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Showing posts from 2007

Ho Ho Ho there we go !

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“Jan and Mikaela on the move” is the title of this blog, and on the move we’ve been this year. From Holland to Sweden, on to Thailand and Australia. And although it has not always been an easy ride, it has turned out very well for us so far. In a way we still feel that we are on the move. Because arriving in Australia is one thing, but actually finding your way in life here is something different. That just takes time. When you think of it, there is so much to get used to. It’s a great adventure, and we’re still in the middle of it.

So do we never look back? Of course we do. Especially now during Christmas we often catch ourselves talking about ‘home’. Holland is ice skating on the lakes right now, while Sweden is getting ready for the traditional “Jul” celebrations. These are the moments that we really miss being with you guys. It’s the downside of being Down Under. There’s just no cure against it. And there shouldn’t be. We just miss you, as simple as that.

But before you start feelin…

Lucia at IKEA

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Don’t think that people give up their traditions, just because they migrated. Last week we had a BBQ of the Dutch community in Hahndorf, a small town in the Adelaide hills. The Dutch keep contact through an internet forum, and about thirty people showed up. Although it sometimes felt like speaking a foreign language(it was July since we last heard Dutch around us) , it was great to meet so many people who went through the same thing as we did. Some of them were here for orientation, like we did a year ago. Others have been here for years, and see their kids grow up as half Aussies. But nevertheless, they were planning a Sinterklaas event for the kids!

Today it was the Swedish community who rang their bells. They gathered together at the IKEA (where else?) for the traditional Lucia celebration. Most Aussies didn’t have a clue what was going on, watching this procession of white dressed kids with candles going past the Billies towards the meatballs. But those who could sing along the lyr…

Smoke on the Water

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It was worth a try. But pretty much like the Australian prime minister, who tried to extent his term in today’s elections, we failed. But it was fun anyway!
The opening event of the Adelaide International guitar festival was an attempt to get into the Guinness book of records. Plan was to form the biggest guitar band in the world. Everyone who can play guitar was invited to join in playing Deep Purple’s classic “Smoke on the water”, outdoor in the festival park. So cool, people of all ages and backgrounds gathered together to play the famous riff. No question of course that Jan had to be there as well. Too bad it was not enough. According to the official count we were with 1300 guitarists, while 1800 were required to break the record.
But no worries mates, next year there will be a new attempt. Maybe then they should take the same approach as with the elections: make it mandatory to show up ;-)

The heat is on

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There we go: the summer is on. The whole week it has been sunny with temperatures over 30˚C, and next week we're closing in on the 40's. Since it is dry heat, it’s really not that bad. Quite pleasant actually, if you ask Mikaela. She feels fantastic in this climate, and might even consider to stop using her electrical blanket ;-) So far Jan is coping with it pretty good, although the worst is yet to come. Thank god for the airco at work and in our bedroom.
The lifestyle that goes with this climate is easy to get used to. At daytime you mostly stay inside, where it’s relatively cool. At night life is happening outdoor, on the street in the café’s and restaurants. And in the weekend: off to the beach !!! With 60 KM of white sandy beach in the metropolitan coast, there is plenty of nearby locations to choose from. So far we’ve been to Somerton beach and Henley beach. Funny coincidence: the first time we were beaching Mikaela’s father called up….. from Iceland! It was -5˚C there…

Daylight saving time

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It’s summer time now, here in South Australia. While you guys in Europe switched the clocks back, we switched it forward one hour. So now the gap is even bigger, up to 9.5 hours. How much more distant can we be? One of the up sides is that the sun rises an hour later, so we wake up by ourselves again, instead of by all kinds of animal noises. For weeks we woke up by the sound of hyper active monkeys from the nearby Adelaide zoo, doing their morning ritual. Weirdest noise ever! Wonder what will happen when the Panda bears will arrive next year ….

Talking about rituals; life is slowly getting back to normal, now that we’re settled in. We get our little routines, like the drive to work, the weekly shopping, yoga for Mikaela, and the hunt for all kinds creatures that crawl around our house (true, you all warned us for it, but we didn't listen, and now we even deal with a possum in our garden tree sometimes). This week we have been adding a new routine: going for a bike ride after wo…

Arrived at last

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Yes, the circle is complete: our container has arrived at last. And guess what? Everything was intact. Almost too good to be true. Even the electrical fly swats made it through customs !
You can’t believe the joy of sleeping in your own bed, having access to your own clothes, and playing your own music again. And the piano sounds just as good as before. We sold and dumped most of our stuff in Holland (we only shipped 11m3), but still when we were unpacking quite some stuff seemed pretty useless. The boxes with ‘warm clothes’ for instance went straight to the attic. It makes you realize how little you actually need, and how much junk collect over the years. Having said that however, we did go and buy ourselves two bikes and some garden furniture this weekend, since it was going to be 30-35˚C.

