Spring has Sprung !

I would just like to start by saying {please dont let me jinx it!} we’re heading for spring folks!

Proof you say? I took this picture at 7:15pm. It’s daylight, there is actual visible blue sky, and the wind isn’t blowing (you’ll just have to trust me on that last part). That’s spring in the north of The Netherlands!

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Anyway, not much has been going on since our trip to Prague. Mostly a lot of wedding planning, which leads to a lot of budgeting, which leads to a lot of quality time with Meatball. …I don’t think she minds the extra attention.

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That being said, we haaaave managed to not be completeeee hermits the past few months.

Non-hermit Activity #1: A Dog Show!

Maybe you remember the friend who has a Great Dane? He made his first blog appearance a while back when he decided Shane’s lap was a perfect place to sit. Anyway, in his free time, he likes to show off his gentlemanly side at dog shows. He happened to be participating in one here in Groningen so we went! Neither Shane nor I have ever been to a dog show, and it was great! Not only did we get to watch this handsome guy compete, but we saw some other cool dudes too.

To top it off, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was there, and in the ring right next to us! A litte backstory. Just before we found out we were moving to The Netherlands Shane and I were seriously considering getting a dog. I took a bunch… a BUNCH! of online “what type of dog is right for you quizzes” and came up with the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, or a ‘Toller’ for short. Online quiz = I neeeeeeeeeeded this dog! Then we moved, and that was that. Long story short, I was super excited to see them not on the internet.

Tooooooo cuteeeeee! Maybe one day.

Non-hermit Activity #2: Nerd Night!

So, back in February, it was announed that gravitational waves were detected for the first time ever. Not sure what I’m talking about? Here is an article about it. I would attempt to explain it, but let’s be real I’ll do a terrible job.

Back to Nerd Night. I am engaged to a closet physics and space lover. That sounds weird, but he just finished reading Stephen Hawking so I think you get my point. He found out that David Reitze, the director for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) which made the discovery, was speaking at the university.

Bribed with free coffee and a pack of gummy bears, we ventured out on a THURSDAY NIGHT to see the seminar, and I must say, I am THOUROUGHLY glad I am engaged to a nerd! I can’t really begin to explain the lecture. I can say that he was very inspiring, as he is someone who is clearly so passionate about his work. He did an excellent job at presenting a topic that generally pretty mind blowing (at least for me) and putting it in such a way I actually understood and enjoyed my time there!

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Non-hermit Activity #3: Jumbo Kitty

Ok, so this isn’t an activity at all, but there is a kitty who just hangs out at the grocery store (Jumbo). He’s too darn cute to pass up. He just sits there in his produce boxes waiting for the pets and for all the suckers to go in, buy cat treats, and feed him on the way out.

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Non-hermit Activity #4: Suprise, America! 

I went home for Easter! Ok, I really went home for a work trip to Baltimore, but they were kind enough to let me do a stopover at home for the Easter holiday. 2 surprise days at home are better than none! And yes, we still get Easter baskets.

I packed a lot into those few days home. Did a little wedding dress shopping, saw Sissy’s new apartment, & got some quality front porch time. Ironically, it was cold and rainy at home. Shane reported “beautiful” weather… sunshine and 65F (18C) degrees.

The Monday after Easter, I headed up to Baltimore for work & I was able to see Vanessa since I missed her at Christmas, and finally meet Solomon!

So, that’s life right now! We’re heading to London in about a month & counting down the days!

Until then, tot ziens!

Whitney

Almost Christmas….and home !

That’s right! We are in the final days now!

