Really great news!

>> Thursday, May 31, 2007

So, ya'll may congratulate me because last Friday I received THE letter. The "authorities" have approved me so now I am official and legal and can work (for actual money, not just cookies and coffee like I do now).

This was actually record timing because I've never heard of anyone getting approved in 23 days. It usually takes a few months. The shortest time I've ever heard of was 6 weeks but the guy apparently paid the mafia (some law firm) to "speed up the process". So fittingly I was pretty surprised. My theory is that once they saw my picture they just wanted to approve me right away since I'm so cute and adorable!!! :) (A picture had to be included in the application.)

A couple of my friends from nyc had a few additional theories on the matter... Irena said that they have probably checked my work history and decided that it would be more profitable to let me start working so I can start paying taxes... Aurelia said that they've probably been monitoring my shopping activities and decided that I am a very favorable agent to the Dutch economy... (not just shopping, but I also bring guests into the country!)

Hey! Maybe they read my blog and want the rumors that it's sunny all the time spread around the world!!

Well whatever the reason, I'm so happy I've been approved and can now work!!!!

But, as with any good news, there are always bad news: i can now.... work... work? Boooo!

Check it out, I already have a main objective to put on my resume: I'd like to work in a place that is less then 2 hours away commuting.

Vito said not to worry since 2 hours away would be Germany or Belgium. All I have to do is get a job IN the country and my objective is met! Oh boy, so the fun begins...

I leave you with a picture from the window of my Dutch class :)


Girls just want to have fun!

>> Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A whirlwind weekend!

We picked up my friend from the international bus station. Did you know that you can go to Belgium from Amsterdam on a bus for 20€!!!?! And apparently a bunch of other destinations...

The only downer is that the trip is longer then the Thalys train, plus its not as reliable as my friend had to wait for a whole hour for the bus to depart. She also mentioned that some of the characters she traveled with were rather questionable... hmm... but it is a big saving compared to 94€ train ride.

She however made up for the savings with major money spending by SHOPPING! Saturday morning has begun with a very innocent minute trip to my downstairs housewares shop to get some gift paper for Vito's mom's gift. It flowed into an even MORE innocent "stop by" a clothing for old lady's shop... you know... just to peek inside... in case a perfectly normal item was accidentally acquired by the store's buyer. Well... lets just say, a purse (for me), a gold scarf and a very cool snake necklace (for Aurelia) later we were on our way back to the apartment. Hmm... damage done and we have not even entered Amsterdam yet!

In Amsterdam we have discovered some really cool shops where they sell ONE of a kind clothes made by some very funky people! We were browsing and trying on stuff (well Aurelia was, I was lounging on the graffitied white leather couch...). The store is run by two funky chicks, one Dutch and one American. At one point another funky Australian dude (friend of theirs) came in and the store had to quickly be closed because the whole posse had to run off to some party... This was only about 4.30 in the afternoon! But don't get alarmed! Aurelia was able to carry away a really cool seventies peasant shirt with embroidery and a waterproof (!!) red mini skirt! Hey, it rains a lot in Belgium too!
Anyway all details will be on my hotelbycity blog but here is a fun picture of the shop:

We made our way down the main shopping street wowing not to spend another euro... meanwhile silver espadrilles, heart dotted umbrella, white bubble tee and a puchiesque pink scarf had somehow made their way into Aurelias bag even tough a very strict self imposed budget was forethought by her before coming to Amsterdam. (I myself did indulge in a heart dotted umbrella and an exaggerated orange plastic diamond that will accent my new bag!)

By that time the shops were already closing and Aurelia was facing the harsh reality of the many shopping bags in her hands... I consoled her that all shops will be closed the next two days so there was just no way we could shop even if we wanted to!

As we made our way to a busy square for a beer or three she disappeared to the restroom to emerge wearing all her new acquisitions. Again, I congratulated her on good choices and reminded that in fact she SAVED money as all that stuff would have cost her more in Brussels... (So she swears.)

The evening continued happily, the sun peaked out and we made our way to a sure hit street where you can find excellent eateries for any taste. Rude awakening set in as we realized ALL restaurants were totally FULL!!! Boy and I thought New York City was bad...

