Thursday, December 30, 2010

Soft and bouncy landing bubble

Dear sisters,

One good friend gave me the following advice: whatever you do, don't complain about the weather.

Most other repatriates said: be prepared, your friends are not particularly interested in your adventures in Bali/San Francisco..where were you again during the last five years? You were really away that long?

And. They continued. Maybe good friends will tolerate one evening of reminiscing: listening, smiling and saying, that sounds great, but when it comes down to it, it is your experience to keep and treasure. This may be hard.

I don't blame them, who wants to hear too much about someone else's sabbatical in the tropics?

I have therefore wrapped Bali up carefully in hand-pressed-batiked tissue paper and slipped it under my bed, to take out when needed.

For now, we are still in a rainbow coated bubble, filled with happy gas, which is rolling us through the streets of Amsterdam.

The kids both had a huge grin on their faces coming from the airport as they looked out of the taxi at the snow lined tree tops. They skated on natural ice at Christmas. At this point, this is what we call exotic. They got presents.

We have all been gorging ourselves on fresh brown bread from the bakery around the corner, sticky on the inside and crunchy on the outside, spreading it with hagelslag (chocolate bits) or smeerworst (sorry foodies, it is animal unfriendly and maximally processed - I will not translate). We have been eating cheese and chocolate and drinking red wine daily. It is Christmas after all.

This will have to stop soon, we have good food intentions, but we have to get it out of our system.

Before we left, I was reading some Dutch opinion magazines that guests had left behind, and every article seemed to have a negative and/or sarcastic slant to it. Oh no, I thought. I have either been in America too long or, I am now seeing the Dutch nature as it truly is.

But so far the "I smile, you smile back" principle" generously applied in San Francisco is working here too, and even the Amsterdam taxi drivers appear to be happy people, just to confuse us.

It is sale time, and we need winter clothes, so there has been some that.

Housing? We still have a whole week to get that organized. Schools? I think they start tomorrow. Income? Lovely winter weather out there.

I realize we are still in vacation mode. Real life hasn't started yet, and I will do some grumbling next post, but for now, just letting you know: this city girl is happy to be back in town.

Happy New Year to all. May you be healthy, happy and free.

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