Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Why "Almost Amsterdam"?

A few days ago a friend of mine asked me why I call this blog "Almost Amsterdam", so I thought more of you might wonder why!

Ever since I've learned to speak German in school I wanted to travel through Europe. I was dreaming about visiting cities like Zurich, Munich, Copenhagen, Amsterdam ... I never thought I would be able to visit all these cities! (Travelling through Europe on the South African Rand is a luxury that very few South Africans can afford!)

A little more than two years ago my hubby and I have decided that, if we really wanted to experience Europe, we had to come and live and work in Europe! We thought it was going to take a while for one of us to find a job here, but Marc found a job within two weeks after making his first call to a personnel agent!  We were actually still getting used to the idea of moving to another continent and the job opportunity came completely unexpected! We weren't really prepared, but at the same time we didn't want to turn down a good opportunity and a month later Marc came to The Netherlands. Having Dutch parents, Marc was in possession of a Dutch passport, and it was relatively easy for him to come over to work in Holland.
I was less lucky. I stayed behind in South Africa to sell our house, to get my paperwork sorted out, and to prepare our animal "children" for life in The Netherlands. Because of problems with my birth certificate (which was apparently lost), I had to wait for almost a year before I could join Marc! It was an incredibly difficult time for both of us, having to live on different continents! (Thank goodness for Skype!) But after a year my paperwork was finally sorted out and the animals and I were able to join Marc here in Vleuten, in the Provence of Utrecht, in The Netherlands.

Now, after almost a year on European soil, I sometimes still find it hard to believe that I am actually here and that I already had the privilege of experiencing quite a bit of Europe! It's almost unreal, like a dream from which I might wake up any time! So, on those days when I can still hardly believe that I actually live in Europe, I deliberately walk past the sign at the end of our street that points the way to Amsterdam, just to remind myself that this is not a dream - that Amsterdam is in fact only 31 kilometres away!

Since Vleuten is a very small town in The Netherlands, that very few people know of, I thought Amsterdam might also serve as a nice reference point for the rest of the world to figure out where we live! So, I've decided to call my blog Almost Amsterdam!

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