Moving to Holland is not easy, but it's worth the effort. This blog tells the story of shifting from American life in Pittsburgh to Expat life in the Netherlands,
and all of our European adventures that follow.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Trip home to the States

This year, we didn't make it home in December, so we sort of delayed our "Christmas" trip home until January. Meagan picked us up at the airport, and the first night we went to Redbeards. Just like old times. ;) We had recently learned that Meagan and Trevor were moving out of their apartment into my old stomping grounds at Ventana Hills. Good news for them… but unfortunately it meant that Chad and I had to spend a couple days of our vacation moving our stuff from Meagan’s current apartment attic to the new storage unite at VH. But, oh well, that happens when you move.

On Saturday, both of our parents came up to PGH to visit for the day, and we had a really fun time. We watched the WVU basketball team play & had some 'typical' American snacks & of course great American beer, which I think Chad and I enjoyed (or at least appreciated) more than the rest. Then we all went to Fat Heads. It goes without saying that the food & beer was great, as always. Our parents loved the restaurant, too.

Chad then stayed in PGH, and I went to Morgantown with my parents, as the next day we would drive down to Charleston to visit with Sittee. Christy met us in Morgantown, too, because she had been visiting with Sommer for a couple days. The four old Moses’ together again on a road trip to Charleston… it’s been a while. ;)

We had a really nice visit with Sittee, and as always, we had some great food. Sitttee is still doing great. I tried to pay more attention this time when we were preparing dinner, to get some advice from her on her ‘secret’ methods that make the food so delicious. Hopefully I picked some things up.

Meanwhile, Chad was enjoying the American life in Pittsburgh; getting blisters on his fingers from Trevor's Playstation & trying to taste as many beers as possible. He was also doing some valuable legwork & research for our big purchase we would make while in the States; the DSLR camera. And he did a great job, because our new baby that we brought back to Europe (Nikon D5000) is a beauty.

I then flew back to NL, and Chad actually flew to California for a conference in San Fran, which is why we had planned this trip in January. After his conference, he was able to meet up with Jarrod & Bridgette for a couple days. Hopefully the boys didn't bore poor Bridgette too much with their camera talk, but I think Chad got some good hands on instructions from his experienced buddy.

It is always nice to go home, but it is also always hard to leave the familiar life. I always have an anxious feeling when getting back on that plane to go to Holland. But, fortunately, when I land in Amsterdam, that feeling goes away. At least we are more comfortable here now, so it does feel like a home away from home.

- S

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Years 2009-2010

Last year we spent New Years Eve with Christy and Vegar in Amsterdam. This year was a complete 180 from the chaos and commotion, as we spent the holiday in Gouda with the Amelinks. We first went to Arjen’s Uncle’s house and ate homemade Olieballen (round Dutch doughnuts with raisins), which he makes every year. He also made appleflap, which is a sliced apple ring dipped in batter and fried, also topped with powdered sugar. Both were delicious. They introduced us to a game called Shouffe, which is a traditional game the Dutch play around the holidays. It is sort of a table shuffle board, where you slide wooden disks down a board that has four slots at the end, each ranging from 1-4 points. You try to get as many disks into the slots as possible. They get really into it, and are very competitive with their scores.

Back at Arjen and Linda’s house, we ate a small dinner with the kids, and then snacked on finger foods the rest of the evening. They usually do this instead of eating a big meal. Just before midnight, we watched the TV program from the fireworks display in Rotterdam, and got our champagne glasses ready. At midnight, you typically have a toast, then kiss your loved ones, and give the three kisses and a hug to your family and friends.

Afterwards, everyone moves outside to the streets or parking lots with their little own fireworks (some big, some small). All of the neighbors are also out, and everyone shakes hands or kisses/hugs each other exchanging Best Wishes (Beste Wensen) or Happy New Year (Gelukkig NieuwJaar).

The fireworks woke up Thomas and Lukas, and they watched them from the window, bundled up in a blanket. When we came back inside, they were sitting on the couch in their footed PJ’s watching a cartoon. You could tell both were very sleepy, but happy to be up past the usual bedtime. They soon went back to sleep, and so did we. We slept in their attic bedroom, which was nice and cool, dark, quiet.

The next morning we had some breakfast and then went outside to play with the kids. Thomas showed us how to ride his bike. It was a big deal that he had learned how to ride without training wheels. He is under 4 years old! They really start them young in Holland. We also engaged in an exhilerating game of memory... of which Thomas won every hand (not humbly). ;) Lukas also showed us his top knotch skills of crayon rolling on the dining table, proclaming each time "rrrrolla!" After a light lunch, we headed back home for an afternoon (and weekend) of relaxing and laziness.


Pics from NYE: