Almost a month has passed since our arrival in the Netherlands–a 30 day blur of family, friends, exploration, rediscovery–and an intense amount of apartment hunting.
We hunt and hunt. And I am like those drunken, orange-clad forms prowling the fields of Wisconsin at Thanksgiving. I’m shooting at anything that moves, hoping to down a terrace and a floor in the process.
Yep, a floor. Dutch apartments often come bare bones.
Want some cozy laminate to go with that stunning windmill? Get ready for some DIY. What happens when you move out? You “sell” your floor to the new tenant.
Unless they don’t want it. Then, congratulations!!! You’ve won a luxurious weekend removing your cozy laminate and posting it to sell on marktplaats. The Netherlands is a pragmatic country after all, with a booming market for second hand flooring.
To prove how well my integration process is going, I might just buy some myself. Neon-orange imitation marble for the toilet, anyone?
Flooring or no flooring, for the last 30 days, Dutch apartments seem to be either outrunning or outwitting us. Fortunately, as we pedal our yellow rental bikes around Amsterdam, we’ve picked up some new nesting skills.
We’ve suddenly started to think much more creatively as we visit apartments. Like the residents of most cities with compact architecture, Amsterdammers do much more with less. A small terrace becomes a lush garden, an outdoor dining area, a place to dry the laundry AND a guest bedroom for American visitors who do not bring Mexican corn tortillas and a bottle of Barbancourt.
I’ve never paid so much attention to the sun’s path until now. I almost grimace as I hear myself saying “ah, yes a southwest exposure, nice.” But, let’s be honest. In the middle of winter (when one actually craves light), the sun’s going to set by 4:07 p.m. anyway.
We’ve also discovered which neighborhoods we prefer. And for now, we can’t afford them. The good news is, we can afford drinking a white beer on their terraces. I call it, “sip and dream.”
Until we find our glamorous apartment in Amsterdam, Prose and I bike around Leiden, through green fields filled with baby farm animals. Yesterday, a wobbly lamb nibbled on my finger and this “hunter” seriously considered becoming a vegetarian.