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By the time this posts, it will officially be 9 days until Whitney and I are heading home. Crazy right?! It’s hard to believe it has already been 18 months since we moved (and 18 months since we have been home!). Details of our upcoming trip would fill a post itself so I’ll just quickly highlight it at the end.  First, I’ll cover what we’ve been up to lately:


Thanksgiving! – only a bit delayed

This will be the case for us the entire time we live outside of the United States and, more specifically, while we live in Groningen.  Not only do we have to work on Thanksgiving (go figure, other countries don’t want to celebrate U.S. holidays), but I also have to attend a conference that takes place yearly during the last week of November.  This means that, without fail, for the next 2 years (not counting the 2 previous) I have to be away on Thanksgiving.  So, we just adjusted a bit and had Thanksgiving the following Saturday.  Luckily, we were able to find a turkey (not so easy to do) and somehow managed to get the thing cooked.  See, the problem was that we have only a small, counter-top oven and ended up with a 6.1 kg (~13 lbs) turkey.  That same 6.1 kg (~13 lbs) turkey also did not fit into our slow cooker.  However, after a bit of limb removal, it eventually fit and cooked to perfection! It may have been a few days late but Thanksgiving was a success!

Kerststad (Christmas city)

Last year we went into Germany for a Christmas Market and loved it! So we figured we would keep the tradition alive and visit a Dutch market in the south of the Netherlands.  Valkenburg is about as far south in the Netherlands as you can get (more on this in a minute) and during the holidays is aptly known as Kerststad or Christmas city.  The city has multiple markets, some of which are in caves, lots of decorations, and a Christmas parade.  In summary, Whitney read about this market last year and I haven’t heard the end of it since.  So off to Kerststad we go!

Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that we found Kerststad to be underwhelming.  The city itself was beautiful and it was great to see some elevation change (the south of the Netherlands is so different from the north). However, the markets left a lot to be desired.  Not only did we have to wait in line and pay entry, but once getting inside we found nothing of interest.  In fact, most of the things in the market could be found at any big box store around the world (been to Wal-mart during Christmas time? You know what I mean then…). On top of that, the environment was just not, as Whitney put it, “jolly”. Food choices we extremely limited, there was no Christmas music playing, and there were way too many people crammed into tight spaces.  You would think that by saying this I would be inferring that I was disappointed in our trip but that’s not actually the case.  Which brings me to the next item…

Drielandenpunt (The three borders)

As I mentioned earlier, Valkenburg is about as far south as you can go in the Netherlands.  Because of this, we were close to the borders of Belgium and Germany, which also happens to be the highest point in the Netherlands.  Being that we got back early from the markets the night before, we decided Sunday morning would be an ideal time to visit the drielandenpunt. All in all, it was cool – definitely a place we would love to visit again in the summer.

Düsseldorf Christmas market

Since we were so close to the border and we had such a good experience with the German Christmas market last year, we figured it was worth a shot again this year.  We hadn’t planned to spend Sunday driving into Germany (this was supposed to be a quick trip) but the Kerststad experience left was wanting more. So, a quick 1.5 hour drive from the highest point in the Netherlands and we were in Düsseldorf, Germany. From the very beginning, we were impressed.  First off, what little we were able to see of the city was great. It’s definitely a place we want to visit again. As for the Christmas markets, they were just what we were looking for.  Lots of handmade, quality items, Christmas music everywhere, any food option you can think of (and many you can’t!), and gluhwein at every turn (which probably contributes to the jolly atmosphere).  We also never waited in line and paid only to park our car.  If you ask me, German Christmas markets are the way to go.  We will definitely be going back next year.

It’s comically hard to take a picture without people taking center stage…

And…home!

I’m going to need everyone to click here before proceeding. Just let in play in the background…

So that’s it! We are officially out of stories/pictures/experiences. All that is left is for us to work a few more days then we are on our way! We will officially be in the United States December 20 – January 17.  However, our exact location in the U.S. is a bit complicated. We have a packed schedule and will be in numerous different states and often not together.  However, we still want to see as many of you as possible, if only for a quick bite to eat or cup of coffee. Have all your smiling faces ready because everyone we see will be featured in a January recap of the trip home!

