Deep fry

I want to write something longer for my past weekend trip (which involved a lot of eating, hooray!) so that will probably have to wait until tomorrow. Until then, a short update!

Today I finally gave in to making something for dinner that was not any of the following:
1. Smoked salmon and crackers
2. Sandwich (okay, I don't think I've had a sandwich for dinner yet actually)
3. Pasta
4. Tomatoes and crackers
5. Soup

I saw some beautiful kroketten at the supermarket:

Almost like this, only in a box, and frozen.

For anyone who doesn't know, kroketten is just plural for kroket, and a kroket is basically... a stick of deep-fried goodness. In my opinion, anyway. I'm sure others will beg to differ, since it just oozes of unhealthiness, but it's seriously so good. In Japan, their croquettes are filled with mashed potato-ey -type goodness, but here, they have all kinds. I've had one with some kind of chicken pie-type filling... and one with something that I don't know, but it was good.... and so today, I bought sate kroketten!

Then I realized when I got home that I don't have a wok, or anything remotely deep enough to fry this thing. And I also only had expensive oil (thankfully, I wasn't the one who bought it, but still...)

So me, being the genius that I am... decided to try to fry it anyway. It turned out to be an edible and slightly smoky disaster.

The first one that I fried was able to cook well enough, but when I took it off the the pan, it turned out that it hadn't been cooked thoroughly (perhaps because I was just rolling it around in oil at first, then I realized that I could tilt the pan to make it "deeper"). I decided I'd just finish cooking it in the microwave. The second one I opted to microwave first, so that it would cook in the oil faster. So I microwaved both at the same time -- genius, right?

The second one broke when I fried it afterwards. Go figure.

Top: fried then microwaved
Bottom: microwaved then fried

Conclusion: Microwaves are great, I miss paper towels (that paper is toilet paper...) and not knowing how to fry things makes it even unhealthier. But kroketten are still delicious. 

Bonus: The Dutch and the Bicycle

As many know, it is very common in Dutch to ride a bicycle. In fact, the country has more bicycles than people. In my morning commute, I probably see at least 20-30 cyclists and probably 1-2 pedestrians at most. (People drive, too, but not as much as in Calgary. I don't even think there's a "rush hour" for cars.)

Because of this, people are also very adept with bicycles. It's pretty common to see a mother or father, cycling with their children in tow (either in the front or on the back). Many bicycles have bags on the back, or baskets on the front, for carrying all kinds of things. I usually will see at least one dude riding hands-free, or someone texting on their phone as they ride to school. Women manage to cycle with three-inch heels, and everyone rides their bike higher than I did back at home, which makes stopping quite the balancing act (which everyone can obviously do with ease.)

I was inspired to write this post because my supervisor let me borrow his wife's old bike when I first came. Unfortunately, it was much too tall for me to handle (given my non-Dutch heritage and my lack of balance), and I opted to get my own as soon as I could. I told him that he could pick it up whenever he wanted to, so he came by last night (just when I got back from playing ultimate, which was really good timing).

He came by bicycle, and it was just him. I got the bike, and the lock (which he ended up letting me keep for now, even though I'm so inept that I can't even use a bicycle lock, but that is a completely different story...) and then gave it to him. Then, seeing as he had his own bike, plus this other bike, both of which were the same rather large size, I asked "do you need any help?"

His reply? "I'm Dutch, I can ride with two bicycles."

So I just watched as he hopped on his own bike, released the kick stand of the other bike and took it by its handles, then cycled off as if riding tandem with some invisible person, into the sunset.

Well actually it was away from the sunset, but you get my point. These people are crazy.

I hope I can be that talented one day too.

Edit: For clarity, I meant side-by-side kind of tandem. (I realized that tandem bicycles are front-back).

The worst employee ever does laundry.

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who wanted to do an internship somewhere abroad. She was recommended a company, which she found somewhat interesting, and decided to apply. Miraculously, they got back to her, and as dialogue continued, it seemed certain they would hire her.

Alas, a job offer did come, which she gladly accepted. Although she wasn't being paid by the thousands as many of her fellow engineers-to-be, she was very much looking forward to the experience. What she didn't realize was that this whole "foreign country" thing would involve much paperwork and extra hassle, such things like getting new birth certificates issued and getting stickers on passports which were just temporary.

After some time and chores and the like, the fated day came and she flew off across the pond (the Atlantic one, that is). She was quickly introduced to many new adventures, like yielding as a pedestrian and becoming sensitive to the sounds of a bike, as well as shops closing at 18:00 and not being open on the first day of the week.

