Monthly Archives: July 2013

Riverside Receptions (Or: Wedding overlooking Fox River)

On Saturday my brother got married in Geneva, IL at Riverside Receptions. The wedding was absolutely gorgeous, as it overlooks the Fox River. The bride and groom worked very hard to pull this off, and it definitely showed! The pictures that the photography company (Le Cape Weddings) took were very creative and absolutely stunning.

Here’s a view of the Fox River, from one of our cameras:

view of Fox River from Riverside Receptions



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Photographer (Or: To the moon ‘n back

Marco and I have found a photographer! This was the last major thing on the wedding to-do list, so we’re pretty happy right now.

We chose Anna Green, a freelance photographer who is a friend of a friend of a friend…you know how it goes. Her website has the tagline “To the Moon ‘n Back” and includes a lot of beautiful photos.

To celebrate the occasion she also gave us a bottle of Helfrich champagne. How sweet of her. 🙂

Helfrich champagne bottle 2

Helfrich champagne bottle

At the time of this posting, Marco and I are probably waiting at Dublin’s airport for a layover to Chicago (go scheduled WordPress posts!). We’ll be in Chicago for about a week for my brother’s wedding.

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Pink! (Or: Dutch emergency passports)

Here is a fun story for you. Of course, it wasn’t so fun for Marco at the time…

In the summer of 2009, Marco visited me in New Brunswick, New Jersey. As fate would have it, he arrived a few days before my job interview at the college I ended up working at as a librarian. He was thus able to come with me to New York for the interview, though he stayed behind in Pearl River when I took a taxi to the job. But that’s actually not part of the story.

The interview was on July 2nd, 2009. After it was over and the taxi pulled back into Pearl River, I was so relieved. I could finally relax and look forward to the fireworks show in New York on July 4th! We ended up going into the city in the morning and staking out a seat around 4PM for the 9:30 or 10PM fireworks showing. It was spectacular, of course.

Fireworks July 4 2009 New York City

fireworks set off from 6 barges in Hudson River… this was actually only the fireworks from two barges. The same show was repeated (exactly) on all barges at the same time.

The only thing you were missing was being so close to the fireworks that you could feel the explosions in your chest…

Anyway, so that was Saturday, July 4th, 2009. I believe that Marco was scheduled to leave the States and return to the Netherlands on Saturday, July 18th. On Thursday the 16th, early in the morning, I took a shower and left Marco to his business in my living room.

When I came back, it looked like a tornado had come through. Luggage strewn everywhere, clothes, documents — everything. I didn’t understand right away what the issue was, but Marco calmly told me that he couldn’t find his passport. 48 hours before his flight home!

Of course, I had taken so long in the shower (haha) that he had already looked up the rules on the Dutch consulate in NYC’s website, so he knew exactly what he needed to do. The embassy required a police report to be filed. Although he had last seen the passport on the morning of the 4th before we left for New York City, we had no proof that the passport was lost there. So we decided to file a police report at the New Brunswick police station.

When we went there we had to wait around for a bit for a police officer, but we eventually had one arrive. After a lot of filling out of forms, he told us that it normally takes 72 hours for a police report to be filed. After we explained that the flight was in 48 hours, he mercifully said that since it was a bit slow at the station, he might be able to speed things up. Come back tomorrow (24 hours before the flight or so!) to pick it up, first thing in the morning.

So we did – arriving right when they opened. We had to wait around a bit to be seen (not as long thankfully). Once we had the report we walked over to the train station. I had to go to work so Marco was on his own there. He went to New York, arriving around 10 or 10:30AM (not sure). He was told to get some passport photos. When he came back, he was told that he could pick up his passport on Monday morning, due to the time differences. It was 6 hours ahead in the Netherlands, so the offices were closed (after 5PM).

While of course Marco wasn’t too upset about getting to spend a few extra days in the States, that did mean taking a few extra days off work and changing his flight. He lucked out for a second time however — he had copies of his passport and he had his Dutch ID card. This turned out to be enough proof that they were able to go ahead with his emergency passport.

So in the end, he ended up getting home on time… I think it was a bit of extra questioning at the airport, but nothing too bad. The emergency passport was only good for getting back into the country once — he had to get a new passport before he came back to the States, and return the emergency one.

And here it is:

Dutch emergency passport

So that is the story of the emergency passport of July 2009. Pink! We never did find his original passport.

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New experiences (Or: Chopsticks for the first time)

Tonight Marco, Roger and I went to Sumo, a sushi and grill restaurant, one of our frequent places to eat. But this time we went to celebrate Roger’s awesome grades on two exams he was doing for his work. Two 9/10s! I think he only needed a 6 or 7 to pass… but of course he went above and beyond and studied his brains out. 😉 Go Roger!

