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 225: Water + Yoga + SUP + Friends = Joy

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I look like a frog, but I’m a happy frog. This is what savasna looks like when you’re trying not to touch the freezing cold water.

Can you imagine doing yoga on the water? It’s the coolest feeling.

Imagine your gaze looking softly in front of you and a beautiful white swan is dancing on the water. Imagine looking up at the sky instead of a ceiling.
Imagine breathing in fresh air while focusing on one thing, your breathe.
And when you’re focused on your breathe, you’re not really worried about falling in.
And while you’re stretching and practicing, you get to enjoy the sounds of the water lapping at your board.

Mixing water play with yoga practice is awesome. I hope if this sounds interesting to you, that you will try it one day. You won’t be able to stop smiling.

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After we were done doing yoga, we took that relaxed feeling out for a paddle together. I was in the moment, loving life, thankful to Morene for loving SUP and sharing her passion across Amsterdam. I was thankful to Deborah for teaching SUP yoga, and to Jeff for supporting my passion and letting me buy a new Boga board for Holland touring. I can’t wait to put my own in the water!

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Namaste.

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Day 42: Speed Dating and SUP

There was a blog the other day written by another expat that talked about speed dating – but it’s about women who are looking for a new Best Friend Forever! (BFF) or several new friends. I love this concept and think it’s something most of us do quite frequently. Unless perhaps you’re Dutch or grew up and still live in the same small town with your old friends and your extended family and don’t really have a need to make NEW friends, because your social network is so tight.

So many of us at the kids’ school are all in the same boat – some of us here a year or two or 5 or longer, some just arriving, some getting ready to move.  For the newbies (like me) I definitely have to put myself out there and “date” as many woman – to find new friends and establish new workout routines, and homework play dates, and coffee get togethers, and GNO and such.  For the old timers, they have to date again, because it’s like they’ve been divorced when their friends move back to their original homes or new expat assignments.  They have to meet new friends to fill their date cards. And so we go… to the PTA Newcomer’s Coffees, and out to group lunches, shopping at the farmers’ markets and trying out new gyms.  Lots of fun dating, but boy, my paper piles, laundry, and clutter are collecting higher and higher!

 

 

A gorgeous day to lunch outside, with new friends – swapping stories and sharing ideas about how to make it in “this world.”

After my “first shift” was through, I rushed back to school to pick up the kids to go and fix J’s passport photo for her residence card. We stopped at the Kings Almarkt – an American  store super find! They have so many things we love and today we picked up miniature ice cream cones. Char was so happy!

after school snack!

 

After getting the kids settled and homework started, Jeff was so sweet to drive me over to the Ijburg, to test out a new paddle board with Morene. While I paddled, he took the kids to dinner and waited for me. I think we all had a good time. The kids love being spoiled by their dad.  I loved the traditional, orange Boga, touring board and might have to get one when our car arrives, which could be any day.   I loved being on the water, getting a workout and enjoying the sun shining and reflecting on the water, even if it was cold!

Hope you have a good day and take care of your girlfriends!!

xo Adriana

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Day 16: SUPed the Amstel and Amsterdam Canals!

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I’m sitting on a kitchen bench in our living room with tired arms. The rental furniture was picked up today and our new furniture arrives tomorrow. We bought a few mattresses and blankets and sheets last week so we are able to actually sleep in beds, so that’s good! We went shopping today to buy a few more linens to cover the mattresses too. We also had fun walking around the Friday market place. On Friday’s, vendors fill the city center selling all sorts of things from cheese, to produce, to household goods, toys, linens, candy and other things. We are slowly (or quickly) getting familiar with our surroundings and making our house more homey.

As the movers were moving stuff out, the kids were exploring the canal in front of our house on our neighbor’s inflatable canoe. They had so much fun splashing around, and making new friends. One of the girls only speaks Dutch and the other little girl speaks English and Dutch. So between the three they found a way to communicate and play. It was fun watching them bond through play.

After “working” today, I got to go for a Friday evening paddle with 50 of my newest “friends!”. I found Morene on Facebook and have been following her since before we moved. She posted that she had rentals available for a Friday night paddle through Amsterdam and tonight I was able to join her. I was so excited!! It was awesome and peaceful and a workout! The weather was gorgeous and the water was warm. It was fun navigating the narrow canals and paddling with a “team” of other SUP-ers, under bridges and around boats and over wakes. Can you see my perm-a-grin???

Jeff and the kids drove me to the drop off location and then I paddled for two hours down the Amstel river and through several canals including the Herengracht. I love being on the water and seeing things from a different perspective. It was fun to watch the tourists taking our pictures and watching us as we paddled by.

I can’t wait to go again!

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Day 13: Lucky 13

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When I found out we were moving, I decided I was going to do everything I’ve been wanting to do before we actually left. That has been the biggest gift of all – to actually enjoy every minute of where I am right now. And I have and I AM and I still have 12 more days to soak it all in before our next adventure begins. What are you doing with your minutes?

Today was full and fun and I even got some work done! Michele and I took the kids to Sausalito to enjoy lunch on the boat, and to play with the kids on the beach. They loved finding and catching little sea creatures and moon jelly fish. Michele brought her paddle board and let me try it out. She has a Surftech board that is very stable and glides through the water. I liked trying another board and think the next board I get will be one that moves quickly through the water.
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After our time on the beach, we went into town for coffee and Lappert’s ice cream. It was beautiful and sunny in Sausalito yet foggy and cold crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. I never tire of seeing the beauty of the bridge. We didn’t have a plan or schedule and the day just flowed.

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Afterward, we drove back to Michele’s and she took C to a Palo Alto Play and let the kids swim after dark. I was lucky enough to drive over to Redwood City to check out the awesome new fall jewelry line from Stella & Dot. I don’t know how Blythe and team keep creating new designs that are so artistic and cool! I want them all! I loved running into friends – Vickie, Debbie and Kristen. Vickie gave me a gift, which is one of the new layering pieces just because! How lucky AM I? Thanks, Vickie!! I’m going to miss you… Debbie and Kristen too!

And to top of the minutes, Jeff was having a meeting right down the road. We were able to meet up for a quick dinner date! That never happens!! We enjoyed the break and I was able to still get back to pick up C by 8:30 pm but he was still swimming! Guess he’s enjoying every minute too. Michele and I looked over the new Stella and Dot Look Book and I just ordered my new samples! Wanna come see them? Stop by next week… They should be here by Monday!!

Life is good… Enjoy your minutes and make them count!!

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Day 41: Big Kids Now

Two days into vacation, and I’m realizing we have big kids now. They are more independent and less needy which makes it easier. On the other hand, they all have big opinions and more needs that they tend to vocalize over and over again, which makes it harder.

I like to just go with the flow, especially in Hawaii; to have a general plan, but one that can change. The kids want to know what’s coming when and to have a say in the process and decision making. That’s probably ok with one kid, but when three kids are barking orders and I’m trying to please everybody, including my husband who hates the sand and being hot, it’s a bit more challenging to make everyone happy.

What I learned very quickly, is that I need to manage their expectations a little better. They just want a little bit of control over their world and knowing what we’re doing for the day helps them to feel more at ease. Duh… I’m the same way. It helps me to help them too and then we’re all happy.

So today we decided to spend the entire day on Waikiki beach without getting in the car. It was wonderful! We rented umbrellas and chairs, paddle boards, a paddle boat and a raft. We brought our lunch and a cooler with drinks and relaxed all day. It was perfect and we all had smiles on our faces!!

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