Day 249: Dubai

Today is Easter and we are in Dubai. That seems so strange to me but I didn’t feel home sick, like I have with the other holidays this year. It still feels strange to be in a country where most don’t celebrate it, and there are hardly any signs of the holiday. Not that I expect there to be, but when you typically acknowledge and participate in events associated with a holiday and then there are no normal cues reminding you and preparing you with all the typical accoutrement, it feels different. That’s all. Like something is missing. We had our Easter dinner at a Lebanese restaurant on The Walk near the beach, sitting outside in our sandals and shorts and short dresses. How cool is that?

Our day started by Charlie waking us up to see if the Easter bunny came or not. Of course he did, and hid candy filled eggs all over our condo and left some Easter treats on the counter.


When I looked out our window, I saw an Easter camel roaming on Jumeriah Beach! What a site to see!
20130401-005323.jpg The camels are at the middle of the photo.

We walked along what they call The Walk, filled with shops and restaurants along the beach front. There is a lot of construction happening near the water so there aren’t many ocean views along The Walk. It was very hot and humid, but we enjoyed exploring the waterfront for several hours.
The Palm and Atlantis hotel are out in the distance.
Camouflaging all the construction going on along The Walk.
Waterfalls and cranes.
Jumeriah Beach

Urban development gone wild!
Checking out the rocky beach in Dubai.20130401-011013.jpg
Sky scrapers!
Here I Am… at My happy place!
My beach friend!
Dubai Marina

Cool boat in the marina.

After walking around and having lunch, we wandered from the beach over to the marina area and explored the waterfront there and discovered the marina mall. We all enjoyed shopping in an American style, air conditioned mall and cooled off for awhile.

Afterwards, we rested in our condo and then took the kids for a night swim. Isn’t that what all kids want to do on vacation? Just swim? Yep!


Since we arrived so late last night and slept in, our timing is really off. We went out for dinner around 9:30 pm. I am thankful our kids are so flexible now, eating at off hours, trying new foods, staying up late, and sleeping in different beds. We enjoyed our late night Easter dinner outside, people watching and car watching. There was a plethora of fancy cars cruising the Walk repeatedly. There must not be much to do at night, especially since alcohol is only sold and allowed in hotels, but they provided endless entertainment for us.

Love lights.

Hope you enjoyed today with your family and friends.


Day 248: Easter in Dubai

We are on an airplane on our way to Dubai for Easter. I would have never dreamed of spending Easter this way. It’s been snowing and freezing in Holland and we needed to go someplace warm for spring break. It’s supposed to be 80+ degrees Fahrenheit all week. I am so excited and sure hope the Easter bunny can find us!

Typically we try to spend Easter at the beach with April and Steve. However the last couple of years have been cold in Capitola, and I think it’s supposed to rain there tomorrow too. My parents like to go motorcycle riding in the desert for the holidays. What do you like to do for holiday celebrations?

It was a 7+ hour flight, and i didn’t hear any complaints. In seat movies and games make traveling with kids super easy. We flew on Emirates which is one of the top airlines in the world. I also think our kids have gotten used to traveling, which I really appreciate.

We flew over Baghdad Iraq, and Syria. That felt so strange to me. I am excited to explore a new part of the world to me.

Wishing you a Happy Easter!!

Day 247: Good Friday and Good Kids

The kids were off from school today. Too bad there were still snow flakes falling off and on today. The sunlight is deceiving as its still bitter cold and almost April! They all stayed home this morning with Kelly’s kids while we played our tennis match. It was the last game of our tournament and we lost in a tie breaker. What a bummer! We rushed home to the kids and skipped the traditional coffee afterwards bought by the winners.

I was going to take the kids into the city to do some shopping at the Oneill store. Unfortunately, they didn’t want to go anywhere. They too don’t like the cold and I think they like being home with unstructured time. Juliana went to the Amstelveen mall where we were so disappointed to not find any shorts or tee shirts. How could that be possible? We went to the grocery store instead.

I asked Christian to plan dinner tonight. I said he had to pick what we were going to eat and then had to print and follow a recipe step by step and I would be his assistant. I would go to the store and pick up his ingredients. He struggled for a long time just deciding what to make. He finally decided on Vietnamese pho. The other two wanted to make something as well. Charlie and Juliana made pizza croissants out of tomato sauce, cheese, and garlic butter. She also made cheese crisps.

The soup was so delicious! We will definitley make this again and I’m thankful that my kids are so fun to be around(most days!)

