After a few pitfalls and false starts, we are finally settling into our home in this new city. We originally got placed in single’s housing (with one bed), and spent a stressful time considering the possibility of finding a new place. Amsterdam is a tough city for housing, especially for foreigners. Space is at a premium in such a small area, and priority is rightly given to people who actually speak the language and work here. And so we felt extremely lucky when the university told us that they have one last couple’s apartment left. We moved the next day.

It’s even luckier because the new place is bigger, has two beds (it’s common in Europe to have two full-size beds pushed together to make a big bed, even in hotels), has two skylights which let in plenty of sunshine, and is so much closer to town. We can actually walk to the grocery store and nearby cafes! The rest of the city is a mere bike ride away.

Here are a few poor quality pictures of our new place. I’m trying not to compare them to Design Sponge homes. We really are very lucky to be here.

The bedroom

Hallway. See that orange linoleum? What fun!

Already-messy kitchen

Living/Dining room

We still have a few things to to get used to, like walking up five long flights of stairs, not having an oven or microwave, sharing a small dresser, and the absence of Netflix instant play. But it’s an easier trade when I can look out my window, see narrow little canal houses, and remember that I live in Amsterdam. A few things on the walls, a bit more nesting, and we’ll feel right at home.

We celebrated our comfy apartment with a delicious meal last night, the first we haven’t thrown together hastily. I made Shakshuka, Spicy Tomato Sauce with Poached Eggs, which has been one of my favorite meals ever since I discovered it on Smitten Kitchen.  The simple ingredients, delicious flavor, and runny eggs give me that wonderful homey feeling every time. Last night was perfect with a spinach salad and a bottle of French wine we picked up in Versailles.

Welcome home, indeed.