However, as she was also quickly thrust into her new job, she discovered that there were many errands to be run, and due to the limited working hours of government-type people, it involved some skipping of work. In addition, she had made plans with a friend within the first bit of her work, which warranted another day off. And finally, just within the first week and a half of working, she was overcome with rather distracting pains and had forgotten her painkillers at home, so she left work early in order to recover instead of just sitting at her desk looking pained.

In short, she was not looking like the best intern ever.

She rested at home for a few hours, then the painkillers started working. Recalling that she had determined to do laundry that day, she decided she may as well start on it now, so she grabbed the detergent containers from the washroom and brought them into her room. Pulling up the ever-so-handy Google Translate, she commenced some rapid typing of the labels and read the broken English which came out. It looked like she had detergent for whites, for colours, and some kind of powder that seemed to do well for both.

Then she stepped out into the hallway to observe the washer and dryer. Or was it dryer and washer? She couldn't quite figure out which one was which, and taking pictures of the instructions didn't seem to do justice. Finally, she took what seemed like an educated guess, and threw in her towels and some lighter-coloured clothing. There didn't seem to be a container to put the detergent powder, so she just threw it on top of the towels -- in theory, it's the same, she thought. Also, there were some misleading pictures on the other detergent bottles that led her to believe that perhaps Dutch people put their detergent directly on their clothing, rather than in a little container in the machine.

While the laundry washed, she decided to pick up those dryer sheets (you know, like Bounce) from the supermarket so that her laundry would be soft. Especially her towels. So she went to the store and after deliberating for a while, she bought the only two things which looked like they could be dryer sheets. Lo and behold, when she got home, Google Translate told her that they were. Both, in fact. They were also both very fragrant.

Anyway, she noticed that her laundry had stopped and was no longer going, so she tentatively opened it. There was still powder on the clothing, and it was dry.

"So that is the dryer," she supposed. She pulled her clothing from one machine to the other, and then, not wanting to make more mistakes, she knocked on her neighbour's door. He helped, but commented that "it's just laundry!" and made her feel guilty for making Canadians look incompetent. She also hoped that he wouldn't look into the dryer and see the little powdery bits everywhere, left from her mistake.

Once the washing machine was running, she quietly mopped up the powder and hoped that nobody would notice. Then she retreated to her apartment and wrote a story about her failure.

The end.

Well, for now... we'll see how the laundry turns out. I might end up needing to buy a whole new wardrobe.

Trains, plains, and automobiles

At first that was a typo, but then I realized that it was sort of correct -- I didn't ride any planes but I did see some plains... I think.

Anyway, this past weekend I went to go visit my relatives and the saints in Vlaardingen. My relatives came to Holland to visit me... but in the end I had to visit them too because I live in such a random/kind of remote place. There also isn't that much to do here, by my estimation, aside from randomly bike around.

I don't have the energy to write a detailed blog, but we went on a tour to a couple of cities in Belgium for Saturday, which was nice. I'm planning to go again but it was a nice preview and I learned some history, so when I go again I can be more "local" and less tourist-ey, which is usually what I prefer.

Favourite jumping picture on my camera XD, in Antwerp

In the morning we went to the meeting which was very sweet. A sister who I had met in Poland years ago did the translation for me. I don't think she actually remembers me from Poland (we were in the same house but we didn't talk much) but I remembered her name and vaguely remembered her face. Haha... anyway, group picture:

We caught the train in the afternoon and split ways at Rotterdam -- aunt + cousins went to Schiphol (airport) and I went to Enschede. I got back to the station around 6 pm, and then tottered around on my bicycle to get home (I had a rather heavy backpack, since it had a duvet and some sheets in it), my laptop and my purse. No crashing or anything, although I did walk my bike across the intersection and probably looked ridiculous.

After I got home, I unpacked a bit quickly and then checked to see what kind of groceries I might pick up for this next week. Went to the store with a shopping bag that I now realize is puny, bought some stuff, came home and realized that I should take a picture of my bike, so I did:

Once I got home I saw that there was also a request to see the bike, so ta-dah! Unfortunately that back thing supposedly takes a max of 15kg... I'd like to let someone ride on it, lol. Then again, I can barely take the extra weight of a backpack; I don't know what I'd do with a person.

Also, biking with hardly any weight (no backpack, no laptop) feels great. 

Oh yeah... automobiles. Everyone drives standard so well here, it makes me want to practice.

