Thursday, May 15, 2014

Weekly Dose: Culture Shock-Week 2

Here we are our second full week in Amsterdam. So hard to believe 14 days has already flown by! We've had so many unique experiences I feel like I could bust trying to share them. I am enjoying my runs and exploring my new neighbourhood. I seriously cannot take enough pictures! I have to slow down & dole stuff out other wise I think my instagram friends might start to get a little mad lol

This week I wanted to tell y'all about something that will probably...well, hopefully...crack you up, make you laugh at me, and probably say, "wow that woman is an idiot!" But, this was a major, major point of contention to me when trying to settle into our new home. I was prevented from doing laundry, cooking, and being warm! haha What the heck could this be?! Appliances!!! We had the doggone worst time figuring out our appliances.

The first appliance was the cook top.

I walked in and was super excited because we have a gas cook top. Over the years I've become very accustomed to gas and don't like cooking with electricity nearly as much. Well, the first time I decide to cook something I quickly realized there is no spot to "ignite" the flame!

So, when you turn the dial the only thing that comes out is gas. Apparently, this has to be done the "old fashioned" way and you have to light it using a match or lighter. Thanks to the wonderfully supportive cooking group I belong to on Facebook and there amazing advice we went and got a nice long bbq lighter and haven't had any incidents. But the first two times were absolutely terrifying!

Side note, there are no YouTube videos for being successful at this...maybe I should make one???

Next we are still in the kitchen, we have a convection microwave oven.

This truly puts the "oven" in microwave oven. However, be warned if you have one that does a simultaneous use of the convection part and microwave part you can't use any metal otherwise-BOOM-fire! I don't know from experience but I heard about it in a YouTube video. ;)

Third would be the dryer.

I am sure by the time I got to this the property manager was ready to throttle me. I'd already asked him a million and one questions and this just piled it on no doubt. But, we have what is called a "condenser dryer". This is a unique piece. They are commonly used in Europe so they don't have to run all the hoses and piping and whatnot. It is a really cool concept...until you think the dryer doesn't work anymore.

So, basically what the condenser dryer does is tumbles the clothes around evaporating the water off of them, the water then collects in a tub.

Great idea, however, when said tub gets full you must empty it or the dryer won't dry. This is where the issue arises. I once had to empty the container the water collects in 3 times in one drying cycle. That made me not a happy camper. But, then I remembered how lucky I was to actually have a dryer and I quickly changed my tune ;)

Finally, the heat....or lack there of. I am used to the US where we have central heat & air pretty much everywhere. There are some places in California & even Vancouver that supposedly don't have central heat & air but by the time we got to those places everywhere we looked at central heat & air. Here however, no. Which is fine the weather seems mild in the spring so far. However, some days have been very chilly and we had to turn on the heat. I semi-figured it out the first day, however we learned it does have a central control as well. So basically, once you get the main control where you want it you can leave it there then  each heater unit has a knob on it. You turn it to the plus to let out heat, or the minus to take away heat. Great concept but two things: 1) it takes a while to kick in and heat up, 2) once it is heated up you quickly swelter as if you were standing on the sun dressed in ski gear.

We've quickly learned to pretty much just keep it off. I turn it on in the morning to lift the chill but then it goes off otherwise by the time we crawl in bed no one will be even naked....with a fan...

I will say some of my troubles came from two things: 1) the owner didn't leave us with many of the books on how to use them and 2) the ones we were left with were in Swedish. Not even Dutch so we couldn't ask someone to translate lol But, in my defense: I am doing better than a friend of ours that has been here 2 years...he hasn't used his dryer in all that time because he thought it was "broken" after the first two uses...he is now going to empty the part that collects water ;)

It was fun times these first couple weeks figuring out all the little tricks and getting used to doing things in a new and unique way!

Have you ever had trouble with new appliances? I'd love to hear your stories. Don't let me be alone!


  1. We recently moved into a new house and it took me a month in a half to get my oven figured out. Just stopping by from the "Click and Chat". Great piece I love hearing things about how other countries differ.

  2. Made me laugh this post. Even though my mum's house had old style gas, I'd still be terrified lighting the oven now.

    And dryers - I've never come across a condenser one before. Strange, although I'd never really thought about where the water goes in normal tumble driers. Hmm, one to ponder.