Sumo in The Hague sake and chopsticks

Sake and chopsticks

This was also the first time that I ditched my practice chopsticks (oefenstokjes, you can see a random image of them here). The practice chopsticks are held together with a small bundle of rolled paper at the top which causes the ends of the chopsticks to have a bit of spring or bounce to them. Simply squeeze them together and you are good to go for grabbing something.

But nope – this time I forgot to ask for oefenstokjes and decided to shrug and try it with normal chopsticks. It wasn’t that hard, but I admit that I stared quite closely at Marco and Roger’s hands to see the placement of their fingers and try to copy them. It mostly worked!

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Wedding invitations (Or: Yay! Finally done

Just a quick blog post to say that we finished up the wedding invitations and and requested a sample from the printer. It looked beautiful! So Marco and I went ahead and submitted the order.

We received the email today that the order had shipped. We should have if in the next day or two. It’s nice to finally see things starting to come together, especially as we are leaving for America next week for my brother’s wedding. (Yep. Poor Mom has two weddings to deal with in two months!)

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Wedding rings (Or: One ring to rule him all)

Today Marco and I officially purchased our wedding rings. Here is his:

Hello Kitty ring

I kid, I kid. You think I’d show the wedding ring off before the big day? But the reason I used the Hello Kitty design is because he’s been known to jokingly like Hello Kitty. When I first met him he had a tiny little Helly Kitty accessory hanging off his phone (I forgot who gave it to him). When it broke off, I got him another one as a joke. But of course he put it on there because he liked it! Or me. Yeah, probably the second thing…

And let’s not forget the $1 Hello Kitty band-aids mom found on discount some years ago. He was also gifted those. I think they were found recently somewhere in this apartment.

If it wasn’t going to be a picture of a Hello Kitty ring, I was going to post a picture of the decoder ring in A Christmas Story, another one of my favorite movies. I grew up watching it every Christmas with my folks, and Marco has seen it a few times now as well. Unfortunately it is not actually a ring…

The blog title was suggested by him, but we did just watch the first Lord of the Rings movie (The Fellowship of the Ring). Not sure when we’ll put the second one in.

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Mint tea (Or: A first for me

At work a coworker offered me mint tea. With fresh leaves! It is the first time I have ever had it. It seems to be really popular in this country – not something I had seen before in America though I probably didn’t go to the right places.

cup of mint teaThe wedding stuff is going along well for Marco and I, although the stress has started to hit with trying to make the invitations out and get them sent to the printer. But it’s almost done…

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Craziness (Or: Wedding to do lists)

Okay, it seems like I’ve finally gotten into this wedding thing. (For the record, Marco has up until last week been doing about 75% of the work. Now I seem to be taking charge a bit!)

wedding to do list

So here’s the to do list so far, although it’s further along than it looks. Probably the most annoying thing has been finishing up the invitations. But I’m happy to say that I bought a wedding dress yesterday (with help from my aanstaande schoonmoeder, or mother-in-law to be). I just need to make an appointment for six weeks before the big day to get it shortened a bit and a few other things. I really am a short person. Or Dutchies or quite tall…

I’m also scheming on ways to get my mother involved (who unfortunately is still in America until the week of), so there will be a few surprises for her there

Marco and I just came back from looking at shoes, and I think I’ve found the perfect pair.  I still need to buy them, though. We’ve offered some suggestions to my parents, my brother, and his fianceé on hotel options, but we need to find and book our own hotel for a honeymoon suite. We’re also 95% sure what rings we want to get. In terms of the cake, we just got back from the place where we want to get it. We need to set up an appointment with the owner right after we get back from America (early August) and my brother’s wedding.

So the major hurdles left are the photographer (not started yet) and getting the invitations out (one last push needed). But it’s coming together nicely, that’s for sure!

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B1 (Or: Courses at ROC Mondriaan)

On Monday night I went to an open house at ROC Mondriaan in The Hague to look into a different option for continuing my Dutch language lessons at level B1 (pdf). The nice thing is that this school receives a subsidy from the city’s government, so it doesn’t cost the student nearly as much. €20 if you registered that day, €30 otherwise, plus the cost of textbooks. I decided that I would continue with B1 rather than trying to skip ahead to B2 after doing some crazy amount of studying over the summer. Probably for the best.

The open house went pretty well. There was actually a line of people waiting, but perhaps they were here for a lower level as I ended up getting taken before I even sat down. There was a bit of confusion when I said I was American (for a few minutes I thought I didn’t qualify for a subsidy) but it seems to have just been a case of the person not knowing what the rules were for Americans. My intake person asked another colleague, and he asked me for my education level. When I said Master’s that seemed to satisfy him.

All I know is that the course will likely start in September and that it will last for 20 weeks. I did say my preference was for a night course. The intake person also mentioned that I would probably take a test before the class started, to gauge my learning level so that students who learn faster (or slower) are put together.

Lastly, I’ll still be doing self-study over the summer with the other B1 course textbooks that I bought (Contact 2) so hopefully this class is also a breeze.

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