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Archive for the ‘Dutch Life’ Category

What a difference a snowfall makes. Actually, it’s our third of the winter. I’m from upstate New York so we don’t count flurries or dustings or even light coatings. If it doesn’t stay on the ground and can’t be measured in inches, sometimes feet, it doesn’t count. So with a good six+ inches of unspoiled […]

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Well, well, well. Look what the cat dragged in. Yours truly, sheepishly shrugging while simultaneously cringing at how pathetic this looks. When last I posted several weeks ages ago, I dropped the bombshell we were moving back to the US this summer. That news was indeed incendiary on a personal basis as we had fully expected […]

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We’ve been having a pretty cool cold spring this year. The sun hasn’t really wanted to shine more than a day or so, here and there. The mercury hasn’t crept much above 50 degrees Fahrenheit more than a time or two over the past two months. We’ve had days where it poured cold rain for hours […]

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What I find fascinating about living in another culture is discovering how things are done differently than in my home or other countries. An example is when people are required to wait in line. One culture will queue up neatly – with near military precision – while another culture’s line resembles a full-contact rugby scrum. […]

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Today was Queen’s Day, the biggest national holiday in the Netherlands. They’ve been celebrating the monarch’s birthday since the late 19th century, and this marks the fourth Koninginnedag festivities we’ve observed. I mentioned in another post that it’s a lot like a mix of New Year’s Eve, Fourth of July and Mardi Gras (with more […]

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Right now, I am soooo excited I cannot tell you! Yes, I do realize that I will now be revealed for the nerd that I am, but I simply don’t care. Not a whit. Just. Do. Not. Care. Why? you ask. Because I have finally scored the one, the only, my beloved new tea kettle. […]

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Yesterday was Halloween, and it was a smashing one indeed. It began dry and sunny (two big pluses during autumn here) and remained so throughout the day; Halloween night was, well, amazing. Halloween is HUGE in the United States, and every year, more and more Dutchies and other internationals join Americans in celebrating this fun-filled holiday. Cross-culturalism at its […]

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When the doorbell rang late Sunday afternoon, it took a moment to register in my brain. Lounging lazily in the family room with my feet propped up on the coffee table and the Sunday Times Culture magazine section spread across my lap, I suddenly felt my shoulders tense and the hair on the back of my neck stand […]

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I swear, I wasn’t going to write today. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s how I started my last post, written two days ago. I’ve got several posts lined up in my mind, generally upbeat topics and interesting things I’d like to share with you, and I thought I’d get to one of them […]

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Today is the first Monday in September. For many, it’s merely the start of yet another work week. Whatever ‘work’ means for you. Getting the children off to school before running a long list of errands and volunteering in the classroom. Pulling into the factory parking lot with a double shift ahead. Trading stories at […]

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  Walking home the other day I happened to look up, as I am wont to do, and realized that they were back.           I saw what has now become an annual sight, worthy of mention: the graduation backpacks are up the flagpoles again.                 […]

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(Updated 14 June 2012) She’s baaaack. Catarina, that is. She of An International Trade Representative’s Got Nothing on Her and Head of Delegation Written All Over Her fame. My cute little nine-year-old neighbor has already been to the house two times in the past week. Euro 2012 is underway, and you know what that means: […]

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Two confessions up front. First, credit where credit is due. A comment about my post on Bridge-Building in the city of Peace and Justice, left by fellow expat and talented writer/blogger Russell VJ Ward*, served as the impetus for this plea post. Second, I am a self-confessed policy wonk and international affairs junkie. I’ve studied it, worked […]

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When this week began, little did I know that by the end I would be writing what has essentially become my own personal Trilogy to the Dutch. I’d enjoyed all the excitement and revelry of my third Queen’s Day, stuck again by how virtually everyone gets involved in what is essentially one big party. There’s something about an entire […]

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Never let it be said that Dutchies don’t know how to party. Seriously. Never say it. I’ve written about Queen’s Day before, and having celebrated the Dutch national holiday for the third year running, I can only say that it continues to amaze me. There’s something about it that makes me happy, and I’m not even […]

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Every now and then I’m reminded of a cultural aspect of the Netherlands that is so very different from the US that it practically screams ‘this is SO different!’ This morning it was my journey to Schiphol airport to pick up Husband from his latest trip. Now first let me say that I love Schiphol […]

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This weekend has been absolutely phenomenal. You know, the kind of first weekend that truly announces ‘Spring has arrived’. The sun has been shining brilliantly for three days, a gorgeous blue sky with just a few pale wisps of white cloud here and there. The weather has been in the mid 60s to low 70s (Fahrenheit) here in […]

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It’s been at least a few weeks since I’ve written a post that even mentions the phrase Albert Heijn (my favorite local Dutch grocery store to the uninitiated), so I should have known. Something was sure to materialize that I’d end up sharing with you here. Little did I realize exactly how special that something would be… […]

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I must confess, I’m exhausted. I’ve just closed the front door after another visit from my delightful eight year old Dutch neighbor, Catarina. She stopped by to discuss Muppetpunten (Muppet points), as covered in my previous post An International Trade Representative’s Got Nothing On Her. That makes two visits in eight days, which constitutes a new record. It […]

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Late yesterday afternoon, the doorbell rang. As I opened the heavy oak front door, I found myself face-to-face with Catarina, my adorable eight-year-old Dutch neighbor, she of Learning a Language? Child’s Play fame. She was standing there with a tennis racket slung over her shoulder and an air of urgency about her. ‘Hallo Catarina, hoe gaat […]

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