26 July 2013

One Year Later: Our Dutch Anniversary

We have officially lived in the Netherlands for one year.

One year ago, we were exhausted and drained. We sold/donated/gave away all but 4 pieces of furniture, we moved out of Chicago - our home as a married couple for 5 years and our home as a family for a little over 2.5 years - and we said goodbye to our friends and family. We flew across the Atlantic and slept a mere hour of the 9 hours aboard the airplanes (thanks to Little Man's fascination with the individual TVs in every seat), and arrived in Amsterdam with 3 carry-ons, 5 suitcases, 2 cats stuck to the ceilings of their carriers, and a growing sense of bewilderment. Thanks to our wonderful relocation company, P&D Care, we survived the first few days as they took care of everything from arranging the rental agreement to stocking the refrigerator; and then they helped us stay legal as we were walked through the residency process.

Ace and Little Man at the Reykjavik airport, 26 July 2012 

Looking back on last year, it's hard to believe more time hasn't passed. We feel settled. We have a better idea of how the city is laid out. Little Man speaks Nederlish - a weird combination of English verbs and adverbs with Dutch nouns and sometimes English/sometimes Dutch adjectives. Not all of the Dutch language escapes our understanding (just most of it). We've made some new friends - other expats and native Dutch people - and been able to keep in touch with all our friends and family back home. We can get most anywhere by bike or train/bus. The cats only eye us suspiciously when the suitcases or cat carriers come out.

Cats learning to regularly use stairs, August 2012

Today, we're celebrating this anniversary with a bit of exploration - Little Man and I are wandering through Bonn, Germany while Mark presents at a conference. Then we're off to Cologne and Dusseldorf for a few days. It seems fitting that on the anniversary of the beginning of our grand adventure, we're off on an adventure in a different country. We've taken advantage of the opportunities to explore and experience a different culture, and hundreds of possibilities still lay ahead of us.

Here's to another great year!

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