Wed 18 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
Some days in Sydney, back in the apartment at Macleay Street in Potts Point. I went for a walk in the direction of the city's shopping center. About halfway I paused for a bit; mostly to catch my breath after climbing stairs. I had a look at the construction site of the Sydney Modern Project, a new building and public art garden next to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Quite a sight as the new gallery is being build on top of a former WWII fuel bunker. I continued walking straight through the Royal Botanic Garden. I saw an Ibis and the Ibis saw me. Both puzzled, we observed each other for a while. I wondered about Darwin, observing new species for the first time; and how those new species must have felt, seeing an animal wearing a hat, glasses and clothes. I realised I was now staring at the Ibis for a weird amount of time. Bit awkward. I continued my quest; hoping to find oil-paint, oil-pastels and a place where I can get canvas stretched on aluminium. Wandering around in the area near the Ken Done Gallery, I stumbled upon 'Parkers Sydney Fine Art Supplies' in a district called 'The Rocks'. Bingo! Two Ibises — one stone; not only did I find my favourite brands of oil-paint & pastels, I could also order canvasses stretched exactly the way I like. Now I must admit I am hopeless at stretching linnen myself (my patience doesn't stretch much). After several attempts over the years, I stopped the struggle, and gave up wasting expensive materials and time. I am happy to pay a little extra and get the job done flawlessly. I continued the afternoon spending my yearly materials allowance in thirty minutes, and can't wait to start painting.
Sun 15 Nov, 2020 Moss Vale, AU
Bell has been running around chasing kangaroos and joeys. Earlier this afternoon I saw a blue-tong lizard; one of Australia's most iconinc reptiles and usually reffered to as a 'bluey' which I think is a good name for a child. Blue-tongues are not venomous but they do give me a bit of a fright as their faces look very similar to that of a snake. Snakes do give me the heebie jeebies. The other day I read the following in the Australian Geographic: "Australia is home to over 190 species of snake, 25 of which are toxic to humans and twenty of those are among the most venomous in the world." I wish Kate told me this before we moved here. The article then states: "Despite Australia harbouring many of the world's most dangerous snake species, snakebite deaths are rare and only account for about two deaths a year." Most of my time here I spend avoiding snakes, as I have no desire to be fifty percent of the yearly snake deaths. It's not all scary and creepy animals I must admit! Other less frightening animals I have seen this week, four wombats (two of them were either having a nap on the side of the road, or road-kill) two Echidna's, and a Pheasant Coucal. These were all incredible to see walking and flying around in the wild, reminding me of Pokémon.
Sat 14 Nov, 2020 Moss Vale, AU
It has been close to two years, since Kate has been in her own room at the family house in Moss Vale. Apart from a new bed the room is how she left it after her last visit. We have been spending some time on the internet looking for a house in Melbourne. We are hoping to find a place for ourselves after months of hotels, Airbnb's and staying with friends. Kate went through the cabinets in her room today, trying to make sense of what to bring and what to leave behind. When I returned from picking up some dog food in town, Kate was sitting on the floor surrounded by cardboard boxes. Some of these were labeled 'Melbourne', one was labeled 'trash' and one was labeled 'thrift shop'. In a box with things to leave behind, I noticed a small black lether case about the size of a pack of playing cards. "What's that?" I asked curiously. "Sunglasses", Kate answered "You can have them if you want!" she said. This confused me a little since the box was tiny and my imagination limited. Sunglasses my ass I thought, and I opened the small leather case Kate now had handed over to me. I opened it. A classic pair of Ray-Ban Folding Sunglasses. and I even liked the colour! I have seen a good ammount of foldable things over the years but never before did I come accross a pair of foldable Ray-bans. My ass stood corrected.
