Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Dutch blog

So here we are in The Netherlands. And here are some notes on our first two months here:

✏️whatever you have ever read or heard about service in Europe, here is the truth: it really is terrible. In a little over a decade we have moved internationally eight times so we have more than a little experience when it comes to moving companies, shutting down homes and starting up new ones. When we moved into our new home here we had the worst ever moving in experience and all credit for this goes to a moving company (Dutch) called Intermovers. The reason I need to say the company is Dutch is because its manner of functioning is a good reflection of what passes for acceptable service here.

They were supposed to come by 10 am at around 10:15 one man walks up to the door, introduces himself, mumbles something about waiting for a truck or his colleagues, wanders around the house ostensibly to take a look, asks to use the bathroom, and walks out again.

All our stuff arrives around ten thirty with the rest of the moving crew. Five large healthy men in all, no equipment like an outside elevator this despite the fact that we have a three-story house and lots of large furniture.

Our gang of five switch on some sort of juke box and with loud music blaring begin one of the most inefficient, sloppy unloading operations I have ever seen.

They grumble about every piece of furniture it's too heavy, too big, too bulky, they have no equipment, the stairs are too narrow and so on it goes. 

The basic idea being that all these men want to do is bring in the furniture, dump the stuff where it feels most convenient too them and leave. After a stressful morning dealing with their whining and uselessness I finally literally kick them out around 3 when of them is rude beyond belief. Of course at this point the manager of the team is all profuse apology and kindness but that's the end of my interaction with Intermovers. 

Oh and they drank our coffee and used our bathrooms in that same happy spirit of what I presume passes as good professionalism here.

✏️Amstelveen is a nice suburb with a great friendly vibe and lots of young families around. Our street is quiet charming and lined with red brick family homes. On sunny days with clear blue skies it is a little bit of paradise. Across our house is a small doggy park -- just a bit of green big enough for neighborhood dogs to scamper about in. To one side is a pocket sized pond with a single beautiful white swan. All day She glides around her pond elegantly, uncaring about the weather. 

✏️Before we moved to Amstelveen we spent a month in Amsterdam. My first ever experience with the Dutch huisart system was in Amsterdam.
My little one had a terrible cold, her breathing was noisy and she had a temperature. The doctor was located in one of those tricky Oud Zuid houses: the kind that have steep stroller-unfriendly stairs at the entrance and narrow front doors. 
We went one cold windy morning, a kind man leaving the doctor's clinic helped me haul stroller and toddler up. 
After filling out required registration forms the kindly nurse led me to the young charming and very uninspiring doctor. 
He felt all was right with my sick toddler, the fever it seems was nothing to worry about until it lasted four days, oh and would I be open to using a rectal thermometer to take the child's temperature Madam? Anglo-Saxon people felt the use of rectal thermometers was taboo, but for you Madam is it ok?
What about the noisy breathing? Well the doctor couldn't seem to hear a thing. Great then all is well. Even though toddler is miserable, obviously sick and can hardly breathe.
Thank god I am a little experienced and thank God even more I travelled with all her medication and we were able to buy a humidifier and knew what to do... So we will leave our jovial huisart and his rectal thermometer for some other unfortunate mummy to deal with.