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.



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!

Day 96: Being Home


It’s nice to travel but its even nicer to be home. I think we have to leave sometimes to appreciate the comforts and normalcy that home has to offer. I was happy that everyone was happy to be home in Amstelveen, and that this place actually felt like home, if that makes any sense. I enjoyed hearing and seeing their excitement, just walking through the front door and settling back in.

I enjoyed grocery shopping today, for the first time. I was happy to see my friends at school and to share stories together. And I was happy to go to Juliana’s volleyball game tonight.

I think by leaving you get a break from your routine which makes you actually appreciate it again once you return.

I am happy to be home.

*** Sending warm thoughts to family and friends on the East Coast, battling through hurricane Sandy. Stay dry and safe!!

Day 94: Florence


We are in Florence today, the place known for the Renaissance and rebirth and “humanism.” I didn’t even have to step off the train to feel “it.”

We took the train from Rome to Florence and had such a pleasant trip. We sat by a great family and shared snacks and toys and conversation. The mother was a Muslim woman, from London, who just relocated to Rome. She is an expat just like me. She was traveling with her two kids and two guinea pigs and husband. She had just celebrated Eid late into the evening last night and was tired. We talked about her holy celebration, helping our children to settle into new locations and finding ways to help them feel comfortable. We talked about religion and peer pressure and discrimination. Our families played together and switched seats to be near one another. We hugged each other when we departed and I think we both felt a connection, even though we didn’t even share our names. There was a human connection, and understanding of what it’s like to be a mother, to raise children with manners and respect and religion and kindness and love, and to show them the world.

Even though we practice different faiths, and dressed very differently, I felt the same way she did. I felt her spirit and kindness and wish more people were like her. And I wish I knew her name. Namaste.







Day 58: Cultural Exchange

When I was 11, I traveled from Los Angeles to Tahiti and Australia with my soccer team, as part of a cultural exchange program.

Today my 11 year old traveled from Holland to Germany with her volleyball team and is staying overnight with a host family, just like I did. I’m so proud of her.

Bonn, Germany is a 3 hour drive from our new home, so the boys and I drove up tonight and are staying at a hotel so we can see her morning game tomorrow.

The highlights for the boys tonight was trying out the German McDonald’s and the McRib sandwich.
Somehow both Christian and Jeff knew that you could ask for beer there, that wasn’t on the menu. Surprisingly, they came out from behind with two beers and poured them into cups for the adults! That was a fun difference!
The McD’s was more like a warm, cafe, and was quite popular.
After we hung out, we drove to find the location for the game tomorrow, and then to Cologne to find this magnificent church.
Oh my goodness!! How did they ever build something so grand?
I was in awe and am so glad we decided to stay up late to see it lit up at night. Both Jeff and Christian had done research before we traveled and both had excellent tips to share. They are both so curious and wicked smart!

I love my adventurous and crazy family!20120921-231819.jpg

Day 60: Colorado Springs

We were up at 4:15 am to catch a 7 am flight this morning. The kids were dressed and ready before us. They each had their own backpacks loaded with electronic devices, books, paper and pens, gum and crackers. They are so easy to travel with now that they’re older.


We are in Colorado Springs to visit the kids great grandparents, and Aunt Debbie. It’s always so nice to visit them, especially on Memorial Day weekend. Jeff’s grandpa also went to West Point and served in WW2. They have so many stories to share that we appreciate and value.

A favorite activity wherever we travel is the swimming pool, much to Jeff’s chagrin! I totally get it and love how much fun they have together.


Hope you enjoy the long weekend!