I normally say “Until next time”, however I don’t feel that is appropriate this time.  So instead, I’ll end with:

America, we’re coming!

Shane

The Final Countdown!

It’s official!

In less than a month we’ll be making our way home for the holidays! To kick it off, this weekend was a weekend of celebrations! Shane turned 30, Sinterklaas arrived, and we took a little stroll through the Groningen countryside. So, the last part really isn’t a celebration but we did it, and it was cool.

First things first, Friday. Shane’s Birthday!

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We kept it pretty low key, but we did go out for dinner & may or may not have eaten the entire cookie cake by the next morning.

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We also took the long way home through the city. It’s that time of year when all the lights have gone up, and the city itself just feels so cozy despite the dark and cold. The Dutch word for this would be ‘gezellig’. Just that happy, warm, cozy feeling you can’t really describe, but you know it when you feel it. There was also a festival to celebrate and encourage new, city wide innovations. Part of this was a musical swing set in city center! I’m not entirely sure what the meaning behind the swings were, but they were fun to play on!

Saturday we* woke up bright and early like a kid on Sinterklaas morning! OH WAIT! It WAS Sinterklaas morning!

*we actually equals me.

Anyway, maybe you don’t know this about me, but I LOVE parades. Sinterklaas is a double whammy of awesome because it’s two parades in one! First, good ole Sint arrives from his long journey by boat from Spain. Then, he hops off and parades through town on his white horse until he meets up with the mayor to officially kick everything off. If you want a little recap on Sinterklass history I talked a little about it, here, last year.

I was particularly excited because Shane was in Switzerland last year during this time. This was his first Sinterklaas experience.

Naturally, it rained.

Did we bring an umbrella? …I’ll let you answer that.

We did manage to find a tree next to the canal which provided enough cover to not get 100% soaked. We also met up with Shane’s lab mate (the one with the giant dog!) who was also a Sinterklaas newbie.

I think the thing Shane was most impressed with was the size of Sinterklaas’ boat. Seriously, this thing was massive and it moved flawlessly (to us at least) through the canals.

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Quick coffee break to dry off and warm up…

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…and it’s time for part 2!

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Sinterklaas’ helpers, the Zwarte Pieten, hand out fruit and pepernoten (small spice cookies) to the kids. They also collect the letters that have been written to Sinterklaas. There were some kids across the street from us are dressed up, letters in hand, screaming “Zwarte Pieeeeeeetttttt!!!”, waiting for someone to collect their letters.

Note to self: Next year, write a letter.

Sunday morning, it randomly snowed.

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But then it cleared up, and we went on a little drive through the countryside with some friends. They took us to Fraeylemaborg, which is a castle in the village of Schlocteren.

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They call it a castle. We called it more of a plantation style house. Although, it did have a mote which is a very castle like characteristic.

Regardless, the house itself dates back to the 1300’s, and the interior reflects the mid 20th century. We were pretty amazed at how similar this was to the old, colonial style houses you would see at home. I mean really, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it was a new perspective for us. The house was built on about 80 acres of land, and behind the house were walking trails through mud gardens.

Now if this doesn’t make you think Pride & Prejudice then I don’t know what will. I’m pretty sure Mr. Darcey will be walking up momentarily…

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To all our friends and family at home, happy early Thanksgiving! We will be having a belated Friendsgiving on Saturday, so at least the holiday won’t be completely lost this year.

I’ll see you in a month, America!

Tot ziens,

Whitney

Our Fall, In Review

Hey there friendly readers! I know, we’ve kept you waiting in anticipation for far too long. I apologize. (hah)

Oh, and no. That picture of the beautiful tree isn’t here. I stole it from Sis because sadly enough I didn’t get any fall foliage pictures this year. Actually, this brings me to the first item on our Fall in Review list..

1. There was lots-o-fog.

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We spent about 2 weeks sitting in a cloud. This was Shane’s view heading into his building one morning. This, combined with daylight savings time really made it seem like we went from daylight to permanent darkness. Lucky for us the fog is gone. Unlucky for us sunset is at 4:45pm.

