What have we been up to in the last couple of days: we met a former colleague of mine from the Police Academy of The Netherlands in Zutphen, one of the old Hanze cities. Very nice to see Tanja again! Then we drove to Apeldoorn, a town we've lived and worked in (and where I've been born), to have dinner with our old standing friends Mathijs and Ellen, and also to admire their already 2.5 (?) year old son. Well, they hadn't changed the slightest bit, we could just have arrived from Heerenveen, as usual. Mathijs even baked a Dutch appeltaart (apple tart), for the very first time in his life - and ruined his glass stove top too, while rummaging through the above cabinet to look for cinnamon, when the glass pepper mill fell down and caused a big crack. So that was an expensive, but delicious, dessert. Everything tastes better when it has a story, don't you think?
On Saturday I did some more marking work for the Open Polytechnic, and later in the afternoon we went to Arnhem, where we would meet with some other long standing friends: Oscar and Mireille, Niels and Eveline, and Auke and Annick. All with their kids, half of them we'd never seen before. Oscar and Niels prepared a delicious I-don't-know-how-many-course-dinner, with a Pavlova for dessert. The first attempt ended in a Pavlova resembling a dark brown frisbee, but after Niels went out to get more eggs, we all participated (as Oscar doesn't have an electric mixer!!) to give it another try.
On Sunday I did some more marking, we went out for a run again - the weather is still awesome, very un-Dutch, we cleaned the house and the cat (we bought a new brush for the cat, the cat is now half the size as before brushing), and then we went to Enschede to my grandmother (omaaaa). Enschede is the town where we both went to University. Not that we went into town this time, no, straight to oma and then back. Oma too hadn't changed a bit, still good looking for someone of 94 years of age. She had delicious little tarts from the bakery, and there was one type Age and I had just been talking about a while ago, that we really had to try to find that specific little tart, so we were lucky! After visiting oma we went back to Emst, got the washing from the line - now dry, packed our stuff and headed to Friesland, where we are now.
I think we've done more than 1300k already, and there is more to come! More visits, and tomorrow and Wednesday we're going to Terschelling, one of the Frisian islands, where Age's parents are with some more family and where we'll meet Age's sister Elbrich, with daughter Minke, of whom we will catch our first glimpse.
Some more observations:
- people are better chauffeurs here than in NZ, something that can't be difficult to achieve. You see that they watch their mirrors and what's happening behind, instead of just stupidly looking forward.
- the stairs in houses are much steeper here, and the steps are shorter, so tumbling down the stairs is actually quite easy.
- people have more 'stuff' in their houses, more clutter. I notice way more decorations, lots of it in pairs, as one of those well known Dutch designers prescribed years ago.
- Dutch women wear white trousers.