Ellen's Blog

From Dubai to Kazakhstan


For a few days in Amsterdam. From here I will attempt to do some house hunting. This is not so easy. First of all there is a lot of snow and the government ran out of salt to keep the roads safe to drive. So traffic was horrendous, the temperature was below zero and there I was, trying to find my way in a country that is really no longer mine.

I saw houses that were big, I saw houses that were old, I saw houses that were too far away from the workplace, I saw houses that were definitely too expensive.

And time is not on our side. the longer we wait with making a decision, the longer I will have to sit in a small flat in the centre of The Hague with two dogs that are utterly confused: not something I am looking forward to. Although Holland is not showing itself from her best side, I still try to be positive and make the best of it all. Life is too short to be miserable about all this, it is in fact a luxurious problem to have. We are staying in one off those minimalistic hotels that pretend to be Scandinavian, but really had no budget for proper furniture and more than one picture on the wall. Breakfast is good, but you have to sit on a uncomfortable stool and drink coffee that could double as tar for the holes in the roads.

The place is full with business guys, most of them dressed in wrinkled suits with loud ties. At night in the bar they raise their voices to be heard and drink a lot as the boss is paying for it. A few skinny female colleagues mingle – regretting that they put on high heels in the morning. I know how that is, it looks great with your outfit – makes you look taller and you think thinner, but my God they would pay a fortune now for my flat moccasins. Strange enough they try to dress like the boys, grey pinstripes with white crispy button down shirts. Always long hair, tied back in a  pony tail  – again to look like the guys really.

Not me of course, I am here on different business. Jeans, comfortable shoes but the only one who can work with a Mac computer.


  andrei wrote @

Hi Ellen, Ive seen your post on some expatchange network. I will also travel to Atyrau at the end of this month (february) for 3-4 weeks. Do you have any tips for me? It would be my first trip outside Europe (btw I`m from Bucharest)

  Ellen van den Bergh wrote @

Dear Andrei, I do not have a lot of knowledge of Kazakhstan yet. If you go to Atyrau you have to realize that there is not a lot of medical care available (that’s what I am told). So make sure you take your own (preventative) medication with you. Traffic is crazy, do not attempt to drive yourself. You are also not save on the pavement, sometimes cars drive on there. If you have to take care of your own meals, take a small travel dictionary with you, Food in supermarkets is in Russian, so are the street signs. Have a fantastic trip and let me know, you can probably give ME great advice.

  Steve wrote @

“the only one who can work with a Mac computer.” GOOD ONE! I KNEW it was a philosophical difference in both the construct and the operation.
Me? I cannot get my head around Macs. My left-handed sister frustrates me and she loves Macs.
I know this is not what you expected to have a comment on, but….Carpe Diem!

  Ellen van den Bergh wrote @

Steve, thank you for your comment. I bought the MacBook Air a while ago because I thought it looked cute and was so small and light. I must admit, it took me a while before I got the hang of it – but now I am a Mac-girl!
Apparently only people with disturbed or creative minds enjoy Macs – well…. I am not creative…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: