T and I have been really busy in Amsterdam and I feel that there is always “something” going on… PRIDE Week in Amsterdam was from July 27th-August 4th and all I can say is “WOW!”. The city of Amsterdam came out in full support of all of the activities, especially the PRIDE Canal Parade held on Saturday, August 3rd.
The Netherlands had record breaking temperatures last week. At one point, when I looked at my watch, it was 101 degrees Fahrenheit! It was warmer here, while Houston was having a “cold front”. The apartments in Amsterdam do not have air con (short for air conditioning, as the locals call it), ours being one of them. Our apartment has been remodeled and is pretty energy efficient, but still can get really HOT.
The dogs and I escaped to WeWork, where T’s office is located. The front office staff at WeWork are always so welcoming. The concept of WeWork is that everyone rents office space so that they have a place to work. Start-up and established companies are located throughout the building. The companies at WeWork may have many employees or one, etc. WeWork offices are located all over the world and even in Houston. Often times, I go to WeWork and write for my blog.
The dogs and I were very happy to be in the air-conditioning at WeWork!
In Amsterdam, there are bicycles EVERYWHERE! Bike riders in Amsterdam are very skilled, I have seen people holding hands while riding their bikes, riding their bike with one hand or no hands, and riding their bike while pulling another bike. One person may pedal his/her bike while another person rides on the back or front of his/her bike. You may also see one person pedaling his/her bike with a rider in the front of the bike AND a rider on the back of the bike. Bike riders eat, drink, smoke, and text while pedaling too. A new law has been put into place regarding no texting while riding a bicycle. Also, most of the bike riders do not wear helmets. If you are accidentally walking in the bike lane, the bike rider will ring their bell which is a signal telling you to “get out of my way!”. I upgraded my mountain bike and made it “Amsterdam friendly” by adding a kickstand, bell, etc. I was very intimidated to ride my bike for the first time, but I took the plunge on a Saturday morning when people were not commuting to work. Many locals know that you are American if you wear a helmet. I figured that maybe the locals would be a little “nicer” to me since I was a beginner bike rider in Amsterdam wearing a helmet!
I have been in Amsterdam for almost one month, since we technically landed in Amsterdam on June 18th in the morning. The time has gone quickly and I am still getting acclimated to life in Amsterdam.
The 4th of July was just like any other day here in Amsterdam. It felt really strange not celebrating Independence Day, but we had our own celebration!
T found non-alcoholic Budwieser!
When our friends were in town, we visited the Heineken Experience. It definitely was an experience and was like no other brewery tour I have been on. The tour was two hours of interactive fun and kid-friendly. Ironically enough, The Heineken Experience is across the street from T’s office building.
As I live in Amsterdam, I take each day at a time. One saving grace is that the people that live here speak English. It would make things so much harder if they only spoke Dutch. Overall, everyone is very friendly and helpful. The teller at our bank said that Dutch people are known for being direct and I can see how that is, at times.
Speaking of the bank, I went about four times until I finally received my pin number for my debit card. My first trip with T consisted of completing paperwork for a debit card. I received information in Dutch from the bank, so I went to get more information as to what the letter said. I was told my debit card was on its way and to ignore the information I received in the mail. I received two other letters from the bank with information, so I went back to the bank. They said to come back to the bank when I received my debit card. I am not sure why there was so much confusion. I now have my debit card and pin number, which is good. The grocery store by my apartment only accepts the banking debit card to buy groceries. Other places only accept Visa, the banking card, or euros, so it gets confusing.
Doing laundry has been one thing that I have had to learn how to do since everything is in Dutch on the washing and drying machine. The washer and dryer are stacked and smaller than the standard size in the United States. I looked at the manual online and took pictures as a reference. Many people in Amsterdam do not dry their clothes in the dryer because they do not have one. T asked our landlord for a dryer and he agreed to purchase one for us, which I am very grateful. We had thought that the dryer was broken, but the lint trap was filled. I could not figure out why the clothes were not drying and why I could never find the lint trap, but T found it. Also, I had to buy dryer sheets at the Expat Store. The dryer is now working great!
T and I went to the grocery store together for the first time for “big” grocery shopping. Needless to say, all of the shelves were being restocked and I did not know what some of the food items were because I did not recognize them and the writing was in Dutch. We did find items that we liked for dinner. Whatever you buy, you have to carry home, so it is hard to buy a lot of items at once unless you have your own carrier. I really wanted to bring my blue Academy wagon from the U.S., but we did not ship it. 😦 The people that I worked with know that I used the wagon all of the time – ha, ha. Also, you have to pay for grocery bags, so it is best to bring your own.
Macy has been sick with a virus for a few weeks and we have taken her to the vet twice.
She is on another round of antibiotics and eye drops. The vet said that she does not have a parasite and she is not sure what caused the virus. She is up-to-date on all of her shots and had to have an exam before she came to Amsterdam. She is getting better each day, but it has been a slow process. She will go back to the vet when she is finished taking all of her medicine.
After our time in France, our friends extended their vacation and stayed with us in Amsterdam. Our friends have children, so they were very excited about all of the parks located in Amsterdam. One really nice park by our apartment is called
No dogs or bikes are allowed at this park. Many of the parks have ping-pong tables and playground equipment.
This particular park has a big soccer field and a small soccer field. The goals are made of metal instead of netting, which often rips and needs replaced. There are also basket ball nets.
We went to the market several times, the market sells fresh produce and souvenirs, etc. We also frequented Dunkin’ Donuts where they had decorated themed soccer donuts since the Netherlands was doing well in the World Cup games.
We watched MORE USA Women’s soccer!
We also watched Netherlands Soccer – ha, ha!
We had a great time watching USA win against the Netherlands!