Bike falls, baby plants and more of the heatwave

I spent another week shvitzing in our apartment. We even bought some desk fans to help, and I waited not-so-patiently for the heat to subside on the weekend, which at the time of writing, still hasn’t. Apart from some discomfort, it’s been a good week. I’ve been settling into work and doing more onboarding/learning, and we had a fun weekend.

Here’s what’s been happening:

  • We went on a tour of the school last week, and saw Max’s class, and met some of his teachers. There could have been tears in my eyes when I saw his name on his new desk, and there might have been that strong realisation that yes, we are actually living in a new country with a whole new schooling system etc. Max will have one-on-one Dutch lessons during school, and they’re all very used to integrating non-Dutch kids at the school. I was added to the parents’ Whatsapp group, and lots of people have shown support, and mentioned that their kids will watch after my kid. From what I gather, my child isn’t the only Fortnite fan in the ‘hood, and hopefully he’ll be able to join a clan (whatever this actually means) with some of his classmates.
  • We realised that Rebecca will only start at the nursery school on the day she turns four, which is in a month. It’s a Dutch rule, and I almost begged them to take her earlier, but apparently it’s an issue with insurance, so they can’t take her. We have, thank Gd, a place for her four times a week at the daycare that adjoins the school. We have to pay, but the government will likely pay back 50% of this, a benefit they give to working parents who need to farm out their children. So now, four days a week, we get to work uninterrupted. More than this, our social and creative girl will finally have a chance to engage more, do real crafts (not just random things from the craft boxes) and sing and dance. My “homeschool” has been lacking in many departments, and I think (hope) she will love being in a school environment again (it’s been five months!)

  • I decided to buy a bike with a handbrake – my trusty blue bike only has a pedal brake, so I decided to upgrade. I ordered one online, it arrived with an old chain and key (I ordered a new one), and despite trying with several allen keys and screwdrivers, we weren’t able to lower the bike seat, so it’s too high for me to read. The bike place should have adjusted the seat to fit my height, something they promise on the website. Anyway, I tried riding it a bit, and it was a smooth ride. Then I tried again a bit later, and while trying to get on and find my balance, I fell, grazing my knees. It’s embarrassing that my first bike fall happened while I technically wasn’t even riding it, but let’s blame the high bike. There was a witness to the fall, who asked if I was okay, and I couldn’t shoo him away quickly enough – very kindly, of course.

Later that same day, I was riding my blue bike back from the synagogue, I rounded a corner, felt confident enough to ramp the curb, but lacked the coordination to do so, and fell ahead. There were no witnesses (I heard no laughter nor concern), and I literally did what one is supposed to do after a minor fall – get back on the horse (bike). The good news here is I cycled to a new place, and further than I was used, so silver linings and all that.

The next day, I got another secondhand bike, and requested the return of the “too-high” bike. Andrew got one too, and we rode from the shop to a nearby station, got on a train, and then off at a stop around 1.3km from our apartment, and rode home. It was a level-up on many levels, and while I’m still shaky and still don’t know where to look for oncoming traffic and bikes, I’m getting a bit better at riding. The most terrifying is when motorbikes come from behind and I need to steer dead-straight, hands gripped tightly on the handlebars.

  • I started my baby plant collection! I’ve never been great with plants, but I’m committed to giving these guys and their bigger brethren some TLC and regular care. I’ve set up a watering schedule on an app, and my next goal is to find a friend in the area who can water the babes when we go away. I didn’t think that part through when I was buying, and some of the plants require watering every day or two. I’m now plant-crazed, and ordered some more big ones a few days ago. I think there might soon be a fine line between plant lover and crazy plant woman.


  • Someone asked me if I’m missing home, and how the leaving has been. There are lots of things I miss, but there’s a lot here to replace some of the gaps. In many ways, emigrating when we did, after a few months of lockdown, was a blessing. I was already missing family, friends, running races, events and being “normal”. The process of missing things started long before we boarded the plane, and this has helped my heart a bit.

Until next time,

Yours in handbrakes and handlebars,

This ice cream is called unicorn ice cream. Marketing success.

We tried fresh stroopwafels from Melly’s. A close second to Van Wonderen

Waiting for our food at Foodhallen (we take drawing tools wherever we go now – lessons have been learnt)

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  • Andrew

    20 August 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Can relate... I had been here a week, and was off to Utrecht to get my PR card. I had been gaining confidence on the […] Read MoreCan relate... I had been here a week, and was off to Utrecht to get my PR card. I had been gaining confidence on the bike to the extent of getting a little windgat, but on this day it was raining, and the dinky little kerb between the cycle lane and the paved entrance to the bike park would not admit one. Down I went. I was absolutely fine, barring a small graze, and a local lass stopped to see if I was ok. Rite of passage! Read Less

  • Stefan

    17 August 2020 at 8:47 am

    Glad you’re adjusting (well, seemingly not the bike seat! LOL) to life in NL and even added some not so nice experiences to the list. […] Read MoreGlad you’re adjusting (well, seemingly not the bike seat! LOL) to life in NL and even added some not so nice experiences to the list. I’m sure you did every fall with your usual grace and the fortitude to carry on is impressive. Have a fab week! Read Less

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