Thursday, June 23, 2011

Learning to read . . .

After being in the Netherlands for a week now, I've made a wonderful connection with my students in regards to reading. Those of you who know me know that I love learning. And it is not often that as adults we find ourselves in an environment where we feel truly lost, or where we know absolutely nothing about something. Times like that are the perfect time to learn. I've said many times that my absolute favorite class in school was an astronomy class I took my junior year of college -- astronomy was something I knew practically nothing about and I LOVED learning something new. So I am kind of feeling like that lately . . .

Keith calls the Netherlands "Europe for beginners" because it so easy to get by here in regards to language. Pretty much anyone under the age of 65 speaks English, so even if they begin speaking in Dutch, the second you open your mouth they will reciprocate in English. This is wonderful, while at the same time, makes it a little hard to learn Dutch. BUT, a lot of that changes when it comes to written language. Yes, there are many signs in English and some restaurants have English menus, but I've also been learning lots of Dutch using environmental print . . . it's fascinating to me as I learn simple words or phrases that this is what young children go through when learning to read.

And I love it.

Here are some examples of Dutch words that I found today, and I'm sure you could easily learn them too:

kinderschoenen = kids' shoes

tanden = teeth

dames sokken = women's socks
Of course, there are some signs that need no translation:


Having a visual when reading something helps, but that isn't always the case of course. For example, it was easy to figure out "entrance," "exit," "chicken" (because that's usually safe on any menu), etc.  However, we've found that the grocery store seems to take twice as long because we spend so much time trying to read labels and use Google translate on our phones. We've only had to go to the grocery store a couple times for a few things, but I can only imagine what it will be like when we're trying to make actual recipes and look for certain ingredients--YIKES!

**Side story about our trip to Albert Heijn -- (the grocery store I told you about) When we got to the Albert Heijn one day we knew we would need a cart. Walking in from the parking lot, there was an old lady pushing her cart back to the store, so Keith kindly asked her if she would like him to take her cart back. She gave him a look and said, "NO." Keith shrugged his shoulders and just said, "Ok, we're headed up there so I can take it for you," and she was like, "No, it's not very far . . ." So we get to the front of the store and I went in to get our scanner (we still think that's so cool) and Keith went to get us a cart. We both realize at the same time that you put in a coin to get a cart, which you get back when you return your cart . . . so the old lady thought Keith was trying to steal her euro! We both cracked up and could not stop laughing as we made our way through the store . . . 

Ok, so back to my visit in the centrum . . . here are more pictures from around town:

Piazza = outdoor mall
lots of patios for all the restaurants and bars
Bicycle parking garage . . .
. . . seriously.
beautiful church outside our hotel
So that's about it for today . . . I hope I have more updates about the house soon and when we are able to move in, but as of right now we may go to Belgium for the weekend if we're not moving in by then. I'll keep you posted!

~ Jessi


  1. Hi! Oh my goodness, I've had a blast reading your blog- first chance for me, lots of work this June. It looks amazing over there. I love all the photos and your posts are fantastic. You look so good in the picture in front of your 'house' :) LOL! about the grocery store lady and the cart. Love it! The market!!! I'm jealous, what a wonderful experience for you all. Yes, God is so good! Looking forward to reading about the move, murphy tricks and Liam's upcoming birth! Much love to you, Kim Ford

  2. Hey Mrs. Coffey! I enjoyed reading the mini adventures of your blog. Oh my gosh! the Netherlands sounds so beautiful :). I hope you and Mr. Coffey enjoy your selfs in your new house! Just thinking about you, and hope to see you in the future when you come back with your new addition to the family :). Love ya,

    Taylor Ford

  3. Hi Jessica! It looks lovely, thanks for posting some great photos. It's interesting to see how different the countries are, but how alike they are too. The market looks like a neat place. I'm sure you'll be finding lots of special items there.

  4. Haha! The grocery in Rome has the 1 Euro carts! So nuts!