Sunday, February 28, 2010


That's Dutch for "I PASSED!!!" meaning I heard the results of that test that I went to take a few weeks ago. Yay!!!!!!! That is such a relief! No more classes! yay! In two weeks I have to go to Utrecht to pick up the actual diploma. Yep, they give you a piece of paper that says you passed everything. And I have to travel 2 1/2 hours each way by train to spend 10 minutes picking up said piece of paper. I have no idea why they don't just mail them. I suppose it's just one more way to make sure we can survive in The Netherlands. But there's some nice shopping in Utrecht, so it'll be worth it!

In other news, I did a little sewing this weekend. Really a very little bit of sewing. Here is what I made:

the new valance

It's above the windows in our living room. Before, I felt like the ceiling and the walls and the window blinds were all blending together into one big beige blankness. I wanted to break up that monotony a little bit. We got the fabric and the curtain wire (see the picture below) at Ikea. The fabric came pre-hemmed at the top and bottom. How awesome is that! So I only had to sew up the two ends, and voila! Valance Made!

curtain wire (sorry it's blurry!)

And I love this curtain wire too. It makes it really easy to change things whenever you feel like it. Seasonally, or just when you want a new look.

How have things been for you? Good, I hope! And how is the weather there? It's been raining here all week, but at least it's a little warmer, so no snow or ice. And coming home on the bus the other night I saw a patch of grass that had little yellow spots all over it. Last year at this time when I saw the same thing, I didn't know what it was. I thought that someone had made a mess and not cleaned up after themselves. But now I know better. It's crocus! The crocus are coming up! Spring is coming! That made my day. :)

I hope you had a great weekend, and may you soon see the crocus growing in your own green grass.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Aren't they lovely?

I just love tulips. I cannot get enough of them. And how fabulous that I live in the land of tulips now! They're very inexpensive here (I can get 20 stems for €3 at the farmer's market downtown in the spring), and they smell so good, and they're so cheery! Don't you love the colors of these? They're white, red and yellow in honor of Carnaval. Dutch Carnaval colors are red, yellow and green, so they're perfect! I've been enjoying these (along with the Valentine's Tulips) all week. When I sniff them it makes me think of Spring, and reminds me that it's not too far away.

Today, a woman on the bus started talking to me (in Dutch) about how crowded it was on our bus. I understood a little, at first, but then she kept talking, and was speaking very fast, so I couldn't follow her anymore. At one point, she told me that my glasses were very pretty, and since I understood that (I thanked her for saying so), she finally realized that I didn't speak much Dutch, and switched to English. She asked me how long I'd lived here, and a few other questions. Then, as almost all Dutch Strangers do, proceeded to tell me that I must speak more Dutch in order to learn it. As if they're telling me something that us foreigners couldn't figure out on our own. I always hate hearing that bit of advice. It makes me feel so... defeated. Something like that anyways. It makes me feel like they think that I'm not trying hard enough, when they don't know anything about me! I've been doing the best that I can to learn the language, but there is just SO MUCH to remember! I can't learn it all in a year (which is how long I've been learning it). What do they want from me?!

I shouldn't let their words bother me.

But I always do.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I was totally not expecting anything for this holiday this year, because it is on a Sunday for one thing, and most places are not open on a Sunday. And for another thing, today was the beginning of Carnaval here, so most places that ARE open on Sundays would be closed for the holiday. (It's big here - think Mardi Gras in New Orleans!) But when the door bell rang today, look what it was....

My Valentine flowers

My favorites, even. Tulips! Pretty red and white ones. They almost look Christmas-y, don't they? Ha, I can make anything seem like Christmas!! Aww...thanks, Honey! I love them. *kiss kiss*

You can see what else arrived on Friday in the picture. My mom got me a subscription to Country Living (the American one) and it gets sent here. This was the first one. I was SOOOO excited to see that! I waited until Saturday morning to read it, when I could put my feet up and really look at every picture and read every page. Even the ads! Yep, pretty excited was I to get this magazine.

I hope you all had lovely weekends. Is anyone watching the Olympics? I haven't been keeping up with it much. I'm not big into sports, so I don't pay attention really. The only thing I usually watch are the opening ceremonies, and because of the time difference, they were on at like 3am here. So I skipped those too this year. I do know that a Dutch male speed skater won the gold that he was favored to win. So go Netherlands!