So dear friends: we are up & running, and ready for the summer !!!

My birthday

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I thought I'd take the opportunity to write a little bit about my birthday, which was a really good one. First I would like to say thanks for all the sms’s, cards, emails, presents, greetings on our weblog and flowers that I have received. It made a girl very happy to get all that attention! Felt really great! Thanks to all of you!
We celebrated my birthday on the Saturday already with our friends Jessica and David. Had a very nice dinner and then ending up in a bar to take a few drinks. We have figured out that you really need to know where the places are here in Adelaide, to get some action. In a small street there can be loads of bars but you can’t see them by just driving by. We are happy that they show us around, to get to know the city a little bit more. The whole night was really great!
On my actual birthday, we bought tickets to a concert with Linkin Park. It is a small stadium here so you felt really close and it's not far from where we live so everything went smooth.…

Happy Birthday Mikaela

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Ja, må hon leva, Ja, må hon leva,
Ja, må hon leva uti hundrade år.

Ja, visst ska hon leva, Ja, visst ska hon leva,
Ja, visst ska hon leva uti hundrade år.

"Ett fyraldigt leve... leve hon. HURRAH, HURRAH, HURRAH, HURRAH."

Why Adelaide?

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No matter where you are and who you are talking to, you can bet on it that each time you are introduced to someone the question will pop up. It’s burning inside their brain the moment they find out you are new here. "Why Adelaide?”.

It all comes from a long lasting rivalry between the states in Australia. When you live in the eastern states you’re supposed to say that Adelaide is unexciting and not hip. Adelaide is the little brother, easy to pick on. And because the locals here are very proud of their city, they will start selling Adelaide to you, even before you answered the question: “Its nice and relaxed, people have space, it’s affordable, it’s green, and nevertheless almost every weekend there is some major event going on”.
We found that it’s all true. Especially the events are blowing our budget. Almost every major band in the world is playing here, and it’s so much easier to get tickets. We’re going to see Linkin Park on Mikaela’s birthday, and we have tickets for the Poli…

Left hand driving

Something had to happen. Everything was just going way too well.... In just one week and four visits to IKEA we managed to turn our empty house into a nice place. Although our container with the rest of our stuff is not expected until half October, we already feel at home here. We now have a couch, a table, some chairs, some lamps, kitchen gear and a sofa-bed to sleep on. It looks like a showroom of IKEA, but we're proud of it ! The first days at work for Jan were also good. The Eclipse office in Adelaide has opened just over a year ago, and currently hosts six local employees. But there are constantly people flying in from other parts of the country. With about 230 colleagues across the continent, the company is a lot bigger than his previous employer, and that will take some getting used to. Jan will take over the project management for the South Australian customers. Mostly Microsoft Navision implementations in the food processing industry. Next week he will go to h…

So what about a job ?!?

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Thanks for the congratulations on our new home. It’s nice to hear that many of you are following this weblog. Today we moved in at last, and it feels great. It’s a classic house, built in the 1920’s, with high ceilings and stone walls, so it should stay nice and cool in the summer. The atmosphere reminds us a little of our previous house. And the best thing: after almost three months we can finally unpack our backpacks, and try to live a ‘normal’ life again. Although ‘normal’? We are sitting in our living room now, in front of a borrowed TV, sharing a single beanbag, which is the only piece of furniture in the house. Life is so simple this way. What more do you need?!?

A job?!? Ok, ok, since many of you have been asking about it (wonder why? was it that distressing to read that we were still taking it easy, doing nothing?), we have some comforting news for you: from next week you are not the only one who is working. Today Jan signed a contract to join the Adelaide team of Eclipse Com…

House and Car

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Our integration goes step by step, but we are getting somewhere: we got ourselves a house and a car! As from next week we’ll be living in North Adelaide. After quite an intense search around many area’s we found an atmospheric two-bedroom townhouse, on a great location. Just outside the popular Melbourne St (restaurants and bars) and only a 20 min walk through the park to downtown Adelaide. It’s the hip place to be around here. The previous tenant is a girl around our age, with whom we get along with really well. She and her boyfriend have offered us to use their spare furniture and equipment, to bridge the time until our container arrives. Thanks Lani and Jay, for this heartwarming Australian hospitality!

Another integration challenge was the purchase of a car. Drive out in any direction, and you’ll find tons of used-car dealers everywhere. However, most of them have this typical 6 cylinder 3.8L motor that most Aussies seem to love. Why all this horsepower? Do they still think that pe…

Where to start?

