Do or do not: the 31 Day Dutch Challenge

When I went back to visit the US, a lot of folks asked me how my Dutch was coming along. My stock answer was “not great.” I’ve made improvements, but I’m behind where I thought I would be by now: I’m slow to speak, I pretend to understand things I don’t, trip over grammar, IContinue reading “Do or do not: the 31 Day Dutch Challenge”

Dickens Festijn Deventer

When we first arrived in the Netherlands, Manon asked her aunt, who loves to travel, what her favorite city was. We were surprised when she mentioned Deventer, a medium sized town about an hour away from the German border. Last year*, we decided to go to the Dickens Festijn, a Christmas market and festival for CharlesContinue reading “Dickens Festijn Deventer”

Hoge Veluwe National Park and Kröller Müller Museum

One thing that I was looking forward to when we moved here was having fall again. I grew up outside Chicago, and when I moved to Texas, I missed a typical fall day – crisp and slightly chilly air, the sound of leaves crunching under my feet, the leaves turning colors and falling, instead ofContinue reading “Hoge Veluwe National Park and Kröller Müller Museum”

Bodegraven – Borefts Bier Festival

I haven’t said much about where we live, probably because there’s not much to say. A friend of ours calls Bodegraven “boterham” (sandwich in Dutch), and that’s fairly accurate. It is a small village in the Randstad right in between Rotterdam (30 km northeast) and Utrecht (30 km west). This weekend is the best time for craftContinue reading “Bodegraven – Borefts Bier Festival”

Vacation: The Netherlands vs. the U.S.

The Dutch refer to the first Saturday in August as “Zwarte Zaterdaag” or Black Saturday. It’s called “Black Saturday” because everyone hits the road (asphalt) to go on vacation. On August 1st, there was a traffic jam in France that was nearly 900 km (560 miles) long. Last year, the traffic jam was even worse.Continue reading “Vacation: The Netherlands vs. the U.S.”

Utrecht – Tour De France

Utrecht was the starting point for this year’s (2015) Tour de France. We were on vacation and weren’t able to see the send off, but the city has been buzzing with excitement since it was announced nearly two years ago. Utrecht, a transit hub and university town, has begun to receive more attention and accoladesContinue reading “Utrecht – Tour De France”

Maastricht – Remembrance Day

Maastricht may be located in the Netherlands, but its soul is Belgian. At least it feels more like Belgium than it does the Netherlands. Part of that could be attributed to proximity – Maastricht, at the southernmost tip of the Netherlands, closely borders Germany and Belgium. The south of the country is known for itsContinue reading “Maastricht – Remembrance Day”

(I wanna go to the) Carnaval

No time like a deadline – it’s Easter, and the last possible moment that I can describe Carnaval – a party that celebrates the beginning of Lent. It’s celebrated in the south of The Netherlands, the only portion that remains traditionally Catholic. We went to Den Bosch this year, and spent last year in Eindhoven.Continue reading “(I wanna go to the) Carnaval”

Gouda bij Kaarslicht

Before we moved to the Netherlands, a friend of mine emailed me a picture of Gouda bij Kaarslicht (Gouda by Candlelight), and wrote, “you’ll get to see this!” Who knew that we would end up living a quick twenty-minute bus ride away from Gouda. Last year (2013) we weren’t able to attend, so we (I?) madeContinue reading “Gouda bij Kaarslicht”