Awkward in the Orange Empire

Yah, I thought it all seemed too easy. But…it’s not.

There’s much paperwork that needs to go back and forth between governments and a whole bunch of stuff about shipping my stuff that confuses the gosh-darn-heck outta me! I am bewildered. I feel like I’m backstroking through a pool of Jell-O spiked with occasional rows of barbed wire and little gem rewards (like in arcade games)…every once in a while I get a bonus point! *Pac-Man noise*

I ~might~ have neglected to get some VERY important paperwork and legal stuffs out-of-the-way too. That ~might~ have gained me some scrapes from the barbed wire. Whoops. Yep, I did kick myself in the rear end a few times.

I have everything sorted out throughout my house and garage. It might look like chaos, but I know what everything is. Luckily, I have not put anything from the Get Rid of Pile into the NL Pile. Luckily. I have a space limit of 84 x 84 x 47″. Did I already mention that already? I guess if I did and then again now it’s only because I am baffled about the sheer insanity of taking all my years of stuffs, separating it, saying goodbye (or good riddance) to it and sticking the These Things are Good into a metal crate that may then be sunk, exploded, lost or pillaged. Super.

I even have a Backup in Case I Can Fit More pile. *sigh*

I have no major pieces of furniture left. Sold a bunch of stuff at work and have doo-dads—remnants of life—scattered around my spaces.  Things are starting to get a bit scary…like a tight-rope walker balancing over a field of pretty wild flowers…but then there are land sharks waiting for me to fall. Ack!

I am currently reading The Undutchables and it is making me laugh (sort of a medium laugh). Yikes! I also have two, no three, Dutch language CDs on the go too.

Oh my gawd! I am trying so hard. I won’t know another soul there aside from M. It’s different from when I was in Africa, with the language differences and going in blind, but there is still that wobbly stance I know I take when I’m unsure of things or feel uncomfortable. I grasp any available, nearby clothing (usually my own) and get EVER so quiet. Observing. Listening. Congratulating myself once in a while when I recognize a spoken number or word I have practiced: He said four bananas! I get excited at the small things when I travel. And it’s not like visiting a foreign land at all…moving somewhere is in a whole new realm of OMG! Visiting usually requires very little preparation, perhaps a small handbook of common phrases and an ignorance that somehow, somewhere, SOMEONE will understand what I am saying without looking at me like my head’s on fire!

Visiting requires money, camera, aforementioned phrase book and a keen sense of personal safety. It does NOT require complete immersion. Complete. People have mentioned that everyone in NL knows English, you’re not going to have a problem communicating. Okay, that’s fair. Sure…once they KNOW I am still tackling their peculiar language, they will kindly respond back in the ONLY language I know.

BUT what about the train announcements,movies, Hey You!s in the streets, yoga classes, introductions (Ik ben Renée. My Dutch is poor and don’t feed me meat), questions at the market, TV, instructions…. Well, you can see why I am trying so hard. I could not hold more of a conversation than me introducing myself (see above), asking someone who they are, how to order coffee with milk, sugar and/or cream (but not yet how to order a black, no sugar coffee…which is my preference. Unless I say Een koffie zonder suiker of melk, alstubleift. Oh dear!), something about the first floor, saying first and second class (eerste en tweede klas), numbers and prices if someone says them at 32 RPM and ~maybe~ just maybe I could glean a reaction or two from body language and just get really good at nodding my head and saying Ja!

I like that some Dutch comes to me quickly, but I must say although my English is quite good and I used to teach English as a Second Language the rules and names of things still baffle me. I know what’s right, but I can’t tell you why. I know if I hone up on my basics, it will be smoother than it is now. I’m Canadian!

I’ve even tried to learn from Ernie and Bert. (Funnier than Dutch Ernie and Bert is Zulu Ernie and Bert.)


About soulglue

Canadian living in the Netherlands. View all posts by soulglue

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