Hello again

I haven’t fallen off the top of the Afsluitdijk and into the cold North Sea 🙂 It has been incredibly busy. I am deliberately taking a pause and listening to Leonard Cohen and writing to you. After so many days of not writing, I begin to miss it. Of course, I have had the habit of writing for a very long time. I remember (and still have) my Strawberry Shortcake diary from 3rd grade. My 8 year old self had just seen the movie “Grease”and had a tremendous crush on John Travolta. I felt the need to document this in my diary. My mom gave me the diary because as kids we moved alot and I didn’t have a lot of friends. She told me I could always write, regardless of where we lived. I am really glad she gave me that advice.

Yes, I still write in a diary – which is currently hiding somewhere in a moving box. After all, not everything can go on a blog 😉 Well, at least not my blog! I have made good progress over the past week, despite all the madness. I chopped my organizational efforts into one hour per day. There is definite progress to be seen and more importantly, I haven’t just said “To hell with it, I can live with boxes”.

Over the weekend, an old coworker of mine stopped in Amsterdam with his wife and stepson. I met them Friday night for dinner and then on Saturday afternoon, I took them on my version of a walking tour. We also took a canal cruise just before dark so we got to see all of the Amsterdam Light Festival – without paying the Light Festival premium. Now that is definitely Dutch blood coming to the forefront! After another really good dinner, they were off to Spain and I went home to get ready for the week ahead.

My new manager started Monday and we had our first meeting at 9am. I like her. I think she is motivational instead of fear-based, which will be an interesting change. She is also jumping right into the shitstorm that I am in and publicly declared that we were all committed to solving the problem. I have never had that kind of outright support at work before. Yesterday was the big review with the region and it went better than expected. I had practiced my presentation until the dogs could recite it. And I put lavender oil under my nose 15 minutes before I went in to the meeting. I had a coworker IM me when to stop talking – which was helpful. I think I am not direct enough yet for the Dutch. After it was over, I started getting wonky chest pains and my eyes were wobbly. Turns out it was letting go off all of the stress regarding this process and meeting that I have been under for the past month.

Now that the review is behind me, I can move forward with the fix-it plan. It is a relief to get to this point. I may not know 100% yet how I am going to make it all happen. I do know I have the aspiration to do so, which is important. I’ve realized living here how optimistic Americans are as part of their cultural identity. It doesn’t always go over well with other people. I don’t mean optimistic like Perky Patty from the Pep Squad but rather the belief that “Yes, we can do it, why not?” . Look at the current scope of would be presidential nominees 😉 I think it is more nuanced than only optimism. Whatever the components, I have recently become aware of it and I am pretty glad to have it in my sense of self.

There is a lot of push for me to find a coach and work on a few things. It seems to be part of Dutch culture that your coworkers feel free to suggest a list of things that you should work on. Not alot of boundaries between your work qualities and your personal qualities. This has taken some getting used to. The habit here is that if you need help, you go and ask for it. You can imagine how foreign that is to me 😉 You can also imagine that I would probably like to do anything but ask for help for me. I also have to let go that a coach is a signal that HR and the Legal Department are doing  a last ditch effort to CYA. The biggest problem I have with this idea is the requirement to be vulnerable. Kind of like how I struggled to depress the valve on my SCUBA gear that would let me sink to the bottom 🙂

I guess, like so many other things, it is a journey. Oh, wow, I never realized how irritating that phrase actually is! Striking it from my vocabularly now.

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