Liv: Anytime that somebody asked me if I was excited to go on placement my face most likely said I'm not sure even though I was so excited!!! Obviously I was apprehensive and nervous!! Moving to a new city, having an actual job, meeting new people, making new friends (again), not having my dinners cooked and my washing done for me like I’ve just got used to again living at home for 3 months and of course the big question, will there be a local Zara in this new city?
Kate: I am not afraid to confess I lack culture. Cheshire is renowned for footballers and their wives, although unfortunately I can’t claim to be either. As much as I love home, I will be the first to admit it is hardly a bright lights, big city. That had always suited me and before arriving in Rotterdam I wasn’t sure city life would be for me. I am not the most streetwise, even in Manchester I could only probably only direct you to the Arndale and back on a good day. But maybe that is all the more reason to take the chance and see what the next year holds.
Kate: My parents flew out with me, mainly just so I could utilise the extra baggage allowance. Flying to Schiphol in under one hour (taxiing the runway was definitely longer than the flight itself), we then had a short train ride to Rotterdam. This turned out to be stressful viewing as the Dutch apparently don’t feel the need to put all the station stops on the information board, only the final one. So unless you know that, you aren’t going anywhere quickly.
Liv: Okay firstly, packing is stressful, but packing to live away from home for 10 months that is practically breakdown worthy. “Only the essentials”, “packing lightly” and “baggage allowance” are not words that work well with me so 6 suitcases later we’re eventually travelling the short and sweet 185 miles from my home to my new city: Rotterdam.
Let’s get this adventure started…
First Week at Work:
Liv: After a tearful goodbye on a sunny Sunday afternoon it was time to settle in, meet my flat mates and be prepared for our first day of work.
So, we are working at BeLife which is a specialist rehabilitation centre / human performance centre where we are working as Clinical Exercise Physiologists (we’re not quite sure what it means yet either). Our first day did not go quite as we had planned, BeLife had taken on one of their biggest projects to date, and no that wasn’t us! We had plenty of people to meet but just not quite the time to do it!
Day 2 went a little more smoothly and by day 3 we were proficient lab cleaners and had started with real work … kind of!
Understandably we were not let loose on the clients straight away, so we did some experimenting of our own in the lab…
Here’s the evidence, some went better than others….
A Little Bit of Culture:
Experimenting with the culture obviously means … FOOD!!!
A quick introduction to Dutch cuisine from the friendly faces at work include:
- Chocolate sprinkles for breakfast - with bread and butter obviously?
- Speculaas - basically a unbranded Lotus biscuit
- Liquorice - affectionately known as 'drop'
- Herring - which surprisingly enough we have chosen to avoid
Besides clogs, the colour orange and of course tulips, the Dutch are also renowned for their love of cycling! Something that we have fully embraced and actually become rather fond of! It took some of us more time than others… I’m sure you can figure out who!
Liv: Unfortunately I didn’t get the memo that helmets are a no go zone here, but it was ditched after a week (sorry Mum).
So all that was missing after our first few weeks was the Instagram to prove that we are officially living in the Netherlands!
Liv: So as you may have already guessed, this Essex girl and rain are not a very good combination and so a trip to the Hague in the pouring down rain was exactly what I did not have planned on my lovely day off! Especially after struggling to cope with working for 40 hours per week!
However, my personal tour guide Kate had different ideas…
Kate: Anyone who knows me knows I am stingy with my money, if I have paid for something I will get my money’s worth - even if that does mean traipsing round in the pouring rain! Ok yes it may have been nicer if it wasn’t torrential rain, but bit of water never hurt anyone right? Wrong … whoever said this clearly hadn't met Liv.
Finally though we stumbled across some culture Liv would get involved in! An inside shopping centre!!
And we even saw the girl with the pearl earring ...
The Netherlands is very similar to the UK in terms of its weather, it’s just that the people moan a lot less than we do!
But it does rain ALL THE TIME…
Liv: So on a rare but welcomed sunny Sunday Kate took it upon herself to take us exploring once again! This time I really couldn’t complain! We cycled to the local park where there is a lovely lake with sailing boats, watersports and lots of picture perfect families all enjoying a lovely late summer afternoon!
We cycled around the park (the excitement of finding 2 windmills was way too much for me) and stopped off for some lunch with a view, which topped off the end of a crazy month perfectly!
Kate and Liv