We however inserted ourselves in this really bustling Indonesian restaurant and had a SUPER rijstaffel!! It was both our first time eating Indonesian. We just looked around and when the waitress appeared just pointed and said: "We want what they're having!" It was delicious!!! The meal consists of a bunch of little dishes with various meats and vegetables variating in spiciness, accompanied by different rices. WE LOVED IT! The waitress was surprised that we actually able to finish everything! (Well almost...)

Wow this is getting really long... and I've only described half of day one... and more pictures need to be posted...

More tomorrow, but lets just say, shopping was not finished!!!! The next day we stumbled upon a huge MARKET!!!!! Key word... hand embroidered Indian pillow shams... HELLO!!!!

Ok, I'm too tired, must go and... do nothing.

ps: the roses were so pretty!!! only 6€ for TWENTY! At this price flowers could be had in the house all the time not only for impressing house guests! ;)



>> Saturday, May 26, 2007

I have a bit of a surprise for you!

I've been secretly cheating on you...

NEEEEH! Just a little experiment. I was chosen as a blogger for I figured I'll be doing a lot of touristy things here in Amsterdam for... a WHILE, so why not have it all categorized nice and neatly somewhere.

It's a pretty fun site, all user generated with reviews of things to do, eat, see in various cities by actual people that live there. This is definitely the direction the entire marketing world is moving towards.

I'm weary about putting ads on my personal blog, just because most people that read my blog are either my friends or other bloggers. (or other blogger friends! ;) Anyway, I don't usually get too many random stumblers on my blog looking for Amsterdam Hotels, or restaurant reviews.

This is where Hotelsbycity comes in. I've made a few posts on there and already I see that the hits I get are from various people searching for the particular thing that I wrote about! Thus it makes perfect sense to have some google ads on that page because they're targeted for content. (It's almost freaky how they KNOW what you're talking about).

Anyway, whenever I go to a cool restaurant or visit some fun event all the official info and links will be on the hotelsbycity space and I'll give you a heads up.

How much money will I make??? Hmmmm... don't know, but I've made $2.09 for only 4 clicks! So that's about 50c per click, pretty good I say, it's just a matter of guessing what the people want to know about Amsterdam.

But have fun here is my profile page ;) - oh yeah, while you're there, can you just press on google links, maybe I'll make another $2 bucks horray!

OH, fun news... tonight another international visitor arrives!!! My friend from Belgium, Aurelia!! We are going to paint the town all kinds of colors! Vito dear is going to be safely OUT of town on some kind of music thingi so it'll be me and Aurelia doing city tripping.

You see, I'm soooooo scared to be allllllllll by myself in our 5th floor mansion that I had to import a friend to stay with me.... whahahahaaaa!!! I love being a girl!!! I just use it as an excuse for ANYTHING!!!!!

Hm... Vito, you sitll want to go to your music thingi? You know all the action is going to be happening around us anyway! wheeeeeee!

(That's the pic I took in December when I visited Belgium, Leffe blond! Yeah!!!)


You think I need more highlights??

>> Thursday, May 24, 2007

Vito and I were watching football (soccer) on TV yesterday...

Me: WOW! Did you see that!? That's SO weird! Didn't they JUST do the same moves like a second AGO!!??

Vito: ....yeah.... that was a replay....

Sometimes I'm blonde, and sometimes I'm REALLY blonde...


more wisdom... you're welcome!

>> Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On Tuesday morning I went to the hotel to pick up my grandparents and go with them to the Airport. I walked into this conversation:

Grandma: I told you, this is the LAST time I'm going on a touring trip like this! (They went to a few places in Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium and The Netherlands all in about 12 days)

Grandpa: Fine, next time you'll just stay home!

Grandma: I want to go on calm vacations, where you RELAX, like the Caribbean, or maybe south of France... like Nice? Where you can sit down and have some nice cappuccinos...

Oh this reminds me of another funny moment. After a great dinner out together with Vito's parents we went to their house for some coffee and sweets. I was worried that it would be hard for them to communicate together, but somehow everyone talked and laughed and understood each other! Well at one point my Grandma said:

"You, you come to us in NY. Come to us in NY!" My grandma is a very soft spoken woman, but somehow still manages to make everything she says sound like a command...

Grandpa said: "Yes, come visit, but don't wait to long!"