Fri 13 Nov, 2020 Moss Vale, AU
Superstition is a funny thing. I avoid walking underneath ladders, and when I book a seat on an airplane the seat number of the outgoing flight has to be the same as the seat number on the returning flight. When I save files on my computer I skip number 13 (I go from "drawing_12.jpg" straight to "drawing_14.jpg") and if I come across a black cat I get a bit nervous. I might be a little superstitious. Today is Friday the 13th and I could not think of a better day for sorting out my Australian health insurance. Medicare is Australia’s universal health insurance scheme. It guarantees all Australians (and some overseas visitors) access to a wide range of health and hospital services. Today I registered. We went to the Bowral Service Centre (Centrelink). When we entered the premises we we're asked the usual COVID-19 questions. No symptoms, so they allowed us in. We were handed a form and a ballpoint, and took a seat. I started to pencil in the answers to the questions. One of the first questions was an easy one "Date of birth?" I wrote down "Birthday". Some questions were harder: "Do you want a My Health Record?" I had to go for one the lifelines; '50/50', 'Phone a friend' or 'ask the audience'. I was directed to a gentlemen sitting behind window number 5. He kindly assisted me with some of the questions on the form. Halfway through the progress of registering for Medicare I heard him say "uh-oh" and asked what was wrong. My name turns out to be too long. The last letter of my last name doesn't fit on the plastic Medicare card and he asked if I really needed the last letter. "I think I might" I answered. We ended up removing the space between the particles 'van' and 'den' in my name. Not ideal. But a small price to pay for insurance.
Thu 12 Nov, 2020 Moss Vale, AU
Last night we stayed in the Sydney apartment of Kate's parents in Potts Point, a small and densely populated area in inner-city Sydney. This morning I very much enjoyed being able to leave the apartement, and go for a coffee. We did some grocery shopping (biggest strawberries I've ever seen) and had a quick breakfast before we drove down to Moss Vale, two hours south of Sydney. Kate grew up in Moss Vale, a town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. At the moment of our arrival Moss Vale had a population of 8,579 (wombats and possums not included). We picked up the mail at the PO Box in the towns centre. I couldn't believe the Dutch had already chased me down; two official letters from The Hague's city hall, and one blue enveloppe from the tax services; addressed to Jordy van den Nieuwendijk in Moss Vale. It is starting to dawn on me more and more that I'm not just on some holiday trip. We continued our afternoon by picking up fresh fish at the gas station and buying a pair of Blundstone's. I can't walk around on the family farm wearing penny loafers (probably something to do with high grass, snakes and spiders). Back in Zoetermeer I used to go by the graffiti pseudonym Cowboy and it looks like I'm finally about to live up to this name.
Wed 11 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
By order of Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour, we hereby advise that you are evicted from the hotel. The reason for this EVICTION NOTICE is: Congratulations, you have succesfully completed your 14-day quarantine period.
Please vacate the premises on Wednesday 11th of November 2020 between 4pm - 6pm. We hope your time in quarantine with us was comfortable but it is time to get back to your family and friends. We thank you for your contribution in the fight to combat COVID-19.
Tue 10 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
At the start of our quarantine adventure we were given a pile of papers; safety rules from the Australian Government, warnings of the NSW Police Force, basic information from the Novotel management, COVID-19 information from the Public Health organisation, a "hello how are you?" from the hotel's Health Care Team and lastly the room service menu from the always-happy-to-help Jared downstairs. The health care team calls daily to check on our health and wellbeing. According to their schedule we would receive our second mandatory COVID-19 test this morning. At 9am we could hear our neighbours on the left, acros the hall and on the right getting tested by the Health Care Team. No knocks on our door. For the next few hours we didn't hear anyone on our floor getting tested either, and we worried they might have forgotten about us. First Kate gave reception a call and asked if we would still get tested today. "They're on their way" they told her. An hour and a half later it was my time to call reception and check. "The doctors are having lunch and will be with you shortly". When another two hours had passed we got a little anxious, and called again. This time I changed clothes before I called reception as I didn't want them to know it was me calling for the second time. "The're coming up now" mister van dehn Neu-when-daik. As we both need a negative COVID-19 test result in order to leave the Hotel, we were relieved by hearing the doctors knock on our door at 4pm and happily received a few more sticks up our noses.
