First Year Blur: The First Month

It has been about 18 months since we arrived to join Husband. Today I was walking over to the shopping street near our neighborhood, intent on running some errands.

My mind wandered back to the first time I had gone shopping for groceries, or to the hardware store or the post office. I tried to recall what each transaction had been like, what I’d seen and what I’d felt. But I couldn’t remember many of the details.

It was all a bit of a blur. I had learned and experienced so much in the intervening time, the recollections all merged together into a lump. The blur of the first year.

I understand why it’s a blur. My mind had been so overwhelmed by new this and new that, learning where and why and what and how. It was just protecting itself, almost a form of gentle amnesia. Let’s be honest. Sleepwalking zombie would be more accurate. I couldn’t recall too many details because I had been sleepwalking in my zombie state to suck the life out of the next victim. I mean, I had been too busy hurtling on to learn the next thing, experience the next new experience.

Somewhere along the way I transitioned from being a sleepwalking zombie and started feeling at ease. My days are no longer filled with every single action or effort being new, different. Things have become a bit more routine. More background than a continuous slideshow of one new thing after the next.

It feels good, not to have to focus so intently on every little detail. I’ve got this down. I know this stuff. I live here. I belong.

That said, while I may not want to relive every minute of every day since being here, I do want to remember more. So I’ve decided that now and then I will post a word stream of things I remember during various parts of the first year blur. It won’t be exhaustive or all inclusive. I just want to capture what I remember spending time and energy and brain cells on during that period.

So briefly here’s the first month’s recollections:

Arrival Schiphol with two teenagers, two cats, one dog and plenty of luggage in tow.  Finally get to see house Husband decided to rent, albeit in familiar neighborhood. Movers had hastily unpacked household goods, but much ended up in wrong rooms. Unpacking. Moving furniture, clothes and household items around. More unpacking. Putting things away. Laundry. Grocery shopping. Hardware store, drug stores and Target-equivalent store to pick up incidentals, restock or replace missing items, have keys made.

Where to buy strippenkaarts for transportation. Learn to use the tram and bus, get to train station for bus transfer or to take the train. Take short vacation to France, bringing Oli as it seems dog kennels book up months in advance. Glad it is France where everyone takes their dog along.

One week of school orientation with Son and Daughter, requiring tram and transfer at train station to bus each way. Kudos to school for separate indepth orientation for parents. Son and Daughter glad they will take school-arranged transportation when school starts.

Figure out where to have additional passport photos taken. School begins, with requisite paperwork. No landline phone and internet connectivity despite regular assurances. Research high level Dutch soccer club possibilities for Daughter. Call and arrange for immediate tryout as season is starting. Evening tryout in town 25K away requires two buses to get to club. All goes well, Daughter happy to make top team while playing up in age. Return trip late evening requires bus, train and tram. Must learn to call it voetbal.


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