I'd hazard a guess that most people get over their culture shock within, well, a time period shorter than four years. You either do, or you don't, and if you don't, then you don't stay here for very long. But every now and then, something comes along that shocks you back into your "I just got off the plane" state.
We're in the market for a fietskar, the better to haul Noodle to the vet with. The Kitty Tower of Terror was patently unsafe and precarious--not to mention that it meant walking to the vet's, and while it's not a too-bad walk, it gets a lot worse when you're hauling three yowling kitties along for the ride. Especially when a bus comes careening down the road.
It's not just cats, though. We're stuck, for instance, paying for kitty litter six liters (one box) at a time, in a large part because the sacks of litter are simply too precarious to move by bike. We'd also like to start up again with the plants in the apartment--mostly garden herbs, because they're not only delicious and smell good, but also because the cats can eat them with impunity. And that takes potting soil, and lots of it.
There were two aspects of the hunt for a fietskar that made me feel like a newbie. The first is that they are surprisingly difficult to find. I visited three bike shops in town before I was able to extract directions to a little store called "Hans Janssens" which carried them. The second is, when I got there and saw the prices, HO-LY F*CK but the buggers are expensive. I'm used to seeing four-digit bike prices, but €300 for a box with wheels? Makes me think I might just make my own. Or, at the very least, demand installation.