Every once in a while – every few days, really – Dawnise or I look at each other and say something to the effect of “We live in Europe. Can you believe that shit?”
This afternoon, after spending the morning on a shopping expedition (more on that later) Dawnise followed it on with a question she’d never asked before.
“Are we having fun yet?”
It took us both a moments pause before we decided, not exactly…
It’s not that we hate it here, or even dislike it, it’s just – we ultimately decided – it still feels like we’re trying to get our lives together. We’re not to the “having fun” stage yet.
Which seems like a damn shame – and something we should work on.
Our sofas – which we ordered on our first big furniture trip to Ikea when we arrived – were finally delivered the other day. Apparently they left Dortmund on a truck in time to be delivered on the 5th, then fell into the Bermuda Triangle, and failed to arrive in Belgium. And this didn’t seem to bother Ikea in the least. I contacted them every week or so asking if the driver had been heard from, if they’d sent out a search party, if they’d tried turning on the gps unit in the truck. They didn’t seem to get the irony. Finally, they called and used the age old “we must have had the wrong phone number” excuse – apparently oblivious to the fact that I’d spoken to their customer service about the order – by phone – every week.
But hey, now we have sofas and – thanks to having to buy something to sit on when the sofa’s failed to appear – a couple comfortable chairs. I’m sitting on one of those chairs, computer in lap, tea on the table next to me, looking out the window at the light snow fall as I type. We’ve got plans with the other couples here for dinner tonight, and I’m hoping we don’t end up stranded in a snow drift somewhere before the night’s over.
Speaking of snow – it’s been doing that a fair bit here. Not heavily, but enough to accumulate several inches. I bus and walk to work, and we don’t have to shovel our walk, or driveway, so it’s kinda nice – makes things pretty and doesn’t really affect us much at all.
I mentioned our shopping expedition – Dawnise got word through the American Women’s Club (she’s a card carrying member) about a place called Provencale – which was billed as “like a Costco” and a mere 15 minute drive from the apartment. Their hours are tailored to the trade, so they open at 5am and close – on Saturdays – at 11:30(a). We got up this morning and went over, managed to get a membership application done and a day pass, and ended up not buying anything.
I rekon that won’t last another trip.
The selection was great, and the prices about on par with the hypermarkets. Produce, fish, meat, and all the non-consumables you might need to run a cafe or brasserie. I’d say it’s more like a Cash & Carry (Smart & Final, for you Southern California folks) than a Costco, but it’s still a welcome find, no doubt.
Then we came back to Cactus, our local hypermarket, and did the weeks shopping, which is getting less and less time consuming and frustrating every time we do it.
So things are falling into something of a routine, broken up by a weekend trip to London for Dawnise’s birthday (which was a lot of fun, and a welcome return to being surrounded by English).
This coming Friday I head back to the UK on business: Manchester for a day, then London – where Dawnise will fly over and join me for a couple days – through the week, home the following Friday.
This past Thursday we completed the last bit of immigration process and picked up our residence cards – I now have a “blue card” – meaning I’m authorized for a couple years to work in any country in the EU, and that I no longer need to carry my US passport and residency letter while traveling in the EU. So that’s sorta nifty.
In other news, a bunch of stuff has happened in the US – and I’m surprised at how totally disconnected from itI feel. We (they?) inaugurated a president who’s likely to be completely stymied in trying to solve the major issues facing the country, assuming he tries. The government played political brinksmanship (again) with tax policy that affects the majority of the population far more than it affects the aristocracy that debated it. They’ll play the same brinksmanship game again about paying the countries bills.
I wish I could say the damage didn’t look as bad from out here, but in fact it looks worse.
I was a disenfranchised and disaffected voter before, I shudder to think how I’ll feel by the time I return.
And on that cheery note, I’m off to make another cup of tea.
Further bulletins as events warrant.