So, I made the move last week to Holland. I flew out on Tuesday, July 21st and arrived here on the afternoon of the 22nd. Jarno of course was there waiting at the airport for me. I was so excited to see him! We were totally that cliche couple kissing in the middle of the airport. I loved it!
We drove back to the house in IJsselstein and he had the house all decorated with balloons and flags! The balloons all said “Welkom Thuis!!!” (Welcome Home!!!) So sweet. He told me that we were going to have a party at the house the coming Saturday, July 25th. After that, we went did some shopping. I was on a quest for new sheets and towels to decorate our new home together.
Thursday morning, we hopped on the Vespa and headed to the City Council in IJsselstein to figure out all of my paperwork and get everything ready for me to receive a work permit and SOFI number (US equivalent of SS#). Once we get all that ready, I will be able to start Dutch lessons, which are subsidized by the City. We discussed the different levels of Dutch, the first 2 levels are basics - getting around, going to the grocery, the bank, every day stuff. Levels 3 and 4 are intermediate and college levels which will help with work and such. Even if I get a job at an international company, the higher levels of Dutch will help me in understanding every day conversation. Plus, these courses go over Dutch customs and such as well.
After that, we took the scooter and drove all around Holland which was really nice. I drove the scooter and Jarno was on his road bike! We must have been really funny to see, me going about 40-50km on the scooter and Jarno going the same speed on his bicycle!
Then we had coffee and I met his mother for the first time. She was so very nice and very charming. She was also trying really hard with her English as well.
On Friday, we met Jarno’s sister Ilona and took out her two sons Glenn and Dave out to a cafe along with Jarno’s mother. It was really nice. Although, when we were leaving, I got really sad because it was hard for me to see Jarno’s mother with her grandchildren. This is something that I will always regret not giving my mother the opportunity to do. Afterwards we went to the camping shop and bought a tent for our trip to Austria and Northern Italy.
Saturday, we spent all day preparing for the party. Lots of shopping in IJsselstein. Jarno bought me an apron that is “typical Dutch” as he always says. We also got some fresh fish - tuna and salmon and I made some fresh sushi for dinner. Marielle and Pap, Jarno’s sister and her boyfriend, were coming over for dinner. Once they arrived, we had such a good time! We laughed so much!
We then waited for all of our guests to arrive. Couple by couple, everyone started to arrive. And they all came bearing gifts - little wrapped packages, flowers, and more. It was so sweet that people who hardly knew me to bring gifts, they were all so welcoming! I started putting them all in a corner on the table. One of Jarno’s friends, Benji came up to me halfway through the party and asked me to open his gift, I obliged and saw that it was filled with cheese, tea, and stroopwafels! (Stroopwafels are these wonderful little waffle cookies filled with a thin layer of syrup!) Jarno’s stepmother, Marian, also asked me to open her gift and I saw that it was a day planner, which would be perfect for when I go to Dutch school! Diana, Jarno’s step sister also told me that in Holland, it is normal to open all the presents as soon as you get them, not wait until after everyone leaves as is standard in the US. I have to write everyone thank you notes now and apologize for not knowing that! Jarno the whole while was playing the good host and running around serving everyone, did I tell you how sweet he is? Towards the end of the party, as everyone was getting drunk, all I started to hear was Dutch (the mysterious Alien language) and I had the deer in headlights look in my eyes and a big smile. Pap saw this look and came over with Marielle and they just spoke to me in English. I was so relieved!! Everyone was so nice and I had such a great time!
On Sunday, yesterday, Jarno and I went to the beach! We drove about an hour to Scheveningen beach which is the North Sea. It was beautiful out but a bit cloudy as we got there. We laid around for a while and then went to one of the beach restaurants and had a couple of Hoegaarden beers. Yummy!
Today, we are getting ready to go for our trip. So we’re going for a run in a bit and then going to clean up and start packing. Tomorrow we leave for Austria!