Monday, August 2, 2010

We're getting there, I think .....

I realize I did not write regularly on my blog or on Facebook lately. First of all because I have the misunderstanding this is very time consuming (not true, I can limit myself to a few lines only) and there is noting to write about (not true, of course days go by and although maybe not very exciting stuf happens, every day is filled with something). Not writing does not help to keep in touch with all our Canadian/blog/Facebook friends. So I will write about regular day stuf, sometimes pretty insignificant but it helps to keep you all posted on our (new?) life.

Sander is accustomed to working in Rijswijk already. He still knows part of the people working there form before his Calgary time so he already has a nice social cirle. Startup was not always easy but now work seems to progress and he has frequent and great contacts with the Calgary colleagues.
Every weekend we meet either family or old friends now, of course that is one of the best parts of being home again. Together we run frequently, we did a bike tour and last Sunday we hiked 17 or 18 kms to Hoek van Holland, a little town on the sea south of The Hague. We want to stay just as fit as we were in Calgary!

What have I been up to these past weeks? We viewed a lot of houses in different neighbourhoods in and around Rotterdam. We want to live close to Rotterdam because we feel at home in that city and travel time to work and family (especially parents) is acceptable. I, Liesbeth, travel to my parents by train once or twice a week. It takes approximately 90 minutes. A week ago I received my Dutch drivers license so renting or buying a car is again an option now. Since a major part of the route is through heavy traffic areas the train is a very relaxing way of travelling right now. When I need it I rent a bike or a small car at the train station after arriving there. For a car we joined the green wheels network, a car share system becoming more and more popular in the major cities over here. While visiting my parents I also take my mom grocery shopping, a good mother-daughter bonding experience and my dad and I think this guidance is quite useful for my mom with her dementia. In some cabinets I found stashes of 8 packages of the same grocery item (note to self: do not buy this item for an additional 2 months, at least!). Both my mom and dad do not really grasp the idea of quickly renting bikes or cars via internet or the automatic transit system pass (one pass for train, bus, tram and subway, directly deducted form your bank account via the pass), so every week they are quite amazed how I get that car, bike or bus pass. It clearly shows how older people have a hard time following all new IT-based possibilities.

The house-buying task is going into the right direction. It has taken us a couple of weeks to find houses we are enthousiastic about. The area were we wanted to live turned out to be too expensive for us, we could only afford apartments in that area. Since we do not want neighboors underneath or above us we had to put aside our dreams on heigh-ceiling 60 m2 living rooms in 100 year old houses. It took a while to adjust our views, lower our standards and focus on other possibilities.
Now we have three houses lined up we would like to live in. Two weeks ago we put in our first bid but the owner was a bit too greedy and I do not think we will ever be able to make a deal with him. So this Wednesday we will go to the second house with our real estate broker to estimate the right value of the house in order to start bidding on that house. In other words, things are starting to move in the "housing-area" and I do not feel so paniced any more about not having a nice place to live in.

In the mean time I am getting to know the town of The Hague pretty well. My moms bike is here now so I can get around very easily. It's a blast to buy fruits and veggies at the outdoor The Hague market, open four days a week. Like all the etnic people on the market I invested in a wheeled shopping cart so I can buy kilo's, kilo's and kilo's of stuff over there. You could nearly imagine yourself shopping somewhere in Marocco when you're there, but only the fact there is no hassle and negotiating about the price tells you you're in the Netherlands. By the way, I still think of every supermarket over here as very very tiny. Nothing compared to grocery shopping in Canada! And although tiny I do admit that it really is not very useful to pick from 10 or 15 brands of peanut butter, 2 or 3 brands will do. That saves space!

Next time I hope to blog about the house we've bought and that I can tell you which day the container with our household stuf will be unpacked. Not for you of course, but because I do start to miss my own belongings and look forward to having our own place very much.

See you!!


Danielle said...

Hi Sander & Liesbeth -- have been wondering how your return the the Netherlands has been going. Thinking of you often!


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