Welcome to our blog!
We started this so that we can keep our families and friends updated on our life in Rotterdam, NL. Fresh out of the wedding chapel, we moved here from Texas so that Will can get a masters degree in bass clarinet (the only one like it in the world) at Codarts.
Today marks our first week-aversary in Holland. I think we’ve adjusted to the time difference (7 hours later than US Central time) and we’re slowly learning our way around. Our priority right now is to find a place to live because once we get a residence we can get into the immigration process, Will can officially enroll, and I’ll be able to apply for more jobs. Finding a place to live is more complicated here because we have to work through realtors who then mediate between us and the landlords, which means we have to careful that no one is taking advantage of us. Fortunately, we’ve met some very helpful people through Codarts and the Rotterdam expat services who are patiently answering our many questions.
We stayed in a hotel the first few days we were here, with a checkout day on Monday. Since we don’t have an apartment yet, we were about to book a month at a short stay apartment so we have more time.
Earlier in the week we were walking around, probably lost, and we saw a Scottish international church, which looked like a good place to go to church on Sunday because it was close to the hotel and had an English service. We didn’t know what to expect, but we found a vibrant community full of very kind Christians from all over the world. After the service, the pastor talked to us more about why we were here and gave us a place to stay at the church while we find an apartment. We were overwhelmed at his hospitality and the timing with our hotel checkout. So, Monday morning we rolled/dragged/wrestled all of our stuff from the hotel to the church and now we’re here until we know exactly where we’ll be living. There may be some opportunities for me to help build up the music ministry there as well. Coincidentally, the scripture on Sunday was Ruth 2, where Boaz allows Ruth, a foreigner, to stay and work in his fields. Safe haven much?
–We knew that the vast majority of Dutch people speak English, but we weren’t sure if we were being rude by just starting our orders at restaurants in English. Like:
Waiter: Wat wilt u drinken? Me: UUUUMMM, can I have some water? You have that, right?
After a couple days of rehearsing how to say “Spreekt u Engels?” or “Do you speak English?” and then getting crazy looks when we (actually, just Will) ask Dutch people that, we’ve learned that most of them don’t care and switch languages without even thinking about it. We want to learn as much Dutch as possible while we’re here, and we think the pronunciation will be the hardest part. Right now with my Dutch skills I can get the gist of a restaurant menu. Plan: avoid things with kaas (cheese).
–We rode the underground Metro rail for the first time today to get to an apartment showing. For a station where most things are in Dutch, and for me having lived in Boulder, I was surprised at how easy and fast it is to get around. I could work in The Hague (a very internationally-oriented city) and get there from Rotterdam in 20 minutes.
–Riding underground on the Metro is much better than getting trapped underground in the Rotterdam World Trade Center because the Expat desk is on the 3rd floor and you took the wrong elevator and it turns out that that elevator doesn’t even HAVE a button for the third floor and you try to take the stairs and once you’re in the stairwell you can’t get out and you go all the way to the bottom and have to call security to get you out. Just saying.
–Also, the sooner we get an apartment, the sooner we can buy health insurance. It’s not free for everyone, but they make it so that if you want to legally stay here you must have it. I threw up a couple nights ago (NOT pregnant, you crazies. I suspect yogurt), but I think I might have stopped it from getting worse. I minced a garlic clove and swallowed it with a glass of water. It’s supposed to go through your digestive system and kill bacteria AND viruses. I did that a few times and today I’m back to a normal appetite. No regular health insurance? Garlic.
That’s all for now…Will will be writing here, too. We hope to update at least weekly!