Here I am sitting in front of my laptop, with no window behind it and wondering about the last twelve months in the Netherlands. I arrived in Utrecht just before my 30th birthday and the day before this country’s first lock down. One of many failed attempts to curb the corona rates. At first I thought to use the time to write productively. I had thoughts of 9-5 writing hours like a business and I’d kick arse. I’d write more than ever before and finish more than ever before.
But dear blog reader, it did not go that way.
I did write, however I was unsatisfied with how much I wrote. Yeah, I got out a novella and novelette from idea spark to publication but I wanted more. I was moody, irritated and unsatisfied with myself. And it was a constant. It also didn’t help that I found Utrecht to be a step down from Edinburgh. The tax rate’s higher, health care isn’t free. Food costs more and the language barrier a bit of a wall. Utrecht as a city is expensive and I don’t understand how people can live here and like it. If Covid had hit just a month or so later it might have been better for us as we would still be back in the UK. We went from living in our own flat to a share house . . . for the same price.
And the end of 2020 was terrible. I never mentioned it online before because I didn’t know how to, but my husband was attacked by a former roommate. His wrist was slashed to the bone and he almost bleed out. There was blood all over the third floor landing. However, the police got to us in under ten minutes and gave a tourniquet to him. The roommate got arrested and is in jail under a manslaughter charge. Chris says my steely resolve is what saved him because I kept calm throughout everything while he was bleeding out. (His physio is going great, and he has full use of his hand, thought a part of it has no feeling in it).
To add more unpleasantness to the situation, my husband’s contract was not renewed. This happened before the attack. But not at the fault of him. His workplace is toxic or was, if it still exists in a few years. A third of staff has left since he began and he has won two bottles of scotch from co-workers about making bets on who leaves and when.
The end of his contract also means the end of his work visa and by extension mine. As Australians we can be in the country for three months without a visa so we going to decide at the end of March if we return to the UK (we have residence) or to Australia. What makes everything difficult is that we have two cats. Chris got them years ago thinking we’d be in Europe for years to come. So we have to work out how to transport them and the only pet quarantine facility is in Melbourne and then get them to Brisbane.