Mon 09 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
Quite an achievement if I may say so, as the small hotel room has limited hiding options; today I managed to succesfully hide from Kate. When she went to the bathroom this morning, I jumped out of the double bed and looked underneath it. The bed sits only 5cm (1.96in) from the floor, however, I discovered that the base was hollow and probably spacious enough for a Dutchman. Doing push-ups is paying off as I was able to lift the double bed, crawl under it, and lower the bed back down on top of myself. Dust everywhere. I don't think the carpet under this bed has ever seen a vacuum cleaner making breathing a little difficult. The middle beam of the base structure was pressing down on both my thighs, causing a pins-and-needles sensation. I wasn't to worried about the lack of bloodflow through my legs as I'm only doing about a hundred steps a day in this hotel room. By the sound of it Kate has left the bathroom. Not a single sound for a while. I wondered if she had already forgotton about me. I waited in silence and suddenly saw her feet walking past. The search had begon. I heard the doors of the closet open and close. I heard the curtains move. "Jorda?" Kate asked. After a bit of nervous laughter and her second "I don't like this" I couldn't help myself from chuckling; I blew some air out of my nose and by doing so almost blew my cover too. She heard this, but wasn't sure where the nose wind was coming from. A brief moment later Kate leaned on the bed (possibly to look between the bed and the wall) and pushed the bed's construction further into my thighs. I started laughing (instead of crying) and revealed my hiding spot. Gladly she helped me lift the bed otherwise I would still be under there.
Sun 08 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
I must have forgotten to turn on the cold water, as never have I sat in a hotter bath before. They smell a little but my feet usually collect sensory information pretty well. Today they didn't. Perhaps the excitement of holding my Gameboy and wearing my headphones got me distracted a little. Either way I stepped in a bath without paying attention to my feet's thermoreceptors. It was only after I started squatting that I felt the water was close-to-boiling-hot. "It's water" I convinced myself "not fire" and fully reclined. After spending twenty minutes shaking twenty digital trees for the unsatisfying reward of twenty digital pears, the Nintendo Switch Lite's battery ran out. I got up, got out, dried myself and looked at my reflection in the mirror. Yikes! The water was too hot indeed and tinted the lower half of my body bright red. The top half was still the usual pale white; not a great look. For a moment I stood there wondering what my recolouring options were. The way I saw it there were two solutions. Option A: sit in a cold bath until my body's bottom half turns white again. Option B: sit upside down in another boiling hot bath. There's an image.
Sat 07 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
Both Kate and I had some work to do today, which brought to our attention the absence of proper desk-space in our hotel room. I started the day by speed-dialling reception asking for another chair and was glad to learn they would bring one up for us. The day I moved out of my parents house (a decade-and-a-half ago) was the day I officially became a wrinkly-clothes type of guy. When it comes to laundry, over the years I have developed a slight disliking of hanging wet washings and ironing clothes. Perhaps something to do with my chronic lack of patience. Ironing really gets me a little, I guess I feel it just requires too much preparing and setting up. In fact, according to my personal all time top-ten of boards the clunky one used for ironing would be located at the bottom. If I remember correctly, the last time I got my fingers stuck in the folding mechanism of an ironing board was thirty minutes ago. Unhandily I folded out the hotel room's flower patterned ironing device to create myself a wobbly desk. I sat down and continued todays trend of folding things out by opening my MacBook. Suddenly, an Uber Eats notification popped up. Our wiener-schnitzels are on their way, and I'm about to turn this temporary desk into a temporary dining table; strike while the iron is hot!
