I'm here! In Antwerp! What a crazy couple of weeks it's been! The new flat is fantastic, at least twice the size of our London flat, and it's so WARM here! It's as if all the crappy weather we had in London at the end of April was just to highlight how nice it is here now!
I had a wonderful send off, firstly a few weeks ago Andrew and I and some friends went to Bill's Covent Garden, a lovely casual restaurant (I think Bill is Australian, but the food was from all over) where I ate the most fantastic halloumi burger. Then was my last night out for knitting, and we had a raucous evening involving a greasy curry on Brick Lane and me mixing my drinks. It was awesome. The following Wednesday was my leaving drinks from my part time job in a bookshop. Andrew came, which was nice as no one had met him before so I was able to prove he was real! I got some really wonderful presents, my colleague Isabel even knitted me a scarf - amazing! I was very grateful and very sad.
On the Saturday, our official moving out day, our friend Mark came over to help us load everything into the van, and when Andrew and his dad (our very generous driver) left he helped me with the last little bit of cleaning and took me to the letting agent to hand in the keys. This was so lovely, I would have been in floods of tears had he not been there! As much as it's fantastic now to be in this great flat in this lovely city, it's certainly scary to move to a country you've only visited once for 3 days into a flat you've never seen!!! I arrived at about 9pm on Saturday night, about 2 hours after Andrew, and he treated us to dinner that night before bed. Then the unpacking started!
The flat is still in disarray with all the unpacking and the lack of furniture! Only yesterday did we realise that there's only one plug socket in my new studio (ok, our new studio), so for the next couple of days my computer will continue to be set up on the living room floor. The to-do list is epic, in addition to getting the required new furniture (such as a computer desk, a sofa, chairs), we have to sort out ID cards, phone and internet lines, healthcare and vets, get new kitchen electricals and a whole heap of adapter plugs for the stuff we couldn't afford to replace. So you'll have to bear with me over the next few weeks!!
That being said, I spent the first morning making bread, trying out the new oven (the bread was a disaster, the oven works just fine). Since then (and we've been here two weeks now) I've made all the bread we've eaten, which has been so lovely! Yesterday was a soup making day, I treated myself to the new book "Veggiestan" - a cook book of vegetarian Middle Eastern food I can't recommend enough - we made Iranian onion soup with eggy croutons that was delicious.
Joey and Elmo (the cats) are starting to settle in, as expected Joey has been pretty much fine since we arrived, playing with the doors and smelling all the smells. All the floors are wooden here, so we put down an old rug to give them something soft to sleep on. Joey's loving that it slips and slides around if he rolls on it! Elmo has been a bit more nervous, rarely venturing out of the bedroom, but then that always was his way. He's happy to be carried and cuddled around the flat though!
We're slowly and inefficiently trying to learn the language. I hate that I have to ask everyone if they speak English, especially as they generally do, so this is a real priority. I was reading today that being bilingual boosts brain power, which is totally unsurprising if you've ever met a bilingual person, but is an extra motivation - maybe my pattern calculations will go smoother if I can speak Dutch too!
Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I can tell you a bit more about some of my new patterns that have been published recently - Igneous in The Knitter, Colour Pop!, Nitha Hat and Nitha Scarf in Knit Now, and Cucumber in Knitty!