Everyone kinda got quiet for a moment... I thought that sounded a bit morbid...

But grandpa quickly added: "Don't wait to long! Come visit while YOU'RE still young!"

Haaha, and how fitting! He was trying to say that if anyone will be aging, it sure won't be them! My grandparents are simply refusing to get "old"!

Speaking of "old", that's how I felt when Grandma called to tell me that they have made touch down in NY and I was already seeing my second dream of the night... (and it was only 11.23pm).

Here we have it kids: "old'' is just in your head! (Just like rain actually) ha!

PS: hmm... its 11.23 now! and I can totally feel that it's way past my bed time...


The coolest thing in the Red Light District...

>> Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Grandma and Grandpa are here! We've had a busy day today, spin around the canals on a boat, the Red Lights district!

Well actually me and Grandma sat down for a Heineken by the canal as grandpa walked down further by himself to check out the "action".

Grandma: see, he just walks off and I have to sit and worry about him!

Me: oh, come on, he'll be right back, he just went to check out the naked ladies in the windows

Grandma: I know, what if he has a heart attack!???

My grandma is the worrier type. If someone is 5 minutes late to a family gathering she'll start calling the local hospitals.

Well 10 minutes later grandpa came back and super excited too!

Grandpa: Come on! I HAVE to show you something!!

Me: oh we don't care granpa, the ladies are not even naked, they're all wearing bras...

Grandpa: no, no, EVEN BETTER! Come here, come on, I've never seen anything like it!!

We had to walk down the street and see this:

(don't worry, he is only posing)

Grandma: well, since I'm up... show me the naked ladies...

After all the excitement we took a train to my town and now they're both safe and sound, away from drugs and prostitutes, snoring in the couches.

I want to be just like them when I'm 80!!!


On a bike through Weerribben...

>> Monday, May 21, 2007

No it's not the way Vito speaks to me, it was just an honest advice in response to my: "ALL the bugs are going into my mouth...!!! Ptewww!!!"

We were speeding along on our bikes past the cows chewing grass on one side and past the evergreens and big bushes of flowers on the other.

What a lovely getaway we had. Thursday was a holiday so we decided to take advantage and booked two days over in the North East of Holland. Sounds far? Well it's just about 2 hours drive! (Oh, look on the picture, me making love to the camera and there is Vito trying his hardest not to laugh at me...) Btw, do you see the big orange sun on my t-shirt?? hehehe sunny all the time!

Thurday at noon we headed out and were there by 2pm. Within 30 minutes we were already on our rented bikes that were waiting for us outside the hotel. The area is known for neverending bike paths. The first day we decided to take it super easy and only biked 20 kms... And I realized I made a pretty big goof up and took my camera leaving the battery in the charger... No problem I still have my phone camera! BUT! That picture you see up there is basically one of the very few that I took before the battery on my phone died! Uffffffaaaaa! However, I remained reasonably calm since I knew I could click over to good ol' and find pictures of the very things that I wished to take, taken by others! Hey, better then nothing, but good enough to tell the story...

The next day we headed out on a 50 km bike ride through about 4 towns and the Weerribben National Park area. In the park itself we rode by two gorgeous little towns: Kalenberg and Ossenzijl. The houses in those towns are straight out of story book! The towns itself are on tiny little islands conected by bridges. (What fun riding over them especially when some lady with two kids on her bike are riding right at you...)

Here is a great pick I found on flickr from some Japanese guy that was apparently in the area just 2 weeks before us... :)

More houses and more canals...

And look, how perfect! Someone was good enough to take a nice close up of one of the many COWS!!! Saved me the trouble of stopping and getting of my bike. Oh, and check out the house with the roof make of these stick thingis. Apparently very traditional, most houses had such roofs.

Super tired... and I still didn't finish telling about next day's visit to Giethoorn...! It'll have to wait, because my GRANDPARENTS are in AMSTERDAM! T'hat's right! I'll be hanging out with them tomorrow and we are going on a canal boat ride! I know, very toursity, but it's ok because I have my very OWN tourists to entertain!!! Wheeee!!!