Fri 06 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
Back in The Hague Kate and I did not own a television. We weren't poor, we just thought the internet and streaming services would provide sufficient entertainment. We usually spend our evenings watching the same fake Adele episode on YouTube over and over again anyway. At one point I believed that Kate, our close friend Sara, and I were responsible for half of the video's view count. This hotel room is equipped with a 48-inch smart TV and Kate is attracted to it like a moth to a flame. If only I'd receive half of the amount of affection the remote control does, I'd be one happy fella. We've been watching quite some stupid programs on our smart TV, yet mostly had our eyes peeled on the international news. Just like the rest of the world, we too focused on the presidential race in the USA. Over the last few days, the Trump and Biden show has probably been receiving more press coverage than COVID-19. Biden took the lead in Georgia & Pennsylvania, moving him closer to Presidency. I don't know much of what Joe Biden stands for, however he is not Donald Trump and therefor
probably hopefully receiving the majority of the votes. Around this same time next year, I hope that the now seemingly Divided States will be the United States again. While watching more and more states turn blue I wondered, if Donald Trump will be capable of leaving the White House without a fight.
Thu 05 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
Three times a day we get to air this vacuum sealed room a little, by answering to mysterious knocks on the front door. Breakfast at seven, lunch at noon, and dinner at six. So far I have not been able to spot the hand that delivers the knocks. I's a quick hit and run, best for their own health & safety. The meals are all right but nothing to write home about. So I won't. Immediately after noticing today's date, a voice inside my head went "remember remember the 5th of November" and I realised it's my friend Robin's birthday today. Better give him a call later. Today I've been reading about The Melbourne Cup; Australia's most famous annual horse race which took place two days ago. The eight-year-old Irish Thoroughbred racehorse named Twilight Payment had ran the 3200 meters in 3 minutes and 17 seconds. Winning the race by a long neck. Quite an achievement, however, my thoughts go out to the five-year-old Irish stallion named Anthony Van Dyck (not to be confused with the painter) who broke down during the race, was taken from the track by ambulance and later humanely euthanised.
Wed 04 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
Travelling must be one of my favourite activities and I count myself lucky for having been around a bit. I do like a good hotel room, and over the years I seem to have developed a bit of a hotel-room-ritual; Firstly, after placing the hotel key card in the card slot at the entrance, I play with the light switches for a minute or two. Secondly, I curiously walk to the window and check out the view. I do enjoy an ocean view but never mind looking out on an apartment complex either. They remind me of dollhouses with all their similar room structures decorated differently by their occupants. Thirdly, I take my shoes off and jump on the bed for a while, testing out the innersprings of the mattress by doing so. This can go on for minutes depending on my stamina. Fourthly, I pick up the phone to listen for a dial tone. I enjoy calling reception and saying; "Hello, roomservice speaking, what can I get you?". Fifthly, I take inventory of the mini-bar with its uninviting ten dollar Kit Kats. When lucky, there is a cocktail-kit. Sixthly, I search the closet hoping for a bathrobe and slippers set, they usually have the same colour which excites me tremendously. Seventhly, my favourite part of the ritual; checking out the bathroom (more often a without-a-bath-room) and testing the water temperature and pressure. I like going through the amenities; the soap, toiletries, toothbrush & paste, shampoo supplies and sometimes a condom (ew). Lastly I end the ritual by noticing, to my embarrassment, the Bellboy I forgot about, patiently waiting at the entrance. I apologise and thank them/their for showing me to my room.
Tue 03 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
After staring out of the hotel window for over an hour, I started wondering if I was standing at the window, by the window or in the window. Trivial thoughts like these have been colouring this quarantine Tuesday. Maybe it's cabin fever. Perhaps more something to do with the current lack of real decision making. Do I shower in the morning or evening? Shall I wear socks today? Should I brush my teeth at all? Do I fancy sitting on the couch or shall I recline on the bed instead? To be honest, there is hardly anything to report about today. I decided to tidy-up the 'Notes' folder on my MacBook. Keeping notes of all sorts and kinds is something I take joy in. The system update of a few years back allowed for creating tables; never has Apple released a feature floating my boat more. A small selection:
12 Mar 2020
29 Jun 2020
01 Jul 2020
My body is a temple and working out is important. This table sums up all the push-ups I've done this year. I'm aiming at 15 push-ups in December. Pain is weakness leaving the body.
