|Steep stairs in our current apartment|
Josh started school last week and is bonding with his 10 classmates who come from all around the world... Singapore, Canada, Slovakia, France, Germany... One of the classmates brought his girlfriend along as well. Her name is Nadine and she's from Manitoba. She's my age, and is an oil painter. Last week we hung out, having lunch and going to a small art museum/gallery. It's nice to have someone here to hang out with who is kind of in the same boat as me, experience-wise. It's easy to hole myself up in our apartment, and I've been getting good work done... But it gets old and lonely. I think I'll find a norm as time progresses though. Josh is so supportive of my art, but it feels weird not making any money off of it yet. I'll get there soon enough.
One thing that will help me get out of my Quasimodo existence is I GOT A BIKE! Only 45 Euro, although now I need to invest in two locks. Yep, the standard here is to lock both the frame and the front wheel. Usually a U-lock and a chain lock. Bike theft is very common here, so it's better to be over-protective. My bike isn't super good-looking though... A little rusty and very standard. It's an "omafiets" which means granny bike; basically a cruiser. You don't really need gears here because it's so flat. Which I love. And everyone is pretty leisurely on the bike paths. No one is rushing by you in their spandex and fancy gear like in Seattle. It's awesome! Now I can fit in with all the Dutch, and explore the city a little easier.
Another piece of good news is that we got the apartment we were hoping to get, and we move in on October 1. It is the most charming place. Succulents in the front window, a garden in the back, French doors... There's a few pieces of Catholic iconography around the place (like, Rosaries hanging from the bed frame) but I'm too superstitious to remove them. The place is fully furnished, and I think an older woman usually lives there, but she is abroad until July 2014. It will be so great to make a home here, and have parties, and the holidays, and hopefully a few pets (I'm planning on fostering while we're here).
Let's see, what else... Josh's program will be going to Antwerp, Belgium for a conference in October. I'd really like to go, since I've never been to Belgium.
|Confusing signage in Den Haag|
The language barrier and cultural differences are oh-so humbling. I have to ask for help a lot, like, in the grocery store, and I feel bad that I don't know Dutch, but usually everyone knows English and doesn't make a big deal about it. Except for this one guy at a wine and cheese shop. He was a little haughty.
I'll try to do updates every Monday; it doesn't feel like anything exciting is happening, but it will be good to take stock of this time in my life.