Life lately… swinging over Amsterdam, heat waves and more admin

It’s been another great week settling into our new lives, and finding our rhythm, though that will likely change a bit once school starts next week. I feel like the new kid and quite nervous to be that parent who doesn’t really know anyone or how things work, or where to go. It feels a bit like some my angst-ridden high-school years – will anyone talk to me? Will they judge me? Will I fit in? Will someone make a fat comment? (yup, eleventy years later and some kilograms down, and I still panic that I’m going to be teased).

In fact, I think I’m more nervous than my kids are, and I need to watch that my worry about my fitting in, doesn’t become their worry. i guess I could probably learn a lot about resilience, going with the flow and NOT overthinking from them.

I started my new job, which I really will go into more detail about, especially the recruitment process, which was so different to South Africa’s, even taking into account that all the meetings/interviews were done online. We had lots of onboarding and learning, and hopefully the real work will start soon as my team and I are excited to get going. I’m in a team of four for now, and I’m working with three super-creative guys on the design side, while I’m the words gal. It’s been so enjoyable getting to know a global team (agency and client), and how fascinating that we are all doing it remotely.

It’s going to be weird to be apart from Rebecca when she goes to school. It will be bizarre being able to get some solid work time in without having to marvel at the aeroplanes flying past our apartment (we’re not that far from Schipol Airport), get snacks, play a bit, entertain her etc etc. It was a little easier in South Africa as we had our nanny to help, but we’ve been solo here. As much as I’m looking forward to uninterrupted days, I’m going to miss her – we’ve been together since the middle of March when she stopped school. We’ve gotten much closer during this time, and she’s stopped choosing “dada” over me for everything. If there’s something I’ve gained during lockdown, it’s been more time with Rebecca, and I’ve moved higher up her ladder of favourites (I used to sit at the bottom).

Other things I got up to:

  • Went to Nemo Science Museum – a fantastic and interactive place, and somewhere we’ll go again. I almost feel I need to do it separately with each child as there’s a huge amount for both ages/stages.
  • Went to A’dam Lookout for magnificent views of Amsterdam. Max and I went on the swings, and while it was neither very fast or very high, I found it a little scary (bottom line – I like my feet on the ground). The views were spectacular, and it was fun, even if my heart had plunged to my feet.

  • Ordered some baby plants from Plnts. They are the most adorable things, and you can literally grow them. Since moving, I’ve become a bit more interested in plants as they’ve added a lot to our quite clean/sparse decor. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not great at tending to plants, but I have an app that’s giving me more info about them and how to care for them, and will remind me when to water them (though remembering to water them isn’t the problem – it’s more overwatering, underwatering or putting them in the wrong spot completely). Since I don’t know the names of the plants, the app lets you take a pic of it, then identifies it, and gives you all the care instructions.
  • Ordered a credit card. I thought this would come with my debit card when I opened my bank account, but this was something separate that needed to be ordered, as it’s issued by another company. While I don’t like buying on credit, I needed a card for things like automatic payments (website hosting, Google Suite, Amazon Kindle), and I couldn’t pay for these with my debit card. I got an email notification that my credit card was ready, and that I needed to call a number, give them a 10-number code (in my email), and activate a PIN, in order to get the credit card delivered. Cleverly, the phone number directed me to an English operator.
  • Started looking around for salons I’ll soon be needing, such as hair, waxing and brows. Things are expensive here, so basically I’m window shopping until I can figure out what costs what where. I’ve received some personal and Facebook recommendations, but I’m weeding things out based on whether I can see pics of their work, whether I can book online or via Whatsapp, and whether I can get there easily, which right now means a short bike ride to a station, and then one bus or train close to where the salon is. Reasonable pricing is also a factor.
  • I signed up for InterNations, which is a community for expats. My friend Tracey told me about it as she goes to lots of social events through InterNations. I haven’t really done much yet. I’ll see how many connections I can make through the school, and through some of the amazing moms and women who have connected with me online here.
  • I’ve started running a bit. I’m very running unfit, and I’m currently following the JEFF 1:1 programme, and will slowly start building a running base, and eventually switch over to the running programme. I’m still yet to find a hill around Amsterdam, which would make training for something like the hilly Two Oceans or Comrades challenging since hill work is critical. I’d still like to do another Comrades, and get to my 20th Two Oceans.

  • There’s been a heatwave since Friday and I’ve been shvitzing. We had to buy a standing fan, and we’re literally crowded around it waiting for our turn of cool air to come.
  • I happily got my package delivered from Glossier, one of my all-time best beauty brands. They don’t ship to The Netherlands, but I got a package delivered to a forwarding address in the UK, and then a few days later it was shipped here. I love having access to the brands I love, and more that I want to try. I have an order coming from Sephora France next week, and I’ve got a cart filling up on Cult Beauty, which I’ll likely only check out  next month.


Some more wow stuff

  • There’s an app called Beter Bouwer where you can report any building faults or things that need improving, and report them to the municipality. You can even take a pic and send it to them via the app. So for example, if there’s a swing that looks loose, or something needs tidying up, you can just let them know via the app. I don’t yet know what the turnaround time is, or how effective this way of communicating is.
  • We got a letter from our region asking us to take Rebecca for a free medical checkup. I think it’s for kids under four, and that every six months kids are called to go for a checkup. This is separate to the vaccination info we were asked to submit to check that the kids are up to date.

Is there anything you’d like me to write about specifically? Please let me know, and I can try to include it here. I have some ideas for varied content here… I’ll get going on it soon.

Yours in the heat,




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