Intermission on the couch

>> Sunday, May 20, 2007

So tired! But WOW! What a fabulous two days among the cows, pretty canals and the most story book style houses you've EVER SEEN!!! (Even on story book pages!) But... yes, now tired... we cycled 50km yesterday!

Also a shout out to mama Zuli :) it was her birthday yesterday, she turned 23!!!! Happy birthday mommy!!!!!! ;)

(hmm... this makes y mom younger then me... but whatever no one is counting!!!)

All kinds of stories tomorrow....

PS: I totally got away with wearing Vito's jeans... I literally put them back into the closed IN FRONT of him but he didn't realize what I was doing I guess (or why). Later though, I did tell him I wore them. "Hmm... Really?? How, when? I just took them out of the closet??" "Well, I super sneakily walked by you and put them back in there... while you were... watching..."

Tune in next week for another exciting episode when Alexandra wears Vito's shirt in a super clever attempt to execute the Layered Look...

haaaaaaahaaaa...ok too tired, must go relax....



>> Thursday, May 17, 2007

Let's say you borrowed your guy's jeans...

Do you:

a) call him and tell him about it...
b) ask him if you can borrow his jeans and when he gives permission tell him that you are already wearing them...
c) DON'T tell him about it...
d) if he sees you wearing them, DENY everything anyway...
e) confess to wearing them, then turn around and show him how PERFECTLY they fit on the butt!!!!

f) blog about it and ask for advice...

Come on ladies, r ya with me??

AND they're branded... G Star


Rachel Ray rocks my world!

>> Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Yes, that Rachel is really something! She really is not jocking when she says her meals are 30 minutes. I used her recipe to make a soup and it really did take less then 30 mins! I google all recipes. However I did cheat even on a 30 min meal. The recipe calls for home made pesto... well I skipped that part and got store bought (but only because we didn't get a food processor yet). For the sandwich I only used mozzarella and prosciutto and a doublette of pesto. Hmm... oops I skipped a few steps didn't I? Anyway I like it and it was a very fast recipe. Why there is no Foodnetwork on tv here! I miss Rachel's hysterical laughter! Oh did you happen to catch her "$40 a day" episode when she visits Amsterdam...? Well she did NOT stop laughing the ENTIRE TIME... hmm....
Ok, on a serious note, today after work is my first dutch class at the school. Very curious to see how it is.
Weather report: Brilliant SUNSHINE!!!
(As for the recipe, find it on under Rachel Ray, it's the Vegetable and Bean Soup with Pesto.)


Weekend review...

I noticed that one of the interesting things about living in a new country is that you tend to want to do EVERYTHING! You're just in a very energetic mood that makes you act. I noticed that living "at home" makes you take it for granted and its so easy to get lazy to go out there and enjoy it. Maybe for that reason I made a mad dash to MOMA and the MET in nyc only after I realized I'd be leaving soon. Lesson learned: live your life as a tourist all the time!

This Saturday we went to the dunes behind the castle. Well not directly behind it, the dunes are huge and stretch along the coast for a few towns, but lets just say these were the dunes behind our town. Gorgeous! Well if you like nature, woods, fields and flowers and all that. I do! (Don't get me wrong, I love it to a point, especially the point that I'm only 30mins away from Amsterdam.) Anyway, the sun was shining, birds were singing flowers blooming and the SHEEP were Beehe-eehe-ing!.... Ahhhh... idylic...

Vito: um... honey, I believe these are goats actually...

Oh Goats, SHEEP, whatever, they're both cute and fuzzy and go- Beeehe! MEN, do they always have to be such know it alls!?
Look at this one, he was posing for me. SO cute!!

After roughing it in the wild... we decided to go completely cosmopolitan and went out for a dinner in Amsterdam. A Peruvian restaurant called Casa Peru on a pretty canal street. These pictures are from their website just to show the restaurant. In reality it was completely FULL! My cevice starter was delicious! The main course was yummy too, though we both agreed that the presentation could have been a bit more elaborate. The deserts of warm chocolate cake and caramel flan were really great! All in all the place is really gezellig ;) wait staff are super nice and the Argentinian red wine from Malbec that we had was mmm mmm good. Oh... and the walk back among the canals and lights reflecting in the water was double mm mm good...

