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October 2012

Date Night and a Golden Calf

We are not really the couple that gets all dressed up for regular date nights. For one, it just isn't really our scene, and we were on one income for a very long time. We do make the occasional exception when it is a special occasion. Which is why we found ourselves in the center of Utrecht Friday night to celebrate my one year Nederland anniversary. We ended up having dinner at our favorite restaurant on the Oudegracht, Den Draeck or The Dragon. 

Loek ordered his usual, the Steak Den Draeck, but I decided that I would try the new surf and turf. This is what arrived. 

I know, it is the weirdest surf and turf I have ever seen, too! To be fair, I snapped this photo after I ate most of the shrimp. It was really tasty too, just not at all what I was expecting. After dinner, which ended at about 8pm because we like to eat early (Loek likes to eat early) we were walking through Hoog Catharijne (think like a mall that attaches to the train station) and we were stop by a girl asking us if we would like to attend the closing movie for the Nederlands Film Festival for free in about 30 minutes. Of course we said yes, and that is how we found ourselves at my first Dutch movie sans subtitles, Pizza Maffia. Both the girl who gave us the tickets and Loek were concerned that I wouldn't be able to follow the movie. But, I didn't have a problem at all! The movie actually wasn't bad. I think maybe I liked it a little more than the average because it has to do with my with job. 

After the film, the director and the camera man stopped by to answer the audience's questions. All and all, not a bad night to celebrate being here for a year! 

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The First Year's Over!

I can't believe it, I have now lived in The Netherlands and with Loek for a year today! Soo much has changed in what could be classified by some in a brief amount of time. As, I reflect on the last year, I can't help but feel that although things did not go exactly they way I thought they would when I first moved, I am still incredibly glad I got on the plane with my cat and decided to make a life here with Loek. 

When I first moved, I had no idea what I was really in store for. I did not realize how hard it would be to find a job. I also didn't realize that I would feel like I was in everyone's way whenever I walked out of my house. I have since -found a job, re-enrolled in school fulltime, and I am a speed walker. Here are a few other things that are different now then when I first landed.

I am really good at ease-dropping on conversations in Nederlands, I can read all menus without translation. I know what almost everything is in the grocery store. I can also order and hold a small conversation. I am still really uncomfortable speaking it, but I am sure that will come.

I know how to cook stampot, hutspot, and hachee. I know when oliebollen season is and which fish monger to go to at my local market. This year, I am going to try my hand a homemade speculaas. 

I have almost survived my first period  in an International higher education. It is not harder than the American system, just more work then I remember.

I can help both international and dutch tourists find their way or train in Utrecht and Amsterdam. 

I also learned that no matter where you live, you are the combination of your experiences and where you grew up. 

It is incredibly important to find friends that you can share your experiences with.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who stumbles across this blog. No matter when you started reading, your kind words and questions have made this journey a lot easier than it could have been. Sincerely, thank you! 

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