Your "two"

I know I'm a hypocrite, but I am not a fan of this:

In the evening

It gets dark relatively quickly, like around 7:40 or so now...

My class ends at 9, so I bike home in the dark. It's okay because there are lights and the bike also has lights, but as I was biking home today, I had this weird, slightly panicked feeling that someone just appeared behind me. Then I realized it was just my shadow, moving as I biked past the different street lights.

Then I noticed that, with my hood up and my odd hair length slightly unkempt, my shadow looked like Darth Vader.

It was both scarier and cooler.


Hema is a store here in Holland which is sort of a department store, I think. It's kind of like a cross between Ikea and Superstore. In my mind, anyway.

Today I went to go pick up some stationery for my Dutch class and whatever miscellaneous things I needed to pick up. When I went to pay, I was getting by with my usual pretend-I-know-what's-going-on-by-not-saying-anything-and-nodding. Usually I've caught on to the drill. They tell me the price, which I think I could probably figure out if I listened carefully. I check the register to make sure because it would be weird if I gave them an extra 20 cent coin when it would give me back extra change or something. (A note about coins at the end). After paying, they usually ask if I want the receipt. I'm not sure what the whole word is, but it can be shortened to "bon", so I always try to listen for that. I usually respond with a "ja" and a nod. I've thought about saying "please" but "alsjeblieft" doesn't roll off my tongue as easily as it does for the Dutch. And I haven't figured out if I should say "alstublieft" or "alsjeblieft" either. Then sometimes they wish me well, sometimes they don't. Either way, I usually just kinda nod and smile and say "dank je wel" (which does roll off the tongue since I've used it quite a bit and it's pretty easy) and go off on my merry way.

But every once in a while, someone will throw a curveball and that's what happened today. As I had finished paying and getting my changed, the lady said something complicated which I knew was not "do you want your receipt?". So I said "sorry?" and whenever I say sorry, it comes out with the most Canadian accent you'd ever hear in these parts, and they switch to English right away. Even if she said it in Dutch again, it wouldn't matter anyway.

Turns out you can collect stickers to get wine glasses. Who woulda thunk.

I declined, because I don't need wine glasses and I didn't want to think about bringing them home one day. They would probably break.


A note about change:

Anyone who has been to Europe probably knows that the coins are differently denominated than North American ones. You've got the good old 2-euro and 1-euro coins, which I really like. They both look like toonies, except the 1-euro is smaller and the colours are swapped (silver outside for 2-euro and gold outside for 1-euro). Then you've got 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 cent coins going down.

Except in Holland, they're phasing out the 1 cent coin. So I had random change from a trip two years ago, and it stayed in my wallet for forever until I got annoyed and donated it somewhere.

What I was going to make a note of is how terrible I am at figuring out what coins to give to get the least number of coins back. I was already bad while in Canada, despite living there for my whole life. Although these are easier to work with, in a way, sometimes it's easy to forget that 4,75 means you're going to get back two coins.


I just went through my pencil case at home and discovered I have two pencils and I didn't need to buy one. Darn.

Get Kinected... in Nederland!

As some of you know, I've done a bit of research with Kinect-related things. In fact, that's what I'm doing now on my internship. But if you look up the things related to the Kinect, you'll realize that there are a lot of applications here and there that people are developing, all over the world.

What you don't see as much (or what I don't see as much, I guess) are the different things that actual companies are doing. Most of the stuff I read about are geeky guys (yes, guys -- it sounds sexist but I have seen very few, if any, girls who write Kinect programs for fun. I don't blame them, I would rather be shopping too.) who are tinkering with light saber apps and stuff. But there are actually companies, like Nissan who are creating applications with the Kinect too.

But I read about this stuff on the interwebs. So what was really neat was when I went to Floriade with my parents, and lo and behold...