Sunday apparently called for more rough action and I went indoor wall climbing with my new friends. It was a group of about 7 people leading the band were the guy from Colorado and one from Switzerland obviously two places where there are plenty of chances to climb some mountains. Anyway, it was really great fun and what a surprising feeling it is when you realize that you're climbing an inclined wall and you're resisting gravity.

I wonder what next weekend has in store... Well I kinda know. We are going to be roughing it some more in the forest! Unless it rains then we'll just have to rough at the indoor pool... Its a four day weekend, but what's more, MY GRANDPARENTS are going to be in TOWN! For now they are running around somwhere in Germany and Austria, ah those crazy kids!


Gezellig - SIMPLE translation

>> Friday, May 11, 2007

Gezellig (in dutch) - cute, cozy, happy. Dutch language teachers always have a problem explaining this word to foreigners because there is no direct translation in the english language. It means a cozy atmosphere, but ALSO happy, warm, nice. They always struggle to try to explain what it means and why it's not JUST cozy, or JUST happy. They usually end up saying, well, there is just no good translation.... sorry....
Hmm... actually it's super EASY to translate this word! To all the Dutch teachers everywhere here is what you say: Well students, imagine this... it's RAINIG... not just the calm sprinkling rain, but STORMY rain, accompanied by WIND! DARK clouds moving fast in the SKY! ... it's COLD (never mind the fact that it's May) the tree tops are bending.... Now students, imagine that this has been going on for days... WEEKS!!! Now imagine calling up your favorite buds and getting together in town at a cute restaurant. Inside the candles are lit... nice hot food is served... some drinks... laughter! You actually feel happy and forget that outside the weather is re-enacting the War of the Worlds. That, students is the meaning of Gezellig.
Or if you're a lazy teacher, or get paid by the hour, you can simply say: Gezellig is a word used in Northern Europe and Scandinavia to describe the brief moments of ESCAPE you feel from the constant RAIN and COLD.
Here is a cute try from Wikipedia... again, trying to describe the feeling and not mentioning the fact that its a way to forget about the never ending rain and darkness.
You're welcome!
Now to illustrate my point. Here are a few pics taken in a SUPER gezellig restaurant nearby in town. It's inside a villa, the restaurant is on the second floor and has very funky interior, there is a lounge on the first floor featuring cozy sofas and cushy bar stools.

Coming from New York, supposed center of the world, I am very impressed with the restaurants here. First of all the food is really delicious, and every single detail is really executed with great care! I thought perhaps it would be necessary to go to Amsterdam for nice restaurants, but we have been to many right here in the area and they have been a hit every time! The interiors are always very interesting and lots of candles!
I managed to snap these photos right before the restaurant filled up and I would feel all embarrassed. Fear not people, I plan to do a lot more of such investigative reporting as I now have a handy camera phone that I can use sneakyly!


>> Thursday, May 10, 2007

Today is my little brother's BIRTHDAY!!!

Happy Birthdaaaaaaay!!!!!!

Yes in fact that's a picture of a golf cake. Imagine that. What's more, imagine a curly blond haired, blue eyed boy somewhere in a Staten Island country club runnin' around making birdies. At the age of 7 my little bro is already categorizing his girlfriends by ALPHABET! And he is just turning 8... ohhhhh my parents are going to need some strength! (And as my mom said, they'll need to build a LARGE fence around the house so no one can get out... OR get IN!)

But for now, we are can all sleep well since the latest obsession is just golf :)

I asked him if he would visit me in Holland, his first question was:

Are there golf courses??

Well actually there are plenty, moreover, there is one right in TOWN, practically next door! Yey! He will come visit!! :) But who knows maybe the tastes will change again? Well if they do, there are plenty of cute girls here as well!


Oh no you di'n't!!

>> Wednesday, May 9, 2007

As I got out of the train in Amsterdam (yesterday) it was slightly drizzling. As I started walking towards my new work (unpaid, but work!) it started really raining (booooo!!! rain!!! boo!!!!!).


I walked by Village Bagels and got myself a Latte. A LARGE Latte. Please look at the picture... makes you wonder what a SMALL one would be like right? LOOK! If I can hold it in ONE hand, it's NOT LARGE!!! OK!??? Large is when TWO hands need to be involved. To their defense I must say it did taste good. The nice boy behind the counter did ask me a dumb question: "To stay or to go?" It's a Tuesday morning, it's raining, I'm OBVIOUSLY not on a pleasure walk, I'm clearly going to work... (work!) so yes to GO!

