One of the reasons we chose Alkmaar to live was to spend time away from expat hubs like Amsterdam, the Hague and Rotterdam, giving us a chance to really immerse ourselves in the Dutch culture. Our babysitter says we're living in the sticks, although aside from the cows, it doesn't feel like it. Anyway, as a result of our decision, it's quickly becoming apparent we need to learn the local language, which is fine that's part of the reason we came here.
The problem is trying to enroll in a Dutch class is proving the most difficult challenge so far, more than finding a house, getting our social security number and so on. After searching the internet for a school, we were told to contact an organization called INOVA for information. Um, okay, so we went there with our passports and the girl says we need a stamp of some sort to prove we intend to stay here. "Why?" we ask. "I can't tell you without the stamp," she replies and gives us a list of places to go.
We again turned to the internet in search of more information about this mysterious stamp and the closest offices to go for it. It seems to be something not legally necessary, but handy, which will allow you to open a bank account for example. It sounds strikingly similar to the first form we ever got, so on Monday, we'll see if that works. Stay tuned.