Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Queen!

This post has been pre written because I am spending the day in Amsterdam cleebrating.
Queen's Day is the Queen's Birthday...
Except it's not actually the current's her grandmother.  But rather than confuse people, they just chose a set date to celebrate every year.  And celebrate they's like New Years on crack.  Or actually, since it's Amsterdam, New Years on Space Cake.  And it turns the country into a gigantic sea of orange clad flea market-ers.  Do not get me started on the Orange...seeing as the flag is Red White and Blue...we're just gonna go with it.  Here are the things you must do on Queen's day...

-Wear Orange...and lots of it.
-Sell things on the street
-Drink...a lot
-Wander the streets because nothing is actually open, because everyone is celebrating.

Every store has plenty of orange things for sale.  I myself have collected some choice items to be shared on the actual post about the actual Queen's Day that I experiences.  But here are some things that I debated on buying.  And by debated on buying, I mean...I really saw each and every one of these things in person for sale...

Hopefully, I'll have many more real pictures to add to this.

So Happy Queen's Day Holland!  And Happy Birthday Queen!

Word of the Day: Koninginnedag - Queen's Day

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's a big blue watery road

So last weekend was my fellow aupair-ers’ birthdays.  And though many of us have celebrated in Amsterdam, this was the first time the weather was nice enough to play outside for the day.  So how did we celebrate?

Actually, let me rephrase that…Where did we celebrate? T-Pain, you wanna take this one?

That’s right, for four hours, two birthday girls, twenty-two aupairs, and three very attractive skippers cruised the canals of Amsterdam ON A BOAT!
Look how happy we all are?  That’s because the sun was a-shinin’, the boat was a-rockin’, and the drinks were a flowin’.

Here are the birthday girls…
Don’t worry, I am fairly sure this was at a point where we were stopped…not actually cruising the waters…with two drunk birthday girls at the wheel.  However, I don’t think that was an issue for most boats out that day.  It seemed everyone was out ready to have a good time…

We started off with a little music…but the motor was too loud, and the speakers died shortly after anyway.  But then it was time for Holly to bust out the old guitar…

Then it was time for the ultimate (American) birthday treat…CUPCAKES!
Can you believe, they don’t have these here? Ok they have them, but no one actually buys them or eats them.

After that it was time to just settle down and soak up the sun…
Or see how many canals we could stand under without decapitating ourselves...
Or just stand around lookin’ fly…

Whatever we did, we did it…


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Flowers on Parade

Last Saturday was the Dutch equivalent of the Rose Bowl Parade...
Except instead of roses, it was tulips
And it wasn't New Years
And there was no subsequent football game that followed
And it wasn't that large of a crowd
And you didn't have to sleep outside in the freezing cold in order to get good seats

Ok, so maybe it would have been easier to say "yesterday, a parade of flower floats drove through Noordwijk"
But that doesn't make it sound nearly as interesting.

Suzan, Fien, Oma Ria, cousin Quentin, and I all went over in the morning and got ready to see the floats.  I was super excited because I've never been to the Rose Bowl parade, although the Yacht club and I keep making plans to do so.
Anyway, all the local bands...
Dance teams...
And bike (and by bikes I mean...bikes) gangs...
Were out to ride in between the floats.  And all of them were doing very very well!  Of course Fiens ears had to be covered the whole time the drums were passing.  But she still enjoyed it.
And then there were the floats.  All themed with different people riding on them.  All magnificent...

And since I had my dad's good camera, I was able to do some closeups...

And I couldn't help but shoot a couple candid shots of the youngens...

Man they're adorable.

Anyway, it was a wonderful morning.  And the entire street smelled amazing!!! The flowers are continuing all along the coast line advirtising the Keukenhoff - a large flower festival (which I'm attending tomorrow!)  So make sure to keep your eyes peeled for that bundle of pics!

See you tomorrow!!

Word of the day: bloemencorso - flower parade/procession

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top Ten and Six Months

Today is a Tuesday meaning there of course has to be a top ten.  But today is also very special.  Today is my Sixth month anniversary in Holland!  I know!
Six months ago I was arriving at an airport with a two very large suitcases, a (hopefully) small enough carry on, sweatpants, slippers, and a whole stomach full of butterflies.  And now I can't believe I'm already half way done.  When I think about the fact that the adventures I have ahead of me need to all fit into the time that has just passed, I can't figure out how I'm going to do it all.  Which of course then just makes me wonder what to do when I'm done with this year.
But more importantly it makes me think about these last six months.  And how much I've grown, and changed.  Which leads me to the...


-Pick up a 17 kilo child with one hand
-Survive a frozen winter
-Speak in kilograms, Celsius, and meters
-Tell you who Sinterklaas is
-Steer a stroller, while holding an ice cream cone in one hand and a 2yo's hand in the other
-Go on a week long trip in a foreign country by myself
-Change a diaper in record time, kicking, cowboy-boot laden, feet and all
-Cook a good meal four times a week
-Navigate any form of public transportation
-Speak/Understand/Read Dutch (well almost)

And a bonus, because this one is still hard, and I thank God for Skype...
-Not see my family and friends for six months a year


I'd say this experience has definitely changed my life.  And here's to the next six months doing nothing different!

Word of the Day: toen en nu - then and now

Monday, April 26, 2010

So this is what it feels like...

I know it's been a while.  At first I had nothing to write about.  Now I have like four different things to write about.  So here's what this week is going to look like...

Top Ten Tuesday
Tulip Bowl Parade
I'm on a Boat
Picnics in the Park
Queen's Day

Aren't you excited?  I can tell.  I'm writing some of them right now...well not obviously right now, but you know... And then I'll work on the rest tomorrow and the next day.  And you'll get a full week of awesomeness.
I would start by writing the first entry right here right now.  But I have something much more important that I think involves a full post, plus maybe a wad of tissues.
Today I told Fien goodnight and "Bedankt voor de leuke dag" (you remember this from my previous Top Ten list right?)
Then she ran up to me, got swept up into my arms, and covered me with hugs.  And kisses.  And Eskimo kisses.  And attempts at butterfly kisses. And a whole bunch of "BYE LIBBY!" All of which is pretty awesomely standard for the end of a day.
But then as I was putting her down she said, in perfect English...

"I love you."

Word of the Day: Ik hou van je  - I love you

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Top Ten: They're just things

As the saying goes, "you can't take it with you"...especially if all your allowed is two suitcases and a carry on.  And especially when shipping is astronomical.  And especially when you already have way too much crap anyway.  Or else you just forgot it.  But it doesn't matter, because here are my...


My A's Shirt/hat - turns out you can have home town pride in another country

My Teddy Bear - yes I still have one and yes I miss it

Non-metric measuring cups - I'm tired of converting cups to liters

More pictures - Cuz I don't have enough

My Cowboy hat - just to be a true American stereotype

An Endless supply of M&Ms - they're so expensive here!

Hot Sauce - well, good hot sauce

My moleskin Amsterdam journal - Emily got it for me and I forgot it :-(

A Sense of Purpose as to what I'm doing with my life - oh wait, that's what this year is for!

So...yea...Nina...this is essentially your packing list.  I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting some things.  So look for a part two.  Thanks :-D

Word of the day: moet hebben - should have


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