Adventures in International moving #expatlife #fail

I promised myself I’d spend more time in July blogging. And how has that worked out for me? In a word: NOT. There are tons of things to arrange for our move from Istanbul to The Hague. One of which is somehow managing to get my piano into my living room in The Hague. Where is the piano now? It’s in an 8 cubic meter container in Germany. That’s not completely crazy. Before we moved to Istanbul, we were living in Germany. In fact, we still own a house and business there. But that’s all beside the point.

So what’s the problem? If you’ve ever visited or lived in an old city in the Netherlands, then you are aware of the small, steep, and narrow staircases. How in the world do you move furniture into a house when the staircase is too small and narrow for a normal sofa let alone an over-sized corner lounge sofa which is currently all the rage? The Dutch solved this problem (centuries ago) by beams with hooks or special pulley systems on the gable. If you look closely at this picture of typical Dutch houses, you’ll see the hooks.


Unfortunately, this is usual practice for older houses in Amsterdam (and other Dutch cities) but not in The Hague. Of course, we’re moving into a house from 1929 in The Hague. There is no beam or pulley and the window – a lovely stained glass – is most definitely too small to fit the piano through. But the ever-resourceful Dutch have come up with another solution for their way-too-narrow staircases (also known as torture devices to the inebriated who aren’t the most steady on their feet). You simply hire a moving company which has a lift and you place the heavy item – in this instance my piano – onto the lift and the piano is through the window and in your living room before you can realize you’re holding your breathe and praying it doesn’t fall over. True story.


So what to do when the window is too small? Good question. I haven’t figured it out yet. My first idea was to hire a bunch of really strong men to carry the piano up the stairs. Yes, this is another solution I’ve used. In Germany, where they have no idea what you’re talking about when you mention beams and pulley systems, it’s normal to send two burly, fit, hot men to lift the piano from the basement onto the second floor. (My apologies, I took pictures but I have no idea where they are.) Thus far, the Dutch have responded with overwhelming confusion to this suggestion.

My other idea was to hire a monster lift and have the piano lifted into the rear of the apartment where there are French balcony doors. There is a backyard, which belongs to our downstairs neighbors, but beyond that is the parking garage of – can you say ironic? – the Dutch Bar Association. My second brilliant solution was therefore to rent a monster lift and have the piano heaved over the yard into our rear second floor balcony doors. Unfortunately, the company that rents the monster lift got cold feet when I mentioned the parking lot belonged to the Dutch Bar Association.

It’s now nearly 9 p.m. and I’m fresh out of ideas. Well, fresh out of ideas that do not involve me finishing the lovely bottle of rosé wine chilling in my refrigerator. To be continued …

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