Day 4 – Spring Break in Alameda

Today was a beautiful day. The weather was warm and we explored parts of Alameda, particularly the Pinball Museum with friends.

All of us had a great time playing old fashioned pinball machines for three hours!  This was a cool way to spend the day.  I was happy that the boys were entertained and weren’t longing for Ps4s or xBox games. 

   

      

Favorite game!

  

Sticking with the old fashioned theme, we stopped in at Foster Freeze for a hand dipped ice cream cone. This brought back so many memories from my childhood and begging my parents and aunts and uncles to take us to FF for summer comes.  

Yum!

Alameda is a quaint little town. We loved driving down the streets and admiring the old Victorian homes. We also loved watching all the people outside enjoying the day playing soccer, splashing in the water, fishing, walking dogs, climbing trees and running.  

East Bay

Exploring the rocks

  

Climbing trees

  

Soccer in the park

This was another day where we had one idea and it expanded and became so much more. We weren’t on a schedule and were open to explore whatever came our way.  I enjoyed FaceTiming Juliana again and including each other in our day.  All is well. 

Volcano in Japan

 

Life is good and I’m loving this break.

Tree lined streets in Alameda

We ended the day in Downtown San Jose for dinner at the Loft. It was absolutely delicious and a great way to end the day.

American bistro

Juliana mentioned that she liked seeing the American flags in my pictures and that flags are not as visibly noticeable in Japan.

Today was fun and I recommend visiting the Pinball Museum at least once.  

nAMaste 

Futbol or Soccer 2014

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It fascinates me that in some parts of the world, people are going crazy and celebrating the World Cup this week in Brazil. In the United States, it’s not as big a deal. I’m fascinated by the differences and allegiances and how people can celebrate in such different ways.

Christian and I watched Holland beat Spain 5-1 this afternoon and were very excited to be part of the Dutch spirit. Jeff actually texted from work and had the game on in his office and watched worth ones of his Dutch colleagues.

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I loved checking Facebook updates and statuses during the game, especially those from my friends in the Netherlands. It sounded like the excitement just filled the air and everyone was wearing orange and cheering on their national team. I longed to be a pub in Amsterdam and part of the national spirit.

Jeff and I were actually in Holland during the World Cup in 1998. Being in the hot, smoky pubs was unreal. The entire town was on fire and hugging and hooting and hollering. It was a wonderful time to be there and I loved the energy and vibe.

Today I was thankful that Holland beat Spain and that I got to enjoy watching the game with my son.

Life is good. Hup Holland!

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Being Outside

The best part of being home again is being outside and seeing my friends. I’m still not settled being back home after a month+ and long to be back in Holland.

This morning I played tennis with friends for a couple hours in the glorious sunshine. I loved having time with the girls and exercising outdoors at the same time.

And this afternoon I sat on the grass during Charlie’s soccer practice, just feeling thankful.

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Life is full. Life is good!

Namaste.

Day 33: First Full Week of School

I like new beginnings. I like starting over and I like change. I like keeping things fresh and exciting. How about you? What do you think of change? Does it make you smile? Give you anxiety? A little of both? Hmm…

Today the kids started their first full week of school, and my new, long-legged super model friend, and I hit the gym! We decided we are going to check out all the local gyms, try out the free trials and then decide which one is best. It only took us 1.36285 hours to go through the formal process to register.  We had to schedule intake interviews, and evaluation interviews and have a hand scan and pay a deposit and sign our life away and photocopy our id and walk through the building and ponder the thought of co-ed mandatory naked saunas, all before we could jump on an elliptical machine for 38 minutes. Thank God, we had a nice glow and a little glistening action to make it worth our while. And you’d be surprised how much you can learn and share while working out side by side – laughing at the craziness of it all and trying to get our machines to function in Dutch. 

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After working out, I went shopping and exploring at a new grocery center. It took my 8.5 minutes to figure out how to pay for parking and whether it was free or not.  Finally paid my 1 Euro and shopped at the Lidl and C1000, rushing to get back to the car before I received a ticket. I think the Lidl is a discount chain as the displays were in boxes/pallets and I didn’t recognize the brands. Hopefully the food I picked up is tasty!  I learned the hard way that I should have deposited 50 cents to get a shopping cart from outside the store before filling my arms full with stuff! They didn’t have carts or carriers inside the store. And of course, I didn’t pack enough reusable bags so had to buy more! You’d think I’d learn by now, but no! I was just going in for a couple things plus 37!

I had a few more chores to do, like calling for a family doctor, checking into soccer leagues for Char, and finding some tennis friends for me. I called the recommended doctor, listened to the message in Dutch and had no idea whether I should press 1,2 or 3 as all the prompts were in Dutch. A man answered, was probably the doctor, as I asked if he spoke English. Yes, sure, no problem. I introduced myself and explained we needed to register with a town doctor as required by residence, and he said, sure – call back tomorrow as I had called the emergency line!!! Oops! Oh well, at least he was kind and seemed to understand this stupid American!  

I had better luck with the soccer league and was able to have Char go over to the field after school to practice with the local team. I learned that the team only speaks Dutch, which I loved and he hated. I’m hoping that he warms up to the Dutch and makes a friend or two before giving up. We met Kelly from Atlanta and her kids and had a very nice conversation. It’s kinda fun to compare stories how we got here, how we picked our homes, what the move has been like, etc., etc. 

I’d say we’re getting somewhere and I see a structure starting to form. Just finished doing homework with the little one and trying to get the kids off to bed at a decent hour!  We’re still staying up way too late and morning comes way too soon.

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Cloudscape out back at 8:45 pm

Hope you’re all enjoying your new routines too, whatever they may be – and hey, if you haven’t shaken it up in a bit – go ahead, shake it, shake it! You might like it!