One Year in Utrecht: Winter (1/4)

December 2021 – After 5,5 years in Amsterdam, I’m closing the door of our apartment in Oud-Zuid, to open a new one in the centrally-located and « gezellig » city of Utrecht.

My new place in Vogelenbuurt needs a thorough cleaning, painting, and furniture, to transform into a « nest » (as my Mom would say*), and the first month is hard on my emotions (which is a nice way to say: I might have been dramatizing – a lot). Luckily, the amazing support of my friends, family, and new colleagues, and the city itself (which I soon fall in love with) help me regain some confidence. « Kom op », it’s time to start exploring the fourth city in the Netherlands.

Credits: Jeff Finley sur Unsplash.
  • I enjoy a delicious pumpkin soup and chai latte at Anne&Max;
  • I indulge in a Mcdonald’s burger (the first in years!) with my former colleague and friend Carol, who lives 5 minutes away. We discover the city by night, and amongst other things, the neon-lit Ganzenmarkt Tunnel;
  • My new Swapfiets is mustard yellow (my favorite color), which makes my day;
  • My friend Ellen is the first to come over for a pizza (from Vegitalian) evening.

As the end of the year approaches, I start feeling more optimistic about my choice of moving out of the capital.

JANUARY 2022 – the shops are still closed when I come back from a two-week vacation in France, which means I have plenty of time to clean my new place, and explore the nearby Griftpark on a sunny winter afternoon.

  • The shops reopen mid-January, and after realizing that since I started working from home (in March 2020), I’ve only worn sweatpants, I decide to buy actual, proper pants;
  • I find out I can actually bike to the closest Ikea store (which, in my world, is a bit like living in Marne-la-Vallée), and Ellen and I start dealing dru… I mean, scented candles and hot dogs, in the underground parking. Don’t judge.
Credits: Alex Dudar on Unsplash.

FEBRUARY 2022 – I’m slowly, but surely, adjusting and starting to truly enjoy my new city:

  • I meet Pandora, who has the best first name, hosts creative workshops in Utrecht, and happens to live in my neighborhood. She tries to teach crochet to my friend Estelle and I, which is proof of how patient she is;
  • I find what is soon going to become « my » yoga studio in Utrecht, and I feel very proud of myself the day docent Niki helps me achieve my first headstand (which I will make sure to brag about for the next 20 years);
  • My mom visits, and we enjoy the view from library Broese‘s cafeteria.
*Vogelenbuurt means « the neighborhood of the birds ».
(Main photo: Friso Baaij on Unsplash.)

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