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Showing posts from December, 2011

Oudejaarsavond~ "old year's evening"

As I sit here in America with anticipation of New Year’s Eve, I can’t help but think about this past year but also returning to Holland and putting into place resolutions that come with the tradition of this celebration. This past year has been so tumultuous for my family. It was a year ago that my husband and I took a trip to Europe that would change our lives. Within weeks of the interview for a new job, we were being offered a chance for an exciting new chapter in our lives. So many things had to be considered. This decision was not only about a job, it was about our family and totally uprooting our lives. Well-meaning friends that were in the know, were so excited for us and kept prodding… do it, do it, just do it! I finally had to “explain” to one friend, that this was not a European vacation, it was my life! Real life did move on. The house was sold “Thank God!” and a new place to live was found in The Netherlands. We said goodbye to one of the best schools in America and moved o…

Welcome Home!

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“Welcome home!” One of the sweetest things said to me while coming through immigration at the airport. The best part was the guy inspecting my passport meant it and I believed him firmly without a doubt. I have always been raised to appreciate and understand that being born in the United States of America is one of the greatest gifts on earth. That one little fact gives me rights and freedoms that so many other people around the world only dream of. I won’t go on with all of the details... there are too many to list… freedom of speech, freedom of religion…with these freedom’s I’m part of a club, a family, a group of people that understand each other (well most of the time) . On our way home to America for our Christmas holiday, we took the train from Eindhoven to the Schiphol airport. The guy sitting next to me reeked of pot. It was very overwhelming. Between his excessive chatting, I kept wondering what the scientist thought about second hand pot smoke. What was the risk of getting h…

The Berenkuil

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Art is like love …. When it’s pleasing to the eye, heart or soul, that’s when you fall in love with it. Sometimes, you can look at something and think “What is that person thinking, creating something like that!!” but then if you give it a few minutes of thought you can change your way of thinking to…” what was that person thinking, creating something like that?”

I’ve always had trouble looking at modern art; it just doesn’t make sense to my eyes or heart. After moving to Eindhoven in The Netherlands, I was saddened to see a lot of the beautiful city walls and buildings smeared with graffiti. Various writings and pictures scatter the city defacing the beauty of some very old buildings. The letters PSV, the local professional football team, are tagged on walls and poles all over town. I’m all for supporting and cheering for your local sports teams but these three letters are written on everything.

I’ve learned that not only is graffiti tolerated, it’s encouraged. The prime places for an …

Memories of Travel

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As I get ready to return to the States for the Holidays, my mind is a blur of list of things I want to take back and things I need to bring back here... Tylenol for one! My heart is leaping for joy with the antisipation of seeing my children all under the same roof for Christmas. It's a new home to our family, but one I know we will enjoy. I was thinking about traveling and how life has taken a very different change for me, when I began to think of some of my favorite travels.

Mackinac Island, Michigan
A life time of memories have been made taking trips with the most important people in my life, my friends and family. The wonderful thing about memories is that they are yours and can never be taken away. Places I will always cherrish... Disney World, many other places in Florida, Jamacia, Puerto Rico, San Fancisco, Vegas Baby, Washington DC, San Diego, Yellow Stone, The Grand Canyon, Hawaii, many states traveling back and forth to each of these... and of course my beloved Michiga…

Riders on the Storm

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I love individuality, not only in people, but in the things that surround us in our lives. One of the pleasures of living in Europe is that not too many things are mass produced making the scenery pleasing to my eyes. While riding in the car, instead of my brain shutting off, I’m drawn to the differences around me. Since moving to The Netherlands, I’ve developed a fascination with doors. The band The Doors had it right… The band took its name from Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception,[3] the title of which was a reference to a William Blake quotation: "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite."… Wikipedia. Are the doors trying to tell us a secret of what we will find inside? Are they leading us somewhere? Are they hiding something? Besides providing us with comfort, warmth and protection, the individual doors are telling us a “little” of what is behind them. To me, it’s like when you’re at a fun house and can see …

To Market, To Market

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One of the things I couldn’t wait to do when I moved to The Netherlands, was to see the Christmas Markets. I have always loved the decorations during the holidays and I usually start listening to Christmas music around the end of October. Yes, I know it’s a wee bit early but it puts me in a good mood. Last year, right before we found out that we were moving, this show came on the Home and Garden channel. It was all about the European Christmas markets. They were all so beautiful and I was so excited to see them in person and to visit the different places. Well, I’m not sure of the actual number of markets this time of the year, but basically every little town or village has one of some sort or another. I’ve realized I won’t make it to all of them, but each year, I plan to visit a few and make some fun purchases.
My first experience at a Christmas Market was during a trip to Cologne, Germany.We drove about an hour and a half away from our home to Cologne. After a busy day of touring the …

Have Friends... Will Travel

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Before I moved to The Netherlands, I called my friend Marion. She had lived here many years ago and I knew she would understand my anxiety about leaving my friends and family and about starting a new life. She had many pieces of advice but the best was to get involved with positive people. She gave me two very good suggestions and that’s what I did. I joined two organizations for women, The North American Women’s Club and The International Women’s Club of Eindhoven. Through these two organizations, I have discovered a new sense of bravery and a desire to do and see more in my life. Within the organizations there are many interest groups to join. I truly do not like to get overwhelmed with too many activities in my life, so I chose carefully. I joined the book club, art appreciation, cultural club, Italian conversation (which I call Italian listening, because I don’t speak any Italian at all) and walking club. There are also various lunches and get togethers throughout the month. It sou…