Weekend Getaway: Amsterdam
Although I live in Friesland, I’m in the capitol quite a bit. I travel there to meet up with those who are visiting me from the states, to wander through the many museums Amsterdam has to offer, to wander around aimlessly with newly found friends, to catch flights to other European destinations, to collect a letter consisting of two lines from the American Consulate, or to brunch with other au pairs.
Amsterdam is an amazing city: there’s always something going on somewhere, there are always people you somehow know living or visiting. You would have to actively try to be bored in this city. It’s one of the reasons why I keep coming back to visit it.
I get why so many people want to work and study here- it’s amazing- and while I would like to live there someday, I’m glad I don’t right now. Being an au pair in Friesland has allowed me to actually learn the language more easily than I would’ve been able to in Amsterdam (everyone speaks English, all the time) and understand the culture(s) in a way that living in an international hub wouldn’t have allowed me to.
The U.S. Consulate & Museum
My very first time in Amsterdam as an au pair (read: not the veryy first time I was in the city for less than 24hrs a couple years ago) was when I was required to go the consulate and obtain a letter stating that I, in fact, signed my own passport.
You see, since I would be living and working here for a year, I needed a residence permit. The agency you’re required to work through as an au pair/ host family will do a majority (if not all) of the filing of the paperwork the host family filled out and from there it’s quiet simple to obtain your permit. You walk in, say what you’re there for, get a photo taken of you, fill out some basics about yourself, get fingerprinted and you’re on your way. They say it’ll be about 2 weeks before your permit is ready to be picked up. Easy peasy, right?
Well, when I was filling out all this paperwork, the woman who was handling all of this informed me that I didn’t sign my (very new) passport. Oops. She said it was no problem and gave me a pen to sign it right then and there. It wasn’t until I returned to pick up my permit that I was informed of the long process I now had to go through to ensure that it was me who signed my passport before they would give me my permit.
I had to schedule an appointment with the US Consulate in Amsterdam for a meeting a month in advance, wait the month, go to the consulate (without a phone because they don’t allow you to enter with it, weird), wait through security, wait for my name to appear informing it was my turn, talk to someone, wait for them to actually obtain my paperwork, pay $40, then walk out with a letter with 2 lines written on it. Then I had to wait another week until I could go to Zwolle where the IND is to pick up my permit.
A Tour of the City with my Mom
Brunch on a Fine Spring Day
My Dad’s Sendoff
Guess Who’s in Town: Part 3