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Every morning we overlook the city from our small motel room in the town centre. As the sun rises and Adelaide wakes up, we are thinking: “Soon we’re going to be part of all this, as if it’s the most common thing in the world”. But now we still feel a little like outsiders, realizing how much it took to get here, and how special it really is. For all of them out there this is home, and for us it will be. But just not yet.

There is so much to organize and to get used to, now that we landed here. We really didn’t know where to start: housing, transport, banking, shopping, food, work, insurance … In fact we had no plan at all. The only thing we had was this motel room: our own little universe of 4 x 4 meter. And the knowledge that it will be like this until somewhere in October, when our container will arrive with all our belongings. And you know what, that fine with us!

So what did we do this week? We basically went around like a headless chicken, looking for apartments, uses cars, job …

Touchdown

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Yes, we are finally there. This morning around 6 AM we touched down at Adelaide airport in Australia. A big milestone for us, although it felt pleasantly relaxed. In the early morning sun, under clear skies, it was almost as if we were coming home. Which in fact was true.

The Australian customs though were less impressed. Paranoid as they are for any overseas food, dirt or animal diseases, they searched our bags rigorously. And not without success. With great satisfaction her majesties elite squad found something extremely illegal, which had to be confiscated immediately: our electric fly swat (you know, a tennis racket on batteries to kill mosquitos). Followed of course by some extensive paperwork, with many stamps and autographs. Yes, the country clearly escaped today from a major threat ;-)

After this last hurdle of Australian bureaucracy, we had a very warm welcome by a lady from the Meet and Greet service. This former South African woman helped us getting started today with bank a…

Monsoon

For all of you who are frustrated with the European summer, we have some good news: we are back in Phuket and it's raining! Does that make you feel a little better? Of course it's still 30º C, and a shower every now and then is quite nice, when you're in a sea canoe, doing a snorkeling trip, or taking a dip in the pool. But still …We returned to Phuket, after a tour of Thailand. In Bangkok we paid tribute to the Grand palace, all kinds of (floating) markets, Chinatown and of course the go-go girls at Patpong road. Besides the cooking class in Chiang Mai, we did the temples and the golden triangle, we went up&down Laos and we visited the longnecks up north. What remains are memories of a beautiful country with ever so friendly people. Click here for a photo impression.Now you might get the idea that we've been racing around. But really, we took it very easy. No must do's, taking one day at a time. We're really down to the laziest level you can d…

Thai food

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If anyone asks what we've been doing in Thailand, the only true answer would probably be: mostly eating. Of course we did the temples, the markets, some more temples and some more markets. But no matter where you go, you'll find foodstalls everywhere. Delicious Thai food, and very cheap. The Thai have no fixed times to eat. For them any time is a right time for fried noodles, green curry, tom yum soup or spring rolls. From early in the morning to late at night. At least four times a day, but preferably more! So who can blame us if we join them? Its soooo great. That's why we decided today to pay tribute to the Thai kitchen. In Chiang Mai (up north) we took a cooking class, where we learned about all the ingriedients, and we practiced on making no less than six dishes. And guess what? We had to eat everyting we cooked ourselves !!! Hmmmmmm, what a life ...

Bangkok

Bangkok: Asia in a nutshell. Vibrant alive, like an antheap buzzing with life, action, noise and energy. Everywhere people, motorbikes, tuktuks and polution (feels as if we smoke three packs a day ;-) But everyone's friendly and keeps smiling. Love this place. We're here now since two days, away from the beach, on our backpacking trip. What a life ! What brought us here in the first place was our visa. We needed to pick them up yesterday from the Australian embassy. And so we did. In this sweaty and humid weather we even dressed ourselved up for the occassion. So all exited we came at the embassy for our big moment. This was it, finally our visa. So what an anti-climax it was, when we just put our passport over the counter, waited for five minutes, and then got them back with the visa stickered in. As if we were bying a trainticket. Thank you, after 18 months of hard struggle with Australian bureaucracy.... just like that !!! Weird .... but it felt great anyway. Now we are rea…

Pool and Potter

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Our first week in Thailand is almost over and we haven’t done anything worth mentioning. Full of plans we were, but somehow we never got to the point of real action yet. Maybe it’s because everything a person could dream of is within 2 minutes from our hotel room. The beach: 2 minutes, the restaurants: 1 minute (great Thai food), the shops 1½ minute and the pool: 1 second. From our room we can walk straight into the pool. Pfffffff life is tough!
Well, there might be one thing worth mentioning. Jan finished the last part of Harry Potter (the deathly hallows). Hard work of course, having to read on the beach all day ;-) But someone had to do it. How could we live on ignorant, not knowing how it ends? Would you like to know? Just click here

