Monthly Archives: May 2016

PostNL (Or: The fun of trying to get a package delivered)

Earlier in the month I requested a new passport from the American consulate. Not because my old passport was expired (I had another 4 years) but because I wanted to change my last name to my married name. Yay!
I must say that the process definitely seemed confusing at first. Of course, you need an official copy of the marriage certificate as evidence that you are married, which you can request from city hall. But when I received the marriage certificate, it said that my last name after marriage was still my maiden name. It turns out that in the Netherlands your last name is still your maiden name, but you can use a different last name in certain circumstances. You need to tell city hall what your preferred last name is and then any organization which gets your data from city hall’s records will use it unofficially (Den Haag article).

But since I got married a few years back, this information slipped my mind. So imagine my shock when I received the marriage certificate and it said that my last name was still my maiden name even after getting married. What! But after speaking with the American consulate it seems they are quite used to this – just send the information, they said.

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A new experience (Or: Blood donation in the Netherlands)

Last month my workplace held a blood donation information session at work. Representatives from Sanquin, the national blood bank, came to pass out pamphlets for possible registration as a blood donor. I’ve actually donated at least a handful of times in America, but I was curious to see how the process differed between there and here. Some of the differences include:

  1. The American system is based much more on blood donation on site – I never actually set foot within an actual blood bank. Instead I would donate at libraries or at work. The workers came to you. While they do have mobile blood banks in the Netherlands, more of the donations take place within the blood bank itself, after you receive a request to come in by mail.
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Adventures in Malieveld (Or: The Hague skyline)

Last week Marco and I visited Malieveld, a large grass field near Central Station which hosts everything from festivals to carnivals and even (pre-approved) protests and demonstrations. The weather was great for an after-dinner stroll.

Take a look at The Hague’s skyline from this area:

Den Haag skyline from Maliveld

There’s even an animal farm, complete with (slightly skittish) deer.

Deer at Maliveld Den Haag 2

I am looking forward to the next day of bright sunshine and warm temperatures. The city definitely comes alive!

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Rrrollend Den Haag (Or: Food trucks… and books)

Yesterday Marco and I had a quick look at the Rrrollend food truck festival at the Lange Voorhout (next to Buitenhof).

The first thing you see when you enter the festival is stacks of books, which caught my eye enough to take a few photos of them:

Books at Buitenhof Den Haag 2

And Buitenhof above:

Books at Buitenhof Den Haag 1

And just the books:

Books at the Rrrollend Food truck festival Den Haag

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Palace Garden (Or: Enjoying a day off)

As I mentioned in my last blog post, Thursday was a holiday here in the Netherlands – Ascension Day (40 days after Easter). It was also Liberation Day (Dutch | English). For most people, that is only an official holiday every 5 years (2015, 2020, …) so most people had the day off because of Ascension Day.

But the reason Thursday was so great was the weather – 18c, or low 60s. A great day of sun that almost everyone got to enjoy. Since Friday we’ve been in the 70s.

Marco and I went to Hometown Coffee where I again ordered my iced mocha coffee. Yum! Marco got a blended cappuccino. Due to the good weather we decided to take a walk. Somewhere along the way we decided to go to the Palace Garden (Paleistuin in Dutch) where we found a bench to soak up some sun and watch the kids play on the playground.

image

And that’s the thing – good weather is precious here in the Netherlands and something to enjoy. The city comes alive in this time, with the outdoor cafés crowded, every table in the sun taken. It’s a great time!

(And here is a shoutout to my mom on this Mother’s Day!)

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Tricks of the eye (Or: Is that …?)

Marco and I recently had coffee at Hema, splitting a slice of apple pie. On the way out, we noticed some of Hema‘s famous sausage:

Marzipan sausage at Hema

Except that this was in the candy aisle. The sausage was made of marzipan! (Marzipan is apparently rather popular over here, but not so much in America).

I also noticed some chocolate bars which say “You are sweet” and “Thank you”. The problem with this is I have some good memories of the chocolate bar when it used to be in Dutch (“Ik vind je lief“) so it is a bit odd to see it in English. For example, the first time Marco gave me one when I still lived in America…

Thank you and You are sweet chocolate bars

And finally, a what the heck? kind of image. Check out this Kit Kat flavor Marco and I saw at the Asian store:

Sweet potato kitkat flavor

That’s right – if you look at the pricing card underneath you will see it is sweet potato flavor… All right-y then.

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Bendy cats (Or: A Monday pick me up)

Special to you for your Monday morning:

Cat lounging around

This is Roxy (Roxie?), a friend’s new cat. She is quite bendy. She’s actually lying in a basket attached to a “cat playing structure”, but contently hanging over the edge. For the record, she was already doing that for some time before I walked over to take the photo.

Happy Monday, everyone! (Of course, if you’re in the Netherlands you’re probably at least partially comforted by the fact that you have Thursday off for Ascension Day — at least, I hope you get it off.)

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