Cold & wind (Or: Where did Spring go?)

I knew I was going to be in trouble when I left work this afternoon as my earrings were basically horizontal against the wind gusts. Forget keeping the hair somewhat decent-looking – pieces of it were flying out of my hairband with every hard-fought step.

I think the hardest thing about this brief weather transition is the short taste of Spring we were given. But here I am again, zipping up the liner back into the coat and pulling out my hat and gloves for tomorrow’s use. The wind gusts will continue into tomorrow, albeit abated. After that, the temperatures will rise again, though not to their previous levels.

On the plus side, I did manage to take some pictures of the trees and flowers on campus where I work, for a future blog post. This was partially because I am not sure how many plants will survive tomorrow’s sudden temperature shock. …I am not sure I will!

In the mean time, here is another picture of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, my favorite painting:

Painting in the Royal Palace of Amsterdam

I love the use of the wall to divide the painting into two from the ceiling on down. The white is a good contrast to the paintings themselves which really makes it stand out against the art.


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60 posts (Or: 2 months down)

So this is the 60th day that I have been writing blog posts regarding the Netherlands (and all its various things to love). But to get to the Netherlands, there are a lot of things to be done. Marco and I have a Google Docs document for “stuff to buy and do” — for things to do before I get there and things to buy after I do.

Some highlights of random things on my mind:

  • figuring out how to fit everything into a limited number of suitcases – primarily so I know if I have to ship anything through the mail
  • forms I need from the United States (including, apparently, a form that says I am not yet married, for the upcoming wedding next summer)
  • forms I need to figure out for the Netherlands – residency permit, etc
  • stare at’s residence wizard (IND = Dutch Immigration)
  • learning Dutch on a daily basis, more than just 3x a week as it stands now

I am also moving forward with trying to finalize Friday, December 14th as my last work date (rather than Friday the 21st). That would be the last day of finals for the students, as the following week only the administration and staff are on campus. I have to do this now-ish because the yearly administrator work contracts will be sent out in April. Normally we work a yearly August 15 – August 14 type contact but I already told them I will be moving after the fall semester.

Morale of the story: it’s going to be an interesting year!

Here’s a random picture of Amsterdam, though I have no idea where I was when I took it. But it looks like a relaxing activity!

Paddle boats in Amsterdam

Here’s to a lot more posts in the coming months!

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Chandeliers (Or: It eclipses even the art)

I have a weakness for chandeliers. I love how beautiful they look – and how they come in all shapes and sizes. I had mentioned the chandeliers in a previous post about the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. The ironic thing is that I recall those chandeliers with more fondness than the actual art itself, though that of course was beautiful too.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the chandeliers…

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Renovation (Or: Outside the Royal Palace of Amsterdam)

As mentioned in one of my previous posts earlier this month, the royal palace of Amsterdam had been undergoing renovations to its exterior when I visited. Roger was kind enough to take a picture of the outside for me recently (taking time out of his sprint-from-the-train-to-the-ferry commute!):

Amsterdam Royal Palace, 2012

As you can see there is a lot of people walking through the courtyard — and a lot of birds who have no fear of humans anymore.

In other news, het is vrijdag! It’s Friday! But I have to work tomorrow afternoon, so any weekend exhilaration I might have is dulled by this fact — for now. Tomorrow at 5PM, I might be singing a different tune…

The next thing I am doing for my Dutch language learning is viewing episodes of Het Klokhuis — an informational program aimed at kids which still manages to have interesting content for adults. I’ll admit that part of the reason I chose this program is because most of the episodes have ondertitels (subtitles) in Dutch. It makes it a bit easier to follow along, though it’s still not that easy.

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Trains (Or: Riding the rails)

Today’s first two pictures come from Roger, Amsterdam’s #1 train commuter! It’s a long commute too: first biking to the Hague bike station, dropping off his bike, getting on the train, praying it’s not 15 minutes late again, and then sprinting from Amsterdam Centraal Station to catch is ferry to get across the river IJs. Crazy times.

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Ancient maps (Or: Inside the Royal Palace of Amsterdam)

Marco and I visited the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. It is sometimes used by Queen Beatrix during state affairs.

Prior to my visit, they had been renovating the interior of the palace, from 2005 to 2009.  When I visited, they were working on the outside of the palace. They have since finished (last month).

Royal palace of Amsterdam, the facade hidden from view during renovations

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Amsterdam canals (Or: Living on the waves)

During the first summer that I spent in the Netherlands, we did the expected canal ride in Amsterdam. It’s sort of like being a first time tourist in NYC and visiting the Statue of Liberty. I’ve managed to avoid going up to the top of Rockefeller and the Empire State building… somehow.

But I was definitely looking forward to the 1 hour canal ride. I went with Marco, his mother, and our friend Roger (the die hard NY Rangers fan… Let’s go Rangers!). Luckily we managed to be one of the first ones on the boat, so we had the pick of what seats we wanted.

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The View (Or: Looking across Amsterdam)

The public library of Amsterdam is useful for more than just library related activities (or for borrowing a computer to let someone know your phone is currently dead). It also provides a great view of the city from the 6th floor.

Construction around Amsterdam public library

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Streets (Or: The hustle and bustle of a foreign world)

My short time in Amsterdam was accentuated by the sheer amount of tourists that clustered in the streets. Of course, being a tourist myself, this meant that my friends and I were mostly doing touristy things as well, from taking a canal boat ride to visiting the Rijksmuseum.

The comparison (in my mind) between Amsterdam and the Hague is striking. By my third trip to the Netherlands, I began to feel more at home in the Hague for many reasons, not the least of which because I found myself with some time alone during the day when my fiancé had to work the first week. Thankfully I was able to maneuver around without too much trouble thanks to a phone with Google Maps, though I did find myself glancing at the screen a lot – Must not get lost, must not get lost . . .

Near the Restaurant de Roode Leeuw (Restaurant of the Red Lion), Amsterdam street

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Hooligans (Or: Voetbal or soccer, it’s all serious in the Netherlands)

Imagine the scene: dining out in Amsterdam, when all the sudden a bunch of tourists run in from outside, scrambling to the back to get away from something unknown. And all the sudden, shouting can be heard outside . . .

Eek! It’s voetbal fans from another country! July 28, 2010

Turns out Ajax was hosting a team from Greece – PAOK Salonika.

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