2. We escaped!

Maybe you remember our escape room experience in Amsterdam, maybe you don’t. Regardless, Groningen has two of it’s very own escape rooms! We, along with some friends from Shane’s Dutch course, escaped in the nick of time and saved the city of Groningen from a mad scientist! These rooms are so much fun! I highly recommend it.

3. The Dynamic Duo made an appearance…

…and we went to a Halloween party! Cat poop cookies included!

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Our lovely host made this delectable dessert. I’m not sure anyone but her boyfriend attempted to eat it. Shane took one look at it, said it hit a little too close to home for him, and refused to try it. Guess I don’t blame him there.

We contributed some spiderweb rice krispie treats… which ended up needing a little explanation after one of the party guests ate a plastic fly.

4. Cat & I did some serious snoozin.

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5. Then we traumatized her with a giant dog!

We hosted raclette night at our house for Shane’s lab. Maybe this is common knowledge, but raclette is not fondue. Go figure. But, if you love cheese it’s equally as delicious! You basically melt cheese in this cheese melting contraption, and then eat it by itself, or with potatoes, bread, or other little side items.

Shane’s new lab mate is from Switzerland, and brought back from her most recent trip home all the fixin’s for raclette! She (pictured on the right) also has a Great Dane who, as evidenced by the photos, decided he loved Shane! It was a mutual love for sure, at least between Shane & the pup. (Yes, he’s actually still just a puppy!)

Meatball on the other hand was not so excited. She hid between the pillows all night.

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6. We went bowling

IMG_0456look at that form!

Who won you ask? Shane. by 5 points. I don’t wanna talk about it.

7. We celebrated Shane’s 29th Birthday… almost a year later!

Last year for his birthday, I bought him tickets to the Infoversum here in town. It’s a 3D dome educational theater that plays science related movies. The only downside; movies are in Ductch except for Wednesday nights. It’s really easy to come up with an excuse not to leave the house on a Wednesday night. Next thing ya know it’s a year later and the tickets expire in 5 days. SO! Can you guess where we went this past Wednesday? TO SPACE AND BACK! That’s where!

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So, that’s basically it! Work has been pretty busy for both of us, and we’re heading home for Christmas in a little over a month so life has been pretty calm waiting for that trip.

We do have a few big things coming up. Shane turns the big 3-0, Sinterklaas is coming (!!!), and we’re heading to the south of The Netherlands for a Christmas market before we head back to the States.

Until then, tot ziens!

Whitney

eseb 2015/Laussane & Noorderzon

Remember the days of book reports in middle/high school? Remember how you always waited until the very last minute to start working on it (don’t kid yourself, everyone did)? The night before it was due, there was a frantic rush to find the cliff notes (had all the free sites saved) and the constant battle of line spacing and margins just to get the required number of pages.  Well, that’s kind of how I am with blogging.  I always have these grand ideas of writing a post but when it comes down to it, I can never make it happen.  My grand ideas slowly turn into cliff notes versions of various events, only to be shown up by Whitney as she enthusiastically posts the day of an event (I’ve said all along she is much better at this than I am).  The post that follows is no exception.  I’ve been intending to write this for over two weeks now. On the plus side, we’ve done a few more things in the mean time…


Way back at the beginning of August, I traveled for the first international conference of my PhD.  The conference, eseb 2015 (Congress of the European society for Evolutionary Biology), took place in beautiful Lausanne, Switzerland on the campus of the University of Lausanne.

Instead of going into way too much detail about science and my excitement over the various talks, I’ll just sum up by saying that there were 1,500 participants from all of over the world, over 300 presentations, and two different poster sessions.  In other words, it was a big conference. Of all of the talks/posters I saw, I do have to admit that one stood out among all of the others…

An interesting side note: eseb is a biennial meeting and therefore will not take place again until 2017. The next location of this large meeting? Groningen.  While part of the fun of these conferences is getting to travel some place different, it will be nice to be able to come home every night. I’ve already told Whitney she can come with me to eseb 2017.