My close friend Rogier and I have played many games on his Fussball table, which I believe is rigged with magnets. This game-score is solely responsible for me leaving The Netherlands.
As the window in our hotel room can't be opened, Kate and I have agreed on a penalty of two Australian Dollars per fart. We have made $102 so far and, are saving for a car.
To my satisfaction many notes could be archived as they were of a temporary kind; ISBN numbers of books already purchased. Bit's of jQuery already implemented, old shopping lists, a cookie recipe I'm sick off (literally), and so on. One question rose to the surface and kept my head spinning for the rest of the Tuesday. How to best arrange my notes. Do I sort them on alphabetical order, date-of-creation or date-edited...
Mon 02 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
Only four sunrises in quarantine and I have already ran out of places to hide. To try and make our stay a little more adventurous, every now and then I pretend to have left the room by hiding from Kate. This morning, her immediate giggle after coming out of the bathroom, proved that hiding behind the transparant curtains wasn't my cleverest moment. Yesterday I discovered that no matter how I bend, I do not fit in any of our suitcases, nor the television cabinet or the fridge. I did find a spot with great potential; the trapdoor in the ceiling. However, an incident taking place thirteen years ago keeps me from climbing up. Let me take you back to the summer of 2007; Once every five years the charismatic exhibition called Documenta takes place in Kassel, Germany. We, the first year students of the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, were there for the 12th edition as part of our orientation program. Around 11pm on the first night, a small gathering took place in one of the top floor hotel rooms. It was then and there were I discovered a small trap door in the ceiling. As it was unlocked and as we were
naive curious and intoxicated, we decided to open it. To our befuddled excitement we discovered a small dusty, fully furnished room. After climbing up, we quietly wandered around in the dark. Suddenly, a loud cracking noise; My classmate fell halfway through the ceiling, dangling his legs high above the hotel's staircase. I pulled him out of his situation and we hastily left the secret room closing the trap door behind us. We realised there is no way we could get away with this and had to face the abbatoir. Sheepishly, we left our room to check the damage. The commotion woke up two of our teachers. Thankfully they too had a few drinks as we were greeted with laughter instead of anger. With our tails between our legs we went to see the hotel management and explained what happened. This must have been the last time the academy was welcome to stay there. Not my proudest moment. Ah! By the sound of it Kate has finished showering. I hope I fit behind the couch.
Sun 01 Nov, 2020 Sydney, AU
According to the figures on COVID-19 cases and deaths provided by Australian's states and territories, New South Wales saw 5 new cases and 0 deaths today. Kate and I both had our tests this morning and I surely hope we won't be responsible for an increase of new cases. I enjoy the evening news, I just don't want us to headline it. The standard COVID-19 test involves collecting nasal and throat swabs. A friendly nurse arrived at our room this morning, placing a swab on a thin stick in the back of our throats and deep up into our noses. Over the last few months I have seen these tests being done on TV. As they look a little painful, I was a little nervous. There is a reason pushing things deep up my nose is not part of my daily routine. Rest assured; the tests are quick, and although they feel quite weird, there is nothing painful about them. Kate and I will receive the outcome of the tests within 48 hours. Luckily for now, we don't have any symptoms. I'm measuring our temperatures daily with a Withings Thermo Smart Temporal Thermometer. This device works with a infrared sensor (I prefer saying laser) and therefor no bodily contact is needed. Which is a relieve; since childhood Kate is used to having her temperature taken orally (burps), and I'm used to having my temperature taken in the rectum (farts). You can see the difficulty of us sharing a regular thermometer together. I mean, I wouldn't want to use one that has just been in Kate's mouth, would I.
