Moving countries during Lockdown a ‘bloody nightmare’

Moving countries during Lockdown a 'bloody nightmare'

A South Africa ex-pat who moved to the Netherlands in April - as Lockdown came into effect​
Kerri-Lee Mason Netherlands Expat
Kerri-Lee Mason​
Writer & Expat

What was meant to be a simple move from South Africa to the Netherlands has turned into a nightmare as countries tighten their lockdown protocols to curb the spread.

Months and months of planning, down the drain.

As if moving home from country to country was not stressful enough, we now have the Covid 19 and Brexit issue to contend with.

Stuck in Amsterdam while moving from South Africa – a move that is not for the faint-hearted.

It all started on 21 March 2020 after spending over 20 hours, and two plane trips, from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

At that stage countries in Africa were beginning to go into lockdown with many implementing their hard lockdown rules.

On landing at Schipol in Amsterdam on 22 March 2020 I learned that South Africa had joined several other countries and announced a hard lockdown – everything shutdowns and borders closed.
You can imagine the shock!

In just over 20 hours – while I was flying – everything had changed.
All flights were grounded and nothing would be arriving on my side anytime soon.

The boxes that would have been airfreighted had been stalled, my dog and cat stuck in South Africa, the sale of my house was now temporarily on ice and the list goes on…

Realizing that these lockdowns cannot persist forever, I had to come up with a plan B – an alternative solution to some of the items, like my running shoes, that were now held up in South Africa.

The Covid 19 virus had come at the worst possible time.

Despite this rather large ‘hiccup’, my goals remained the same, I needed to find a house so that when the lockdown lifts – everything can continue as normal and my better half can fly over with our dog and cat. (Arent they the cutest!)

Dog and cat, Netherland news

With this in mind, I began to scan the internet and estate agent websites for a rental house and I realized it was going to take longer than expected.

All the research I had done, for months, before the move had gone out the window.

The Covid 19 virus had come at the worst possible time.

After days of scanning online rentals and emailing estate agents, I became extremely frustrated at not getting answers.

When I did get a reply, it was seemly late and always the same line “….you have been added to the waiting list….”

I would love to see the length of these waiting lists as I must be on at least 40 plus by now – with not one agent securing an actual viewing, despite me having more than sufficient funds on hand

"What was meant to be a simple move from South Africa to the Netherlands has turned into a nightmare as countries tighten their lockdown protocols to curb the spread"
Kerri-Lee Mason Netherlands Expat

This is a story I will be following up with soon … So stay tuned.

None the less, being frustrated with the entire situation I decided I needed to start running to get some focus. 

After weighing up my options of ordering online or going to a store , I decided to make my way to Kinkerstraat in Amsterdam to go shoe shop browsing.

By 9 am, I took to the streets of Amsterdam in search of a shoe store. 

I then realized that most stores do not open that early, note to self always check operating times.

After walking the quiet streets for a while I came across the Decathlon Sports Store.

Wow, was I pleasantly surprised when I went inside.

The Amsterdam based store is well-spaced, with everything visible and marked. To top it off, the staff were amazingly helpful and friendly.

I managed to find exactly what I was looking for in the Decathlon Ekiden One Women’s running shoe – for less than  11. 

They are a super light, comfortable, attractive jogging shoe that I was able to put to use without any issues.  What a great deal! 

In my haste, I rushed back to the Apartment to get changed and set off on my first 5km run through the Vondel Park in Amsterdam.

By lunchtime, I had bee on a 7km round trip walk to meet my sister – who has lived in the Netherlands for some 7 years already.

"At least i got a new pair of running shoes and a pocket waist bag belt so I can go run around Amsterdam in the morning"
Kerri-Lee Mason Netherlands Expat

I then spotted a pocket waist bag belt – a genius idea.

It is big enough for your mobile phone, or keys, with you while out and about.

It would also be great for running, playing golf or tennis.

It has two zips that store your items and clips around your waist.

I found one on Amazon (click here to buy one) for  only € 11.37.

Buy two and the shipping is free.

Well, after doing 12km’s on foot on the first day, one would expect to have a blister or a somewhat sore foot.

I was so surprised, not a single blister or ankle or shin pain – amazing.

The best part is that the neutral coloring of this running shoe is also a plus and makes them easy to wear with most clothing.

And since I now know my actual EU shoe size, thanks to Decathlon, I’ll be looking at ordering additional footwear online.

The belt and a pair of running shoes  cost less than Euro 25. (R500 at current exchange rate). 

Great deal