Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Busy Monday

Monday we went first thing with Letty (our relocation agent) to the Town Hall to register and get our Sofi registration numbers (basically like a SSN) so that we can do things like buy a car, open a bank account, GET PAID... you know, the little things. It went quickly, and we should have the paperwork back in about 2 weeks (and yes, I cringed when they said that- it's a reflex at this point).

The next stop was back near the house at Megan's prospective school- the oldest one in the Netherlands. We met with the director of the school and the organizer of what they call the "Special Needs" program (I heard them refer to it as "remedial" at one point and thought what an oddity it was to hear someone speaking of my bright and wonderful kiddo in the same breath as the word "remedial program"). They gave us a brief introduction to the school, the primary school program, and took us over to see the classes in action. To make it short and sweet, Dutch education is very similar to Montessori- the classes are mixed ages (4-6 years for Megan's class) and the big kids help the younger kids along. This seemed perfect for Megan- she would have kids who already knew they were expected to help their classmates, so she wouldn't seem like a burden or "special needs" student in the class. This set me at ease, and the look on Megan's face when she saw the other children and the classrooms had me almost as excited for her first day as she was.

After the tour, they led us back to the office to hand over paperwork and talk about Megan's first day. I left this decision to her, and when asked what day she wanted to start she said, "TOMORROW." I gave no further worry about how she was going to handle her new school.

After wrapping things up at the school, Letty drove us to register at a nice Doctor's office (like an HMO set-up, everything goes through your family physician), and then drove us around town to show us where the important things are located- hospital, police station, athletics center, shopping street, grocery stores... it was nice to see that our little village is well-appointed as well as charming.

Letty then brought us back to the house and helped us muck through a few forms, some paperwork from a few of the service providers (electricity, gas, water, etc.) and then called her daughter-in-law who lives right around the corner. She is in marketing of some kind, and Letty offered to introduce her to me so that I would have another neighborhood contact, which I greatly appreciated.

After Letty left, we all piled in our loaner car and drove out to the airport to pick up our rental. Until we get our Sofi numbers, we are stuck with a rental. Ugh. We grabbed a bite to eat while at the airport, then Kip took the loaner back to work and Megan and I were off on our first adventure in driving in Europe!

Let me say this- having lived and driven in Houston, Europe was no challenge. Sure, the signs are different, but I only was honked at once (for spacing out at a red light, thank you jetlag) and I didn't hit anything or anyone. Megan didn't even seem phased by it.

We drove into Haarlem to go to an Apple store in their big shopping district, and after struggling to find parking, we walked 6 blocks or so, got a power cable for the computer and headed back to the car. Had I done my homework I could have also gotten a charger for my camera- apparently one of the larger camera shops is near the Apple store, but the sales person at Apple said he didn't know of a camera shop when I asked at checkout. Another day- I can't bear dragging Megan around like I had to that day- poor kid looked like she had walked for days once we were finished with our errand.

After getting back to the car (it wasn't towed or booted! yahoo!) we came back to the house and I hopped on the computer while Meg played with the Littlest Pet Shop toys that one of the neighbors loaned us- it is the biggest success, she will play with them for hours at a time. The rest of the evening was just laundry, getting Meg clean and ready for school, oh- and a run to the fry shop for dinner! For having such an unhealthy array of foods available, the Dutch are very slender. I had a hamburger that was pretty good (granted, I'd been here for 4 days, and I do realize it was NO Beck's Prime) and a gob of fries with frite sauce, which I still continue to like a lot, no matter what you all may think of me.

Megan took a while to calm down and finally sleep, but I think first-day-jitters are more to blame for that than jet-lag this time.

PS- I swear photos are coming soon, I burned some battery power last night to upload a few, and am in the process of editing and uploading.


JM said...

Awww. Megs was excited for school. I'm sure it will be an adventure. Please put a link on this blog to your flickr account. Missing you guys!

Kathryn said...

I'm glad that Moo is adjusting so well. I'm sure that makes things much easier on you and Kip. You have enough to deal with without throwing an unhappy kid into the mix. Did I tell you what she told me on the phone last Thursday? She was watching George of the Jungle for the third time in two days and I asked if I needed to send her a DVD version in her first care package - she said, "Yes and a scooter, too." Needless to say, there will be no scooter being shipped overseas from me. I hate to be such a mean Auntie, but what can you do? Love and miss you guys infinity plus one.