Monday, May 9, 2011

Back in Maastricht

I ran into a police blockade at the Stansted Airport entry yesterday – always the luck when there’s an hour and a half until the plane leaves.  They were matching foreign cars to their owners, taking name and contact information to match the license and registration.  Maybe it’s anti-terrorism, maybe just to make the speed cameras more effective, but there were a lot of guns and uniforms involved.

More like Super Sad True Love Story every day (an overbearing authoritarian state chirping “Together, we’ll surprise the world!”: fortunately, the novel actually turned out better than expected.

Just one more bit of stress ahead of a quick escape back to the Netherlands.

The UK claimed my spring because of teaching, investment meetings, and a failed negotiation for a business acquisition.  But I need too get more geographic balance back into life.  Neither the British nor the Dutch activities can be run remotely for long, and I need to get more efficient at scooting back and forth periodically.

Thumbing through the accumulated mail this evening, I’m finding bank cards that need activation and inburgering appointments that need to be kept; the IND reminding me to get my visa renewed and belastingdienst notices that bookkeeping needs to be updated. I find that too many business and personal relationships start to drift and disperse if I am out of sight for too long, and there are things in the apartment that I need access to.

Although living in bucolic countryside outside of Cambridge, days seem to fill with meetings and appointments that divide every day into half-hour chunks.  This is fine as long as lists are organized and I can drill through a prioritized list of calls and e-mails.  But tasks that take longer to complete or that require sustained thought are difficult to complete.  Ironically, city life in Maastricht is less full, so the book chapter gets written, the project planning gets drawn.

I think that some of the working quiet is also due to the communications gap that opens in Dutch language environments.  Everyday conversations and media are much more engaging in Britain where I (think I) understand everything going on around me.  The hum of Dutch conversations rolls over me without sticking unless I am making an effort to follow and understand.

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