Day 171: A Sunny, Crisp Day

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This was my cool-down view today, after my 45 minute run. The sun was out and the temperature was just above freezing. Didn’t need much time to cool down!

While I was getting ready to go running this morning, my Dutch neighbor knocked on the door to let me know to expect the temperature to drop to freezing this week and to expect to see the canal frozen. She wanted me to get my skates ready. I told her I’ll have to go buy some first and put on another layer before heading out the door with gloves and 2 thin running layers.  It was very cold, but the sun was shining and made me happy. There is never a day that I go out for a run and wish I hadn’t. The hardest part is convincing myself to just put on my shoes.

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Haarlem

The winter sun in Holland is absolutely beautiful. I think I appreciate the sunlight even more because it hardly shines here and so when it is out, you want to be out too. When the sky is blue and wide open with the texture of the clouds, it feels like black out shades that have been closed for too long have been opened and you can see again!  I happened to be in the car and snapped these while I was driving home from a friend’s house. I so wanted to get out and walk around but I needed to get home.

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This isn’t me – but a lady running right near the Haarlem train station. I think Haarlem is a magnificent city and I would love to live here.

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Haarlem Train Station – look at all the bikes parked double time!! Amsterdam Central Station is even crazier! Not the best shot from my car window.

Christian has 3 friends over tonight as his sister and brother are away at a sleepover. I took the boys to the mall and walked around by myself while they hung out and walked home by themselves. Having a teenager and letting him go on his own with his friends is still a challenge for me, but I’m doing it and he is so cool about it.  He’s helping me to learn how to let go, by calling and checking in and letting me know what he’s up to so I don’t worry.  He has a very nice group of friends: one is from India, the other is from France and the third friend is from England. They all go to school together and share several classes, lunch and soccer games at break time. It was cool to hear their stories about what schooling is like in their home countries, and about all the different places they have lived. What lucky kids!

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This is for all my Dutch friends! It’s the Blonde character that is very popular here – this design is all over dishes, plates, cups, linens, serving pieces, etc. Isn’t it cheerful?

Day 50: Transitioning

Lots is happening and I realized last night that it’s tiring! I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30 pm. You’d think running a household, meeting new friend’s, shopping, and working out would be easy, but it’s not, really. I have to think and concentrate and focus more intensely than usual on things I usually wouldn’t spend time on pondering – like where to but rain boots. It’s all good, though.

Christian left yesterday for a class trip overnight for two nights. Juliana left today with her class and was very excited to go with her new friend’s. They have been away to sleep away camps before, so it didn’t feel too bad to let them go, but then again we’re in a new country and it did create some stress for me to let go. They are becoming more independent, which I love and desire, but it causes me to change and let go and let them be responsible for themselves. Ying and ying. Good for them and good for me, yet another change and transition, and it’s still all good. I’m just mindful and aware of the transition is all, and did I mention, a bit tired?
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But my new expat friends say this feeling is very normal and that I should feel this way. It’s good to be “normal”!! Its nice to share stories with other like women. Today there was a gathering for the American Community from our school at one of the women’s home.
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I always enjoy meeting new friends and hearing their stories. There were new moms, working moms, moms with MBAs beginning to look for a job, moms preparing to move back home, and permanent moms who have lived here for 11 years. There were moms who are career expats considering meeting with child psychologists to determine the effects the expat life will have on their third culture kids. We talked about learning Dutch and not learning Dutch, and I found another friend who plays tennis. We talked about plans for Halloween and where to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving. It was a great day to network and to connect and to share knowledge, and to discover more about my new “normal”. I love hearing people’s stories and connecting with them. That was one of the things I loved about Stella and Dot – it gave me a reason to get out and meet new people and share stories and style. And so today I’m happy and tired and loved every minute of it.

I wasn’t too tired to play tennis before picking Char up from school. I think playing gives me more energy to keep going.

I declared today, Charlie Day, that he could pick his favorite snack, and plan our afternoon, since I only had him to look after. I thought it would be a nice reward too, because he’s been trying harder to behave and to adapt and be happy. He chose a chocolate chip croissant and to play on the playground.
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Afterwards, we went to the toy store for him to spend his gift money that Jenny so graciously shared with him while we were on London last week. He picked two Play Mobil motorcycles with police characters. I think it funny that we gave away all our Play Mobil toys before we moved and those are the toys he is choosing to collect here. He reminded me that Tyler B. said he could come over anytime to play with them, so he’s not worried about having given them away. Phew!!

And to wrap-up the day, the three of us drove to Haarlem for dinner tonight. It was nice to get in a car and drive across town and to go on a date.

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We met up with Jeff’s friend from work, which really made life feel normal. I loved it! Afterwards, Charlie wanted to see his drum set so we walked over to his house, 2 blocks away. It’s so nice that things are so close.
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Haarlem is a beautiful city! Can’t wait to go back again.

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Tot ziens for now. xo