Ok, so it has been four months since our arrival to the Netherlands! Maybe you’ll think I will now say that “time has flown”, but not really, it has gone at a normal pace I think or perhaps slower? Recently we were speaking of the time and things that have happened and were surprised when we figured out its only been a few months! Probably its because we are more aware of everything, we were used to living a fast-paced life, with a routine and very few “time to do nothing” so now being able to plan the day, is kind of a thing.
So here we are now, going around our new home city, exploring for places and activities to begin building a new life here!
Once in our apartment (house hunting tips here), it was time to get our bikes! This is a polemic thing here, the most common is to get a second-hand bike since new ones can be super expensive. You have to find a balance between price and quality, trying not to get a stolen one (bike trafficking is common 😕)… Now I am riding my bikey 🚲 At the beginning I was a little bit nervous to move around especially in crowded areas. You have to be alert to everything that is happening in your surroundings, pedestrians, cars, other wild bikers, tram rails (they are slippery and your bike wheels can get trapped), not getting in the wrong lane, missing signs or traffic lights plus rain and strong winds, which are an every day thing! Seems like a lot, but once you are up in your bike, you realize that everything flows smoothly, everyone here respects the cyclist’s space and the city is really designed for bikes 🚴♀️💕🚴♂️ so it’s just a matter of a couple of rides for you to feel confident on the road.
Drinking tap water! It was a little weird at the beginning since I was used to thinking that “you are not supposed to” and to just buy purified/filtered water but actually the Dutch tap water is among the safest to drink in the world, it is tested by Dutch water suppliers regularly and it actually tastes good.
Figuring out times to speak with the family and friends on the other side of the globe. Due to the time zone differences (6 hours from the USA and 8 hours from Honduras), we have a very short window of matching daytime! On the other hand, we started meeting extraordinary people and making new friends 👯 which have made the living abroad feel a lot more like home! This is a very nice thing of Amsterdam, we are a huge expat community! It’s incredible how you come to meet people from so many different countries and cultures but at the same time, we are so alike 💕
Taking vitamin D pills or as we fondly call it “el sol” (Spanish for the sun) ☀️ At the time we arrived, we still enjoyed a couple of hours of sun per day. However, as we got deep in the fall and winter the sky most of the time is “partly cloudy”. Sunrise time 8:30am, sunset time 4:30pm. So when the sun comes out, I look for a good spot to get some natural vitamin D 💛
This week I started my Dutch course 💁🏻 I will have ten sessions. Will see how it is to learn a foreign language in the country where it is spoken. In 2013, my husband Luis, my sis in law Diana and myself, attended French lessons for one year. It was an exciting and enriching experience but of course, we couldn’t practice more after class, so probably most of it has vanished already. I feel it’s really a PRO to be here while learning de Nederlandse taal, because we can listen and read it around the city which helps to practice and keep it fresh 🙂👍🏼
And other smaller changes like switching to 24-hour format (which in some occasions made me confuse some appointments 🙈) establishing a very close daily relationship with Google maps and my two weather apps (can’t trust only one), which I check several times per day!
Keeping myself busy! One thing that I have been working since my arrival is a crochet blanket 💕 I learned to crochet from my Godmother just before moving to Amsterdam, she guided me through the beginning and then I kept on working until now that it is already big enough to keep me warm while I finish the last couple of yarns I have left, it’s almost done! I love it 💕 crochet is an activity I didn’t try probably since school but now I realize its really my type of craft.
I have to tell you that I love crafts and creating stuff, so I started looking for supplies and I have set up my painting spot at home, now working on ideas to start something cool in this artistic city 🎨 #sharingtheloveofart
Enjoying coffee 😍 I know, everyone enjoys a good cup of coffee or hot choco especially with good company 💕 I am a big fan of coffee, its taste, the culture behind it and the mood it brings. So I like to drink coffee with my hubby and friends, either at home or on a cafe around and have a nice chat or just enjoying a good cup of coffee with myself 💁🏻♀️☕️ while writing on my blog or drawing.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step 👣