new job leads :: 2 (both rather nebulous at this stage)
work completed :: 7 copywriting jobs / 2 hours of teaching
hours of Dutch learning :: 0. Although I was introduced to this guy, although not literally.
books being read :: 1. The How of Happiness.
physical exercise :: I carried some real heavy bags. For a little while.
metaphysical exercise :: Give me a month and if things go well, I swear, I will be levitating.
routine adhesion :: 20%
consecutive days spent in Holland :: 2
week 21/52 overall rating :: 7/10. That might seem low. It does seem low. It is low, relatively. I think the reason it’s low is because I can’t discount the pressure I feel to make this life in Holland work, and at the moment, having just arrived and realised how expensive it is here, the pressure feels a little burdensome. But no one said it was going to be easy.
So I arrived on Wednesday morning, the day after my birthday, and everything went pretty much according to plan. I met a couple of people I’d previously only Skyped with and we drank some coffee and spoke some words. Then I made my way to my Airbnb in Almere, around 30k outside of the centre of Amsterdam. Then I unpacked my stuff, went shopping in a small suburban supermarket and was – frankly – shocked by the prices. I am so used to giant supermarkets in London competing to see who can be the cheapest that I forgot the world can be so expensive. Look at this…
That night I sat in the garden with an Italian guy who is also staying here and we became acquainted over a relatively rather large amount of marijuana. And it was good.
Yesterday I worked all day, catching up with stuff. Last night at around 11 o’clock, I heard a loud mosquito buzzing around my head. I looked up and it was on the sloping ceiling six inches away from my face, and it was huge (1.2cm) and exotic-looking, like it carried ebola or some such.
Since I got all Buddhist a few years ago, I really try not to kill anything anymore – not flies, not ticks, not even mosquitos. But I swear, on this occasion, it was me or him. I really felt he’d have had my leg off in the night. So I smacked him with a book – it was a very quick dispatch; a gentle death; a loving death, you might say. Here’s the little fucker here…
However, aside from giant (1.2cm) exotic mosquitos and ridiculously expensive vegetables, my impressions so far of this place are really quite glowing.
Before I go any further, I know there are lovely, friendly people in London – in fact, I would go so far as to say most of the people in London are both lovely and friendly, but then I’m an optimist, and a people person, which is a delicious cocktail. In London though, people are often rather reticent to show you how lovely they are; often you have to tease it out of them. Here – based on my very slender experience so far – people don’t need teasing. Strangers say hello. Transport officials are extremely tolerant of your inability to buy the right ticket. People in general seem more open. Much more open. Which kind of goes against much of what I’ve read about the Dutch in the past few months.
We’ll see anyway. Early days, early days.
Also, Almere is very different to Amsterdam apparently, just as some sleepy Kent backwater in England is very different to Oxford Street. My first impressions, however, suggest very strongly that this is the place.
This afternoon, and indeed this weekend, I’m going into the city to have a proper explore.
As for you, whatever you’re doing, have yourself a whale.