Nothing can start until we get our immigration paperwork complete which includes the Netherlands equivalent of the Social Security Number which is the BSN number. Dorte, our representative from Cartus quickly took us to the World Trade Center where we got finger printed, photographed, registered in Amsterdam and even got our public transportation “ov-chipkaart.” It was an amazing morning until we had to get the car out of the parking garage. Unfortunately, Dorte had to leave and it was just Cheryl, me and the automated parking ticket authorizer. Of course, the instructions were in Dutch. So there we were, hitting buttons aimlessly until finally we must have hit the button that changed everything to English. Or maybe it’s just programmed to know 15 unrelated button pushes means a dumb American is trying to pay for parking. Whatever the case, thank heaven it changed, or we might still be standing there.
I spent the afternoon at work meeting the wonderful people I will be working with for the next two years while Cheryl conquered the public transportation system and made a visit to the local market. She fits in quite nicely and prefers the rolling cart. Why carry when you can pull! Big surprise there is a bottle of wine on top.
Our first few days here were fairly consistent. I would start the morning battling the daily commute from the city center to Hilversum (where Nike EHQ is located). I am forever in debt to whoever designed the GPS directional system. I literally have NO IDEA where I’m going and blindly follow the commands. The first two instructions are “turn right on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal then left on Raadhuisstraat.” Seriously? It doesn’t get any easier from there. Add in navigating through the thousands of bikes, busses, trains and people and, well, you see why I don’t plan on driving much. The afternoon is simply the reverse except I get a glass of wine as a reward for making it back.