Here I am in (not so sunny) California for the annual feast of Thanksgiving. It’s 5:40 in the morning and I’ve been up for 2 hours. Ahhhh jet lag.
But I’ve found the remedy! It’s simple.
Just don’t fight it. If you wake up at 3am, just wake up, get up, make some coffee and read your email, or read a book or anything quiet so as not to wake the rest of the family. Then when Dad turns on something really horrible on the TV at 8:00 in the evening you can yawn and say you’re jet lagged and simply head off to bed. This method is great for getting some quiet personal time and also not getting used to a different time zone completely which makes re-entry into CET much easier.
That’s my plan anyway. We’ll see how it works once the rest of the family descends on us this afternoon.
The U.S. is like a strange new country to me sometimes. I haven’t lived here for 14 years and visiting California these days is more and more a curious event.
I notice now all the things Europeans say about Americans: they’re all fat, everyone eats fast food all the time, shops are open all hours so no one gets much time off, they all complain about the cost of everything but compared to the rest of the world the U.S. is a bargain bazaar.
I come here to see my family and to shop. I have to admit that with such a short visit (10 days) I spend an equal time with both (and feel guilty all the while). The pre-Thanksgiving sales have started and I’m IN THERE. For someone living in Europe, you really can’t comprehend the sales and the cost of things and it’s just impossible not to buy buy buy just because it’s so much cheaper than at home. I only came with one suitcase. Silly me, I should know better.
I’ve bought: an orange hoodie for 10 euros (great for Queen’s Day), Levi’s 501’s for 25 euros, a 4-in-1 fleece lined ski jacket for 40 euros, and t-shirts and pants and that’s only the start. I haven’t yet bought the iPod or the running shoes. And I promised myself I wouldn’t buy much this trip. I always promise myself this. And I always fail. And this time it’s worse because it’s Thanksgiving and prices are SLASHED and the newspaper arrives in the morning with 100 pages of advertisements calling on you to BUY and the TV ads are louder than the TV programs and nag you to BUY and I love Target and Penney’s and Circuit City and everyone takes credit cards and really I’m shopping for the year and for DB also and I’m saving so much money!!!
Sigh. Today I promise I won’t shop. Really. Unless suitcases are on sale…..
Yesterday DB battled the wind and rain and Saturday shoppers, biking to Get Records on the Utrechtsestraat by 10:00 in the morning, to buy tickets for Nine Inch Nails who will be playing at Paradiso in March. They are playing only 2 shows in NL, both in Paradiso, which is small. Really small. Cozy. Gezellig. Both shows sold out in 20 minutes. We have tickets for both shows. And we arrive home from 3 weeks in New Zealand the morning of the first show. I know. We are mad.
Tuesday night we went to see Sara Kroos at De Kleine Komedie. This was my second attempt at Dutch Cabaret this year and was much more enjoyable than the first (Jeroen van Merwijk). We know and love Sara as a Lama, and also saw her at the last Boom Chicago Late Nite but I had no idea she could sing! I’m still getting used to the fact that a one person comedy show in NL also includes singing. Cabaret is everything and if you can’t do Cabaret you are not going to do a one-man show. And Cabaret in NL means singing, telling funny stories, telling serious stories, talking to the audience and generally maintaining everyone’s interest for at least an hour at a time. No small thing!
I really enjoyed Sara because her jokes and stories revolved around people instead of around language. So much of Dutch humor involves plays on words and playing with the language, which for a foreigner who knows only a minimum of slang and expressions, it’s almost impossible to follow. Sara’s show was about our human-ness and our deep dark secrets. She was not falling the aisles funny, but entertaining and thoughtful and put a smile on your face kind of funny. And man she can sing! She belts it out and isn’t the least bit shy about throwing her body around at the same time. Respect.
And speaking of Cabaret, it’s not just for the Dutch anymore. Greg Shapiro is about to open yet another show – this time a one-man at the Sugar Factory entitled Greg Shapiro’s Going Dutch. It runs from 15-17 November. Unfortunately I’ll be travelling and won’t be able to make it, but all you expats out there should definitely go and find out “How to ‘Doe Normaal’ in a country with an identity crisis”.
Yesterday we went down to the Stadsdeelkantoor to apply to become a registered partnership. This after the other paperwork necessary was done and about 4 months had passed. Four months! since we first went to the IND to apply for Dutch citizenship. Sheesh.
Anyway, it was a pretty quick operation yesterday. Review of existing paperwork. Pick a date to come back and sign the final paperwork. Sign here. We choose to come back on 7 December since it’s a Thursday and on Thursdays marriages and partnerships are FREE! Otherwise we would have had to pay 200something euros. Are we Dutch or what.
Our next step is to find 4 witnesses to come with us to this official event. If it wasn’t for the fact that we need to do this in order for me to be able to apply for Dutch citizenship we never would have thought about registering. A livingtogethercontract was enough for us. Now we have to drag 4 other people to the city office on a cold December morning in order to help me get to the end goal. Or just grab a few people off the street with promises of hot coffee inside….