Half way through the cup I SIGNIFICANTLY became nicer... even the downpour did not matter anymore. Oh and btw, if you are in Amsterdam and you don't want to look like a tourist do NOT use an umbrella as you walk around under the rain. The only people I saw with umbrellas were Spanish tourists. Dutch people do not use umbrellas because they are waterproof.

On a very happy note, behold the view from my office... (office!!). I can't believe the prime location, on a canal... OHHH! And the windows actually OPEN!



>> Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Day 3... grey... Yesterday it rained the entire day and around 8pm there was a brief moment when the cloud cover broke up and you can see a tiny glimpse of light.

Today it's back to grey, but it's not raining. It's quite fitting because I'm going to work today. Officially first day. AND, you better believe it, I'm going right back to my old tricks! On the way there I spotted a "real bagel shop" all New Yorkers please sit down and calm down, of course I will not defile my pallet with non-New York bagels, that would be an adulteration way to grand. I will however take one of their COFFEES TO GO!!!!! Yes, believe it or not people, there are NO STARBUCKS in the ENTIRE kingdom of Netherlands. A few month's ago one opened up at Schiphol airport but it is in the International lounge therefore doesn't really count. I don't particularly care for Starbucks exactly (due to extortion of $5 cups), but I do care for walking around with my coffee in hand so I can continually administer caffeine into my body.
So yes, walking around with your coffee is just not done around here. I think that's nuts, if there is no sunshine, coffee is the next best thing! Oh and just in case you're wondering what's the third best thing... well OBVIOUSLY new shoes!! DUH!

Well, to be exact these are more slippers. Shoes without heels are NOT shoes. But they're golden! So they're excused...


The Dutch "suburbia" and other surprises...

>> Monday, May 7, 2007

And just like that the weather changed. It's now grey and rainy. (My little weather pixie girl is trying to brighten up the situation with her pink umbrella.)
But in the meanwhile, why not post some pics around my neighborhood. We've been viewing lots of gorgeous canals of Amsterdam, but how about some views of the "suburban life".
Here is a random apartment building...

This is just a five minute walk beyond my neighborhood. Some fields, and there are trails for running and biking.

This is also one of the neighborhood castles. About the other one I wrote here.

And here is another very typical street.

I'm a bit backlogged with many pictures and many happenings. Like just within last week there was: PIU PIU in town for an evening! Sushi night with the girls, Liberation day party in Haarlem, and beer tasting at a windmill brewery...

But this you have GOT to see!! The other day came a little puffy envelope in the mail. "Oh it's for you." Vito said. Mmmm presents for no reason!!! How romanticoooo!!! Hmmm what could it be...? It was SOME LIKE IT HOT!!!!! My absolute favorite movie in the WORLD, no, UNIVERSE!!

I remember watching it for the very first time with my parents when I was about 8 and we were on vacation to the Black Sea. When WallStr and I were in San Diego, we specifically made the trip to the Coronado Island to see the famous hotel del Coronado that was featured in the movie (though in the movie it's supposed to be Florida.)

What's your favorite movie? And I mean MOST favorite EVER!??


Loooong road ahead... you got your guns?

>> Friday, May 4, 2007

Lesson 1- pronounciation

Zus = Sister (in Dutch)

My new private dutch teacher: zus...
me: zus...

her: no, ZUS

me: ZUS

her: ZUS

me: ZUS!!!!!!!

her: ZUS!!

me: ZUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

her: ok, lets just go to the next word...

Yesterday I had my first private Dutch lesson. The thing is, due to my immense time commuting to work back in New York, I've gotten quite far in my own study of Dutch and was able to place into an intermediate level class in the language school (classes start in a week). I can understand lots, for example I can read the Metro in Dutch, and many various other things. However, because I studied on my own I wasn't exactly able to practice and correct my own pronunciation even though mumbling to yourself on nyc public transportation is THE norm.

So first lesson... hmmm I just could not HEAR the difference between what the teacher, Sarina, was saying and what I was repeating... I don't get it, I'm a master of the Spanish rolling RRRRrrrr; I can even fake a pretty good Napoletan dialect!!! But this Dutch thing... hmm... it's even more difficult then BIKING!