Outside of the conference, I did get to explore Lausanne a bit.  First and foremost, I finally got to experience some sun and summer temperatures (I’m still wearing a jacket nearly every day in Groningen) so of course I took advantage and went swimming in Lake Geneva.  For those of you from my neck of the woods (southwest Virginia), this is no South Holston Lake.  Lake Geneva is crystal clear, refreshingly cold, has great beach areas for relaxing, and is surrounded by the Alps.  It’s beautiful.

Following my swim, I went into the city for a bit of sightseeing.  One thing to note, Whitney and I live in a completely flat country. Walking around a city like Lausanne (lots of elevation change) in heat and humidity was completely different from our typical day-to-day.


In other happenings, Noorderzon 2015 is currently happening in Groningen. This is a performing arts festival that takes place every year in a large park near our house. If I remember correctly, it runs for 10 days and is the place to be: lots of food, drinks, shows, and concerts.  We were able to experience this last year, but on a very limited scale.  For one, Whitney had yet to start her job so we were trying to be careful with money. Secondly, we now realize that we were very timid at that point in time. In fact, timid might be an understatement.  We were scared that we were going to do or say something wrong. The simple thought of us not being able to speak the language was enough to cause us to just pass by and watch.  Fast forward to this year and we don’t think twice about ordering a drink/food or walking up to random tents and exhibits. To think about it now, the idea that potentially saying something wrong would prevent us from checking out a local festival is ridiculous.  However, at that time is was 100% true.  It’s funny how things change in a years time.  Moral of the story here: being able to speak the local language, if only on a limited basis, makes life so much better/easier.  But even if you can’t, you still got to go for it! In the whole scheme of things, no one really cares.

In other exciting news, Whitney will soon be heading back to the US for a wedding. While I’m quite jealous of her getting to go, I’m not jealous of her travel schedule.  From the time she leaves Groningen to the time she gets back, it will only be 4 days.  Let’s not forget that includes flying half way across the world…twice. Nonetheless, I’m sure she will have plenty to tell in a later post.

We will also be traveling to the south of the Netherlands for a quick diving trip and to complete our Advanced Open Water certifications. This was originally supposed to happen following my trip to Lausanne but we had to reschedule.  If things work out, we may try to mix in an additional small side trip along the way.  As with Whitney’s trip, it will all be covered in a later post.

So that’s it for now. Stayed tuned for Whitney’s crack at the blog. It’s sure to be more timely and entertaining.

Until next time,

Shane

Sooo… This happened last night

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Yep! Shane and I went to Amsterdam to see Taylor Swift in all her 1989 World Tour Glory!!

I know what you’re probably thinking. “You went without your sister!?!” Ok maybe you weren’t thinking that at all, but I feel the need to explain because our sisterly love for each other and Taylor is a bond that can’t be broken. The first time we saw Taylor was during her Red Tour, in Nashville, on Sissy’s birthday, we had pit tickets, and LUKE BRYAN was her guest star (and he touched my hand!) . Basically, we know we will never top that combination so we’re allowed to go without each other if we have to. It’s not the same, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do I suppose…

I digress. What you were probably thinking is “You got Shane to go to Taylor Swift?!?”.

Short Answer?

Yes.

How you ask?

I bought the tickets while he was in Africa.

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But for real. He was excited. While I can say for certain that he would have never purchased tickets for himself, he was curious to see what all the Taylor-mania (mostly coming from me) was all about. So Sunday night we trained down to the Ziggo Dome just outside of Amsterdam!

Observation #1. The Ziggo dome is horrible at getting people in the door!

