First Words Upon Expat Arrival

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” proclaimed Neil Armstrong upon stepping onto the surface of the moon.

As my two weary travelers and I emerged into Schipol Airport and touched Dutch soil anew, our first words were:

My son, in a sleepy whimper,

“I’m sick,” followed quickly by,

“Is my monster bike here?”

My daughter, with urgency,

“I need to pee.”

Me, commandingly,

“Watch out for that electric cart!”

If we had planned our words, as Neil Armstrong had, what might we have said upon arriving in our new Dutch world?

Emphasizing the stark contrast with Hong Kong, our last home:

“We come from across the sea in search of dedicated cycle paths, fresh air and stroopwafel.”

Or perhaps channeling Joan Crawford and going on the serial expat offensive:

“Don’t fuck with me fellas. This ain’t my first time at the [expat] rodeo.”

Words fail me, but we have arrived and — pinch me — this is our new street (although do also note that my son is wearing a fleecy jacket and long trousers in August):

Utrecht street _



31 responses to “First Words Upon Expat Arrival

  1. The weather has been awful! I swear it is sunny when I’m inside and the minute I step outside to enjoy a moment of sun, a downpour. The other day I even wore a wool sweater and boots to school. My cousin assures me that September will be warm and beautiful. Enjoy exploring you new home!

  2. And now quoting Tina Fey playing Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there,” (she says on the Island line at 6:33 PM Monday, hurtling toward Central).

  3. It looks lovely. And I am sure you will all acclimate quickly. Being an expat I think is the true definition of flexibility. 🙂 I hope you get some nicer warmer weather soon!

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