Friday, September 16, 2011

A Few Lessons Learned

A few things I've learned in our first month or so living abroad in Amsterdam:

+Europeans love to smoke. I knew this one before coming, but goodness, it really ruins your al fresco meal when someone is blowing plooms of cigarette smoke in your face!

+One car per week accidentally drives itself into a canal. You won’t see me trying to park along one!

+Trains will not wait for you. Not even if you’re running toward it like a mad person. And their doors will close on you if you hop on too late. Luckily I just watched these scenarios and wasn’t actually the victim.

+You shouldn’t ever take a taxi in the city. It’s a massive rip off. 15 euro for 1.5km? I don’t think so.

+I rarely have any clue how far I’ve walked or how many degrees it is outside because I am still not used to kilometers and celcius.

+Public transportation is horribly expensive, but unbelievably efficient and convenient.

+People do smoke pot at 7AM in the morning – and it’s not the most pleasant aroma on your walk to the train station as you’re still trying to wake up!

+What Amsterdam lacks in Mexican food they make up for in pancakes.

+Shops close at 5PM (with the exception of Thursday). Has nobody in Europe ever heard of retail therapy? How’s a girl supposed to pep up after a particularly mind-numbing day at work?

+Row homes are tall and narrow, and the only way to get furniture in while you're moving is through the window!

+Laundry detergent stinks here. Okay, to be fair, the kind we got stinks. But even the cheapest detergent in the States doesn’t smell like this. I want my Tide Cold Water back.

+Apparently it’s normal to have mice in your apartment. This is disturbing and I am praying that we are the exception to this…

+The bike culture never gets old. Everyone looks so dang cute on a bike! I can't wait to get one of my own.

+Belgian beers are strong and goooood. 

+The coffee here is different, but amazing. I'm so glad because there was some pretty stiff competition from Portland coffee!

+Every neighborhood, no pretty much ever street, has its own cheese shop, butcher, little market, etc. People aren't used to going to the grocery store and stocking up, many evenings they stop in five different places to get fresh goodies for their meals. I absolutely love this!

And not really a discovery, but so far my favorite thing...
The fact that I can go to the French Riviera for a long weekend with the huz. I can't complain!