Thursday, April 22, 2010

Birthday Wishes

I can't keep track of all of the birthdays that are in April in my world. Cousins, uncles, friends, my sister. April is CRAZY with birthdays! So here is one big birthday wish for everyone with their day in April:

make a wish...

Today was another one of MY Days. I was off work, but that doesn't mean that I've been lazing around enjoying the nice weather. Unfortunately. I would love to walk around the neighborhood and take pictures of all the blooming things for you all to see, but that wasn't meant to be. I've been cleaning! And baking (I made snickerdoodles for the first time ever. Yummy!). And shopping. And now blogging. How has your day been?

MY Days might be a thing of the past soon. There have been some staffing changes at work, and I am trying to get more hours. I like my days off, and being part time, but hey...let's get real here. One cannot live on MY days alone. Someone's got to support my yarn and tulip habit, you know. ;)

I hope you all have a great day, and I promise I'll post some more pictures from our Germany trip soon.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Germany Trip: Part 1

If you're wondering why I hadn't posted in so long, it's because we were on vacation last week. We took a trip to Germany with Ludi's parents and another couple who are friends of Ludi's parents.

It was not entirely a pleasure trip. You see, Ludi's grandfather (his dad's father) was a victim of WWII. He died in one of the concentration camps. During the war, after the German occupation of The Netherlands, Ludi's grandfather went to work for the Germans at an airport/plane factory near home. We will never know if he went voluntarily (because he needed the money for his family) or if he was recruited by the Germans. By "recruited" I mean he was more than likely forced. After being transferred a few times, he eventually ended up at Mittelbau-Dora camp (concentration camp). This is the place that the Germans set up a V2 airplane bomb factory in tunnels in the mountains. And that is where Ludi's grandfather was basically worked to death. He died there and was cremated there. His ashes were most likely dumped on the hillside next to the crematorium.

Mittelbau-Dora memorial (crematorium in the background)

There are a few other camps in the area that Ludi's grandfather was sent to. The first one he was sent to was probably Buchenwald.

 Buchenwald Memorial

There they had a quarantine area for new prisoners (to try to prevent the spread of diseases), so that was where most prisoners get sent to first before being transferred again. Ludi's grandfather was sent then to Dora to work in the tunnels (the bomb factory). When he was too weak/sick to work anymore, he was sent to another camp (Ellrich). It was basically a death camp, where prisoners were sent to die when they were no longer useful because of being too weak or too ill.

Ellrich Memorial (crematorium spot in the background)

This is probably where Ludi's grandfather died. At the time, there was no crematorium. All of their dead were sent back to Dora for burning. (The crematorium was built at Ellrich about 6 months after his death.)

Every year (I believe) the camps have memorial services on the date of their liberation by the Allied Forces. Every few years, Ludi's family goes to these services. It was the first year for me. I knew before hand that it wouldn't be a fantastic fun happy time. I thought it would be sad. Depressing. Haunting. Well, it was all of those. It also made me really angry to see first hand how these people were treated. How could a human being treat another human being so? It is beyond comprehension. The terrible conditions. The awful, purely evil things the German army did. Not just to Jewish, either. Because Ludi's grandfather wasn't Jewish. He just had seen too much for the Germans to let him go free.

In America, we didn't feel the same ... (searching for a word) ... torture about these events. It was so far away, and so long ago. 65 years ago now, basically. But here in Europe, where they experienced it first hand, they remember it like it was yesterday. I used to think "Oh, it was so long ago, can't we try to let it go?" I have since changed my mind about that. 65 years is not long enough to heal that wound.

Not enough by a long shot.

More information about the camps we visited can be found here:

I'll make another post about our Germany trip, a more pleasant one. To leave you with a little more positive picture, these flowers were growing all over the place. I don't know what they are, but they sure are pretty. They're short, kind of like ground cover. Anyone know what they are?

Happy blue flower in a sad sad place

See you again soon.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hoppy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

Easter Brunch

We made our traditional holiday brunch this morning. French toast. SO yummy! I even still have syrup left from a trip about a year and a half ago. We don't have this breakfast very often, so the syrup is lasting a long time!

And no, that's not coffee next to my plate. It's chai tea latte. Yummers!

And for dessert:

Easter candy

What could be better?

Enjoy your holiday!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thundering Thursday

Hi there folks!

Notice anything different here? I changed the look of my blog today. I wanted it to be a little wider, so I could put up bigger photos. Hopefully this will do the trick! Unfortunately I have no photos to post today! Figures, huh? Do you like it? I think it looks very springy and/or summery. I like it! LOVE LOVE LOVE the dandelions blowing apart too.

So what are you all up to today? I'm at home today, enjoying MY Day. (I've started thinking of my Thursdays off as MY Days. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. MY day!) I've watched some of my favorite shows online (the ones I can't see on Dutch television), gotten some groceries, slept in. It's been a nice relaxing day so far. I've caught a bit of a cold, so it's a good thing to have a day off for resting up. Luckily I did the grocery shopping before the thunderstorm moved through (remember the title of the post?). I guess Spring is officially here now that we've had a thunderstorm!

Today is April 1st. Which means that as of today I have lived in the Netherlands for 3 years. In some ways those three years have gone very fast, and in some ways they've been a very long three years. But now that I have taken some language classes, and am working and am starting to build a life here, things will just keep improving!  Hup Holland Hup!

In celebration of this anniversary, I'm going out to dinner with work friends. Without Ludi. :( oops! I didn't plan the date of the dinner, so hopefully we can celebrate some other time. We are trying out a Spanish restaurant in town called Los Amigos. Chicken Burritos, here I come!

Enjoy your April Fool's Day, everyone!