Thursday, October 7, 2010


altAugust/September was my longest trip away from the Netherlands since I moved here four years ago.  I hadn’t planned to be gone for more than a couple of weeks, but an opportunity, sudden time in someone’s schedule, a meeting, planning and training: one thing led to another, and time passed.

There’s adjustment in returning, and rediscovering things

  • Finding where I left my bike.  I chose someplace safe, but different than where I usually park, so steps had to be retraced.  And the right set of keys found.
  • Learning to cross streets.  Looking right, not left, and registering the presence of bicycles instead of cars.
  • Climbing stairs.  Narrow passages and thin treads on top of the sheer number of steps and the breathtaking angle of climb.
  • Coping with IND.  My visa renewal went in last July: no word from them in the mountain of mail at my front door.  I called; learning that a decision was reached September 24.  I will hear in a few weeks.  No, they can’t tell me what the decision was.
  • And, about that mountain of mail.  The sheer volume of junk mail vs. real mail is astounding.  Newspapers, flyers, magazines, advertisements, probably 10:1 in number, 100:1 in volume.  I took a big bag of it to the recycle bin.
  • altRediscovering café’s.  ‘How I’ve missed streetside coffee on a  sunny afternoon.
  • Getting back into exercising.  And bike riding.  And stroopwafels.
  • Boats going by the windows.  And people. The pulse of a city’s day again, so different from the day’s phases in the countryside.
  • Resuscitating the plants: Guidelines recommend CPR before shocking them.
  • Restocking the ‘fridge.  This meant doing a big shopping at midweek, when it’s out of style to do a big shopping,   People were inconvenienced, which made the usual race to pack groceries before the next customer’s stuff arrives even more pressured.
  • Reconnecting with friends.
  • Tuning in to the Dutch language; remembering forgotten Dutch words.  And getting comfortable with missing a portion of everyday conversations around me again.  It drove me back to the Dutch books by late last night.

But the skills will all return by the weekend: it’s just like, well, riding a bike.


Two links of interest, then back to work on the budgets:

Schiphol LibrarySchiphol Airport has long had a small art gallery, where passengers could browse paintings from the Rijksmuseum between flights.  No, next to that spot, they have put a library.  There are several thousand books that can be borrowed, most focused on Dutch history and Culture, and comfy chairs for reading.  It’s a great idea, and may pull me away from the airline lounges on future trips.

DownrightnowMy mail updates are returning errors; I can’t Like my friend’s status.  Is it my fault or is the site down? knows: it’s a free site that monitors the major social networking sites and keeps track of whether they are working.  The graphic history of up- and down-time suggests that the Cloud is far less perfect than we all think.


Orangesplaash said...

Nice round up of the re-ex-patriation process. I definitely miss the bikes, the the sounds of the Dutch language, and the weather (yes, sometimes). But as you aptly put it "But the skills will all return by the weekend: it’s just like, well, riding a bike."
Welcome back!

Dave Hampton said...

I've really missed the place, thanks! 'been keeping up remotely via your blog (and a few others), but it's not a substitute for sitting in the cafe with witbier and watching the wheels go by.