International Night

Tonight was International Night at Charlie’s school. We chose to represent Holland and brought the bakfiets, served Hagel slag toast, and pretended it was Queen’s Day. We dressed up and shared stories and made friends.

I thought Charlie would be more into it than he was, but it was a bit overwhelming. The kids were swarming, the music was really uncomfortably loud, and the crowds were ginormous!

Charlie had made a prize grab box with toys for the kids like he saw on Queen’s Day. We didn’t charge the kids of course, so everyone wanted to play again and again. Charlie decided he didn’t want to be any part of it and went outside to play. I didn’t blame him. They started ripping the box apart! Savages!! Or just happy kids?

It’s amazing how many cultures and countries were represented tonight!

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I ❤️Holland!

Day 279: Queen’s Day! King’s Glory.

I was so excited for Queen’s Day today, that I drove my family crazy trying to get us out of the house early this morning. I wanted to see as much as we could and we did! I wanted to see and feel and experience what Queen’s Day was all about. I loved the feeling of it all and am so glad we braved the crowds and rode our bikes and walked all around and then some.

We rode our bikes through Amstelveen. It was the biggest garage sale I’ve ever seen! And people were everywhere, selling their wares, performing for tips, and selling baked goods.

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After we checked out Amstelveen, we rode our bikes into Amsterdam and parked them by Vondel Park. Vondel Park was dedicated to kids and they could sell and act and perform too. It’s the only day of the year that the Dutch people are allowed to publicly sell their belongings out on the street. They don’t have yard sales or garage sale like we do in the US, so today is a HUGE opportunity for them and thy use every square inch of space. The craziest thing I saw was a fish race! I think they were selling bets as to which fish would move from start to finish first! Crazy!

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I know I’m sharing a ton of pictures, but there was so much to see, that we’ve never seen before and I want to pretend you were there with me! We met up with Jen and her family. I have no idea how they spotted us because it was so crowded.

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For five euros you could pretend to be a hamster! This looked like so much fun, but the line was very long, so we just watched.
After seeing Vondel Park, we wanted to see what the canal streets looked like and what was happening there. OMG – the biggest party I’ve ever seen! People were dressed up and singing and dancing every where you looked. Check it out…

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Jeff’s office is in the city center, so we walked over to his office to relax and sit for awhile and to enjoy the views.

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From Jeff’s office, we walked over to the Herengracht to visit with Toen and Loes. Their house is at a prime viewing spot to see all the boats going by. Charlie had fun helping Loes sell things.

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I could go on and on, and hope you’ve enjoyed being a part of the celebration with me!
On the way back to our bikes at Vondel park, the clean up had already become.

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Riding home after a long day.

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Peaceful little duck family.

Happy Queen’s Day, and long live the new king!

Day 278: Almost Queens Day

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I’m excited to be living in Holland for the last Queens Day. The anticipation is exciting. The kids all wore orange to school today to celebrate. I can only imagine what it will look like tomorrow.

Tonight Jen organized a group of friends to meet up in Valeriusplein for drinks and appetizers and to let the kids run around and play outside. We all hung out until the sun went down behind the buildings and the wind picked up. The kids were so cute, climbing trees, playing soccer and football and running around together.

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The parents also seemed to be having fun too, chatting and eating and making plans for tomorrow too.

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As I write this, fireworks are going off in different parts of the city. People have been out all day setting up their yard sale spaces along the prime street space. They are camping out over night, setting up canopies and flags and banners, tables and chairs. I love watching and am excited to wake up early tomorrow morning to jump on my bike and go shopping at all the kids’ stalls. We are going to ride through our town and through the forest, and into Amsterdam to Vondel Park, which I hear is hosting the sales of all sales! Mama and Pops, I wish you were here to go with me! It’s gonna be a sea of orange and celebration and patriotism. I can’t wait to mingle with locals and tourists and to meet up with friends and live it up with all the Dutchies!

Tot ziens!

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.