Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Last Day

Today was my last day in the office, and is my last day in the Netherlands. I fly out tomorrow back to the U.S. Surprisingly, it felt like any other day until I was about to leave the office, and then I was suddenly really sad. I will be leaving behind lots of good friends. I really do hope to see them again in the future.

The rest of the evening will just be a quiet evening home with my boyfriend. Actually, it's more likely I will probably start panicking in a few hours trying to get everything into my 2 suitcases.

Well, next time you hear from me, I should be back Stateside. So, as they say it here - tot ziens, doei, dag (take your pick).

Friday, September 14, 2007

Immaturity Levels Rising

It's old news, but I came across this study on the rising levels of immaturity for the first time recently. In summary, it claims that adults these days are less mature since it's more beneficial to maintain child-like qualities to be able to learn and adapt - in higher education, changing work demands, traveling, etc. This might explain why these days we call the 30's the new 20's. Certainly, I don't feel as old as I expected to feel at this age. Apparently, the faults of child-like traits are retained along with the virtues. Having a "short attention span" and the need to seek "novelty" could explain my nomadic tendencies.

A bit off the subject, but it's only in the past month or so that I've realized I'm 33 and what that means. It means I need to get married now and pregnant next year! You think I'm joking? All of my friends are naturally around my age, and most of them are sweating it. 2 of my friends who are married are having a hard time conceiving. While this article says women over 35 can have a healthy pregnancy, it's not oh so reassuring when it starts rattling off the risks that are increased. I've heard before that women nearing the age of 35 start panicking to have a child, but it never occurred to me I'd be one of them. For starters, I hate kids. I never wanted one, and I still don't. Then again, will I want one when I'm old? It's too late when I'm 60 something and lonely to say "I wish I'd had some kids back then." So what's someone like me to do? As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I have tons of things I want to do that doesn't involve kids in the equation. I could adopt later if I decide to have kids and can't have any, but that's not as much fun as having your own. Particularly as someone who get hives when surrounded by children, I probably have a better chance at loving and nurturing my own flesh and blood. Assuming I have, or can find, an able and willing partner, how do I convince myself to have kids? Supposedly, despite the hard work, parenting is very rewarding. So, should I just take the leap and get pregnant? Maybe that'll make me mature. Anyways, for now, don't go expecting any little dancingnomads anytime soon. Even tho I'm starting to hear this big tick-tock in the back of my head, I have no intention of having any babies yet.

One Week To Go

By this time today, I should be on US soil, waiting to catch the last leg of my flight back to VB - and boy I cannot wait. After Switzerland, I've pretty much seen everything I needed to see in Europe to keep me satisfied for some time. I think I've checked out sometime ago and it's been a struggle to stay motivated at work. Although, the beuracracies of my work place never actually gave me any reason why I should be motivated. It's been four and a half month now since I made the decision to jump ship, and I'm just really really really ready to get on with my new life. I stayed this long only for the events of last week in Norway, and now that it's over with, I wish I could fly out now. Good-byes are always hard, and I'm not looking forward to next week. Generally, I always presume my paths will cross with some people again and that it's not really a good-bye. Still, it would be easier if I could just sneak out. I'm pretty good at keeping in touch with people anyways, and those who are my true friends will always be my friends.

On a brighter note, I'm looking forward to my life back in the U.S. There's a lot I want to do - develop my career, learn Spanish, take up martial-arts again, go for my PhD (maybe), do volunteer work, etc. I have a lot of friends near DC to catch up with too. Of course, there's also my brothers and their family who I haven't seen in almost a year.

Perhaps I will change my blog title to 'Living in America.' Having said that, I have no intention of stopping travel. I will be more limited in my vacation time back home but I will just have to make the most of what I have. For the moment, I am thinking about a Guatemala/Belize trip in the spring, and then a China trip in the fall. Until then, I'm stuck going where my work might take me, or places I can go on weekends. Will I survive??

