Monday, September 6, 2010

A Dutch Decade - The Beginning of My Expat Journey

The sun-faded oranges and reds of the shipping containers emblazoned with white letters that line the dock edge are the first things I see from my vantage point on the outside deck of the freight ferry. The clouds above the port of Hoek van Holland are brewing, changing tones of grey before my eyes. The ants scurrying in the distant a few minutes ago metamorphose into dockworkers in orange fluorescent jackets scampering around the port. Distant shouts in a foreign tongue echo and reach my ears, intermingled with a smoker’s voice announcing something in Dutch over the tannoy speakers.

“Okay, she says we can go back to the car,” explains my future husband. We join a pack of lorry drivers in their uniform of stretched jeans and checked shirts heading for the vehicle decks below, all of us jostling for room on the metal stairs. We are eager to return to our cars and trucks to get the next stage of our journey underway and leave the confines of the ferry behind.

As we reach the car in the under lit car deck, my partner smiles as he peeks under the blue tarpaulin that is wrapped tight over the trailer. “It’s all still here; everything you own safe and sound on Dutch soil,” he announces.

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