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??

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

Day 242: The Red Light District?

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

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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 237: Paths and Hives

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Love this imagery of a hive and a path

I think when we have our own home again, I’ll have to put in a yellow brick path that leads up to our front door. Because Christina was right – I found my yellow brick road that leads to our home, wherever we are together. I just had to move to Holland to figure that out. I Am Content.

I love the imagery of the path alongside the hive pattern. I also kind of like that the path is messy and dirty, although I don’t like the cigarette butt thrown on the way. The hive represents communities to me and I think that we build and shape our interconnected communities based on the paths we choose. I Am thankful for family and the friends I meet and make and share time with along the way – at home, overseas, online and in thought.

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Where will our paths lead?

Namaste.

 

Day 236: Celebration of Life

Today one of my blogging friends wrote about her mother’s celebration of life that is happening this weekend. Her beloved mom died this week and we all felt her pain. We also learned so much about the art of living and appreciating what you have, even in the darkest light, as her mom struggled and fought cancer and in the end peacefully and gracefully surrendered to her calling. This family rallied like no other, and came together to love one another and to support each other through the process, enjoying the gift of unexpected, unplanned time together with sisters and cousins, nieces and nephews, and being thankful for their wonderful mama.

Through their story and journey, I continue to learn and value living in the moment and accepting what is. We might think we have a plan, but really it’s not our own. What we have to do is continually be present, live in the moment while looking forward, loving ourselves and one another, and adapt to what comes our way, with grace.

Life is a mystery…and I’m going to keep on living it up…celebrating life every damn day!

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Three people shared this quote with me today at different times… And my daughter took the liberty to make this image my wallpaper on my iPad. It wasn’t my plan, but I guess I’ll accept it with grace.

Namaste… How are you celebrating today?

Day 235: The Amstel River – aka Where I Plan to SUP

We had the laziest day today. The leprechaun trap didn’t quite catch us a leprechaun, but he did leave Charlie some Euros, and made quite a mess of our house!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day and wishing you the luck of the Irish!

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I love this picture of our littlest traveler, for several reasons. First of all, he still believes in Leprechaun’s and built a trap! Secondly, when we decided to move overseas, we promised Charlie that he could collect soccer jerseys from the places we visited to help him accept the change in his stable living environment. He picked this outfit out last week in Istanbul at the Grand Bazaar and insisted that we stop and get it, waiting for the shop keeper to find just the right one in his size(which I think he obtained by buying it from another vendor for 25 Lira and turning around and selling it to us for 50!). Next to Charlie is a travel book for Dubai. One of our goals moving to Holland was to show the kids as much of the world as possible. They have become pretty good at packing, navigating airports, late night arrivals and early morning departures. Dubai is next on our list and today we were doing some research. They are excited to see the watermarks and aquariums, and to eat American food like Panda Express. I was especially keen on finding a place to paddle board in the sunshine! I actually found a place and it is my dream to paddle on the ocean and find someone else riding a camel on the shore at the same time and snap a picture! I think it’s possible… We’ll see!

Back to our lazy day…while dreaming of warm weather and paddle boarding, I heard about some lakes in Aalsmeer. We all decided to hop in the car and drive around for awhile to see what we could find. What I learned is how small the little neighborhoods are and how they’re so easily connected. We found the lake which is quite large and was choppy from the wind. I wasn’t planning on paddling today as the weather was wet and freezing! Se also saw all the flower distributors. Aalsmeer is known for their flower auction and is also known as the flower capital of the world! Right in our backyard! I want to go see a morning auction before we move back to the States. It sounds really fascinating and highly automated.

But what I loved rediscovering the most today, was the curvy back side of the Amstel river that leads away from Amsterdam and Ouderkerk. The Amstel river and its banks are my favorite parts of Holland and I can’t wait to launch my board there in the next couple of weeks when it’s spring time! Here are some pictures of her beauty, despite the grey skies!

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Day 231: 13-3-13 Wanderlust Wednesday

Snow day and Sun day. Wanderlust fun day.

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Woke up to snow this morning.

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People like to talk about weather no matter what the condition. It’s something we all share.

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Snow day and sun day all in one.

We brought our car in for servicing today. there were huge fluffy snowflakes falling but my camera couldn’t capture them. The customer service at the Honda dealer was excellent. It’s so nice to go in and out without a ton of fan fare. We had to sign one paper to get a loaner car and pay 30 euros for the rental. I am content and enjoyed testing out a hybrid car.

Afterwards, I went up to A’dam with Jeff this morning to help my friend in the States to get an official copy of her marriage certificate form the Amsterdam city hall, so that she could quickly renew her passport. It was an adventure trying to find a new place, but was easy too. The customer service was quick and polite and efficient and I was impressed. Basically you walk in, tell them what you’re there for and they give you a number. No appointment is necessary. They have an electronic monitoring system that calls out your number when the next attendant is ready to serve you. I think it took me 10 minutes to present my papers and walk out with a paid, signed, official document. I am impressed.

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Having two tasks done early in the morning opened up my day to explore. First stop was the marketplace on Waterloo plein. I said goodbye to Jeff and wandered around the stalls, enjoying the swap meet vendors and their wares.

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What a beautiful place for a swap meet!

It was an absolutely gorgeous day in the city! I wandered around snapping pictures and then wandered into the Hermitage Museum for awhile. Here are a few more pictures… Check out the sky and the light!! It was clear and crisp and cold, and I loved it!

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The Hermitage Museum – flowers and courtyard outside the entrance.

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And some beautiful thoughts from the Vincent Van Gogh museum walls…

“To give direction to our lives, we all have to make choices.”

“Practice makes perfect.”

“Getting better must come through doing it and through trying.”

Van Gogh was a master but never saw himself as that. He always felt like he was practicing and studying and learning. I like that idea and can relate that thinking to parenting. Aren’t we always practicing and studying and learning by doing? Hopefully we continue to get better and better.

Namaste. Hope you had a good day! -A.

Day 227: Istanbul

If you don’t have a dream or two or three, please hurry up and get one, have one, and/or make one up. I dreamed of doing something fun and different with my husband, and it changed my life dramatically. I was dreaming that we could do something together, and shazam! Welcome to Istanbul! How did I get here?

I didn’t exactly dream of going to Istanbul one day, but I was seeking excitement and something new to learn and experience together besides housework, homework, and take-home-work. And now all these great things are happening. I also have a very, very, good friend that I love to see as often as possible and wherever possible, and she was planning a trip to Istanbul. I like to invite myself to go wherever she is going, if its possible for me to join her, since I can’t live right next door to her anymore.

So Here I Am…on a new adventure In Istanbul with my family and waiting for her to arrive!

Istanbul is a magical city with so much to see and smell and take in. I’ll share some pictures from our first day here. I especially loved all the colors, walking through the Grand Bazaar and Spice Markets, and being on and near the water. What a cool experience! I was only afraid of losing each other and getting pick-pocketed because it was so crowded, but all was well! The worst part was all the vendors trying to talk to us and lure us into their shops. That part was quite repetitive and annoying.

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20130309-230057.jpg Spice Market where we got some Turkish Delight

20130309-225924.jpg Jellyfish in the dark blue water of the Bosporus.

20130309-230717.jpg Walking across the Galata Bridge with all the fisherman.

20130309-231720.jpg in Asia, looking across the Bosporus with the Kiz Kulesi Tower.

20130309-231903.jpg Hagia Sophia at night, in the rain. So spectacular looking and we haven’t even been in yet!

Sweet dreams!