Is this what “normal” feels like?

Life is feeling very “normal” right now and our lives have opened up a bit. There are hugs, kids’ parties, eating at indoor restaurants, going to movies, running races and booking tickets for concerts (though the one concert we booked for Alanis Morissette has been postponed). Amsterdam feels full and busy, and the only time we wear masks is on public transport. I’m still cautious, especially with cold weather looming, but I’m soaking up the “normality” of life for now.

Speaking of the weather, it’s almost time though to haul out our special UV lightbulbs for our work desks that replicate natural sunlight as things are getting dark, literally. My morning runs start in mostly pitch black, and my headlamp guides me along the very quiet streets (Amsterdam seems to wake up much later than Johannesburg does – even in summer).

We celebrated the kids’ birthdays last month and the Jewish holidays, and we held a first “real” party for Rebecca with some of her friends. I’d seen some recommendations on Facebook for a nursery-garden, where kids can do crafts, pick flowers and play. They had lots of fun, and it felt like a success, aside from my limited Dutch that left me incapable of communicating with some of the Dutch kids (I could communicate with the others in English or Hebrew). After months of online Dutch courses, I’m still so unconfident to open my mouth and let out some Dutch words, and without practice, there’s no progress. In fairness to me, each time I try to speak in a shop or restaurant in Amsterdam, I get answered in English, which is great because it’s so much easier for me, but not great in that I’m still stuck.

A few weeks ago we bought a car, mainly for some more independence on weekends, and something “concrete” that belongs to us here. We will still bike around the city as parking is so expensive and sometimes tricky to find. Though I never felt limited or stuck without a car, I’m certainly feeling more independent and “secure” having one (I mean, I could drive myself to Paris one weekend! Pourquoi non?). Leasing a car in The Netherlands impacts a house bond quite significantly, and although we likely won’t buy property for the next few months, it was a bit scary for me to understand the effect.

Later this week I’m going to Cape Town for just over a week to visit my family and I’m so excited. I’m obviously taking a case of clothes, and an empty case for Woolworths and Dis-Chem “necessities”. I’ll be laying low, doing some work, having my hair done (I’ve mentioned before how expensive hair treatments are here) and catching up after two years of not spending time with the bulk of my family. I also see quite a bit of SA craft gin in my future…

Rebecca at the car dealership

Bloody Mary at my favourite – Starting at Jacob

Late morning run

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