Monday, April 18, 2011

Launching into the week

Although it can’t  be too bad with spring weather like this.

We had a wonderful sunset filled with Dutch light across the river last night, then a textured sunrise this morning.  The living room chairs face the varied views and bustling street scenes, so are always a good spot to curl up with morning coffee and a few thoughts.  And it’s motivation for getting up early (light by 6 now).

Window 2

I heard from the Dutch Language people that evaluated me as part of my inburgering last month.  No score on my performance; just a notice that I was handed off to a college (with a Dutch buddy resident?) in Maastricht who would be delivering a Plan shortly.  Scary thought. 

The usual admonitions were present: Do your best, Finish what you start, and Work Hard.  Is the Gemeente always coach everyone this way?

Window 3

Otherwise, a last day for cleaning up before plunging back into business in London.  Secure a replacement AirMiles card (2.50 replacement fee), approve the replacement of my Fortis Visa with an ABN AMRO one (part of the government’s plan to break up the banks: hopefully with online account access this time), reload the NS card so I can take the train in the morning.  Clear the ‘fridge, do the recycling, finish the laundry, pack,  meet friends for koffee, hand off the accounting.

Window 1

US taxes are due today (Monday 18th) and I’m still working on Dutch taxes with my Dutch accountant under an extension from the April 1 filing date.  That makes it theoretically hard to tell if I owe US taxes – I basically didn’t earn any income as a result of US-based work, so didn’t prepay any taxes.  Still, there are penalties if I get this wrong, so I’ve sent my US accountant all the records I’ve got.  He wrote back to say that I didn’t appear to owe anything, so, fingers crossed, I filed for the US extension as well. 

This is my first year exposed to the full force of dual tax submissions without corporate expat tax equalization, and I’m worried that the process is going to be complex and expensive.  Stay tuned…this is just the first hurdle.


I was thinking the other day about how much stuff I’ve had to learn since settling in here.  I move pretty effortlessly through a lot of the business and immigration procedures, transport options, and activities of daily living and, if you catalog the day, that is a lot of background knowledge.  I thought briefly about whether it could be monetized (quickly discarded…not *another* business idea!)

…but then about whether it was atypical.

Probably every environment and every job requires participants to learn the local geography, procedures, people, and tricks to getting along.  And it probably adds up no matter where you are and what you are doing.

I wonder if anyone ever counted it up or did a complexity measure comparing various locations and vocations?

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