Sat 31 Oct, 2020 Sydney, AU
As much as I enjoy celebrating, celebrating Halloween has never been high on my list. I feel this is something the Australians and the Dutch might have in common. Although Halloween's origins date back to the Celts, I class Halloween today more like a (Northern) American celebration along the lines of Thanksgiving and Independence Day. Never have I hollowed-out a pumpkin, and I can't remember doing any trick-or-treats as a kid either. Besides, all my life I have had something more exciting to celebrate on October the 31st. The birthday of one of the most important people in my life and probably the only person reading this blog; my mother. Someone who (just like my dad) has always put my needs before her own, giving me and my brother everything she ever could. My mum made sure I was never bored, never missed out on anything, and most importantly gave me all the freedom and guidance needed to pursue my dream; making a living drawing. Having moved 14.784 km (9.189 miles) away from her is a new experience for me and something I'll have to get used to. Like who's going to do my laundry, tidy my room and make my bed? I guess it's time to teach my dog new tricks-for-treats.
Fri 30 Oct, 2020 Sydney, AU
Once again, I'm sat at a wobbly round table in a dimly lit room. Yesterday evening we settled inside room № 540 of the Novotel Hotel. Carrie Bradshaw loves to wonder and so do I, and so I did. I couldn't help but wonder if the interior decorators had mistakenly received their instructions printed out in black-and-white instead of colour. The walls, doors, carpet, curtains and furniture of our room all have a different shade of grey; a colour representing neutrality and balance, yet carrying negative connotations like depression and loss. Not a great pick for a room to stay in for fourteen days. Let's hope at the end of our stay we will be balanced instead of depressed. Fortunately, the sunny, bright view on Darling Harbour makes up for the lack of colour inside. Google taught me this area was originally known as Long Cove and was generally referred to as Cockle Bay, until 1826 when a certain Ralph Darling renamed the place after himself. I've read about this general in Bill Bryson's book 'Down Under'. Apparently they couldn't stop him from naming places after himself. So far I have found on Google Maps a Darling River, Darling Harbour, Darling Downs, Darling Range, Darling Street, Darling Point, and the suburb Darlinghurst. I'm picturing a man riding on his horse, pointing at things and going "this has my name now!". (Imagine having recently ordered your new bussiness-cards carrying the old address.) After marriage he finally got to call his wife Darling too (don't we all), and again they couldn't stop him; ten children! *knock* *knock* went the door, followed by a soft voice; "room service". Thrilled by the idea of meeting someone new I parkoured through the room and eagerly stuck my head around the door. I looked left, right, and left again. No one there. But I wasn't defeated this easily, and continued my search. I looked down, up, and down again. Bingo! I said to myself, after noticing the brown paper bag with breakfast; three pancakes, two strawberries and one yohgurt. Each. I grabbed my spoon and started breakfasting when suddenly I stopped. I looked at my spoon, at the wall, and at the spoon again, and spent the rest of the afternoon daydreaming about our escape...
Thu 29 Oct, 2020 Sydney, AU
For ten thousand American Dollars, thou canst buy a special issue (№ 36) of The Arm Chair Library printed in New York on the 9th of September, 1893. A ten cent weekly back then. Published inside; 'A Trip to the Moon' a science-fiction story by the then 65 years, 7 months, and 1 day old Jules Verne. Reason for the price increase of 9999900 percent; this particular edition carries the autograph of Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon. In the transcription of the Technical Air-to-Ground Voice Transmission from the Apollo 11 moon mission, Neil Armstrong mentions the following on the 7th of July, 1969; "Good evening. This is the Commander of Apollo 11. A hundred years ago, Jules Verne wrote a book about a voyage to the Moon. His spaceship, Columbia, took off from Florida and landed in the Pacific Ocean after completing a trip to the Moon. It seems appropriate to us to share with you some of the reflections of the crew as the modern day Columbia completes its rendezvous with the planet Earth and the same Pacific Ocean tomorrow." This evening on the 29th of October, after over 18 months of planning, Kate and I landed our spacecraft at Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney, Australia. Our temperature was taken and the usual Covid-19 symptoms questions where asked. Without the least delay the Sydney Police escorted us from the baggage carousel directly to a bus outside, engine running, ready to leave for the mystery hotel where we will be facing mandatory quarantine. Once arrived at the Novotel Hotel in Darling Harbour, a muscled member of the Australian Defence Force directed us to room 540 and kindly carried our luggage inside. After a friendly smile and an even fiendlier "Welcome to Australia" the door was shut, locked, and not to be opened again for fourteen days.
