Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 in review (Or: Oudjaarsavond)

oudjaarsavond = Old Year’s Eve. I can’t believe it’s been two years since my last oudjaarsavond celebration.


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 16,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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Oliebollen vendors (Or: The crazy things to get noticed)

From Marco…

When Niki and I were doing some shopping the other day, we walked past an oliebollen kraam. While we didn’t buy any, we took a picture. Usually they are just regular looking food truck types.
This one had some crazy winter type stuff painted on it, of the “Tiroler” type. So some buxom serving wenches, beer steins etc. We didn’t need to buy oliebollen since my mom is making them for us. Yay.

oliebollen vendor in the Hague
Today was a lazy Sunday. We went to the Albert Heijn to get soup and bread for dinner and we read some pages of a Dutch book. Then we prepared to watch football. The Chicago Bears just won their game (but aren’t guaranteed a playoff spot yet) and next up are the Packers.
Oh and I spent some time playing a game on my tablet (playmobil pirates) while Niki did some work for the Avatar game we play.

I can’t believe we have one day left in this year.
It’s been a hectic one but a good year.
Now we gear up for 2013… Probably even more hectic. But Niki and I are ready for it!

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Twelfth day (Or: Some keys of my own)

One of the trips that Marco and I made this week was to the key shop to make copies of his keys (apartment entrance key, apartment door key, and mailbox key). 🙂

my own Dutch apartment keys

In my defense, I did not ask for the kitty design. It was just the one that they currently had available. ;p (But it does make it easier to tell the three keys apart, that’s for sure!)

Marco, Roger and I also went to Sumo (sushi and grilled restaurant) for dinner. In that restaurant, you are served in rounds, and it is all you can eat (if you arrive at 5PM like we did, you can eat until 7:30PM).

sake at a sushi restaurant

A drink of sake!

You can have up to 6 rounds of food, and you can have 5 items per person per round (so really it’s just a maximum of 15 total).

food at a sushi restaurant

round 1 of 4 (the first few dishes – probably about 6 or 7 more to arrive). Mostly sushi, with some chicken on the left and some mixed fruit in coconut sauce on the bottom (the last being sooo delicious)

We got to round 4, though we took it slow and ended at 7:30PM.

Dessert is your choice of an ice cream scoop. I had green tea, Marco had mango, and Roger had red bean ice cream. Good stuff! Next time I definitely need to try the mango ice cream, as it definitely had a kick to it.

ice cream at a sushi restaurant

Mango ice cream on the left, red bean above, and my green tea ice cream on the bottom

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Eleventh day (Or: My first smartphone!)

So I have finally advanced into the world of the technologically able by getting an iPhone 5 for Christmas (Marco’s present to me!).

iPhone 5 screen

Note the “Vodafone NL” at the top (Vodafone being the provider). Woot.

To be clear, I have never had a smartphone (or had a true need for one, honestly). In December 2007 mom and I went to a Verizon store and I purchased a prepaid Samsung phone. It came complete with keys that only had abc, def, etc – which made texting fun (read: slowwww).

But it only cost $15 a month – and technically it only cost $15 a month because that was the minimum amount you needed to add to the account to prevent your surplus from being wiped out and being set back to $0 (which happened to me twice – didn’t trust auto-pay). Otherwise I could have gotten by with less. It was more of an emergency type phone until the last half of 2012 when I began to use it more.

At the moment I am not even sure where I left that old phone in this place. It doesn’t work anymore anyway – there’s no service out here because I didn’t schedule anything with Verizon. But I knew in advance that this would be the case, from my first trip visiting the Netherlands. I can still get access to texts and phone numbers, though.

The main reason I wanted to make a jump to the smartphone is a need for independence – mainly Google Maps. I already have an iTouch which has served me well over the years, but it only has wifi and I need to be able to wander the Hague at will as it’s obviously much larger than Pearl River, New York ever was. Using Marco’s map app on his phone is what proved to me that I could survive in the Hague, as I did when left to my own devices for a week last summer (he had to work that week).

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Tenth day (Or: Something for my dad)

Here’s a quick look back at the brief weekend trip the three of us took to New York City right before we returned to the Netherlands. One thing we stumbled on was A Christmas Story musical, which is the movie I mentioned on Monday after Roger got me the DVD. Dad and I used to watch it every Christmas, as it was on a 24 hour marathon on the TBS channel…

A Christmas Story musical

A NYC Christmas Story musical

Notice the lampshade in the second image. ;p Marco and I had a quieter day today. Earlier in the afternoon we went to a few different department stores so I would have an idea of what they sell, although mostly what they sell right now is winter clothes and jackets which isn’t what I am looking for.

We also took advantage of the late shopping hours that occur in the Hague on Thursday nights and went to pick up groceries for a late dinner. Afterwards, we enjoyed a glass of white beer (Korenwolf brand) while watching the Incredible Hulk. Another movie to catch me up to Marco’s geekiness. ;p Slowly but surely… but I wouldn’t be too worried until I start reading his comics!

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Ninth day (Or: Another Christmas meal!)

Today Marco and I went to his dad and wife’s apartment for another Christmas meal. (Yay – two official days of Christmas means two meals!)

We had soup for an appetizer, which was noodles, chicken, and some sort of small green leaves. Afterwards, we were served a baked egg resting in tomato sauce, which was interesting. I have not eaten many eggs in my life, but it was nice as a rare appetizer. You can actually see it in the image below, on the plate.