Love, Adriana




Day 246: A Nail Salon

Today I had my first pedicure since I moved to Holland 246 days ago! I didn’t really know where to find a place and so when Jen suggested we to go get our nails done, of course I said yes! I love when someone else has the idea and plan. I felt like I got a mini-day off from thinking and deciding.

We drove into Amsterdam and found parking near Rein, the spa place. We enjoyed a cup of tea and conversation while we were pampered. It was a lot of fun to have some girl time and to ponder life together.

What would we do without our girlfriends??

NOT cute feet, but happy, clean feet ready for the sun and sand.

Day 245: Art on a Plate

I had a fabulous lunch at Aan de Poel in Amstelveen today with some new, beautiful, international friends. I loved the leisurely lunch with excellent service and no rush, yet timely and attentive service. It was the best service I’ve experienced in Holland. It’s no wonder why they have earned two Michelin stars.

We all had a great time sharing stories and enjoying the waterfront views and artistic presentation of the different flavorful dishes we were served from the chef’s menu.

The best part of lunch was the company, shared laughter and connections. The second best part was not having to choose what to order. I liked that the menu was decided, and the waiter would explain what each dish was as it arrived. Every dish was a surprise to me and didn’t disappoint. I loved all the flavor combinations, presentation and colors of each plate and entree, and the small portion sizes.



I can’t remember what all the dishes were called, but the dessert plate was apple served five ways with a feta sorbet. All was very interesting and delicious and quite the experience. The ambiance was fantastic too!


Day 244: Differences

As I finally sat down to rest at the end of the day, I poured myself a cup of tea, and plopped into my comfy old rocking chair that I brought with me from California. I sat and looked at Facebook and played Words with Friends, while I thought about what to write today and waited for my kids to settle into their beds for the night.

I thought I was going to write about the differences in experiences when visiting a doctor in the USA and the Netherlands. But I changed my mind when I read the inscription on my tea bag.

My tea bag summarizes the connection we all have to one another, despite our differing beliefs.


Today I got to enjoy pictures of my Jewish friends celebrating Passover. On Facebook, I’ve been watching the debate on gay marriage. In Dutch class, we talked about Easter and Good Friday and recognized that in India and China, most people don’t celebrate or recognize this Christian holiday, however in Holland they celebrate the feast without the religious connection. Of course this isn’t 100% true for everyone, and this blog is definitely not a debate, but what it pointed out to me (which is obvious) and more to my point, is that there are several different ways to express love and our values and way of life. We all use different means to express the good in our souls, and if we’re all practicing how to make life sweeter and more enjoyable, shouldn’t we all benefit from the synergy we create from all our goodness? Celebrate our differences. Celebrate the love we create. And celebrate each other. One love.


Day 243: Busy-ness

One of the things I think I love most about our experience living abroad and away from our normal home, is the change in our normal, hectic, over scheduled life. It’s not that we’re not busy and doing things here, it just feels different and the pace feels slower and more relaxed and I’m trying to understand why.

The thought to write this post came from reading Barbara’s comment about how she liked reading my blogs and how I keep BUSY, which made me think…

We are all busy.

She knows a few of the things I am busy doing and experiencing that I chose to publicly share. But I don’t know a lot about what she’s doing or what you’re doing unless you tell me a story, post it on FB, instagram or tweet about it, or I’m there sharing the busyness with you. I love knowing what you choose to be busy doing and enjoying because I’m curious like that. We all get the same 24 hours a day, but our choices how we spend them each day are unlimited and unique. Isn’t that a crazy thought?

What are we busy doing? And is what we chose to be busy with all that important? And if we’re too busy are we really enjoying our busy-ness? Things that make you go hmmm…

I think the first reason it feels differently busy here for me is because we broke out of our routine and expectations. It’s kinda like we’re on a sabbatical from our Other life.

Secondly, when you’re all new to an area, you depend on each other more than you would at home with all of our different support networks. We tend to do more as one big group vs individually.

Third, all our kids are at the same school. This means one drop off time and one pick up. They also have all their after school activities at the school. There are buses that take the kids to their sport matches and bring them back again. When one child is practicing, there is a nice place to foster community at the school while waiting together in a comfortable, warm building while having a cup of tea and a snack together. I am not driving all over town and waiting and waiting. I think this is the biggest factor that changed.

Fourth, we have made friends with families with kids close in age to our own. When the kids play, so do the parents. It’s easy and fun and creates harmony.

This sabbatical is a great thing!

Today we were busy doing yoga, watching PB make sushi, building a bonfire and roasting marshmallows in the freezing and windy weather,

having a play date, and cooking Indonesian food…


Along with the usual chores like going to work, housecleaning and kid logistics. We were busy living it up! How were you busy today and did you have fun? Thanks BP for the thought!! xo

P.S. Happy Sweet 16th birthday to Sweet Caroline!! I love you!