Home, home in the church

After ducking out of work quietly (and perhaps prematurely... hopefully not rudely... everyone seemed busy so I didn't want to say bye loudly but I sorta regretted it after, I think it's kind of bad etiquette D: d'oh), I started biking to Enschede's main train station. And then I started biking faster, when I realized that I didn't want to be late and I didn't know how long it would take.

Turns out that, at a decent speed, it takes about 20 minutes. Not bad for a slowpoke on a small bike, I think.
Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to operate the hardlock that I borrowed from my supervisor, so that added 5 minutes of confusion. I gave up and just used the back tire lock, rationalizing that people probably wouldn't want such a small bike, right?

Bought a round trip ticket to Almelo (which was about 8 euros -- although it would be nice to stay with the saints, it would be a bit steep to pay that five days a week... at least the bike, now that it's bought, is free XD) and hopped on a train.

It was all very well-timed... just as I stepped out of the station, I saw what I suspected was their car (small car, stuffed full with mom, dad, two boys in the back...) and we went off on our merry way to... a legit Dutch pannenkoek place! It was like... a farm-turned-restaurant in the middle of nowhere. So cool. I think we drove through at least 3 or 4 towns on the way there. Or villages. I don't know what they were.

Anyway, I got to hear a little bit about how brother Jaap came into the church life, and it was just so sweet to hear how the Lord moves and works. There's a lot that I take for granted, so listening to his testimony just made me very happy.

And I got to eat pannenkoek in Holland!! This one seemed to have a lot of good stuff, so I ordered it... I think there's some kind of sausage, or pepperoni... bacon... onion, peppers... anyway. It turned out to be a little salty, so I put their syrup (stroop) on it; not sure if the rest of the table thought it was weird.

Dessert too!!

Then we went to the family's house (I guess I forgot to mention -- there are 7 saints there in total, 4 in one family, and 3 sisters) and had some tea/coffee/water and sang (in Dutch). So, so sweet.

I'm not sure if this is the right word but it feels like this might be what gezellig is like.

Biking hurts the bottom

Like sitting on it for a long time. Not the most comfortable.

But it's definitely way better than walking to work -- walking took about 1 hour and 15 minutes, biking took about 25 minutes (and I am a slow biker).

Today was pretty chill and uneventful. Work was a lot like it was at home, actually. I had this de ja vu moment, because the work I'm doing is similar to what I did last summer (so far, anyway). I feel like I'm using more brainpower though, because I was suuuuper hungry at lunch and almost all afternoon, haha.

On the way back I tried to take a new route and got lost because it was through a forested park area.. A nice lady helped me out though, which was nice. So far all the Dutch people I've met have been nice, kind of like all the German people I met two years ago... Either these stereotypes are wrong or the Lord is just taking care of me. (Well, definitely the latter, but probably both XD).

I bought some groceries... again. Due to a combination of me being by myself, and carrying things in a small backpack while biking, and already having food, etc. etc.... each time I go to get groceries, I end up buying less than 20 euro worth. In fact, more likely less than 10 euros. Also, due to a lack of knowledge of Dutch, I rely on pictures heavily and realize later that it's not necessarily what it looks like. The yogurt that I bought yesterday turned out to be "cottage cheese with yogurt and cream".

It's pretty good ^^;

And I'm not really learning prices at all. Everything seems cheap cause it's in euros... So much for life skills! (I suppose it's only Day..4? XD)

Time to sit on the couch.

A Working Holiday in the Netherlands

Just in case anyone happens to incidentally want to go on a "working holiday" in the Netherlands, specifically in Enschede, here are some handy dandy tips:

1. Do all the stuff you need to do (like get that ridiculous long form birth certificate) as soon as you can.
2. The government building (gemeentehuis) in which you must register yourself is right beside the train station (just north of it). You should go there ASAP cause you need to make an appointment. Fortunately, it shouldn't take too long.
3. Try to pick up a phone (prepaid SIM cards are common) because you'll need to call the IND and get yourself another appointment, in which .. I suppose they will make you a resident. I haven't gotten here yet, but it's an awfully long and complicated process, and it's going to delay this whole BSN number thing. Which is needed for a bank account, which I need to do a lot of things (get my travel card for the train, get paid, etc...)
4. When you get your picture taken for your temporary resident sticker thing, and the person at Costco or wherever you go gives you two, keep one and bring it with you overseas.

I know there will probably be no one who does the exact same thing in a soon enough time range that this is actually applicable (or I suspect such, anyway) but just in case, here is a reference for whoever you are out there! I wouldn't have minded knowing.


