Day 86 – Expect the Unexpected

Today didn’t go as planned. So what? You have to just roll with whatever comes your way and be ok anyway. I’ll share a couple highlights of the unexpected.

First, I wanted to workout in my garage before my tutor arrived and I was bummed when it didn’t happen. But the good thing is that I texted Miriam to see is she could play (I mean kick my butt in tennis, which she did) and we met up for a quick game before kid pickup. In the middle of our match, we got kicked off because the middle school PE classes had priority on the courts. So we changed plans again and walked to Starbucks for a cold drink. It was hot today and their new smoothies were pretty good. Not planned, but totally awesome.

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Second thing that went wrong today is that the automatic door on my minivan (I dislike having a minivan even though it’s so practical!!) just broke and wouldn’t close at all. I was on my way to drop Char off at practice and then I was stuck! My command voice came out and instructed all 3 kids to band together and walk/bike/skate to practice and to stay together. They did it without trepidation. I realized then and there my kids were growing up into responsible and independent people and I felt proud. And then back to my frustration about what to do without a car!! Quickly I made three calls – first to the car dealer who instructed me to drive it to the dealer with the car door open anyway but without kids in the car within 45 minutes before they closed. Secondly, I interrupted my husband, to share my bad news. And finally, I called my neighbor, Kristin, who is usually taxing kids around town to see if I could hitch a ride home from the dealer. And Voila – problem solved… Just like that! I was home within an hour and before the kids came back from the park, like nothing happened. So what? I was nervous as heck driving the car down El Camino with my flashing lights on and people honking at me like I didn’t know my car door was open. I had that stupid grin on my face, a little embarrassed and a little bit scared. But it all worked out.

Strange how life works when you don’t over-react. I’m thankful for my neighbor and friend for helping me out. I’m thankful that my kids are growing up. And I’m hopeful that the repairs won’t cost a gazillion dollars! Life is good.

Day 87 – School Applications

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I’ve just spent the last three hours finishing up the second part of the application process to get our kids into a school in Holland. I feel like I’m getting practice for when the time comes to apply for colleges. This is seriously a difficult and challenging task. There isn’t a checklist and there are lots of separate pieces and parts to aggregate. And you need help from the outside, such as teachers and registrars and medical personnel. I’m thankful for everyone’s cooperation. Everything takes time and there are delays in the process. I’m just hoping I have everything they need and that we can decide this week. We kinda have to pick the school before we pick our house. Otherwise I might be home schooling them and that might be more than I bargained for in this adventure!

I admire all the moms, especially Marcia and Marcia and Lenka and Kerry, who have diligently helped their kids through this process and have helped their kids navigate to their university of choice. It must feel like a huge accomplishment. And thanks for the advice to help me just think about what will be in front of my eyes before I even blink!

Day 88 – Queen’s Day Celebration in San Francisco

A busy day today, fitting in as many things as possible! We started the day at 6 am, getting ready and helping out at the PEO fundraiser garage sale. It was great to clean out our closets and donate items to fund scholarships for women. I loved being with my sisters, working together and laughing at all the crazy bargain shoppers.

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After the garage sale, we picked up J’s friend and headed up to San Francisco to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. Next year we’ll be celebrating in Holland dressed in orange. The coolest connection that happened today was meeting a family from Utrecht with two kids who are 8 and 11. They were expats here for the past two years and are heading home on the same day and flight as we will probably be on to begin our journey. Weird coincidence! Ellis was so sweet to me and gave me her contact info in case I need anything once I arrive. I am so lucky. I hope to see her again. We also saw Pauline at the festival, selling her leather Dutch bags! Small world.

We got back in time to see Char’s baseball game and help out in the snack shack.

And now it’s time to relax with friends, have a drink and BBQ.

Life is Good.

 

Day 89 – Passport Renewals Today

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I guess we’re really moving. We need to renew the kids’ passports before we go. They look so little in their old photos from four years ago and now seem so grownup.  The good news is that both parents need to be there for the appointment, so we get a family date to the Post Office!  Whoohoo!  Always something good in everything, right?  Do you have your passport updated because I know y’all will want to come for a visit, in 90+ days, right?  😉

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you have a great weekend.  xo

Day 90 – It’s Raining…So What?

It was raining a bit this morning so it was too wet to play my tennis
match, but just right for a hike.  Typically I would use the rain as
an excuse to hibernate, but not today.  Michele would have been so
disappointed if I wimped out. You see, she “made” me step out of my
comfort zone to hike in the rain once before, even before I knew we
were moving to Holland.  I would probably never have considered hiking
in the rain if it wasn’t for her.  Plus, I needed to see her because
we’ve both been so busy that I hadn’t seen my hiking friend since
before our Amsterdam visit.  So off we went, in the rain and had a
great non-stop chat and hike through Rancho San Antonio.  The trails
were pretty empty and we saw a wild male turkey preening for the
atention of three females.  Very cool. Thanks, Michele…  I loved
today with you and can’t wait to go again!! xo

Day 91 – Coffee with the Dutch Ladies

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Today I invited Dutch friends, Dutch friends of friends, and their friends over to my house for coffee. Can I just tell you how great this little, Dutch ritual is?  Women gathering in the morning to sit and share a conversation over a warm cup of coffee in cute little cups with lepeltjes and stroopwafels and other tasty bites is so gezellig!  I want this for all my friends. It’s something we are often missing in Silicon Valley, although our potluck BBQs are sort of like this. It’s a time to just be together without rushing to the next event or multi-tasking. It’s something the Dutch are very good at.

Gezellig doesn’t have a literal translation in English – it’s sort of intangible and something you just feel. Its meaning includes everything from cozy to friendly, from comfortable to relaxing, and from enjoyable to gregarious.  According to Wikipedia, “A perfect example of untranslatability is seen in the Dutch language through the word gezellig, which does not have an English equivalent. Literally, it means cozy, quaint, or nice, but can also connote time spent with loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness.”

Thank you Barb, Brigitta, Pauline, Ilse, and Elsbeth for spending the morning with me and for the downtime, that I usually don’t allow for myself. Let’s do it again soon – I have 90 days left, or we can always meet again in Amsterdam. 🙂

Make time for coffee – it’s a great gift to give yourself. xo

Day 92 – Learning a New Language

I had my second Dutch lesson yesterday, and boy was my brain working hard. Ilse gave me her daughter’s Dutch Dora the Explorer computer to use for practice! We had fun laughing at the dancing Dora who was speaking Dutch to us. I listened with curiousity as the kids copied after Dora, sounding out the alphabet letters. They made learning a new language look so easy. 

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I, on the other hand, was supposed to share with my volleyball friends what I had learned during my lesson, since they so graciously waited for me to play. But by the time I got to the field, I was already struggling to remember the conjugations and the right verbs to use, that I had just used an hour before.  It made me appreciate how hard our kids work to master new “languages” every day at school such as math and science.

I came home that night and thanked my oldest son for not giving up on math and for spending hours and hours  trying to learn the new concepts.  Math doesn’t come easily to him, yet he continuously tries and practices and has a great attitude about it. I want to be just like him when I grow up! I thanked him for doing his best even though it isn’t easy for him, and told him that I appreciated his attitude to keep on trying and to keep on practicing, despite the challenge. He smiled and gave me a hug.

Now, I’m hoping to do the same, even though it’s hard and I’m not good at it yet. And I hope to speak Dutch one day very soon, just like Dora!.  😉