Surprise! This blog is going abroad. On Saturday, Tim accepted a position at Technical University of Delft, in Delft, the Netherlands. (Hereafter, NL, because I am tired of typing “the Netherlands” already.) We will be moving to Delft in July for a postdoctoral stint of approximately three years. As you may have read, we visited in February and enjoyed this picturesque town very much, but were hesitant to say much until we’d made our decision. We’ve always talked pie-in-the-sky about living in Europe for a couple years, but are surprised at how simply an opportunity actually presented itself. And a good opportunity at that; we’re not just moving there to do any random thing. I don’t know a lot about the move right now other than that we are excited, the postdoc position is great, and the process of moving overseas is overwhelming. Here are some things I do know (in no particular order):
1. Everyone in Delft rides bikes. Many people don’t own cars at all. We are going to follow this example. Tim’s job offer actually comes with a bike!
2. The first thing we need to do is get apostilles. I had never heard of these, but our international friends have. Apparently having a passport isn’t enough to establish your identity if you’re going to LIVE in a foreign country, not just visit. We have to send our birth and marriage certificates back to their original states— California (me), Texas (Tim), and Massachusetts (us) (Why? Don’t they have copies in the original states? I know.)— and they will send us back these apostilles, which authenticate our identities in conjunction with copies of our passports from the federal government. This is the first step toward getting our visas. The war for states’ rights was indeed successful, little did we know.
3. If I could tell all my friends a lesson this week, it would be: watch what you spend your money on. Because an extra sweater here, a picture frame there, an extra cookie sheet there… times a hundred random objects, if you’re me… and all of a sudden you’re moving to Europe and you have all this stuff you spent cash on that no one is going to give you much for on Craigslist— if you can offload it at all— but you realize it’s not really meaningful to you, either! Everything we own is now under scrutiny: take, sell, or store. We’ll sell most of our furniture, store a lot of things someplace for when we come back to the US, and take clothes and basic stuff.
3.5 Tim thinks “basic stuff” includes his golf clubs.
4. I didn’t know much about the Netherlands, but it is consistently rated one of the highest countries in the world for quality of life. It is a country with very little poverty since WWII, a very flat and watery landscape, and really complicated infrastructure. It is a very small country and very densely populated.
5. The last thing I know right now is that we feel really good about our decision to move there for a few years. It has been one of those situations where everything in life starts to point to one thing. Since this opportunity came up, it has been all we’ve talked about, and we have an uncanny knack for running into people who are Dutch, have worked at TU Delft, or have some other connection to the Netherlands. Just yesterday, a man repairing the chimney in our apartment said to me (not knowing any of this), “It’s like Holland; you patch the dyke in one place, it leaks in another.”
6. Holland and the Netherlands mean the same place. Goodnight.