It has been quiet here for a while. More often than not, lack of blogging coincides with a very busy real life, and this is not an exception. However, having said that, I must say that I had expected the adjustment to living here to be much harder than it is. Having been in the lucky circumstance that I was able to start work almost immediately after coming here, a daily routing was pretty much forced upon me; get up in the morning, have breakfast, get ready for work, leave, come back, have dinner, wind down, sleep, rinse and repeat.
I was just reminded that I have not posted in a little while. The most important reason for that is I have started work on Nov 7. As with any new job, it takes a while to get back to a normal routine and pick up things again that are not directly related to work.
I have been very fortunate at receiving an open and friendly welcome. I have spent some time in the past at my current employer, so I already knew some of the people with who I would be working. Between a Thanksgiving luncheon and a welcome breakfast, the process of re-established those social ties is progressing reasonably well.
As a foreign driver who establishes residence in the United States, it it my responsibility to obtain a US driver's license within 30 days after arriving in the country. The US does not have a reciprocal agreement with any other countries (except Canada), which means that I will have to go through a full driver's license program here. The facts that I have had a license for 15+ years, never had any accidents and put about 20,000 miles on the clock last year do not mean anything.
Yesterday was a big day. The shipping container carrying all our goods arrived and I got my social security card in the mail! Suddenly, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.
We arrived in the United States last Monday, and we are busy settling in. After arriving at JFK airport, we cleared immigration as we would do normally. The main difference between our previous visits and this one, was that it was quicker to get through the initial screening. Unlike the other times, this time we were not going on to collect our luggage directly, but we were directed to a second desk where they validated the visa. The additional time that we spent at immigration was about 10 minutes, but I think we won that time back by not having to wait for our luggage. After my visa has been validated, all the bags were already together and sitting next to the luggage carousel.
We have arrived in the United States.
Our flight got in last Monday at 8.15pm and immigration was effortless. We did not experience any delays while clearing immigration and customs, and the ride to the house went very smoothly. Our internet connectivity was installed today (Wednesday), so we are back in touch with the world again. I will post a more detailed report on our first few days, and especially immigration, in the next few days.
There is a lot of unspecific information doing the rounds at the moment regarding an intended new law that would require children with a double nationality to relinquish one of their nationalities at their 18th birthday. The original news item is a little more subtle that the all the others. It says:
Buitenlandse kinderen die vijf jaar in Nederland wonen en Nederlander willen worden, moeten voortaan, als ze 18 jaar worden, kiezen voor een Nederlands paspoort of voor het paspoort van hun moederland. Dat meldt RTL Nieuws. Minister Hirsch Ballin van Justitie wil niet meer dat deze kinderen de dubbele nationaliteit houden. Hij doet het voorstel morgen in de Ministerraad.Source: RTL Nieuws
Two days after our goods were picked up, things are going well. Just about everything that was left behind after the movers left has been sorted in to different piles. The piles are meant for different people, for re-use or for disposal.
Unlike the United Sates; in the Netherlands, rented houses need to be returned to the house owners bare; no appliances, floors stripped to the bare concrete, no light fixtures, etc.
The movers picked up our stuff today.
At 7.55 sharp, the doorbell rang and a team of three movers arrived. After doing a quick inspection round, they started packing up all our belongings. With only a 15 minute coffee break in the morning and a half hour lunch break a little after noon, a second truck carrying our shipping container arrived at 13.30. While the movers were finishing up the last few things, the truck was packed very well and sealed in front of us. At 15.30, our house was empty and we could start cleanup.
Finding good, affordable, health insurance can be a serious problem. In the Netherlands, we are used to having mandatory health insurance our entire lives. In the United States, such a thing does not exist; everybody is free to decide whether or not they feel that having a health insurance coverage is worth the cost.