A Typical Tuesday

(This might have been a bad idea. It works better on a laptop.)

I woke up at about 8am1 and got some work done2 before biking3 to the fysio4. On the way back home I bought some nuts5 per Kiki’s request. Back at the computer6, I read through some of my Safari tabs7 and shot some zombies8 before Nardje showed up9 in the afternoon. 

On the advice of the fysio I took an hour-long walk10 around Amsterdam, getting feta cheese11 for dinner on the way home. Kiki made a delicious shakshouka12 while I built an Ikea cabinet for the bathoom13. We were in bed before 1114.

  1. Woke next to Kiki, my raison d’être néerlandais (pardon my French). At about 6am Percy crawled onto the cover in between us, completing the sleep pyramid, purring loudly. Then he gave me a “blessing,” as we call it—stretching out a single paw to bat me gently in the face, then falling asleep like that. It was bliss.
  2. I’m on a 922-day streak of Dutch Duolingo lessons. I’ll finish the entire Dutch course soon, which is fine, because living in Nederland has quickly shown the limitations of learning the local language via website. Also I applied for a job! Slowly starting that whole process, which I don’t relish.
  3. Ahh, biking and Dutch, my two great Dutch struggles. I’m halfway competent at this point, but we recently got caught in rush-hour bike traffic, which was nerve-wracking and showed how far I have to go in the biking department.
  4. Physiotherapist, that is. I’m finally doing something about my chronic neck and back pain, which becomes a lot more appealing when you don’t have co-pays or other expenses to worry about. The Dutch health-care system is NOT perfect, but (like almost every other first-world country) it runs circles around the one I left.
  5. I’m still delighted to finally have a Dutch bank card and phone number, and my Dutch is good enough to order a bag of nuts from the local nut store. And yes, we have a local nut store.
  6. I cannot say enough about the Apple silicon computers. Incredibly fast, 100% silent, and I basically never think about how much battery I’ve got left. It’s a whole new world.
  7. One of the biggest perks of unemployment is having time to read, which I was absolutely *terrible* at back in Texas. I’m on pace to finish three books per month, an amazing feat for me. And I can finally tackle all those long-read articles online that I bookmark habitually. If you’re in the mood for a good one, this will probably hit the spot: https://craigmod.com/essays/looking_closely 
  8. Last year I acquired an Oculus Quest 2 using credit-card points that in normal times would’ve been spent on flights to improv festivals. Downside: Oculus is owned by Facebook. Upside: Living out my adolescent Robin-Hood-fueled fantasies by bulls-eyeing medieval zombies with a longbow (while standing in my bedroom).
  9. Nederland is shut like a book in most respects—the only businesses permitted to open are food-and-drug related; hairdressers were only permitted to reopen this week; there’s even a 9pm curfew! But, interestingly, you *are* permitted to have one houseguest per day. Having friends over for dinner has been a breath of fresh air.
  10. We live a short distance from the Amstel, the main river in a city full of them. My favorite walk, especially on sunny days, is up and down the river bank where fellow Amsterdammers walk their dogs and life generally feels very pleasant. This walk took me across the Berlage Brug, then as far north as the fairy-tale-looking Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge), where I crossed back to the west side and came south.
  11. Albert Heijn is the biggest local grocery-store chain. As you’d expect it’s a fraction of the size of a typical HEB, but I rarely miss for anything—well, anything that I didn’t already know I was giving up. (I miss you, Creamy Creations.) Also, I used my very own pinpas to pay for the cheese! I’m a big boy.
  12. I’d never heard of shakshouka before Kiki introduced me to it but it’s incredibly simple and very hard to get wrong. Add it to your repertoire.
  13. See previous post.
  14. I called this a “typical” Tuesday, but between the fysio appointment and the visit from Nardje this day was VERY eventful compared to some. Many nights we’ve simultaneously thought of going to bed only to realize it was 9pm. Some nights we’ve gone to bed anyway. The pandemic has helped me understand why elderly folks have such early bedtimes.

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