My dear friend Sha was recently in Europe and as such we got to hang out, a lot. She commented on how many of her friends who have blogs haven't been posting recently and it seems as though many of us are living our lives rather than writing about them. And that's certainly what I've been doing!
I went and met up with the aforementioned Sha in Venice. It went something like this:
Sha: I'm going to Venice for the weekend, want to join me? Me: (hesitates about 5 minutes) Ok.
So, I got a day off of work, put some of my air miles to good use and went to Venice for the weekend.
Venice is everything you imagine it to be and everywhere. So often when I travel I end up in the "real" part of a city, where people actually live and where it stops looking like the post cards. But this never happened in Venice. It really is that picturesque, everywhere. At least when you're on the islands of Venice anyway.
It's all narrow canals with gondoliers:
Hordes of tourists:
I, of course, hated the hordes of tourists, but somehow managed. Of course, I had Italian coffee, pizza for breakfast and wine for dinner to sooth me. Rarely do I immediately think of returning to a place, but I'm already planning a return trip for April break with my parents.
Then there was prom and graduation. Both really nice events, though somehow they were planned over a four day weekend!?!
Prom was on a boat:
There was beer and wine. And it was really fun. The boat made it great as it was only our students and teachers.
Here I am with the Assistant Head of the Upper School:
Graduation was interesting. There were singing/band acts in the middle.
And when each student's name was read there was about 20 seconds of a song of their choosing played. It ranged from heavy metal to show tunes to the Beatles. But in the end, that part was mostly awkward as the student just stood on stage in the middle with everyone staring at them. There were only 2 or 3 that did some sort of dance. Hopefully that will change in the up coming years.
Then suddenly the school year was over. I went with the grade 10 class to Wallabi World (why is a Dutch amusement park named after an Australian animal?!)
And then it was really over. And now it's summer holidays. I've been to Muenster, Germany. It is a small town that was completely destroyed in WWII and completely rebuilt to look like it used to. It's full of older people and because of that yarn stores. I was in heaven.
Here's Joz at our first cafe. Note the cliental, I'm not kidding when I say the town is mostly older people.
I went with my friend Joz and her 2.5 month old bebe L:
The baby fell asleep in my arms 3 times. That feeling of rocking a baby to sleep, having them sleep in your arms, it's incredible. Not so incredible that I want it (for now anyways) but it was pretty awesome. As was the chance to take funny pictures of her like this:
We got to go to the great farmers' market and got rained on quite a bit: but that left more time for playing Quiddler in cafes.
When it wasn't raining we went to the (free!) botanical gardens:
Now I'm back in Amsterdam. Laura and I went to hear (free, again!) opera in Vondelpark:
And I built a ladder for my cat to climb more easily in and out the roof window. I haven't seen her use it yet though. But she's been super cute:
And that's the life I've been living. I'm off to California tomorrow to continue with the living.
It was "Queen's Day" here, which is a huge national celebration of the Queen's birthday. Think Mardi Gras, except that everyone was wearing orange, there were no beads and the day began with a mass yard sale, which ended at noon when the drinking began. It was an experience, but I don't really need to repeat it. I'm also really glad I stayed in Ouderkerk rather than going to Amsterdam.
This photo was taken just after noon about 5 houses up from me. As you can see, not so crowded yet:
This one was about 14:00 across the river. Lots of orange, everywhere.
I stopped taking pictures after that, because I don't really need loads of photos of people drinking outside. The highlight was spending a day outside as it was (as you can see) gorgeous.
I enjoyed today, the day after queen's day better. I rode my bike to Uithoorn along the Amstel River (about 10 km) and had a lovely brunch. The return trip was all up-wind, so took a bit longer, but the only people out today are those who are serious about their biking. So hardly any cars or other traffic. Lovely.
There's this flower garden. It's pretty touristy. But was also awesome. And had so many different types of tulips. And other flowers. It was awesome. These are just a few... I took 80 some. Boring, I know, but some of the photos are pretty good. So go have a look...
Just heard about the shooting in Alphin a/d Rijn. I'm guessing (hoping) that I'll know no one involved as I don't even know where that is. Terrible though. I can't imagine how scared people were during those 10 to 20 minutes.
Um, guess I never found the time to post in March. To say that I've been busy would be the understatement of the century. But busy in a good way. Joy! was here to visit from California immediately followed by my sister and cousin. So on top of working, and taking online classes towards my masters I've also been having a lot of fun with friends and family. Just returned from a weekend on the island of Terschelling in fact. I'm going to start posting some pictures and will try to write a longer update on Tuesday on the plane headed to Indianapolis (I'm going to the NCTM national conference, which is super geeky and AWESOME, for me).
Yesterday Bree and I spent the day roaming the city shopping with our mutual friend Pat. Pat used to live in Barcelona and her husband still does. We spent the day shopping and then sharing some wine. When Bree and I would have thrown in the towel and headed back to our lovely B&B for a nap, Pat wouldn't let us. Instead plying us with coffee and water so that we could forge ahead.
And in the end, we went to Quimet & Quimet where we met up with Pat's husband for some tapas. It was a tiny place that in passing you would think was a liquor store. And it did have loads of wines, a few beers and whiskeys. But there behind the counter, you spy some lovely foods. Incredibly fresh, we tried many and they were almost all incredible. All the while standing up surrounded by locals and a few other tourists.
Here's Bree, Pat and her husband:
And here's some of the food (click to go to Flickr for notes with descriptions of each item):
My favorites were the razor neck clams, the fava beans, the beef and the white asparagus (which I forgot to photograph).
Remember I said we were going to London for the boy's birthday. Well we did and had a great trip. We ate some really good food and walked a ton! It was lovely to walk along the Thames, they've really developed it into a nice pedestrian area.
So here we are in front of Buckingham Palace: That's me holding my two new pairs of boots (I think I'm addicted to boots)
And here we are wearing bibs as we at yummy noodle soup at Pho Cafe in Soho:
And now on a bridge crossing the Thames with Big Ben just barely in the background:
At one point in the trip I mentioned that I wanted to return to see Wicked and he told me he'd never heard of it. So I say, "It's the story of the Wicked Witch of the West." Blank look. "You know, from the Wizard of Oz." "That's American, I've never seen/heard of it." "Dorothy? Toto? The yellow brick road? Munchkins? Flying monkeys?" Obviously there is some serious cultural sharing that I need to do. Maybe he'll enjoy it the most if I play it along with The Wall though...