Friday, October 4, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, the Netherlands!

It's amazing how many things happened since the last time I posted.

Over the last 5 days I moved to Utrech, I got settled into the new house, I tried the thrill of being an immigrant queuing outside the town hall, I cycled like a real Dutch girl in a new city which was also (incredibly) full of sun, I made friends, I started to work in a new company, read signed and approved tons of paperwork.

But let's go in order.

On Sunday I found my housemate H. and some of her friends waiting for me at the airport. We had a beer, then H. and I got on the train to Utrecht, to fin J. at the station waiting for us with her car (and saving us a long walk home with the luggages...yay!). Janne also prepared a fusion dinner with pizza, kroketten and frikandel. What lovely housemates!!!

If you are following me on Instargram you'll have seen that my place is absolutely LOVELY: my room is small but cozy, and there are a big living room and a dining room decorated with great taste.
I took some pics which I wanted to post, but I've had some problems with my laptop, and I haven't been able to download them. As soon as I fix the computer, I will post them!

On Monday morning at 9 I had scheduled an appointment at the Gemeente Huis of Utrecht for my BSN.
I already had all the paperwork done (including the much logned for address statement) and at 8.48 I was already outside the building, waiting. The door opened exactly at 9 o'clock, and by 9.15 I was outside again. The Netherlands is no game for Italy and its wearingly slow bureaucracy...but not so much, as I will only receive my BSN within 2 weeks from the application :(

Sooo, without a BSN, unable to subscribe to a mobile provider, opening a bank account, or doing anything else, I just cycled around and had a slow breakfast in a beautiful café overlooking a canal. Then I went for groceries, unpacked, took some pictures of the house, and STUDIED DUTCH (ghghgh) until my homies came home and we had dinner together.

The next day I was up to a bigger first day of work at the new office!

The fateful day started with me snoozing the alarm (set at 6.30) and opening my eyes half an hour later. My resolutions of straightening my hair calmly, having breakfast calmly, packing my lunch calmly and leaving home calmly were blewn off. But I still managed to do all od that, and at 7.55 I met with my Italian colleague to cycle together to the station, from where the company shuttle leaves.

My first great cultural shock was parking the bike at the station. The picture below shows my bike (actually J.'s bike, who very kindly lent it to me) while it's being loaded onto the upper level (UPPER LEVEL) of the bikes rack.

Yes, it was about to fall on my head

You cannot compare the size of these bike racks to those of Amsterdam's station, but it's still quite an impressive view.

They're all bikes!

The bus was full of young people from different nationalities, and this had a nice feeling to it. The sun was shining outside and the view outside the window was all green and tidy...could you ask for more?!

Once we go to the office I met some of the new hires and together we waited for the HR to pick us up from the lobby, where we were entertained by a Britney Spears video.

A good beginning makes a good ending

We spent the first hour with the HR team, handing in some documents (I was the only one not having done them yet :( ...), briefly going through company policies, and soon enough off we go to our team! I was greeted by smiles and handshakes, then my boss introduced me to the company, the organizational chart, the team, etc etc... He gave me a bi-weekly planning of my training, with names, topics, times and rooms...I was surprised by how accurate it was. He had even prepared an organizational chart of our team, the e-Commerce team, with pictures of my colleagues! Mine as well! "This wasy it should be easier to remember their names" he said. Love it!

It was soon lunch time (12.30). Together with my team we went to the company canteen, where (for just 3 €) I bought a tartare hamburger, an apple and a bottle of water. You can also pack your lunch and eat it there, use the microwave and condiments, buy the ingredients for a sandwich, or just buy a hot meal. Awesome.

I noticed what they say it's true: Ducth people think of food as a source of energy, they don't give it the same important we do as Italians. Two slices of bread with some cheese is a proper meal, so the lunch break is quite short (half an hour). At 1pm we were back to our desks, not before we all had free coffee (and chocolate, and tea)!

The afternoon was heavier, as my boss showed me some complex reports, but it was pretty interesting and you could tell that he was putting a lot of passion in it. Passion and dedication, but never excessive: at 5pm everybody goes home, and that's just normal.

The bad thing was that at the end of the day I was feeling sick, either it was the cold or a virus, I started to feel nausea, headache and a burning in my throat and eyes. After work I went straight to a sort or supermarket/drugstore - but of course I could not understand a shit of what was written on the boxes, so I made the mistake of trusting a shop assistant/pharmacist, who gave me some expensive homeopathic pills who didn't have any effect apart sweetening my mouth...

At the shop, still full of hope

Luckily J., who's a nurse, gave me something that made me feel good at once!

Then some cake and a tea before going to bed set me on foot again.

The rest of the week passed by quite quickly, things at work are still slow, but I feel I am gradually adjusting to the new environment.

My goal for the weekend is going out, doing something pleasant, and studying Dutch. Let's see if I can get it all done!


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