In my last blog post, I explained why I’ve been incommunicado – or at least part of it. If I recall correctly, I left things off as I returned to Istanbul. I can’t help but share the actual trip as well. In the first place, I was totally convinced my baggage was overweight. How in the heck did that happen? Well, it turns out that after two decades of living in Europe, I’d forgotten what Wisconsin ‘summers’ are like. Everyone in Holland complains about quick changing weather. *Snort* They. Have. No. Idea. And apparently I’d forgotten as well. Because to travel to Wisconsin in June, you need to be prepared for absolutely everything. A high school graduation outside in sunny 70-degree weather and the next day of rain and wind and a high of 40 degrees. Yeah, my clothing selection – admittedly hurriedly made in Istanbul – was not meant for that.
I ended up doing some clothes shopping (shocking I know). But my flight from Amsterdam to Istanbul was on one of those airlines that love to charge you extra for heavy baggage. If you pay for that extra baggage at the airport, it’s obnoxiously priced whereas buying in advance is actually reasonably priced. So, to prevent any scares at the airport, I went ahead and bought extra baggage in advance. Of course, the website didn’t register my payment. Instead of a relaxed check-in, I ended up running around like a crazy person because being able to pay at the check-in counter would be way too handy.
I landed at Sabiha Gökçen airport with my nerves in a serious state of anxiousness. Would they let me in? And if they didn’t? How in the heck would I get out of here? And what about my luggage? Of course, the immigration line that day lasted about two hours. Two hours feels like freaking forever when your nerves on fire. Of course, the immigration officer didn’t even look at me and just stamped my passport.
I took a deep breath and walked to baggage claim only to see someone taking off with my luggage. I ran after him screaming “Yok! Yok!” Because I have no idea how to say “stay away from my luggage you thieving bastard” in Turkish. As soon as the man saw me running at him like a Mac Truck, he released my luggage and took off.
After a surprisingly boring taxi ride, I was back home in my own bed. I now had a little more than a month before the move from Istanbul to The Hague. We rent our furniture in Istanbul so it’s not like I had to pack – much. This was going to be an absolute breeze! I didn’t want to start writing my third novel in the Death by Cupcake series, but I could totally get a lot of blogging and marketing done in July, right? Ah, but there’s so much more to moving – especially an international move – than packing.
Instead of spending the month of July writing blogs and keeping up on social media, I spent the time doing the various administration tasks that come with moving to a new country. For example, the health insurance system in the Netherlands has changed drastically since we left and I spent a good part of a work week researching and comparing. Not exactly the exciting tasks one associates with living abroad!
Of course there was the piano situation to solve as well. The piano had been stored in our container in Trier (by the way – don’t ever do that. Just trust me on this). I spent days researching companies to move the piano. You can read all about my trials and tribulations here. Spoiler alert: I’m on week four in The Hague and the piano is still sitting at the bottom of my stairs
And then there’s our adorable dog who was definitely making the move with me. In addition to timing blood tests and vaccinations for our travel, we had the added terror of actually getting the dog to the vet. We didn’t have a car in Istanbul and taxis refuse to take dogs. No worries, right? We’ll just walk to the nearest vet. As if. In the kilometer from our apartment complex to the vet, we have to pass no less than three packs of dogs. And trust me, those dogs like to defend their territory. It doesn’t help that our dog is a total wimp as well (we love him anyway).
In the end I sorted out the things I could from afar and jumped onto a plane with my husband, my dog and 90 kilograms of luggage. To be continued …