vacation over the next few days and may not have internet access, so will catch up again as I can. xo

20120705-000316.jpg