Begin the Beginings!

March 30, 2008
So here I am.

First week in Amsterdam, have to say I feel like I have been here way longer.

I like it, alot. The only thing I miss about Dublin is family and friends.
Work (or what I know of it) is ok. The office is nice, out a bit, but the people are great.
All the downstairs revenue nad corporate staff are lovely. There are (or will be) four staff in my office, only one I know, there is a lady in sales I haven’t met yet and a publicity guy who hasn’t started yet.

I’m off to Paris on Tuesday to meet my boss. Wasn’t expecting to be going anywhere so soon so clothes have been an issue, or to be more exact shoes.. I only have one pair with me!

Anyway, about the city…

So where I am living impresses everyone I have met, its a REALLY nice area.
The apartment itself is great, small but perfectly formed, STEEP (and spiral) stairs leading to the 3rd floor. Then large sitting room, with a sofa that would seat 6 easy dominates the sitting room, three windows look out to the street, and across to the neighbours. Its and interesting mix of modern (IKEA) and old dark wood furniture. Little corridor to Kitchen that houses the (compact) bathroom with a really good wet room type shower. Large kitchen (i know some houses that don’t have kitchens this large) fully equipped and a bedroom off the kitchen. The bed is huge, easily a King size! ūüôā and great storage everywhere!

So far no noisy neighbours, although the fact that the window are original and single glazed means that you do hear everything, but its a mostly quiet street.

We had some fun getting here, in the form of a taxi driver that thought we said Blodestraat and not Bloemstraat…… he left us in the middle of the red light district!! Not near where I live (not far tho… but it feels it with 30-something kilo’s of bags!! So we get here and the estate agent arrives …. eventually…. while we wait in the SNOW!!

Thankfully it was a long weekend so I could clean the apartment, it wasn’t dirty but it was very dusty and the dust was really making my nose and throat painful!

Went food shopping…. Albert Hijen, best compared to Superquin. there are 2 near me.. so thats handy. Food shopping used to freak me out in Paris, just as everything was very different, even tho i had been to France before… the food in Paris is different, and VERY differnet from Ireland at that time. Now I think we have such a range of european things that its no so freaky.
One thing is the food here (ready meals and so forth) are really high in calories… hmmm… I guess all that cycling pays off.

Speaking of cycling I am thinking about getting a bike, mostly cause I need more excercise and there is no point in handing out money for commuting and then again for a gym…. just getting a bike makes sense….

As for the commute, well if im outside Westermarkt (3min walk) for 8.27 I can get a tram to Waterlooplien and then a Metro to Sparklerweg….
and if I take the right exit (and not the wrong one like I took the first day) I can get to the office for 9am!

So this map (kinda) shows the way….the train line (which I can see from my office window is the big long grey line at the bottom of the image) the Green Line shows the safest way to get to the office… and the Red Line is the fastest… but not terribly safe.
The reason I say its not safe is cause the yellow circle is the prison Bijlmerbajes the Blue circle is europe’s larges container apartment complex. Actually if you watch this youtube video you will see the metro station and my way to work plus the container apartments.
So Im beginnig to get the hang of finding my way around, I was nervous of Catriona leaving as she had far more idea of where things were but it just means I have to calm down and think and I’ll find my way around.
Ok…. this was a bit of a catch up post. But I am going to post again this week, more about the city and so on.
C

Packing seems to be the hardest word!

March 10, 2008
Back in my mums, I note that there are 12? days left till Amsterdam.

Still thinking about the shipping ….
I didn’t think i had enough stuff to warrant shipping stuff over, but as I look at my crap… perhaps I do.

I have been really good though, and have gone through everything and thrown out rubbish and given books/DVDs/Cd’s/clothes to charity… so all that’s left is …. still lots of stuff.

I have about 4/5 boxes of things that I would “like” in Amsterdam.
I could always stick with plan A being, bring what I can after each visit home….
Think I’m just worried that for the first few weeks I’ll¬†be¬†homesick¬†and¬†wont¬†have¬†my¬†stuff¬†around¬†me…..¬†
Perhaps at the age of 30 I should just grow up.

Pictures of the apartment for those not on FaceCrack Here!

Mum surprised me today, she said she’s giving up cigarettes the day I leave Ireland…
Something about a pact with god….. this worries me!
(I’m glad she’s considering quitting all the same)

Had a small going away drinks on Friday,
somewhat tempered by the fact that I had to be home to mind sprog the next day….
His mother was going out Saturday night (left at 10am Sat and came back 5pm Sunday) 
But more drinking will be done at another stage. 
Also my round-the-clock-on-call-babysitting services are soon closing so all advantage must be taken now 
or lost for a while at least.
Still we had fun, if you call 13 games of hide an seek, 3 star wars movies, 
numerous lightsaber fights and some odd questions at bed time 
(where does your poo go when you are dead) fun!!

So I’ve made one collection from Dublin (house and office –
yes Cam I did take the wicker basket and PC finally, hops still has her leather jacket there tho)
and I have another one to pick up tomorrow (kitchen and remainder of room stuff)
I move out officially on 15th!

Swinging wildly between looking forward to all this to come and wondering am I totally mental.
Trying to learn Dutch the Dutch (being free) way…. Laura Speaks Dutch Podcasts
(available from the omnipresent iTunes and www.lauraspeaksdutch.info)

So far my phrases extend to:
“Its a little bit cloudy”, “Can I have a coffee”,
“Thank you for listening”¬†and¬†“Are¬†you¬†Mrs¬†Petersen?”¬†
Not forgetting the phrase I learned from Catriona, 
“This¬†man¬†is¬†bothering¬†me,¬†but¬†its¬†ok¬†as¬†I’m¬†on¬†the¬†pill”¬†¬†
–¬†essential¬†no¬†doubt

Sitting in the really cozy sitting room in Mum’s, fire blazing and what Met Eireann are claiming to be the worst storm of the winter raging outside…..
Think I’ll find something on Sky and settle back!

Tot Ziens!