Wed 28 Oct, 2020 Kochi, IN
Five hours since Doha Airport. The display on the back of the seat in front of me, shows we are 10 hours and 10 minutes away from Sydney. We are currently flying over Kochi, a port city on the south-west coast of India; a country that I have only visited in books and movies. The movie 'Lion' jumps to mind. I remember the first half being better than the second, yet quite a satisfying ending. And although I've only read 10 minutes and 10 pages of 'Third-Class Ticket' by Heather Woods, both the book and the country seem fascinating. Australia, I imagined, would be located closer to India than The Netherlands is. I was wrong. However, most of Asia will be quite nearby, an exciting thought and a real perk to the move. This time, aboard the connecting flight, I tried to finish an entire movie and had my small triumph; Edward Norton's 'Mohtherless Brooklyn' a good noir with all its ingredients; slow jazz, night clubs, shadows, flashbacks, by-now-classic-cars and a healthy dose of tough guys in hats. Megan, our flight attendant, couldn't keep herself from refilling my empty plastic champaign glass, and I couldn't keep myself from refusing. Kate had fallen asleep and I was wide awake when it dawned on me that from now on, my family and friends back in The Netherlands will also be asleep when I'm awake. A strange realisation. I will be living in the future.
Tue 27 Oct 2020 Prague, CZ
Precisely 12.497 meters (41.000 feet) below my seat lays the city of Prague, the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. I looked down yet didn't immediately recognise anyone. Although my last name isn't Hilton I am finding myself comfortably sat in an Airbus A350-941, travelling at the speed of 870 km/h (541 mph), while sipping champaign. My second glass. Quite the opposite of yesterdays meadows. Reason to celebrate; Kate and I have officially started our migration to Australia. By now I have watched around ten minutes of give or take twenty in flight movies. It's a real disease I've got. One of those situations where I utterly fail to just pick a movie and sit it out. The fasten-your-seatbelt chime plays and the corresponding illustration illuminates. Five hours ago, from take-off to lift-off, I was paying close attention to the safety video that played twice (once in Arab and in English) on the back of every single seat. And so it was I learned about the fastening of seatbelts and it took me under a minute to complete the job. My competitive side proudly eye-balled the immediate surroundings to check if I was the first to fasten it. I wasn't. Suddenly a voice, speaking from the sky. Not the Almighty, just our pilot. Shortly we are touching down in Doha; Sunny and 30°C (86°F). A 20 hour layover awaits, before boarding our connecting flight with final destination; Sydney. I am already excited about unbuckling, as this too, I learned today.
Mon 26 Oct 2020 Warmond, NL
Suitcases packed, midnight approaching. I'm sat at a wobbly round table in a dimly lit Airbnb at the edge of the Boterhuispolder in Warmond. Crisp and dark meadows lay quietly at the other side of the window. A few distant honks of geese, who are not the only ones preparing to migrate. One last move on www.chess.com where my younger brother Tobin just captured my queen way too effortlessly. The faint sound of snoring is dancing down the stairs revealing Kate has fallen asleep. Shortly I will join her and quietly climb in the cold side of the bed upstairs. Today my mom came to say goodbye and tomorrow my dad will drive us to Schiphol Airport where we hope to board flight QO3QTS from Qatar Airways mid-afternoon. Awaiting us; a 43 hour flight (21 hour layover in Doha) to Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney, Australia. This emigration has been a year and a half in the making; months of planning; weeks of paperwork; days of packing and hours of stress. We're eagerly awaiting reunition with our dog Bell, who arrived in Melbourne about a month ago. An Email notification pops up; The moving company. Our belongings are currently floating somewhere along the coast of Morocco. Although I have a good feeling about tomorrow; it's quite a struggle to type with my fingers crossed.