There is no use for the Spanish "R'' nor the sway of Italian to help me learn Dutch, but one thing my previous experience with languages taught me is that you must put in the TIME. There is no way around it, to speak well and to speak correctly you must practice and that takes time.

I'm going to study with Sarina once or twice a week to really concentrate on talking and making correct sentences. Judging from the first lesson, this promises to be very helpful, the entire time she spoke Dutch exclusively and if I didn't understand something she phrased it differently but always in Dutch. On my part I continually kept trying to feed her various cookies and explained (in Dutch) that I come from a family that eats ALL the time. She is the typical tall and slender Dutch chick, but boy oh boy, she likes the cookies!! We're going to get along great! More cookies she eats, less for me!! Hurray! Oh yeah, and the whole language lessons thing is really helpful too... Excuse me, I will now go and gargle... Oh, not for the purpose of dental hygiene, just to practice the gurgling "G" in Dutch... Ohhhhhhhhh.....
(Picture above: is one of the trails leading to the beach... it looks isolated but right next to it is a bike pad and next to that is a road... but there are other trails just like it going through the dunes that ARE isolated, I'll only go on them with big bad Vito, because I don't want to be robbed at gun point or anything... yep... It'll also take TIME to rid myself of New York City mentality.)


>> Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Yo, someone is clearly playing with my mind! What would YOU think if you arrived at your new home in a new country and saw your old car parked RIGHT IN FRONT!???? (A car that you SOLD!)
Yep, every morning as I come outside I see it... I have to spy up who the owner of the car is. Maybe it's like ME, but DUTCH???? Whohw dude, that would be like... soooo weird!!
Ok, and now on a serious note. I'm proud to announce that I got a JOB! YEY! Ok, calm down, it's not paid since obviously I'm my work papers are still in progress, but a volunteer position at a non profit organization. The great thing is that I get to be their marketing/PR chick! And it's part time so I'll still get to enjoy the summer and etc! (That is, unless I get another project somewhere...)
The office is in the center of Amsterdam on a canal street with big windows overlooking the canal...


Queen's day Amsterdam 2007!

That's right people, I'm here to report on the biggest street party in the Netherlands. If you want actual history and other educational value type information please read more here.

In essence Queen's day is a HUGE country wide STREET party! Some people dress up in the royal color orange, some wear orange hats or other accessories. Live performances by bands are set up in many squares and there are beers sold everywhere along the street.

Canals are packed with boats some sailing by with loud music. Oh yes, and many people set up blankets where they sell everything they don't need. (Exactly like a garage sale, a country wide one.)

Now in spite of what should be inevitable craziness that usually seems to result when you put hoards of people, beer, boats and water together, I must say all the festivities seemed very nicely contained. That is, everyone seemed to be having nice clean fun. There was no pushing, not too much yelling, a bit of very subdued dancing in specifically designated areas. Really, I was surprised, I did have an idea that there might be some ruckus. Once again proves that Dutch people are normal... that's just SO weird! I've never been around so many normal people.

One thing I do have to comment are the bathroom breaks. Yes, if you're throwing down a few sooner or later you just gots to go, ya know what I'm sayin'? Anyway, for boys the resolution is a simple one. Portable street toilets... (I did not take this picture, just got this one of the internet.)

For girls it's a bit more tricky. All the pubs and cafes have HUGE lines to use the bathroom and obviously us ladies are not about to pie in the street like the boys! The ladies use a Royal Toilet! Well in the spirit of making a buck or two, some people not only sell their junk but also put out a table with home made goodies, cookies, cake, lemonade, tea or whatever... some people were very creative and opened their house for toilet use! A big orange sign outside labeled the house "Royal Toilet" and for a 1€ fee (50c more then to use the bathroom at a pub) you can use their bathroom! There was hardly a line and a nice clean bathroom. I just thought it was hilarious. While there, the owners offered (for free) some home made candies!
It was on this street... see the hordes of people!
And now just some pictures of all the excitement...

....and street food galore!!! Indonesian chicken with peanut sauce...

That's all folks, move it along, nothing more to see... :)

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