Friday, July 1, 2011

apparently I like food . . .

Errands . . . with a little spoiling thrown in

Yummy lunch 
Thursday was a busy and productive day for me here! I was out and about for most of the day, and my feet paid for it later. My first exciting find of the day was a maternity store! I hadn't found one yet and couldn't believe my luck when I saw pregnant mannequins in the centrum today. I made a beeline for the store and was able to walk away with a few necessary pieces to help me get through the next six weeks in cooler weather (Victory #1). At another shop I bought a scarf and interacted with the cashier, who never even knew I didn't speak Dutch (Victory #2). My next good find was a couple pairs of flats for €10 a piece -- but I unfortunately returned them today because they were out of the size I wanted to exchange them for (Victory #3). Oh well. By that time I was starving and had a nice lunch at a bistro I hadn't seen before. The server suggested a baguette with chicken, bacon, and chili mayonnaise -- it was uh-mazing (see left).

So then my next errand involved buying some flowers and wine for dinner that evening. We were invited by one of Keith's co-workers to come over for a home-cooked meal last night, and I found out that you are always supposed to bring flowers when visiting a Dutch person's home. I found a beautiful bouquet on my way back to the hotel (flowers are pretty much available on most corners) and also happened to pass by a very cool wine store on my way to the Albert Heijn where I had originally intended to head. I found out that wine here is very cheap and most people never pay more than €3-4 for a bottle. Too bad I couldn't buy any for me!

When I returned to the hotel the staff was cleaning the room (with Murphy hanging out watching her), so I dropped off my packages and headed back out. I remembered seeing an "American Nails" place in the Piazza, so I thought I'd treat myself to a nice mani/pedi . . . big mistake. Pretty much everything that could have gone wrong, did, and I left there totally unimpressed (recap: 4 nails and 1 toenail bleeding, a color on my nails that I hated "but it so pretty!!", and WAY overpaid after having to walk 2 blocks to an ATM because they didn't take card ). UGH. I'll definitely be on the lookout for a better place close to where we live. (BTW, does this major fail negate my first two victories??)

So that evening we went to Coen's house, pronounced /koon/, to eat with him, his wife, and their two college-age sons. We had a nice night, a good meal, and even got some stroopwafel ice cream for dessert. Stroopwafel is probably one of Keith's favorite things to eat here -- it is a thin, delicate wafer filled with gooey caramel, and lots of people have it with coffee (or nothing at all, like me). It's been wonderful to have so many people open the doors to their home and welcome us to the city, it's flavors, and way of life. They always answer plenty of questions and share lots of tidbits and advice to make our lives a little easier.

My first bus experience! 

Today, Friday, I was invited to a potluck lunch with the IWCE (International Women's Club Eindhoven), and met Jennifer at the bus/train station in City Centrum for my very first bus experience. She did a great job explaining the procedure and showing me maps and schedules for when I go about it on my own. Here's a couple pics of the buses and all the bikes that park at the station:

Everyone waiting for their bus
This is a SMALL portion of the bikes parked at the station.
So we headed to the potluck, where there were about 20-25 women from ALL different backgrounds, languages, ages, families -- I met some women who had been in the Netherlands for 15 years and one newbie like me who had only been here for two months. I was there for about 3 hours and didn't even have a chance to talk with everyone! But the several women I did talk with were SO nice and helpful. I even met a photographer who can take Liam's newborn pictures! Another lady I met moved here from California about two years ago, and she spent a lot of time giving me advice and asking about the baby and whatnot. We had a lot in common and I'm looking forward to becoming good friends. 

Then it was time to eat! There were so many different kinds of food (duh - potluck lunch), and I was able to eat delicious quiche, "Hawaii" pizza (which is oddly really popular here), and veggie lasagna, to name a few things. I meant to take a picture of the spread and forgot, but did get a chance to snap one of the dessert spread. This included red velvet cupcakes, strawberries with balsamic, basil, and homemade whipped cream, banana bread, and several pies. These ladies sure know how to eat! Keith has so lovingly pointed out that I write a lot about food on here, but it's hard not to! Not only was I worried about the food I'd be eating when we moved, but there's not much else going on right now! Plus, I guess, I'm a food lover, but whatevs.

Anyway, Jennifer had to leave the potluck early, so I actually made the bus trip home on my own . . . probably doesn't sound like a big deal for some of you, but to do it for the first time in a foreign city, and realize that this is something new I can actually do and might even master while I'm here -- well, I was just proud of myself for this little success (Victory #3).

So now it is the weekend and there is lots to look forward to . . . tomorrow we are headed to a 4th of July BBQ! It seems odd at first, but it's being put on by the North American Women's Club so I guess that makes more sense. Apparently there will be a huge turnout there, about 70 people, so it will be great to meet more people and make friends! Keith is looking forward to a well-cooked hamburger, and I will be seeing a few of the same ladies I hung with today.

Then Sunday we have church and plan to spend the rest of the day at our house getting ready because . . .

the movers are coming MONDAY!!!

You read that right -- after 3 long weeks of living in a hotel, we should be sleeping in our own bed come Monday night! I am really excited to start organizing and getting our house together. I know one person who is also glad we're moving this week -- my cousin, Jenna! She and her boyfriend arrive on Thursday and are staying a couple nights before going back to the States, and we were worried we wouldn't be in the house by the time she arrived. I am really looking forward to seeing her and getting a little piece of home next week. : )

Lots of blessings to praise God for and many more to come,


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