Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Learning Curve

Going into this move, I knew things were not going to be easy.  I decided to embrace the move as a "learning  experience".  The first thing I learned was take everything you know and throw it out the window as it doesn't apply here.  Everything from banking to eating is different here.  In order to do anything here (get utilities, cable, internet and phones) you need a back account.  We had to wait 6 days to get an appointment at a bank.  Once there, we were able to set up a bank account with $0.00 in it.  Apparently, it take 6 weeks for the banks here to process a cashiers check.  Not good enough for us, so we asked about doing a wire transfer from our account in the U.S. to here, that takes 2 weeks to process.  How you can get a debit card (pin card) with a balance of $0.00 is beyond my understand, but that is the way it works here.

Also the saying "Nothing in life is free" strictly applies here accept to WiFi in cafes.  Drink refills and condiments are not free here.  I had to pay $1.00 for (2) small packets of ketchup yesterday at Burger King.  If they were the size of the ones you get a Chick-fil-a that might ease the pain, but they were smaller than that.  I did get (2) free packets of frietsaus yesterday, friets are french fries.  So being the creative person I am, I have decided to get a travel size shampoo bottle and fill it with ketchup and I will carry that around with me daily.

Words I learned this week:

Nee = No  (I heard that word a lot yesterday when we were opening up a bank account).
Kip = Chicken
Friets = Fries
Kaas = Cheese
Fiets = Bike.

If you can't remember what things are, take maters in your own hands and label everything.

This is what I did to my washing machine.  Nothing a label maker and Google Translate couldn't fix.

Driving is another story here.  You truly have to always be on the look out for bikes, cars, people and now add trams to that list.  The trams travel in the middle of the street, so you have to take extra caution when making a turn while driving a stick shift.  Now that the first week is over, I'm sure the next few weeks will be interesting.  The lady at the Expat Center told us the first month is the hardest.  I hope it goes easy. 

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