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Maybe this was a unique circumstance, but there were only 2 entrances. 3 doors for the south entrance & 3 for the north. If you happened to be so lucky as to get in the wrong line then your ticket wouldn’t scan and you were promptly sent to the back of the other line. Made no sense, but we did end up with some time to kill which brings me to ‘why do cool things never happen to us’ story number 1.

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Oh, you know. That’s us. Just casually having a few pre-show time-killers. What you don’t see in this picture is that sitting directly behind us is TAYLOR SWIFT’S BASS PLAYER.

I know right?!?!

We’ve gotten pretty good at picking out North American accents, and I noticed this guy talking to a couple of girls by the door. I noticed him because his accent was clearly not Dutch, and because he kind of looked like Ben Stiller. So, a little time passes and Ben Stiller and co. move from the door to the seats next to us. Shane and I are debating at this point if we wanted to get another time-killer or if we should suck it up and brave the line when we both overhear this other guy say he’s not worried about getting in yet. Taylor’s bass player is still sitting there (nods in Ben Stiller’s direction). Huh. Interesting, but we didn’t really think too much of it since really, what would be the odds of that? Well they were pretty damn good because here’s our good friend Ben up on stage!

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So yeah, that happened.

And this happened!

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Turns out I accidentally bought tickets in the section next to the catwalk!

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Which brings me to ‘why do cool things never happen to us’ story number 2! In case you don’t know, after every show Taylor meets with a group of hand picked fans in a special meet and greet (called Loft ’89 this year). When I say hand picked, I mean usually by her mom. We (I… Shane had no idea what she looked like) saw Mama Swift walking around the floor and I knew what she was up to. Later during the show, as I’m dancing and singing my little heart out Mama Swift and 2 guys helping her stop right next to Shane. He turns, curious about what’s going on, and TALKS TO MAMA SWIFT! They have a brief little ‘Hey’-smile-and-nod interaction and then they leave to go find some other lucky fan. As they are walking away I happened to turn to Shane, see her walking off, and tell him who that is. His response? ‘Oh! We just said hey to each other’!

I know. What’s the big deal right? I get it. There really wasn’t much to that story, but it was the closest I’ve ever been to almost maybe getting picked! Therefore, it was cool.

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Instead of going to Loft ’89 we took this incredibly creepy picture during the show. See that platform? She’s on top of it directly above us. This is a “OMG this is the closest I’m ever going to get to Taylor!” selfie. Shane’s going to be disappointed that I just used the word selfie.

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Long story short, 1989 was just as impressive as the Red tour!

Taylor, if you ever happen to read this, your golden glitter catsuit was the best thing I’ve ever seen.

Speaking of Kitties. Couldn’t go a whole post without one.

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Tot Ziens!

Whitney

We’ve been here a year !?

It’s hard to believe but we have officially been in the Netherlands for a year!

To say time has gone quickly would be an understatement. It seems like just the other day we were packing up to leave….

It’s crazy. You all always hear about this kind of thing on TV or in the movies, but we are actually doing it!

….now, a year later, here we are:

In honor of one year, I think it’s necessary to do the typical “reflection” post. However, instead of just simply re-posting a bunch of pictures, I thought I’d take a different approach. So allow me to present:

YEAR ONE: the numbers (in dutch!)

vierentwintig (24) – the number of hours we spent traveling here on our initial move.  No, it does not take that long to get here.  We decided to be cheap and have multiple long layovers.  You always convince yourself it won’t be that bad…but it is.

nul (0) – the number of full-size kitchen appliances in our kitchen. In fact, our kitchen does not have an oven or dishwasher and the refrigerator is what we would typically refer to as “dorm-room” sized. While this was a huge shock in the beginning, it is oddly normal now. We have since upgraded to a toaster oven.