Goodbye Tot ziens Hej då

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Dear everyone, Tomorrow is the big day! We are taking off. After such a long time of preparations, organizing, waiting, stress, goodbyes, laughter and tears, mixed emotions, hard work, alcoholic nights, songs, kisses and many beautiful moments, we are finally headed for Australia. We don't know what our future will bring us there. But we have all the confidence that it will work out great for us. We have faith, and we have each other. What more do you need?!? What we do know is what we're leaving behind: the greatest friends and family one could ever wish for! Especially the last couple of weeks this feeling grew stronger every day, with all the goodbyes we had in Sweden and Holland. Follow this link for a photo impression. You people have been fantastic for us. And it may be a cliche, but we are so happy to have you in our lifes. And we trust that we will keep contact. We're only as far away as you make it yourself, and if its up to us, we'll stay just as close as we&#…

Ladies and Gentlemen.......

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Bye Bye Achtersloot

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It's going to happen, no way back now. Tomorrow we will handover our house on the Achtersloot in IJsselstein to the new owners. After a week of packing, dumping things, selling on 'marktplaats', cleaning and dumping some more, our house is now ready to be sold. Emotional moment. We loved this place. So many good memories. The garden, the neighbours, the friends in this town, the BBQ's and the crazy midsummers. We're going to miss it. This place has been great for us, and we hope that all of you will remember the Achtersloot like we do: a special place with a great atmosphere. And from this moment on we are really "on the move" !

Down you go ...

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Sista arbetsdagen

Idag är våran sista arbetsdag kommen. I morse gick Mikaela till sitt jobb, Berclouw i Nieuwegein, med en själv bakad choklad tårta. Även om hon bara har jobbat där i halvår, kändes det som mycket längre. Hon kände verkligen att väsk affären var hennes plats. Jan gick (med tomma händer) till sitt jobb, Business Base, var han har jobbat i tre och ett halvt år. Naturligtvis skulle han aldrig medge till sina arbetskamrater, att han kommer att sakna dom. Det är verkligen en go gemenskap med suveräna arbetskamrater. Vad ska nu hända med oss? De kommande två och en halv månaderna utan jobb? Om inte längre?!?!?!?! Hur ska vi klara det?!?!?! :)

Laatste werkdag

Het is vandaag de laatste werkdag voor ons beiden. Mikaela is vanochtend met een zelf gebakken chocoladetaart vertrokken naar Berclauw in Nieuwegein. Ondanks het feit dat ze daar slechts een half jaartje gewerkt heeft, voelt het alsof het veel langer was. Ze was echt helemaal op haar plek daar in de tassenwinkel. Jan is vanochtend (met lege handen) vertrokken naar BusinessBase, waar hij zo’n drieëneenhalf jaar heeft gewerkt. En hoewel hij het natuurlijk noooooit zal toegeven aan zijn collega’s, zal hij ze stiekem toch wel missen. Het is een superclub, met echt geweldige collega’s. Hoe moet dat nu met ons? De komende tweeeneenhalve maand geen werk?! Als het niet langer is?!? Zouden we dat wel aankunnen? ;-)

Små grodorna

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Our final Swedish midsummer party in Holland was an absolute slammer! The food, the songs, the atmosphere and the schnaps: it was just perfect. Our heads are still spinning. Have a look at the photo's. Thanks everybody for joining us. It's been a great pleasure having you around for this crazy event. Boy we're gonna miss doing this with you guys …..

Friends up above ....

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Yesterday in Cafe Hofman, Utrecht

Waiting ....

In order to immigrate you need to be either brave, stupid, opportunistic, naive or a true optimist. Usually immigrants are a mix of all that, and this is certainly true for us. But did you know that out of all personal qualities the one that you need most is patience? Patience and faith … Boy, did we become experts in waiting. Last year we waited twenty weeks for a document from Australia that anyone could have typed in two minutes, stating that indeed Jan's diploma's were true. And now we are already waiting since half February for the final visa approval. And so far nobody has even looked at our files @##$^%#$%. They are just laying there! Small detail of course is that we already quit our jobs, sold the house and booked the trip. Can you understand that we are getting a little nervous by now? So we keep breathing, and tell ourselves every day: have patience, have faith. Or like the Aussies say: "No worries mate" !!!

Welcome

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Welcome to our webpage. With the help of Jessica en Björn we can now keep you updated about our travels and adventures. Please feel free to add comments or replies. Does not matter in what language. We'll be posting in English, Dutch and Swedish ourselves. Even Frisian could be possible ;-) Hope to see you every now and then on our page !!!

Just a few weeks to go .....

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We are starting to pack.....Pretty soon now we hope to take off....