The Crazy Dutch: December 31st


Sadie, my brother’s late dog, trembled every time she heard a bang. She would have gone berserk today if she was on a visit to the Netherlands. When we awoke this morning in The Hague, the fireworks had already started. The Dutch ignore any rules and safety standards and people of all ages and demographicsContinue reading “The Crazy Dutch: December 31st”

Taking it with you


When we moved to the Netherlands, we shipped over 40 boxes, at least half of which were filled with books. We sold or gave away our furniture and our many U.S. appliances that would require an adaptor and converter in The Netherlands to function, and we gave away a large majority of our son’s babyContinue reading “Taking it with you”

Anti-Graffiti Man


Yesterday, one of the volunteers opened a side door to the church and pointed. “Shit!” I exclaimed before I could push the edit button. Someone had tagged the side entry with the word Gus spray painted in black loopy letters. Gus must be tall, because the letters were above my head and the whole tag wasContinue reading “Anti-Graffiti Man”

Old Books versus Mother Nature


Usually I love nature. Just last week I was saying to my husband how much I want to live in a natural environment, away from the screeching sounds of the tram rails, the bricks and concrete and the compressed feeling I experience when I’m among the crowds in the shopping district. But when a bitingContinue reading “Old Books versus Mother Nature”

Strange Things the Dutch Don’t Do


The Napkin A few weeks ago a beam of sunshine cracked through the thick layers of gray and we celebrated by going out to a cafe. Our son ordered a tosti (a diminuitive of the grilled cheese sandwich) and Chocomel (chocolate milk that is so well branded, it dominates the market, and is a staple in everyContinue reading “Strange Things the Dutch Don’t Do”

Make your Breasts Wet


When we moved to the Netherlands two years ago, I had only a rudimentary understanding of the Dutch language.  A lack of fluency compromises your ability to participate in a culture in the same way smoking too much dope impairs your senses; you know people are saying something that resembles words, but by the time your mind translatesContinue reading “Make your Breasts Wet”

Home way from home away from home


When we flew into Schiphol airport outside Amsterdam, I had a great sense of relief: Relief that the long plane ride was over, excitement to see my husband again, and the shoulder-relaxing sensation of being back home. And there I’ve said it. Home. Usually, that’s a term I reserve solely for central California, the place where I grew upContinue reading “Home way from home away from home”

Dutch Communication


Dutch Communication May 11, 2012 I was considering joining a course offered through the church where I work called Werk en Balans (Work and Balance). Guest speakers from professional job coaches, successful businessman-gone-minister, psychologists and others would be giving lectures on seeking this coveted balance. Seeing as my residence is attached to my workplace, you canContinue reading “Dutch Communication”

Dutch headline news can really break through the ice


Tonight, I joined Arie Jan on the couch to watch the 8:00 news to catch up on world events. Something serious must be going on inside Holland, I thought, as there on the screen was a somber looking Dutch man speaking before an expansive collection of brightly colored microphones. His countenance, continuously lit up by flashes of light,Continue reading “Dutch headline news can really break through the ice”

Rommel Piet that Black Friday


As you were perhaps paging through a Martha Stewart magazine mid November for a little inspiration on a Thanksgiving centerpiece or savory side dish, we were gearing up for the steamboat arrival of Sinterklaas and his zwarte piet collective. As you were unfortunately pulling another late night at the office to meet that pre-holiday deadline,  we were singing Sinterklaas liedjes in front of our son’s carrotContinue reading “Rommel Piet that Black Friday”