It's been a few days since I last wrote, but I've been busy getting things ready for when Brett comes this week - and with applying to stay in the country.
On Thursday I applied for my residency permit. I had to go to the IND (immigration) with my application and 433 Euros ($675) in cash. It was really efficient and I was done in 25 minutes. Now have a sticker in my passport that gives me the right to continue working here while they make their decision. They have up to 6 months to decide, and if they accept me I'll get a residency card.
I've also been out buying things like a dog bed for Holly, a Nespresso machine for Brett (as a gift to him for coming with me on this adventure) and other random appliances that we couldn't bring from the US due to voltage compatibility issues. I'm looking forward to his arrival and to showing him the apartment and neighborhood.
My friends here are also eagerly awaiting his arrival because he's bringing their American food requests in his luggage. The list of items he's bringing includes: Shake N Bake, Mint Oreos, Cheerios, Ranch dressing, peanut butter and Fritos - among others. It's definitely a hodge podge mix.
The cravings that you get when you're away from home are funny. Sometimes you miss an item because it's a staple in your diet and there's no local substitute. Other times you rarely ate it at home, but then you read or hear about it and suddenly the craving takes over. That happened to me here with Marshmallow Fluff and Aunt Jemima Pancake mix. I ate them maybe once a year at home, and then I read about someone else's craving on an expat site. Now I keep thinking about how good they'd taste. I probably only want them because I know these things are tough to get over here, and once I get them I'll be underwhelmed - kind of like when I tried Spaghetti-Os as an adult. I've been told there's an American food store nearby, but to expect high prices. Think $20 for a box of Cocoa Puffs or $25 for Aunt Jemima Pancake mix!! Crazy. With those prices I could fly home and stock up myself!
I'm sure the cravings will pass eventually - but anyone that comes to visit wins brownie points for bringing me a favorite treat. It's also my birthday today. Overall it's been pretty quiet, but I think Brett and I are going to rent a boat to tour the canals to celebrate once he arrives.
One last thought: I don't get US holidays anymore and the main Dutch ones are done until Christmas. Boo!
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