This post will be much more word-heavy as I will be describing our first week out of the states. Just a word of caution before you begin ;)
We arrived in the Schipol Airport at 2pm on Tuesday afternoon after leaving Reykjavik early that morning. Although our flight was scheduled to leave at 7, we didn’t leave the runway until 8:30 because the mechanics had planned a strike for that morning. Thanks guys.
Because of the delay, our ride wasn’t able to be there until 3:30. This gave us time to work our way through the airport and eat a quick lunch at La Place (which is kind of like a Panera). An hour and a half later, our taxi arrived to take us to our apartment. We arrived at the apartment within 10 minutes and met Nenad, a representative from the school, who walked us up to our room and showed us around our new home. Turns out we have a little more space than we anticipated! And we get to learn how to use radiators this winter. It also seems that our apartment was lived in by a time traveler from the early 80s, as evidenced by the dark wood, the white popcorn paint on the walls, and the textured beige/brown tile on the floors and walls of the kitchen and bathroom. Renovations will be happening soon. Stay tuned.
We took a nap from 4:30-7pm (bad idea I know, we were just SO TIRED), and because it doesn’t get dark until around 11, we decided to take a walk around our neighborhood. We walked for a long time before we realized that we lived in the back corner of an entirely residential area…and it would take us about 30 minutes to walk one way to the nearest grocery store. After climbing a mountain in Iceland the day before, eating fast food, and getting very minimal sleep, that walk was no bueno. Upon returning to our apartment at 11, we both decided that it was well worth it to procure bikes as soon as possible. Nenad’s wife actually had an old bike that she is letting me use (yay!!!!), and Kevin used Nenad’s bike until his came in (on thursday night!).
On Wednesday night we went into Amsterdam to a sports bar to watch Holland defeat Australia. Watching a World Cup match in Europe is significantly more enjoyable than anywhere in the States. Come on America, lets grow up a little on this one.
Thursday we woke up veeeeery late (jet lag ain’t no joke…), and decided to make an afternoon/evening trip into Haarlem. So far this has been my favorite city. It reminds me a lot of Charleston in the charm and small-town feel. There is plenty to do and an amazing amount of adorable little shops and cafes to visit.
Friday we went back to Haarlem, then visited IKEA to start pricing the items we’ll need for our apartment. We were determined to get back to our apartment before 11:30 this time. We were making great time, made it back to the bus stop at Schipol Airport (The last stop before home) by 9:15, were about ready to climb onto the last bus, then realized that we had left Kevin’s backpack on the previous bus. It contained both of our passports and his iPad, among other small things. And that bus was currently on its way into Amsterdam. An hour and a half later, after lots of prayer and searching every #300 bus that had come back through the station, we were on our way home, backpack in tow.
Today we will be cleaning and organizing our new home, as the previous owners (who also went to Tyndale) graciously left us many kitchen items that we will not have to purchase now.
Geography time: Badhoevedorp (our town) is located about 2 miles from Schipol Airport between Haarlem and Amsterdam, Haarlem being 9 miles to the westish and Amsterdam about 4 miles to the eastish.
For you Greenvillians, our little town would be the equivalent of Taylors or Greer. Its really just a suburb of Amsterdam. The essentials are within walking distance (although we tend to bike everywhere) with the grocery store being only a mile and a half at most. We have a couple grocery store options, a couple fast food places (from what we could tell those were chinese and greek), a butcher shop, a flower shop, a fresh produce shop, and a few others (several hair salons, a restaurant, etc). Our apartment is in a small complex that is currently bedecked on every visible surface with orange banners and streamers and flags (clearly this is a very patriotic neighborhood during the World Cup). We have the last apartment in our row, meaning that directly to the left of our room is a mechanic shop. In fact there is a row of mechanic shops (It’s de beest….)(<—nacho libre moment).
So in conclusion, all those words were really just meant to show you that we are learning, progressing, and growing in our new home. We’re making it, out here on our own. I’m sure there will be many stories of stupid and embarrassing situations that we as Americans find ourselves in, and I will be sure to tell you all about them.
Below i’ve attached several of my horrible iPhone photos from our first days in Badhoevedorp, Amsterdam, and Haarlem. They depict several of our firsts: first moments in our home, first walk through our area, first grocery trip, first bike ride, first bus ride, first walk through the city, first walk through Haarlem, and first train ride. They also show a few activities such as our tour through the Corrie TenBoom house, a french fry shop (those are everywhere here…not sure why, but they certainly are delicious), several cafes, and an afternoon tea shop run by a lovely british woman.
If you have any suggestions of places to visit in either Amsterdam or Haarlem, comment with them below!!