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vier (4) – the number of bikes we have owned in a year.  If you are keeping count, that’s 3 for Whitney and 1 for me. They all have names but I’ve lost track at this point.

tweeduizend (2,000) – since we are on the topic of bikes, the estimated number of kilometers I have biked in the past year.  It is 4km to work, so that’s 8km a day, 5 days a week, for roughly 40 weeks, plus any additional biking we do on the weekends.  Even though Whitney is able to walk to work, it is still safe to say we have both biked a lot in the past year.

acht (8) – the number of combined bike ‘incidents’ we have had. I have had 2 fairly rough encounters with fellow bikers and 1 small meeting with a car. Whitney has had incidents with bikes, cars, and scooters.  It happens to everyone. You just dust yourself off and go on.

tien (10) – the number of times we have gone to Ikea and I have subsequently refused to ever go back. Think the crowds are the worst part? Try lugging all those over-sized boxes of furniture home on your bike. Somehow, Whitney always manages to get by with carrying only a pillow or picture frame.*

*she’ll read this, concede that it is true, and then somehow convince me to go again next week

vijf (5) – the number of ‘new’ countries I have visited in the past year – the Netherlands (duh), Germany, Switzerland, Egypt, Tanzania. Whitney hasn’t been to Switzerland or Tanzania yet but we are hoping to change that soon. Not too shabby for one year.

twee (2) – a number strongly associated with Meatball.  It is the number of weeks we had to wait to be able to ship her here, the number of weeks she lived comfortably in our new apartment, and the number of weeks she was lost outside after falling from our window. It is also the number of seconds we will currently leave an open window unattended.

drie (3) – the number of months it took Whitney to find a job.  This is exceptional considering she spoke no Dutch at the time and everyone assured us it would take her at least 6 months.  To make things even better, this is a job she still enjoys and we’re hopeful she can continue it for the duration of our living here.

zeven (7) – the number of cafe’s we’ve visited for Saturday morning coffee (“coffee shop” means something completely different in the Netherlands). This number is probably higher but you get the idea.  Coffee is a huge part of Dutch culture and we are doing our best to experience as much of it as we can.

twee (2) – a repeat but non-Meatball related number. The number of fish that Whitney has named in my aquarium at work.  I work with hundreds of fish and for whatever reason, she choose and named two of them. Seriously, she keeps close tabs on these fish (sadly, only Mrs. Buttersworth remains as Francis has moved on to a better place).

zes (6) – the number of new holidays we have experienced since moving. In no particular order: Liberation Day, King’s Day, Sinterklaas, Pentecost, Boxing Day, Ascension Day. There are probably many more that I am forgetting at the moment.

zesentachtig (86) – the number of times people have mistakenly assumed I speak Dutch while speaking only English to Whitney. Ok, obviously this is a completely made up number but it does happen all the time.  It seems the harder she tries, the more they switch to English.  Meanwhile, I say nothing and get only Dutch. On the plus, we are slowly but surely improving our language skills.

achttien (18) – the number of meters we are now able to dive under water (we’ll up this with advanced certifications soon).  We are super excited about our new scuba hobby and future trips will certainly be centered around this activity.

één (1) – the number of visitors we have had in the last year (hint hint).

ok ok, I guess we have technically had two visitors…

And last by certainly not least…

tweehonderdtien (210) – the number of days before we are home to visit! That’s right, we are finally coming home in December! By that point, it will have been 18 months since we were last home.  I speak for the both of us when I say we are VERY excited about it.  In the meantime, stay tuned.  We have a few more adventures planned in the coming months.

Until next time,

Shane

Look What We Found !

A carnival!

No idea why. Did a little googling and still couldn’t come up with a reason, but who cares right?!

So, before we did our weekly grocery shopping at the market this week we took a little ride on the ferris wheel! I was thrilled! Shane…. well. He was a good sport, but I wouldn’t used ‘thrilled’ to describe him.

I think that face says it all…

Here are a few pictures from the top. It’s too bad it wasn’t sunny today.

Happy Saturday!

Tot ziens!

Whitney