I’m offering up this cautionary tale for anyone who thinks about moving to a different continent. It’s a pain in the ass. Here’s a checklist:
1) Check in at home airport. Be told by the baggage handler that it is not possible to board the flight, as you haven’t purchased a return ticket. Freak out for a few minutes before showing her your European passport. All is well.
2) Said gate agent also notices that 3 of your 4 bags are over the 50 lb weight limit. Pay fee, re-arrange some things to get one of the bags under the limit.
3) Go through security. Get laughed at when you ask if the cat in her carrier needs to go through the x-ray machine. Panic when told that the cat needs to be removed from her carrier, and carried through.
4) Arrive into connecting city late. Have to rush through security and again remove cat from carrier.
5) Board SAS Airlines flight. Marvel that you’ve somehow been upgraded to ‘Economy Extra’ and your long legs don’t actually touch the seat in front of you.
6) Curse at stupid SAS Airlines seat that fails to recline when button is pushed. Struggle to sleep in upright position.
7) Arrive at next connecting city. Go through security AGAIN. The time, remove shoes as all good Americans do, then realize that everyone else has kept their shoes on. Sheepishly put them back on while hoping nobody else notices. Remove petrified cat from carrier for a third time. Be happy that she practically darts back into the cage when she can.
8) Arrive in Amsterdam. Realize that the T-Mobile cell phones you bought SPECIFICALLY because you were promised they would work in the Netherlands, do no in fact work in the Netherlands. Try using iPhone. Fail. Try making a credit-card call from a pay phone. Fail. Finally dial an international operator to make a credit-card call to the office of your temporary apartment.
9) Take Taxi to temporary apartment. Realize that the radio, all motorway signs, and all billboards are in a language you don’t speak. Freak out a little.
10) Arrive at temporary apartment. Fail to find front door of correct building. Ask a passer-by who finds it in .2 seconds.
11) Finally get to temporary apartment, let cat out of cage, and realize you have no internet.
12) Complain for 4 days with varying degrees of success. Finally get internet, only to have cable TV go out. Realize that internet is more valuable than cable TV, most of which is in Dutch anyway. Be happy.
Welcome to your new home.