Nationale Rouwdag

Today is the official mourning day in the Netherlands for those lost on the MH17 flight. At 4PM there was a moment of silence (stores had up signs letting customers know). Even the church bells in town were still.

Four in the afternoon was the designated time because that is the arrival time for the first flight bringing  home those who were lost. This evening at 8PM there will be a vigil march in Dam Square.

My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones.

Photo by Mike Crassweller
Photo by Mike Crassweller

Paperwork and Sightseeing(ish)

On Tuesday I arrived  in my new Dutch town.   Mike took me to a lovely Indian restaurant for dinner.  It was comforting to know there IS Indian food (and good Indian food) in town.  (Today we located an Asian market with myriad spices and sauces so I can even make my own curry again!)

Yesterday and today were a whirlwind of touring the town, apartment hunting, and paperwork (I have my ID and a bank account so I am legit).  I was impressed by the speed and efficiency of Dutch bureaucracy.  Their buildings are well organized and all my paperwork took less time than equivalent paperwork in the US. Of all the places we visited or passed by the standouts were

-a lovely French bakery where we grabbed sandwiches and sweets for take-away. I had a tomaat sandwich with mozzarella on olive bread.  Mike had a rhubarb crumb-cake.

-the town mall. There was a store full of Saint Nicholas figures, reindeer and Christmas decorations.  Another shop carried every sort of coffee or tea implement you could wish for from percolators and hotpots to specialized mugs and infusers. We grabbed koffe and tosti (toasted sandwiches) between ogling the shops.

-a gothic style church in the center of town. This church is tall enough to serve as an orientation point anywhere in town. At some point I plan to visit the church for a tour or perhaps a service.

Tomorrow I am on my own for sightseeing so I am hoping that I can start to get a better feel for the layout of the town.

It’s a Wrap

Sorry for the hiatus, Mike and I spent the last two weeks visiting family and friends.  If you know you will be gone for a long time you want to see people who are important to you.  You also want to get a last taste of foods and activities you will miss while you are gone. We hit up our favorite restaurants: a family owned Thai restaurant, our fave brew-pub, breakfast place etc.  We did a lot of typically American fall activities: Mike’s dad helped us hand press cider. My mom and Mike made homemade applesauce from apples Mike’s dad sent along with us.  We watched a football game.

This is my last weekend in Texas so I am wrapping up last minute details. My sister-in-law and a friend came down to help me. So I plan to show them around and share good Texas foods with them so it isn’t all work.  Table-side guacamole will definitely be on the menu.

Next time I post will be from the Netherlands. So long America. Hallo Netherlands!


Hallo Holland!

“Hon, we are moving to Europe!” The words I had been hoping to hear but always figured would be a long shot.

Back in August we were visiting friends in the Netherlands and the company another friend works for scheduled a spur of the moment interview with my husband, Mike.  The company liked Mike and a few weeks later he had a job offer for a position in the Netherlands.

The weeks that followed were spent completing and mailing off paperwork for our visas and other official documents.  We began donating clothing, games, books etc. and selling off our furniture.  Since we live in an apartment and most of our furniture was cheap or free it is cheaper to toss them and buy new.  The paring down of all our worldly possessions was both freeing (“I never liked this anyway now we can get a nicer one”) and sometimes sad (“Dad and I refinished this piece of furniture, I can’t believe we are getting rid of it”).  Now we are down to packing the remaining items for storage or shipping.

Since I learned that there were other countries, I have wanted to live in Europe.  The idea that people ate different food, spoke different languages, and there were real castles was a thrilling idea.  As a child I would read books that took place in England, France, Germany, Scandinavia, China… well you get the idea.  As opportunities presented themselves for me to travel I took them. Traveling made me want to travel more and I never felt that I was seeing enough of how people lived.  I wanted to try out how it would be to live like the natives, shop and eat like they did, celebrate their holidays.

Soon I’ll get to experience living in Europe – more specifically the Holland region of the Netherlands.