Wait May Is Almost Over?

How is it already May?! Hallo uit Amsterdam! After weeks of all the things, we are here in our little apartment in the Bos en Lommer neighborhood of Amsterdam.

After selling the house, we had to focus on getting ourselves, the cats, and our stuff over to the Netherlands. We sold or gave away basically everything so that we could move with as little as possible. No furniture, only what could fit in a small box or suitcase. Luckily for us, we have some amazing people in our lives who helped make this happen. For everyone who came out to visit us, or buy some of wares, or keep us moving forward through all of the chaos, THANK YOU! We look forward to paying you back in any and every way possible.

Two of those amazing people actually flew over to Amsterdam to meet us, bringing along a couple hundred pounds of our personal items as checked baggage. Lord and Lady O, you are truly magnificent, and we could not have moved without you! While those lovely folks traveled on their flight, we had our two part flight through Frankfurt with our cats. It was not the most amazing experience. The flight from Seattle to Frankfurt was pretty good. The flight was dark, the cats had medicine to help them sleep, and we were able to make it through. The last hop from Frankfurt to Amsterdam was a bit of a nightmare. The airport itself is a huge complex, we were on a tiny plane, and both cats had meltdowns by that point. However, we landed safely and cleaned them up, then made our way to our little hotel where we were finally able to breathe. Sleeping on a mattress was a wonderful experience, considering our last week at the house we slept in hammocks.

Shortly after, we were able to meet up with a realtor to receive the keys to our new apartment! There was a lot of trust at that point, because the rental office was across town. So we made our way to our apartment for the first time all by ourselves. Luckily the keys all worked as expected, and the place is awesome! While it has a small footprint, the ceilings are nice and high, we have huge beautiful windows, and lovely hardwood floors. Furnishing it is a work in progress, and shoutout to IKEA who should be sponsoring us with the sheer amount of their goods we have in here.

And more exciting news, our residency has been approved, and we have received our residency permits! That, along with finalizing the DAFT paperwork and getting the account and investment in the business sorted out means we are clear to keep going for at least the next 2 years. Now we move onto some final paperwork - setting up insurance, and getting the business tax information going. We have both continued working in this interim, but getting our visas finalized is a huge load off of our shoulders. Now Brandon is able to apply for a Dutch job, and we can fully participate in the local economy.

There has been so much happening we cannot even remember all of the details, but here are some highlights:

Challenges: -A 24 hour stomach bug went through the apartment in the first couple of days we were here. (Our humblest apologies, m’Lord.) But we persevered! -Getting Dutch bank accounts is more time consuming than we realized. This caused delays with receiving the items we had shipped over, setting up our utilities, and getting a washer/dryer rental. But we have things now, and can pay in all the different ways, hooray! -Finding which stores sell which things is difficult, especially if the store does not have an online presence. We use our phone maps all of the time to navigate. Luckily, translation apps help us out, but sometimes you want something specific and cannot find the correct shop to buy it from. But we are learning more every day. And keeping a list of things to ship or pickup from the US. -Keeping track of how many things there are to do is a lot. We have multiple tasks everyday. A good bit of advice from our experience, however, is that it was certainly worth the cost to have a realtor find us our apartment, and a lawyer take care of our paperwork. We already had so much to do, outsourcing some of the most important steps was a HUGE help. We recommend paying for that help.

Some of the awesome experiences so far: -The public transit is very good! And even if one way fails, there are 3 other ways to get around. Now we have our personalized transit cards, so it is even easier to hop on and off the tram. -We walk around every day now. The grocery store is just around the corner, we have an excellent cafe and taco shop in our neighborhood, and the giant food hall with dozens of food stalls is less than 30 minutes away by tram. -We stumbled upon a wine festival at the local park, and there were also a dozen food trucks to enjoy. Warm weather means there are so many activities everywhere you turn. -There is a video arcade within walking distance. You pay at the door and all machines are freeplay, so it is a fun place for rhythm games and a cocktail. -We explored a bit of Rotterdam, and finally found pinball! The Dutch Pinball Museum has so many machines, and we will definitely be back there again soon. -We both have bicycles, as well as the ability to rent public bicycles now. Especially on sunny days, this is such a great way to get around and explore. -We have a projector and record player in the apartment, so we have excellent entertainment options at home. Exploring record stores is now an activity for us to do together!