Monday, July 21, 2014

Moving back to the U.S. and a walk around Haarlem

We have started making plans to move back to CA from The Netherlands. Tomorrow we have a phone conference set up with the relocation people with Andrew's company. They will let us know what they will help us with and what we need to do on our own. I have started packing and also making a pile for 'Goodwill'. The landlords have decided they would like us to leave the furnishings and household items in the house, which makes it easier for us...and for them it'll be easier to rent out, especially to expats.

I have been watching rental prices in the Bay Area and have noticed that the prices have been going up, up, up again!  It's especially difficult to find places to rent that take a dog over 25 lbs. Yikes!  The plan now is that we will be in corporate housing for a month while I look for a place to rent.

We just found out from some expat friends of ours that renting a place without a driver's license in the U.S. is impossible!  When we got here in The Netherlands both of us turned our CA driver's licenses in for Netherlands licenses. The only way to get new ones is to personally go into DMV. So, that'll be one of the first things we do when we arrive in CA!

Andrew's brother has been keeping our Dodge Durango for us since we've been here. He's going to get it to the shop for some needed repairs and will get it to Northern California before we arrive. That way, we'll have something to drive till we have time to look for another car.


While making plans to move back we're trying to do and see as much as possible. We've been getting together with friends, walking around town enjoying 'our' town of Haarlem, etc. It's hard to believe that our time here is coming to an end. We have truly been blessed to have found such a beautiful place to live.

 I call this the 'paint roller bridge'!

 Some innovative ways the Dutch transport things around!
 This guy told me he had over 200 kilos (440 lbs) of wood on this the day before!
 This guy has been working on this for over a year.
 The Spaarne River.
 The Adriaan Windmill in Haarlem.
 A cute doggie swimming in the canal on a warm day in Haarlem!

 This is a map of all the city gates that used to surround Haarlem!

A hand painted mural inside the Adriaan Windmill in Haarlem.
 We stopped for a local beer and some bitterballen!

 St. Bavo's Church in Haarlem.

We've enjoyed our time in The Netherlands, but it's time to go back to family...we miss them! We are also excited about trying to find our 'forever' home once we're settle in.


Last Saturday night we met some friends in Amsterdam for dinner. We went to Hobe House...which was delicious and fun!  On our way home, it just reaffirmed to us that we are ready to go 'home'. We took the train from Amsterdam to Haarlem. When we arrived we found that the buses had stopped running, so we had to walk home (over a mile in shoes not made for walking). While walking home (it was around 1:00 a.m.) there were drunk young people (mostly boys) all over the streets peeing all over the walls of the beautiful buildings, etc.

City life has had its challenges for us.
     We have to be sure the doors and windows in the house are closed before we talk...because we are surrounded by people. We can't play our music loudly for fear of disturbing our neighbors.
     Crossing the street can be hazardous to your health (not that it's not in the U.S. by any means!)...there are bikes, cars and people everywhere!
     What happens in your house affects those around you (the roof leaking here affects the people on both sides of us.....potentially causing water damage to their homes). What is growing in our yard might make too much shade for our neighbors, etc.
     Using public transportation means always traveling 'with the public'! The public transportation here is clean and efficient, but, I must admit, I miss the serenity and independence of driving my own car!

Life anywhere has its pluses and minuses I guess!