Stocking up on Strooigoed

We recently passed the six-month mark since our arrival in Trinidad. By now, many of the settling in tasks are completed. At least, they should have been. In reality, we still do not have all our immigration documentation in place and we still working on closing out the insurance claim for the items in our container that were damaged and claiming other expenses which means I am still in contact with various HR advisors on an almost weekly basis. A few boxes remain unpacked and the guest room is not quite ready for guests. Gradually, I become more relaxed about these long overdue items and recognise that it will happen when it happens. Life goes on, either way. Those that know me well will find that hard to believe but rest assured, I am not a completely changed woman! My spirit is not broken but perhaps is in need of some restorative treatment.

Right now, we are in the more challenging phase of any expatriation. The novelty and excitement of the initial move and discovery of new things is mostly behind us. Now, things are becoming routine but not necessarily easier and it is often the time when emotions dip. Things which were frustrating but funny the first time become irritating and irksome when you find you have to repeat ad nauseam. Previous spells abroad have taught me that this is nothing but a downward blip and a well-placed holiday can act as a magnificent salve. Luckily, we had the foresight to recognise that by the time the October school holidays rolled round, we would need a little getaway. The whole Castaway household is feeling rather tired and very ready for our trip and a change of scene. This weekend will see us get our suitcases out and reach into the back of our wardrobes for cold-weather clothing. Warm socks, jeans and jumpers, even hats, scarves and gloves will all need to be packed as we head northward. A blast of cold weather and autumnal leaves should also shift our moods ready for the autumn/winter activities and celebrations. With no change in the weather and no change in the daylight hours, it feels like we are caught in perpetual summer. Some might find that a good thing but it is throwing me a bit off-balance. Hot weather does not go with Halloween and I am concerned that Sinterklaas’s chocolate letters will melt before he can get them out of the sack. Perhaps, we had better opt for kruidnoten or pepernoten. You might find it early to have such concerns, given that Sinterklaas is still firmly in Spain, but the Handsome Dutchman and the PlayStation Junkie are already developing a hankering for all the strooigoed that accompany his visit to the Netherlands each year. We will have to hope that the Dutch have left their mark on New Amsterdam enough that we can find such goodies, or at least the requisite ingredients. Failing that, we will have to survive with a Starbucks speculaas latte!


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