Friday, September 7, 2007

Ørland, Norway

I just got back from a 10 day trip up to Ørland for work. Unfortunately, I have nothing exciting to report. However, I think it's the highest latitude I've ever been in. At 64 degrees North, I was still some ways away from the Arctic circle, but it was full blown winter there by my standards. It didn't get much more than 50 degrees there each day. The weather was also crap - it rained everyday. I didn't see sunshine until today during the layover in Copenhagen, which felt like the carribeans after being up in Ørland. Anyways, everyday was spent working all day, some days a bit longer than usual working days. At night I'd meet up with colleagues for dinner, and that would usually be about it. I'd slip in an occasional episode of 24 but there wasn't a whole lot of time for much else. Didn't help that I came down with a cold as soon as I got there. The first few days were pretty rough for me. The one day I had off, it was pissing rain so didn't do much then either. Not that there was much to do there anyways even if I wanted to. There are couple of hills (not the high mountains you'd expect in Norway) and an old fortress, that's about it. Yeah, so it was bit of a lame trip. Oh well.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Moving Pains (continued)

So yesterday the movers (Top Movers) finally came. They arrived on time at 0800 but with only 2 people. It took them 8.5 hours to pack and load a one bedroom apartment!! I sort of expected they would take lunch somewhere in between, but they didn't. So I didn't eat or drink anything all day (all food had been thrown out). That still would've been such a big deal, except that they didn't know how to pack. They would not fully pack the boxes, so if the boxes were shaken, you can hear stuff shifting around inside. When I told them they needed to stuff the boxes with paper or something to prevent this shifting, they said they only wrap breakables. Don't they realize unbreakables can still get damaged? When I insisted, they gave me an attitude saying this is how they do it and it's never a problem. I don't believe it. They started stuffing a little bit of paper, but not enough to really keep things in place. I'm pretty much expecting things to arrive damaged. Oh, and they only had small boxes! So anything bigger than the box would either be squeezed in, or bubble wrapped and left as is. They forced my printer in one of the boxes, but didn't pad it at all, and the top didn't close properly. Put one heavy box on top of it and my printer is crushed. I also had to insist on getting my electronics wrapped, and getting a plastic (bubble wrap) lining for the box containing the liquors. They also almost didn't get everything into their truck. They decided to put the 2 sofa pieces into the truck last. Smart move guys. Next time, get the big things in first.

What did go well though, was the check out with the makelaar. He seemed quite happy with how clean I left the apartment. The only problem I had was that he thought it would be better if I had the final bills for utilities sent to the owners and have them pay it out of the deposit. Unfortunately, it takes 4-8 weeks for these bills to be sent, and the owners have an obligation to give me back my deposit within 2 months according to my contract. There is also nothing in my contract about having to pay the final bill out of my deposit. So, I insisted the final bill be sent to me so I could pay it and get my deposit back sooner - hopefully before I close my Dutch bank account.

Oh, I made one last try to change my mailing address without making a visit. It turns out there is a section on the Dutch site (not the English site) that lets you change address. So I thought, great... until the site came back with a form I had to print and mail into ABN Amro. I couldn't even get my local bank rep to use my work address they already have on file as the mailing address. Stupid bank.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Good-bye, Harstenhoekstraat

The movers are coming tomorrow to get all of my stuff so I spent all of yesterday packing, sorting, and cleaning. It was a busy day but at least the kitchen and bathroom's cleaned up. Now I just have to take care of the floor once all the stuff is gone. I pretty much moved out last night, and will stay with my boyfriend or friends, when I'm not away on business, until I leave on 9/21. I'll miss having my own place, but I've bounced around from place to place so many times in the past so it shouldn't be a big deal. Getting kind of tired of moving every year though. I hope I will stick around in one place for a while this time. We'll see.... Anyways, just letting y'all know so you don't come knocking on my door looking for me :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Moving Pains

For those of you who do not know, I am moving back to the United States. It's been a great year here in Netherlands, and I have enjoyed my job here. However, I was given an offer back home I didn't want to refuse. My new job will take me McLean, VA. I already have a place to live lined up in Reston. I fly back to Virginia on September 21st.

I began moving preparations some time ago, but as I prepare to move out of my apartment end of this month, I have to yet again deal with terrible Dutch services. I called ABN AMRO, my bank, to inform them I was closing my account, and also to let them know of an address change. I can understand having to go into their office to close an account, but I don't see why I have to go into their office for a simple change of address. I need to change my address few weeks before closing my account and I don't want to make two trips to the bank, especially for something so trivial as an address change. I can't call it in, fax it in, or email it in. Their website doesn't even allow you to change your information. If their on-line banking services is secure enough to perform transactions through, why can't I change my address there also?

Then there's Eneco Energy. They can't prepare the final bill until 6-8 weeks after my move date. I'll be in the States by then! Based on my arrival experiences with Dutch service, I can already imagine things will only get worse from here. Not looking forward to the mess at all.