Sunday, January 16, 2011

Utrecht :)

Domtoren in Utrecht
Last week was a special treat for me. First, I became an official resident in the Netherlands and picked up my residency permit in Eindhoven. Now that I'm a legal resident my employer can apply for my work permit and I am legally allowed work. I was able to meet with the HR manager at my new job and as of Monday have become a working girl again. Woo hoo! I'm not gonna lie though. Being a full time housewife for a few months was quite nice. Thanks to Jaap, I was able to 'take a sabbatical' from teaching for awhile and work on transitioning into my new host country. I'm very grateful that I had a few months off to explore Maastricht, meet new people, take Dutch classes, and focus on adjusting and not stressing about work. It really made these first emotionally charged months manageable.

At the same time it was nice to get back into something familiar. First week at the new job was a success. Finding an English speaking job, in my field, and in Maastricht is frankly... well as my father put it... "a miracle." I have to get back into balancing work and home. With that said, the house is a complete mess now.

So... last Wednesday I went to Utrecht to meet with Mari, my New York Dutch teacher. Last year when I was still in New York I started taking Dutch lessons with Mari in Brooklyn. She introduced me to this lovely language! It was a great introduction to learning Dutch and becoming familiar with it. If it wasn't for Mari I would have been completely lost in my Dutch courses. Seriously. I was amazed at how quickly my peers picked up things in the beginning of the course. I felt comfortable because I had some previous knowledge to build upon and was impressed by everyone's ability to understand what was going on. My course at the university moves at a very fast pace, so my lessons in NY were very helpful.

Mari was home for the holidays and we were able to catch up with some lunch and a stroll around Utrecht. I was only there for one afternoon and didn't have enough time to really see this beautiful city, so Jaap and I will have to plan another trip. We enjoyed lunch at De Bakkerswinkel. Um...delicious! Took a walk through St. Martin's, walked around the canals, and enjoyed some beers at one of Mari's favorite pubs. It was a nice quick view of Utrecht.

As for Dutch, I love listening to Mari's northern Dutch accent with those 'hard Gs'. Her Dutch is so clear (and fast). Jaap's from Brabant and we live in Limburg, the land of 'soft Gs' Hearing the northern accent is refreshing and in my opinion, easier to understand. (Don't tell Jaap).

I was disappointed that I didn't really speak much Dutch on our lunch date. I was excited to show her what I've learned since being here, but then I get so nervous and only spoke in English. Lamo! Not to mention I speak like an eight year old, so conversations are boring. But I know, I'm learning. You gotta start somewhere. Yeah, yeah. But to be honest, I've been getting lazy with my Dutch. Tsk, tsk. Just going to Dutch classes isn't enough. I have to speak more with Jaap and not revert back to English just because my brain hurts. I have truly commit! I'll let you know when that happens.
If you need a Dutch teacher in this woman!

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