In other news, I finally obtained a bike that I can fit! Barely. The standards for how high the seat should be over here is like... 2-3 inches higher than I was taught as a kid. As a kid, you sit on the bike and make sure your toes touch the ground. Here... it's practically like you stand on the pedal (at it's lowest point, sure) and sit on it. Every time I have to stop, I have to flail around to try and get back up. And it doesn't help that pedaling backwards stops instead of just moving your pedals, so if you get stuck in an awkward position... tough.

Today, I found out that I needed to make an appointment for the gemeentehuis (as mentioned before), which I did in the morning, but made it for the afternoon. Since I knew I'd have to be out again, I went straight to work (4,70 for a round trip, which is only one station away. You can see why I wanted a bike, right?) and... worked. Rather tiredly, I might add. We had a brief company meeting at 1, so I went up a bit early and I watched some of them play foosball. They don't play with engineering rules, and they have a scary amount of power. Not super skilled (well some are, some aren't) but like... the ball flew out a number of times while I was watching.

After the appointment (in which I discovered I had to call the IND and make an appointment and get all that paperwork before I could get my BSN number...) I went to go get a SIM card... and in my mixed-impatience-and-thriftiness I bought a Lebara SIM card (Dutch cheap-o phone company). The dude charged me 10,- euro for it. I'm still not sure if it was justified, since it said "GRATIS" on the outside, which I was pretty sure meant free. It felt like I was being cheated, but I was in no position to argue with him. I guess he needs to make money somehow. Then I wandered around, looking for a place to top-up, and happened upon a market in the city centre. I would have taken pictures, but I was too lazy/encumbered by things.

Bought the top-up at a store kind of equivalent to Shopper Drug Mart back at home, then I made the call (which drained my entire 10 euro top-up, not instilling much confidence here...) and made the appointment. Somewhere in between that, I bought a container of strawberries for 1 euro from the market because it was just too tempting. I need to get some veggies, too; all I eat is bread because it's already prepared and tastes so good in these parts.

Bike hunt continued, and I ended up in a large bike store which had a lot of very expensive bikes. Even the secondhand ones were expensive (which makes sense, because it's a store). My colleagues had recommended buying online, but I didn't want to go through the hassle of a potentially 10 euro phone call, only to find out that the person who was selling it was (1) too tall or (2) not very nice or... well anything, pretty much. Mostly just laziness. It's hard to last long without a bike, in my opinion.

I picked up some groceries and things like that. Now I feel exhausted... my bike still needs some accessories, like a bag and a hard lock, but I'll wait on that for a while.

Feeling like I'm going to crash already >< but I'm actually gonna try to go out and play Frisbee at 8pm. Hurray!

After and through and in all that... Jesus is still Lord. :)

PS The fruit fly multiplied!!
PPS Please leave comments, or if you're not gonna leave a comment, then message me on FB or email me or something. It's lonely here. ^^;


Holland is just as wet and flat as it is rumoured to be. XD

However, Dutch people, although perhaps "direct" are not as "rude" as I thought they might come off. Maybe times are changing, but most people I've met or talked to are quite nice.

In no particular order, I'll just say things that have happened... and/or things I have observed... etc.

1. There's this really fast fruitfly-type-bug in my room and I want to kill it but I can't. x_x
2. Walking, especially during morning rush hour, makes you feel silly because almost everyone else is either biking or driving.
3. Shopping for a bicycle when you're a short person in a tall-people country is difficult.
4. Walking in the rain for a prolonged amount of time will guarantee you to get wet.
5. I do not yet understand work culture. I hope I do soon.
6. So far, I really like my workplace, job/assignment/task/whatever it is called, and co-workers. We have really cool coffee machines, with good coffee that has not (yet) made me super jittery.
7. I don't feel as short as I thought I would.
8. Every time I need to use a key, I have to relearn how to use keys... at least I feel like I'm getting better at it.
9. No surprise but Dutch people are quite talented with the whole bike-and-hold-umbrella-and-not-crash thing. Watching people go on roundabouts on a bike (with cars) scares me.
10. Everything seems to close at 18.00, except for the occasional restaurant or supermarket or whatever. 

And for the sake of my own organization, a to-do list...
1. Register at gemeentehuis  (only half done :( sad)
2. Get a bike that fits
3. Get a sim card
4. Open a bank account
5. Ask someone about how to get a personal OV-chipkaart
on faith, food and flying
The thoughts and experiences of a college kid on faith, love and life in pursuit of Christ, the loveliest One, while enjoying misadventures and quests for food, which so happen to take her around the world.
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