Greetings from Amsterdam. I have been here for four days now getting thigs ready for the arrival of the students. The weather has been better than expected. I left 90 degree weather and most days the high has been in the 60’s.
The flight is scheduled to arrive Amsterdam Thursday at 7:15 a.m. Most of the time I have checked recently, the plane is 15 – 30 minutes early. Thus, in order to make sure I can be there when they arrive, I plan to leave the apartment by 5:45 6:00 6:20 a.m. on Thursday morning. I will greet those travel weary puppies with a packet containing their train tickets to get to Amsterdam Centraal Station and their first week transportation passes. As long as the plane arrives on time, nobody has problems with customs, all the baggage arrives, and nobody leaves their bags behind in the secure area, we should take a few minutes to grab a snack, visit the necessary rooms, and hit the train. For most, this will be the first time they are on a train. Once we arrive at Central Station the students will have their first look at Amsterdam and their first look at the sky in 15 hours or longer. Cross your fingers that everyone makes it off the train in the short time it will be at the station. We will then navigate the escalators with their luggage, board the Metro, and take a 3 minute ride to Weesperplein, then a five minute walk down two blocks of Sarphatistraat. Our ETA at the apartment is about 9:00.
Because many current residents are not leaving until Wednesday, the apartments for our students will not be ready until after 1:00 on Thursday. What does one do when he has 24 people showing up with luggage for a 3 ½ week program and no apartments for them to check into? I am turning my apartment into a lounge. I will rearrange my furniture for maximum unobstructed storage space providing ample access to all electrical outlets for them to recharge their phones and laptops. I already purchased plastic glasses so I can serve them water and soft drinks, along with some cheese and crackers. I will turn the bathroom and storage closet into changing rooms. Oh, and the most important thing, I will go and purchase a jumbo package of toilet paper and probably a supply of air freshener.
We will go shopping for them to purchase those items they cannot live without and did not bring with them – electrical adapters, deodorant, shampoo, shower soap, etc. We had a late lunch scheduled for them and today I changed the reservation at Saturnino so we will eat at noon then check into their rooms at 1:00. Some will take a short nap and wind down, and I will take the others on an expedition – after they have a chance to take a shower.
In the meantime, I am supposed to meet the caretaker that morning between 8:00 and 10:00 so he can replace the light switch in my apartment and provide illumination to the other half.
I am off in search of an ATM (the one in our building is out of order), schedule the Saturday canal tour, purchase some file folders that are designed for A-4 paper (longer than letterhead but shorter than legal), then back to prepare the welcome packets and catch up on the accounting for the program.