All I have to do now is earn enough for housing, food, insurance, electricity, water, internet, gas, and that stuff that you wonder what happened to the rest of the money in your wallet and realize that it later went to q-tips, light bulbs, and a mysterious credit card entry labeled 'Goat rentals' which last you decide you might not really want to look into.
Meanwhile, taxes. Complicated! Quarterly Dutch filings, the Belastingdienst (NL Tax folks,) are right on top of things. It's an interesting exercize in financial management. They beat out the IND immigration people by weeks. Very attentive.
Amazingly, my horrendously expensive education finally earned me a few shekels doing tech resumes which made people happy, and, hopefully, some pro photography. I built a website, found out it was terrible, found a cheaper one, set up photo purchasing on it, fiddled with the tools, re-learned a bunch of DNS stuff, and considered doing User Interface Quality/Acceptance Testing for a living.
I've been visiting the Vishandels ('fishmongers'), and Harringhandels, the places that sell Herring-dogs, and I'm down to every three days or so. (Thank you for all the concerned emails.) I'm starting to take notes. I may write an article, or even several - it seems a good thing to do with my time, although it will involve actual work, and unfortunately some eating, but the Amsterdam scene is ripe for some regular food writing.
I have been thinking about small countries. Having made some friends here, mostly related to the field of photography, but also neighbors, I've noticed that people here are highly direct and tolerant, and willing to share their stories, which is kind of what a street photographer or writer does. Or, exploits. Small country residents have fewer differences and seem to care less about them than the Giant US ofA. They are more approachable, too.
So, I've been working on my street photography game.
|Two cooks on a smoke break, De Pijp, Amsterdam|
I'm not the same person now, and I think I've forgotten how to do some parts of that right, specifically taking the actual shot. I think there's a digital thing I need to figure out. But, I've been practicing with friends and their kids, and they in combination tend to move a lot and fast, and that's both helping and making me nervous. I've also been meeting locals and hanging out with them.
I'm still not sure why people walk up to me and start sharing though, and it has happened while I've been hanging out with other Dutch people, at, say, a cafe outside or on a stoop, (the Dutch are great stoop-hangers, reminds me of 106th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on a summer night,) even when I'm sitting in the back of a group, and they tell me a thing or story, and then say bye and amble off, and the group I'm with comments, "Well. That was weird." And then I have to tell them about the other times.
Meanwhile, jobs, jobs, jobs... language, as that guy says; I am vexed at my inability to study Dutch regularly. I usually resist change, and then go over a hump of some sort and make a thing habit, but it hasn't been working here. If I was fluent in both Dutch and English, I'd have it made, and I kinna really need to pick up the speed if I want to stay. The Rosetta Stone should help. At 53, about to be 54, learning languages is hard, and I'm not talking Dutch enough with the natives, though the shop keepers happily assume I'm Dutch when I'm not wearing a baseball cap and chatter away very fast.
My landlord offered me the apartment below, which has a storefront, just before my lease runs out on this one, which is interesting, but when I suggested I'd use the storefront, she ghosted me for one round, suggested I keep my residence upstairs while I lived downstairs, and as she's a bit ...interesting, I don't want to rock the boat. But that would make a mess of internet, gas, water, mail, and my Registration. The alternative is a painfully large downpayment on a new place, farther out but not much, maybe larger with better light. I like my shoppy, lived-in neighborhood, though. De Pijp is pretty interesting. Hoping for good luck there.