Happy One Year Blogging Anniversary!

Here I Am, 365 days later… still writing!

Today it has been one year since I began writing every day. I never knew I would enjoy it as much as I do and never, ever thought of myself as a writer.

My passion is connecting people, finding things we have in common, supporting one another, finding joy every day, loving my family and friends, and creating communities.

Thank you for reading and for sharing your comments, private messages, stories and connections along the way and creating bonds of friendship and community.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

I am blessed.


Day 242: The Red Light District?

There are no photos or videos to share today, except this one:


I am in photo hell! I’ve taken way too many pictures (is that possible?) and haven’t edited or deleted many either and now everything is full. I’m out of disk space. My iPhoto library won’t take any more content and I have photos stored in a flat file structure and am trying to integrate them all to have them make sense and its taking hours and hours and hours! How did I get here and do you feel my pain? Do you have an easy solution? Please?!?

So while I was sitting here for hours all day and night with Jeff helping me to move, edit, delete and back up files, Charlie decided to sit next to me and look at YouTube videos for things to do together in Amsterdam tomorrow. I was happy that he was sitting near me and found something to do besides making noise and jumping up and down. All was good. The video was playing in the background and I was listening and multitasking, feeling proud that he searched and found a video with a list of exciting things to see and do in the heart of the city until I heard, “number 9. the red light district. just don’t take pictures of the ladies in the windows otherwise they may throw your camera in the canal.” I jumped away from my busy-ness and as I looked at what he was seeing, I saw flashes of red lights appear. Oh no! I grabbed the iPod out of his hands and turned off the video before he saw anymore. He was surprised and didn’t understand and said he hated when that happened. I’m pretty open with my kids but really don’t want them seeing that or even asking questions about it at the kitchen table. Yikes!

Back to the photo conundrum – taking pictures is to help us capture our memories from the past and that’s all great, but what happens when you’re trying to manage your past and package it into nice little receipts packaged into nice little albums with copies ready just in case you lose your package, but in the process you lose the present because you’re so busy remembering the past? What a dilemma. I struggle with that concept, but know I want to be able to look back one day to remember and share the journeys we have taken, explored and enjoyed.

I guess I have to borrow from the present, to pay to remember the past, so I can have the future benefit of being able to share our history. Huh. That’s weird. Boy, I’m exhausted now.

Day 241: Really Cold Weather & SUP Dreams

It’s cold and windy in Holland and I’m over it. Even with my long down coat, wool socks, jeans and accessories, I am still freezing and uncomfortable. I know they say there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad dressers, but that statement doesn’t work for me. I don’t know why it feels colder now than it did with snow on the ground. Is it because of the humidity and the wind? Why is it so cold? Please warm up… I like it a bit warmer, thank you!

I spent the day mostly indoors, up at the crack of dawn, for no real reason except that I keep waking up early! What is this insomnia business as I get older?

I have been working all day on trying to organize my digital photos and clean up some old emails with attachments. My iPhoto library is full and I’m out of disk space on my computer so I’m trying to figure it all out and it isn’t easy!! Wish me (Jeff) luck! The best part was seeing old pictures of friends from home and the first few weeks of living in Holland. We’ve experienced so much and are so thankful!

The kids had birthday parties this afternoon. Charlie went to a bowling party


Juliana went on a scavenger hunt with a team of friends at the Amstelveen mall, after taking a tram ride together. She had so much fun and is growing up so fast. The highlight from her scavenger hunt was finding pre-colored Easter eggs at Hema (kind of like Target!). She had never seen anything like it before.

Jeff and I went to run errands and on the way back he drove me through more parts of Ouderkerk, my favorite city in Holland. I wished we would have chosen to live there, but we didn’t really know about it when we were looking for housing. We did look at houses on the Amstel, but none were quite right for us. The house we chose is perfect for us. We picked a house with lots of natural light, a huge open kitchen with an American sized refrigerator and oven, and a great room with a view into a small back yard and a beautiful open view of a canal out front. It is perfect for our lifestyle with a place to park right outside our front door. I love that the Ouderkerk is nearby. What I love about this city includes the wide river, prominent church steeples, bakeries, ice cream shop, store fronts and restaurants with outdoor seating right on the water. It has a small town feel which I love.

Today I searched for places where I could park my car, lift my board off the racks and walk a short distance to launch. I found it! Now I just have to wait for the weather to warm up. Any day now… I hope.