Family Night in Prison

If I were to tell you one of the highlights of our summer vacation was spending a night in prison, would you think I’d completely lost it? But I’m getting ahead of myself. Our vacation started out well enough. We arranged to stay at a house in Haarlem for five days and had done theContinue reading “Family Night in Prison”

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 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”

Yelling into a crowd

Sitting on a raised basement, our living room is positioned a half story above street level. This provides us with a tree lined view of the urban bike paths, street and busy tram lines just high enough to be seen by passersby, and just low enough that the branches don’t obscure our view. The first few months ofContinue reading “Yelling into a crowd”

A bite into consciousness

Yesterday morning I put on my sweats and raincoat and headed to Den Haagse Bos. As my feet left the pavement and landed on the gravel path leading between the leafy green trees, I inhaled deeply, breathing in the scent of nature. Usually this transition from the built environment to a more natural one creates a sense of calm, as if I’ve left the pressures of modern life behind. ButContinue reading “A bite into consciousness”

Shopping like a Dutchie

It is the subtle, day to day differences that bring home the fact you are not in Kansas anymore, but living in a foreign country. Our trip to the Dutch grocery store Albert Hein yesterday made this all too clear. First, the entire store is like a never ending Dutch lesson. Even if you know the basics–banaan,Continue reading “Shopping like a Dutchie”

An uncoddled nation

In America, we are protected from our own stupidity. Okay, not in all cases. Sometimes it is encouraged: eat crappy things, buy more than you can afford, believe Fox News, go shopping to do your part in solving the country’s financial woes. Yet, America is also very serious about safety and coddles us as if we areContinue reading “An uncoddled nation”

Commuting by Bike in Holland

Upon arrival, one of the first things our Dutch family provided for us, besides a ride from the airport and a place to sleep, was a pair of bicycles. Nice bikes. Not a gift, but bikes on loan until we had our own. It seems a Dutch man without a bicycle is like an AmericanContinue reading “Commuting by Bike in Holland”