October 18, 2007

The obvious questions

I've come to terms with the fact that I am not going to find a magic loophole that will allow me to obtain an EU passport. My closest European relative was a great-grandfather who was born in Ireland, which doesn't help me. And let's be honest, I don't have any super amazing skills or talents that Amsterdam is just dying to have that they can't find in a Dutch or EU person.

"So how will you make money?"

Good question.

I did get one lead on an American post-production facility that has an Amsterdam office. The best case scenario is that I would find a company to sponsor me - not totally unrealistic, but it's nothing I can count on.

The best chance I have of making money, assuming I can't find a "real" job in Amsterdam, is to continue doing freelance work for this accounting firm in Los Angeles and the tour company in Paris. The accounting work is great and pays well and could be a huge means of support - I would even be able to get documentation from them proving that they'll keep paying me no matter where I live. The tour company might be paying me to research and design new walking tours, and even train the guides at the start of the season. I also know that once I'm IN Amsterdam, opportunities will present themselves (they always do).

The other thing I'm not totally ruling out is coming back to the states once or twice a year for a few months at a time to work in NYC. There's always work in NYC, and I feel pretty established in this city now. I have pretty good contacts and I'm pretty certain that it wouldn't be difficult for me to freelance here. Sometime in the next month or so, I'm going to start telling everyone I know who works in tv/film production to keep me in mind if there are ANY European projects that need someone on location. The best way to find work is still through personal recommendations and word-of-mouth.

The real question is, how am I going to convince the Netherlands to give me a residence permit and allow me to live legally in Amsterdam? - that's something I'll go into in my next post.

"So, do you know Dutch?"

No. I do plan to learn the language when I get there. I also know that I could probably manage a very long time without learning the language - that's the curse of moving to a city where pretty much everyone speaks flawless English.

"Do you even have any friends or family in Amsterdam?"

Well, there's exactly two people there that I count as good friends. There's one other guy (also from upstate NY) with whom I drank beer and talked about photography with for about 30 minutes, and he seems really nice. But no, I don't really have a huge group of friends out there. Fortunately, I do still have a lot of friends in Paris, and a few others scattered around Europe. I know there will be homesickness and it's going to feel somewhat lonely at first, but that I can handle.

I have spent a lot of time in the past week or so going through Dutch immigration law and informing myself of all the options that are available to me. In my next post I'll go through everything I've learned and try to figure out the best plan of action.

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