Friday, December 11, 2009

not too cold

its true! its been about 45F and overcast rainy since we arrived.. aside from getting used to the (sunrise at 8am! sunset at 4!) lack of daylight its been very comfortable, and we're riding our bikes around in all sorts of weather.

but ... everyone warned me about the famous dutch "coldness" .. they all said dont worry, theyre very nice people once you get to know them. but theyre hard to get to know. well, the same could be said of new englanders, so i thought i was ready for it

and our new neighbor has been SO friendly, and SO neighborly.. i thought to myself - "oh.. people and their stereotypes, sheesh!"

but then i took the kids to a neighborhood playgroup. we walked in, smiles a-blazin', and everyone looked up at us, and went right back to their business. no one said 'hi'.. after a few minutes, no one came over to welcome me, so i moved over to the nearest woman, and tried my best dutch: "ik hebbe ten dagen hier wonen" (who knows if its dutch actually? it might be a cross between german & dutch.. but i like to think she understood me :D) she basically told me she didnt speak english, had no curiosity about us, so i backed of and watched my kids play.

i really wasnt prepared for that. where in the world did we land? but as usual, im undeterred. these people are gonna like us , dammit.

later a woman was playing with her obviously-almost-one-year-old on the rug,, so i sat down and asked her if he was one yet.. and we had a nice conversation. turns out she is the group leader, and gave me all the info about the group, etc.. and she able to speak english with me. whew, success! she seemed like a genuinely nice person too.

so as we were filing out, the kids stopped to watch the seniors country and western dancing in the next room (cracking me UP!!! it was cute) i made small talk with a few other of the moms all getting coats and shoes on their kids, and then. like magic, i was 'one of them' and we're all saying "tot siens" (see you soon)

now im seeing these ladies everywhere! and we're getting waves and smiles all over the neighborhood streets now.

the next day we went to lucas new school and i was charmed by it all.. we stepped in his classroom to introduce him, she explained he speaks english & french, and they will be helping him learn dutch. and as we were leaving his class was already outside playing, so we stuck around a few minutes. after about 2 minutes there was a line of about 6 boys staring at him. lucas is feeling a bit nervous about not speaking dutch, so he ran over to me. after a few minutes he went back out to play, and then there were about 5 or 6 girls crowded around him, and he ran back to me. it was so cute.. and the girls kept coming over to listen to me speak with their teacher in english - so curious! so mysterious!!!

i think we'll get along fine here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


we arrived! and are now getting settled in the new time zone, finding out where to shop, meeting the neighbors, etc. one neighbor in particular is very nice and has come around for coffee twice now, has offered to bring me shopping with her car on tuesday mornings.. and generally is very fun to chat with, and she has three teenage boys. she was explaining "sinterklaas" (dec. 5th) to us and how to celebrate it. her youngest son (at 11 years old, and in the oldest grade in primary school) got to dress up as a "zwarte piet" and give "kruidnoten" (totally delicious, tiny crispy gingerbread cookies)to the smaller kids in school.

so today at 3pm our doorbell rang, and we got a special visit from "zwarte piet" himself! the kids loved it, and now we have a small bowlful of kriednoten for the afternoon snack!

we are already feeling so welcome, and having fun... even though our old friends are still very present in our memories. we're off to a great start!