1. Don't get your foot caught in the back wheel of your parent's bike..results in a 5 hour trip to the emergency room and a broken foot.
Kiley had a scary experience this past Saturday as we were driving to get our bikes "safe" again. Her back heel slipped into the back wheel of the bike she was on and proceeded to pull her shoe, sock and skin right off her foot. She was extremely brave as her Mom pulled her in and covered her left heel that needed immediate medical attention. Only problem was her parents were on their bikes, in the rain and had no idea of who or where a medical outlet was located. We finally got through some Dutch medical telephone lines to be directed to the Emergency room. Everyone was extremely nice and helpful as we waited the results of the x-rays. In the end, Kiley has a fracture in her left foot and will be in a cast for the next 4 weeks. Not fun, but the other injuries and issues that we saw coming through the emergency room doors left us realizing how lucky we were that day.
2. Don't get fooled by the sunny daylight at 10:30pm...go to bed as the sunny daylight will be back at 5:15am.
Yes, Portland summers are great and you usually wind up with bags under your eyes since it stays light out so long. Well, Amsterdam has PDX beat. We've been so lucky with the weather that it has been sunny for the past two weeks and with that great sun comes an evening that lasts well into the night. And, a sunrise that is here before you brainwaves can get into some serious REM sleep. No complaints, just an observation that I don't need to put my nightlight on since it never really gets dark and scary...
3. Don't go down a one way street and think the other car will move because you got their first...old man will get out of his car and explain in Dutch, then English some local insight.
Long story short, the street signs are a little hard to read some times and in this case, very hard. We were cruising down a tight streeet right by our house when we could see another car coming the other direction. We've naviagted this situation before as you usually work together. Both move over a little and squeeze by slowly but this was a different scenario. There was no room to move over or squeeze. We were just facing each other which was kind of awkward since we had been told "the Dutch rule is whoever gets to the point first, the other person moves." but there was no place to move so you couldn't figure out who go to the "point" first. Well, the old man in the opposite car, pulled up his emergency brake and jumped out of his car. He came over to the window I had rolled down so I could hear what mistake I obviously had made and proceeded to say some things in a rapid Dutch dialect with some slight hand movements. I waited a little bit and then said "sorry, don't speak Dutch." He took a breath and then said--"You are going the wrong way. Have a nice day!"
4. Don't try to walk the canals during Queens' Day...as you will be stuck in a human traffic jam with orange wearing, smelly breathe tourists (the locals stay far away).
A fun day for the family by heading to Vondelpaark to take in some great flea/swap market opportunities as well as discover some local artistic talent (2 young friends dancing to Abba qualifies as talent on Queen's Day). Later on, a little adventure to the more adult part of Queen's day brought us around Museumplein and some interesting sights. Eventually a human street jam let us back to our bikes we were rode up to a block party with a great crooner singing "My Way." A great day for the city that is overtaken by many tourists (we consider ourselves locals now after the one way street incident).
5. Don't forget to plan your Sunday and holiday meals a few days earlier...or you wil be eating peanut butter lolipops for dinner.
Everything really closes on Sunday so you have to plan your full meal schedule out for that day as well as Monday since your refridgerators are so small and you don't have much storage to depend on. So, when you realize you have no meat, chicken, vegetables, bread, milk...Peanut butter on a spoon makes a great family meal that is easy to make, healthy and simple to clean-up. We survived and are pretty certain it will happen again.
6. Don't be surprised when a IKEA's direction still stink...a bad picture in Dutch is the same as a bad picture in English.
Wow. They have great, fun stuff but the worst directions. Bar none. Someone could make a billion dollars if they created a visual aid helper for their directions. I would pay for it and a few other ex-pats from around the world would kick-in.
7. Don't miss out on the beautiful, Holland scenario....because Amsterdam is such a cool city to explore.
The people, city, countryside, weather, food, etc have all been great so we look forward to learning and experiencing more in this country.