Those are three Kinects sitting there. You basically make all the fruits move around by jumping around/moving around with your body, so nothing ground-breaking, but it was nice to run into. It was in the section set up by Israel, which makes sense, because the company that designed the hardware (PrimeSense) is an Israeli company.

Anyway, I also went to the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam this past weekend. Most of you probably know that I don't drink beer, but it was a neat experience learning how it was made. And I learned how (in theory, I didn't actually try it) to pour a beer from a tap. I tried some simulation version but I spilled too much and left the tap running. Hahaha.

The reason I mention it is because... they ALSO had a Kinect app as one of the displays! I didn't take a picture because it was in a dark room but it was pretty exciting. I wonder how many un-internet-ed stories of Kinect usage there are out there...

Well, that is all for now folks. You can expect more Dutchie stories soon... hopefully. I just started my Dutch class today, and I am going to try my best to practice a lot! We'll see how it goes. 

The weather is getting colder!

Kind of. Actually I think it might be warming up a little again, before I get to experience the wet Dutch winter.

I will now present to you... some random highlights from our trip! My parents have the better pictures on their camera, so here is a small sampling. For reference, we went to Brussels for two days, then to G(h)ent (it's Ghent in English and Gent in Dutch... and Gand or something in French... clearly it's in the Flemish-speaking part of Brussels, which is kind of like Dutch), and then to Venlo (which is back in the Netherlands).

The Atomium... for the third time. Hahaha. I like the building though, I must admit.

Free beer at the Manneken Pis (statue of little boy peeing). I didn't drink the whole thing. I still don't understand why people like beer, I think it tastes gross...

Comic strip museum! This is the only picture I could find that wasn't portrait style, and I haven't rotated any of them yet, so... tadah...

This is a typical Belgian (Flemish, to be precise) beef stew with mashed potatoes, basically. It was good but super super super filling.

Some kind of traditional Belgian eel dish, I think.

Mussels! Very Belgian.

As you can tell, we had a theme with our food...

So the Sunday we were there was "car-free Sunday", which meant that from 9am to 7pm, almost all roads were closed. Public transport was free, but it basically unleashed hoards of cyclists onto the roads, which is something I'm used to anyway. 
Because of this occasion, I think a lot of stuff was going on in the city, and this is an example of it. It was like... a huge park with tons of sport activities for kids. With these nice arches surrounding it. And I'm pretty sure the two wings of the building are museums. Oh, Europe...

As I previously mentioned, fries are rather Belgian, so I made sure my parents got to try it.

Gent is known for looking nice at night, so I vainly tried to capture it on my little point and shoot. A photographer I am not, hopefully this doesn't offend my pro-photographer-readers...

We went on a boat tour, which was nice and relaxing, and the guide was pretty friendly.

Graffitistraat is the nickname of this street in Gent. It's legal to graffiti here. Most of it was messy and not that nice, but there was one really intense painting of a tiger.... which I somehow failed to take a picture of because I couldn't find it on my camera. Maybe my parents have it...

Anyway, now it's back to work for real. I think. I feel guilty for taking so much intermittent time off, but I have somewhat renewed energy to get back to working. We'll see how long that lasts (I'd say... max one week. Haha)

*Now* I'm Dutch

Not actually, but I biked home in pouring rain and felt accomplished.

Until I got home and it stopped. Then I realized that all the local people probably knew it was going to stop, which is why the bike lanes were not as busy.

So fail...


Currently on the second mini trip with my parents. Been having a good time so far... Pictures will come later!

Not Dutch yet...

So much to catch up on, I don't even know where to begin.

Well, let's start with the title of this post... I'm definitely not Dutch yet, because I can't bike properly still. In particular, I fail at:

  • biking fast enough (I pretty much get passed by everyone, young and old and in between)
  • signalling properly 
  • maneuvering skillfully (today I gently biked... into a bush... while coming out of the bike shed at work... I looked around and it seemed like no one was looking, but somebody always sees. You know what I mean -- we've all witnessed that person who looks around and then picks their nose or tries to get rid of a wedgie...)
  • being aware of what's going on (had a few close calls)
As I was writing this list, I realized that some of my audience might become a little worried, given what happened last time I posted about my insect bite woes... so rest assured, things are okay, the Lord is taking care of me for sure =) I can tell cause I'm still alive. Haha. And I'm slowly getting better at the whole biking thing.

