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Work permit

Bakker Arend


Mom and Dad,

Arend decided that he was more concerned about the conditions attached to the work permit that we've been granted. It's here now, but I don't know if we're going to use it. My intuition is that we will not, and I don't feel like fighting against that feeling.

I asked him, last Monday, if I could have the vacation we'd supposed I could have, a week or two earlier. What happened was that then my friend Gary texted me, said there's a lot of work there in Ireland, doing cleaning. It's that way; when it happens, it happens. So I asked Arend. He sat me down with a cup of tea, and said he should tell me before I go--he doesn't think it will work. He wants to cut his losses, as we would say.

I understand this, at basis. Of course, it upset me, and more so the more I thought of it. I told him so on Thursday, my next workday--and the day the physical document arrived. I have a copy of it. The Tewerkstellingsvergunning. Some word, huh? Work permit. I have a contract, too; and the thought occured to me that I could even have some legal rights to that job. Of course, all emotional reactionability aside, I don't want a fight.

I find myself redirecting my energy, and I have to say so far it looks good. Well, it's a tough time--let me not play that down. Kim and I are really separating, and it hurts me in a way that I cannot control. That's the hardest part, because Kim and I really love each other. I cannot change the fact that we need to be independent from each other, and--more to the point--that she needs to see other people for her own well-being. Kim is not like most people, who can live unhappily. For Kim, happiness is necessary.

And, if I really love her? The answer is in the question, which is not a question at all. I need to accept and support her decisions. I cannot yet do that.

That's the hard part. But there's good news, too. (Not that the story about Kim is bad news; not at all.)

The good news is that I've indeed redirected some of my energy from a situation that seemed a bit of a trap, or at least a situation of little momentum. I mean, the work situation.

Okay. Here's what happened. I did indeed buy a ticket to fly to Ireland. I intended to work there. Communication was a bit slack between myself and my Irish friends Justing and Gary, with whom I would stay and work, respectively. Then, two people wanted to see me. Maaike, a woman I met last weekend, and Kim. Boy, that was strange and difficult. Maaike, 45, and Kim, 19, and me in the middle. Kim was first jealous, but she likes Maaike, and... well, and I-don't-know-what. I couldn't do that. I get jealous, and mean. Know thyself, huh?

So I missed the last train to Brussels South, by minutes. There was a long line at the ticket-office. The next train would get me to the airport with five or ten minutes to spare, ideally. Question: pour good money after bad ("only" E74,) or... stay in Nijmegen.

I decided to stay here and make something of it. So far, I have.

I went looking for work, and yesterday found a job washing dishes at the "Gallische Eetcafe." That's my rent paid. I'm probably going to work one long day at the bakery--Sunday, bakery closed, still blackmarket work. So I'll have enough money to live, all going well. That has not yet happened in the time I've been in Nijmegen. So that alone, no matter the nature of the work, is positive.

There's more.

Wednesday, I took a day off job-seeking, and pursued something a bit more dreamy. I didn't feel guilty about it, but it was an indiscretion by practical reckoning. Kim wondered "aren't you worried about money." Of course, I said "yes." But, financially independent as we now are, I needed offer no explanation.

I wrote an email that day--"composed" is a more accurate word. I wrote to the webmaster of a company based in Arnhem, Nijmegen's sister city 5 miles to the north. I had seen an advertisement that the owner had placed on marktplaats.nl, a classified-ad site that Arend had recommended to me. The ad was in search of somebody to help improve the site, working from home. "Good if you know English and German."

I didn't feel I was suited for the job he was offering--I wrote, in Dutch--but maybe we can still work together. "In my opinion, your English-language text needs the attention of a native-speaker." I was nice about it, and I left it at that. I offered my website as example of some of my writing. Why not?

Then, Thursday night, it occured to me that I ought to follow up. Yesterday, I did. (I "should have" been out looking for work, instead of assuming I'd get the job that I did get.)

Yesterday, I went into the introductory English-language page, and made proofreading suggestions.

In HTML, the language of web-pages, you can hide comments within the source-code that don't interfere with the visual appearance of a page. I noted explicitly the changes I recommended, and also explained a few decisions. I recommended he view it in normal page-view, refering to the code for explanations.

And, well--what can I say? He wrote back to me. He said "maybe you're right," and he asked me about my price.

Cool, huh? See, I think this is just a great kick. This is a chance to do something really fun, and get paid for it. This could really be something. I'm not talking about riches, only about the chance to do something really fun, and get paid for it. Well, there is more, but that lies in the future. The allowance for American business-people is really quite generous, at the immigration "service." Something like 800-some-odd euro per month, and E4k in the bank [which can surely be faked for a good cause.]

But, first things first. I need to work out a pricing scheme that will reflect my desire to do business, and will also accommodate my potential future wishes.

So, that's the good news, and I think it's pretty exciting. It may be a truer dirrection for me than the one I've had. Anyway, it's worth pursuing.

Well, on that note I'm going to sign off. I'll call tonight. This depends upon the neighbor, whose phone I'm going to use. But it seems like that will work out.

Til then, Love, Steve

p.s. I just spoke with my next-door neighbor and confirmed that I can use the telephone this evening. (And I mean, next-door. I remember talking with Kim from Ireland, and she'd strung the line in here, so it's workable enough.) I don't know what time that will be, here nor there. But I'll give it a try, anyway.