An Amsterdam update – birthdays, class moms and “blind dates”

We have reached a milestone of sorts here – Rebecca and Max celebrated their fourth and 11th birthdays respectively, and we’ve had two major Jewish holidays. Our strong little unit of four has eaten cake, dipped apples in honey and sung happy birthday, and we celebrated well, grateful to be where we are.

Rebecca got balloons and presents for her birthday, and started her first day in group one at school. She insisted that Max take her to school, and I watched from the window (stalker mom!) while they walked hand in hand to school, he carrying her little backpack for her. We went to an amazing Persian restaurant that night for an early supper, and Rebecca got tired before we had finished, so I walked her home, where she got a second wind, cheered up, and went to bed after 9pm.

She’s had a few wobbly moments going to school, and had days of not quite being “herself” – we think she wasn’t well. There were restless nights of sleep, and she couldn’t articulate what was wrong. She seems to be back to her old self – crafting away, racing on her scooter, and watching aeroplanes fly past.

Max and I had a night out in the centre of Amsterdam, and he seemed to have a good day at school and out celebrating with me. It’s hard to be apart from his day every day, but this one was an extra tough one. My heart is crushed for both of them.

The kids got a “call up” of sorts to go the local clinic for physical checkups and top-up vaccines. Max needed a meningitis vaccine, and Rebecca needed the one that they usually do for six-year-olds in SA (they do it at age four here). All this was done for free, and the checkups went smoothly and painlessly (minus the jabs).

Work is going great, and last week we went for lunch and I met some of my team and some of my clients for the first time… finally our online Zoom/Webex/Teams meetings became a face-to-face meeting, and our “blind date” went well.

I’m getting more confident on the bike, and not as terrified when another bike is behind me, or in fact when I see another cyclist. I boldly (for a novice, that is) rode to a whole other area, De Pijp, on Saturday to a brow salon. It was my first time having my brows done in Amsterdam, and looking at my pitch black tinted brows after my treatment, it looked like someone had used a black marker to colour. Nice shape, but I look as if my toddler has done my makeup with a black kohl liner.

The treatment reminded me of how hard it is to find one’s “people” in a new place. I’m not even talking about friends, but people to go to for waxing, hairs, nails, checkups, teeth, physio etc. I loved my “people” in Joburg, and I miss the familiarity, the great service and offerings. I *think* I’ve found a physio and a nail person, and maybe a brow shaper – the rest is still to come.

I’m also learning what my favourite groceries are – from fabric softener to spicy falafel balls, and there’s comfort in many ways to feel familiar with products, and making informed decisions about important things like white chocolate, plant-based disinfectant, and cleaning cloths.

I mentioned that I signed up to the be the class mom of Max’s group, and then one of the class parents of Rebecca’s group pulled out, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to volunteer myself AGAIN for the duty. Pre Covid, being.a class mom was quite a lot of work – going on class trips and arranging events, but now it’s more about working with the teachers and parents, bridging communication between the two, and arranging fun things like lice checks. Seriously.

Each week, a parent in each grade has to do a lice check – looking at every kid’s hair and seeing if there are little critters or not. So not only do I need to do double canvassing (it turns out that not everyone is raising their hands to search children’s hair), but I also have to lead by example and put my name in the hat (or rather, name on the Google Doc) to volunteer to do a check.

Between two kids, I have eight parent/class teacher WhatsApp groups and it takes much concentration for me to message the correct group.

 Plant update:

I’ve bought a few more, and “only” one has died from overwatering I think. It was one of my favourites too.

Shipping container update:

Our container has set sail, and should be with us by the end of October. We have empty IKEA bookshelves waiting for some books, and I’m going to do some clever editing of our cupboards to fit all the things we have coming (I’ve forgotten most of it already).



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