The main meal is pictured below:

Christmas meal in the Netherlands

The furthest left dish was chicken legs (chicken on a bone). The second dish on the left was green beans with onions. The following dish was chicken with sauce, and then furthest right dish was rice with curry.

Dessert was chocolate and vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and a yellow sauce that can only be described as “bitter eggnog” (it was good) and a hard waffle to sample. Afterwards we all enjoyed a cup of coffee (zwarte or black for me). As you can tell below, the dessert was already half eaten when the picture was taken. ;p

ice cream sundae in the Netherlands

At some point during the night Marco set up the Christmas present he gave his dad – a new wireless router. It only took two tries and a hard reset of the router and modem to get it started, but it worked after a bit. Then since they had wireless internet Marco and I could finally set up their Apple account for their iTouch. Once that was finished, I downloaded a Dutch news app for them (Nieuws RTL) and a Mahjong app. I figure by tomorrow both of them will have downloaded twenty game apps… each. 🙂

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Eighth day (Or: Dutch gourmetten in action)

Today Marco and I went to his mother’s for a Christmas meal. I was pleased to hear that we were going to have gourmetten, something I haven’t had for two years.

gourmetten pan warming up

First, a picture of the gourmetten pan warming up, with oil on top and in the six little pans below. We turned it on in advance and waited for about 30 minutes.

various condiments for gourmetten

Above are most of the condiments that she provided, including the yellow mustard (an American thing, but sold at Albert Heijn), mayonnaise, knoflooksaus (garlic sauce), salt, pepper, etc. There was also little pieces of bread and garlic butter, which I find quite tasty.

pizza bacon and green beans for gourmetten

Above, some of the things that were put on the pan – at bottom, little individual pizzas (yum) and up top, green beans wrapped in bacon.

Dutch gourmetten pan in action

The Dutch gourmetten set in action – chicken and pork on the left, sausages in the middle, and bacon (I think) and other meats on the right. Below was shoarma I believe. Yum. In the bowl at the bottom of the picture you can see pindasaus – one of Marco’s favorite sauces. It’s from Indonesia. I actually liked the way that his mother made it – lighter on the tongue. The store bought version Marco used a few days earlier was a bit too heavy for me.

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Seventh day (Or: A Christmas story)

It’s hard to believe that I have already been in the Netherlands for a week. It does not feel like that – although that might be because Marco still has vacation for a bit longer. Who knows. 😉

This afternoon, the three of us went to the movies to see the Hobbit. This time we went to Pathé Buitenhof, a new movie theater for me. The Hobbit was pretty good, although I didn’t know until a few days ago that they were going to make this story a three part movie as well. The scenery was bright and colorful, while the 3D wasn’t too distracting in the movie.

Afterwards, we went back to our place to have hamburgers and mashed potatoes while we watched a bit of the 49ers – Seahawks game. We finished up the night watching A Christmas Story, which was a gift Roger gave me for Christmas. So I can pretend that I am back in America watching the movie on the TBS channel’s 24 hour marathon (Christmas Eve through Christmas day).

One thing I forgot to mention – when we were at Roger’s a few nights ago we ordered takeout. I ordered shoarma with garlic sauce (also known as shawarma) which was a delicious meat dish. I also ordered raspatat, which is like (french) fries, just slightly more condensed. I am looking forward to ordering that meal again!

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Sixth day (Or: Back to American football)

Today was definitely a nice lazy day, with no one visiting.  We woke up a bit earlier than usual, though it was still difficult. I don’t feel that tired once I am actually out of bed though. I am sure sticking contacts on one’s eyes definitely helps!

Late in the afternoon, we made our way over to Albert Heijn, which is a bit crazy to maneuver through on a Sunday at 4PM. We just finished dinner, which was tomato soup with bread slices and hard sesame seed breadsticks. And now ESPN America has been turned on, to watch some NFL (football). The first game is Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers, and after that it is the New York Giants at the Baltimore Ravens.

It definitely feels weird to watch football at 7PM versus the 1PM I am used to on the east coast. The day is already more than half over before football comes on! But otherwise it is okay. Depending on how late you stay up, you can watch almost all of the second game before it hits midnight. So one could definitely get a good dose of football if desired.

ESPN America

Categories: Daily Dutch living | Tags: | 3 Comments

Fifth day (Or: Hanging with friends)

Today we managed to get up a bit earlier, with the help of a carefully crafted alarm clock scheme which was set to go off earlier in the morning. It mostly worked…

For lunch we went simple this time – my request was bread with cheese and jalapeno slices. It wasn’t slices of bread but rather little bread pockets which you bake and then cut open to stick the cheese and jalapenos inside.

Marco’s mom visited at 1PM, so we had a lot of fun torturing Marco as she tried to explain various events and stories in Dutch and English (though I am not sure Marco calls that type translating fun!). Now after a cup of tea she has departed, and here I am writing the blog post.

Of course, I am writing this blog post earlier in the day as we will be going over to Roger’s in a few hours to have dinner and watch various tv shows and wrestling. Generally Marco doesn’t get back until pretty late so I didn’t want to have to start the blog post at that time of night.

Here is the Christmas tree that we put together (Marco did 98% of the work on the branches and the lights, but I got pretty into the decorations even though you cannot see that them well here):

Christmas tree 2012

Categories: Holidays | Tags: | 2 Comments

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