My parents are here!

Random highlights include...
  • Getting a taste of being a foreigner on European roads. We are seriously spoiled in North America (particularly in Calgary, where our one-way roads are pretty much as wide as two-way roads here) and when you get lost... you get lost. It doesn't help that I couldn't remember what the different signs meant, and there was construction almost everywhere...
  • Seeing the saints in Delft
  • Getting to learn a bit about how the Delft porcelain (it's the white and blue stuff that looks like Chinese porcelain...) is made. It's actually pretty neat, and this morning I read about how ministry can be illustrated with porcelain... you need revelation (that's the paint) but you also need sufferings (into the oven!) in order for ministry to be produced (image is now not-removable from the vase/plate/etc..). Pretty cool, there is spiritual significance everywhere...
  • Staying at a HI Express which has only been open for a week and a half or something like that
  • Going to Kasteel de Haar (it's a castle, in case you couldn't figure that one out), which the original dude's descendants still come for their vacation. I thought it was pretty cool because most castles haven't been used in hundreds of years...
  • Barely making it to see a Museum Speelklok, which is a museum of instruments that play by themselves (think music box)
  • Finally getting to go to an island in the North of the Netherlands, this one is called Schiermonikoog. Too bad it rained :(
  • Making my parents rent bikes!
  • Ending up on the autobahn without realizing it (our GPS tells us what the speed limit is, and then... there was no speed limit!) and getting passed while going at 150. 
So far it's been good! I came back to work for a few days but my parents are off adventuring a little bit, and then next weekend will be another adventure. 

And... to make up for the lack of pictures...


One free hour of wifi at Schiphol Airport (in Amsterdam, in case you didn't know) and I shall use it to... blog! Haha.

I actually came up with several topics to blog about the other day but alas, I actually have forgotten all of them. Kind of disappointing.

Anyway, just an update of where I'm at...

currently waiting for my EasyJet flight from Amsterdam to London Stansted
going to be in London for a Bible distribution during the Paralympic Games!
followed by a visit from my parental units on zaterdag (Saturday)

And I worked 2 days this week...
going to work 3 days the next...
and another 3 the following...

Mm, this really is a working holiday after all =)

Speaking of which, the passport control guy asked me if I had a stay permit for Holland, and I said no because I thought he was talking about a residence card which I still haven't gotten approved for. But it turns out he was talking about the stamps in my passport, which he obviously saw and knew were there. It was like a test to see if I knew what they were, and I failed. If I remember correctly, he said something like, "it's very strange that you don't know if you have a stay permit or not." Well, to me it seemed strange that he didn't know what a stay permit looked like! Anyway, now I know... if any passport control person asks if I have a permit for Holland, I'm just going to say yes. And hope that I don't get in trouble.

At the end, we parted in a way akin to the following:

He asked, "are you a student?"

I replied, "I'm doing an internship."

He responded, "Good luck with that."

To me it sounded like... "good luck with that because you're pretty dumb."

At least I didn't get interrogated.


Alright, the gate is open. Tot ziens!

Snippet-like updates

Sheets are washed, but they're not bed bugs... I know this because I saw them bite me and I swatted them away. While I was on the field...

My phone magically started working again! Hooray! I knew you could do it, little blackberry =)
No, I didn't, I genuinely thought it was kaputt and it was time to conform...

Car rides make me sleepy. Especially long ones that are kind of warm.

I like fresh laundry.

Two-day work week coming up!!! Happy days.

Also spent way too much money on food at Proef-Eet in Enschede. But it was lekker :)
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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