Enjoy your day, my friends!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Hi! Did everyone have a good weekend? I think it was quite a snowy one for a lot of you! I spent many an hour looking at the pictures of all of the snow in the Washington, DC area. It was so very pretty, but I cannot imagine getting that much snow all at once. I hope you all made it through it OK! On top of the snowfall, it was SuperBowl weekend! Since the Steelers weren't playing in it this year, I didn't stay awake till 5am to watch it. Plus I really only ever watch for the commercials, and they don't show those here, so what's the point?

It was a sort of nervous weekend for me. I had to take a test on Monday, part of the language courses I'm taking here. Thankfully this is the last test I will have to take for them. Unless I didn't pass, that is. (Oh man, I hope I passed!!!)

I had planned on telling you all about my language courses, but... it's just way too long. (And my posts are long enough, I think!) Just suffice it to say that they teach us language and how to interact in Dutch society (and a little Dutch history too). There are four parts to the courses to pass in order to get the diploma. I took 3 of the tests in October (passed them all! yay!!!), and had the final one Monday. If I passed it, then I finally get my diploma and can stop worrying about tests. Man, they're terrible on my nerves! I'll let you know the results when I get them.

Since we were parked at a mall on Monday (the test was in Eindhoven, which is an hour's drive away from where we live), we did a little shopping after my test. There were Apple stores to go into! Two, even! YES! Love them Apple stores! Even if we can't afford much of anything in there, it sure is really nice to go in and drool over the gigantic monitors. They do not have any of those nifty iPads here in the Netherlands yet, so we didn't get to fondle one yet. But I'm sure we will soon!

One thing I could afford was some Cool Feet for my laptop.
I got this from their website

They're little suction cup things that you can attach to the bottom of the laptop, to keep it elevated and keep air circulating to keep the machine a little cooler. Plus they help to tilt the keyboard a little bit, so it's a little easier on your wrists. Cool, huh? I'm liking them!

I know that some of the East Coast is supposed to get more snow today and tomorrow, so I hope you stay safe. Enjoy it from inside!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

That groundhog doesn't know what he's talking about.

Hello there everyone! How are we this afternoon? It is Thursday now, and that means a day off from work for me. (Part-time work roolz!!) For a beginning-of-February day, it's pretty nice outside! It's in the upper 40s F (around 9C), which you'll have to admit is a little warm for this time of year. What a switch from the freezing temps (and snow/rain, and wind) we've been having! Pretty soon the crocus will start coming up, and the trees will be budding...and soon after that I'll be complaining about how hot I am. hee hee! But for now, I'll just enjoy this unexpected nice-ish weather. How is it where you are?

In spite of this warmer-than-average winter day, I'm still thinking of Christmas. Even though we just celebrated it (and what a fabulous time it was this year!), I still can't wait for the next one. I really am a Christmas freak. I keep thinking of the decorations I'm going to be doing next year. Each year they're a little different. I don't usually buy new things, I just arrange them differently. But next year I might splurge on some fresh greens to hang on the door. While on a walk through the neighborhood in December I saw on someone's door a bunch of mistletoe, holly and pine boughs (I think? I didn't get close enough to examine details!) all tied together in a swag, and I loved it! I wish I had taken a picture of it, because I really would like to recreate something similar for my door next year. I guess I have plenty of time to think about it, huh? And there is a holly tree right next to our building. I wonder if I'll be able to "trim" it for them?

I think in order to keep the Spirit of Christmas alive the whole year through (ha, like I have to work at keeping that alive?!), I am going to watch one Christmas movie a month on one of my days off. No, I won't make anyone else watch them with me. Yes, I have enough movies to last the whole year. Yes, I've seen them all over and over already, but they're classics! And yes, I'll make sure that all the blinds are closed and the volume is low enough so that the neighbors won't know I'm watching Christmas movies in the middle of summer. ;)

And I think I'll start that Spirit of Christmas Movie of the Month Movie: February right now...

Have yourself a merry little...oops. I mean... Enjoy your weekend!