Moving to Amsterdam, a snap decision and one of the best

Posted by Blokeman on October 3, 2015 under General Bloke Stuff | Be the First to Comment

When we decided to pack up our family and move to the other side of the world, I expected an adventure and an enriching experience, and I have certainly received that. Nothing gives you worldly perspective, like living in different parts of it. Every country and every race has its idiosyncrasies, some more-so than others.

The relocation came with such a whirlwind that I barely got to enjoy the ride, one day I had a job offer and it seemed like the next I was boarding a plane to my new life. I don’t even think I sat back and really considered what to expect, I just kind of did what was needed and got myself packed, sold and threw out everything from my old life bar a suitcase full of clothes and got myself here.

I was so underprepared that I didn’t even bother to give the friend that was meeting me at the other end my phone number, or flight numbers, just an arrival time, furthermore I ┬áhadn’t seen him for about 6 years, I didn’t even know if I would recognize him. I didn’t even bother to get his number. So after a long 24 hours of flying, I landed at Schipol, cleared customs and retrieved my bag, I walked out into the arrival hall half expecting to see him right away, but no he wasn’t there, or that I saw, a mild bit of panic washed over me and I realised how errant I was in not bothering to hammer out those finer details of my arrival.

At this point all I had was his Facebook details, I had never been to Amsterdam before so I really didn’t know what to do, I quickly flicked him a Facebook message letting him know my location and that I was just going to grab a coffee from the cafe at the arrival hall. Now for those who don’t know Schipol airport, it essentially has two terminals opposite each other, connected by a large hall for train platforms and food outlets each terminal has two arrival gates, and the instruction for those meeting people is that the person should come out of arrival x but may come out of arrival y. Which are about 400m apart, so real useful if the person just randomly comes out.

Anyway, whilst I got my coffee and found an obvious place to stand and wait I sent my friend another message on facebook to let him know I was now standing by the big red obvious box at arrival whatever-it-was. Then I waited, sipped my coffee and waited some more. After a further 30 minutes of waiting and checking my facebook waiting for a message or to see if my friend had checked, nothing happened, and panic really began to set in, what was I going to do? Where was I going to stay?, how did I even get anywhere? I slowly came down out of my panic and fatigue fuelled state and formulated a plan, maybe I could catch a train into the city, then I could hole up in a cafe or restaurant and wait it out, if things didn’t happen I could always find a hotel hopefully and check in for a night or two, though I was not funded for much more. I was meant to have a place lined up to live in, so I should be good if I could get hold of those people too (Another story to come), I’ll just wait it out another 30 minutes……

Finally when I was about to leave and go on an adventure into the city, my friend and I randomly bumped into each other, he had been looking for me everywhere, and we had missed each other several times. The instant relief, I had something, someone familiar to help me navigate my first day.

Panic abated and feeling more positive, we drove back to his place where I could shower and get a coffee. Then my first day really started to take shape and things got real interesting… Really interesting I will post that shortly, because that is a story worth telling.

I had originally wanted to write this post about things I had learned and experienced since moving here, but I realised the arrival should be told, and there is a lesson and a story within it. So I have more to write on future dates.

I did learn, that big events need better planning, and leaving so much to chance was risky, particularly arriving in a country to which I had previously never been. However it was part of the adventure, part of this adventure, that is still going on today

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