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January 2013

2 Years and Counting

Two years ago today was the most nerve racking day of my life. The boy I had been talking to online on and off for nearly four years was finally flying in from the Netherlands and we would get to be face to face for the first time. As nervous as I was, it probably was nothing compared to what Loek was feeling flying all the way across the Atlantic. 

The plan was simple, I would meet him at the top of the arrivals gate at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Unlike many airports, the Atlanta airport has two terminals but everyone comes up the same way to collect their bags  and met the people who are waiting for them. Everyone that is except Loek. Somehow, and I still don't know to this day how he possibly accomplished this, but Loek came up an entirely different way. We completely missed each other, and of course my phone was on silent. It was about 30 minutes before I looked at my phone, I thought perhaps there was just a very long line in customs. I had 7 missed calls. Poor Loek, had already got his luggage and in his first time to the US, I wasn't where I said I would be. He thought that perhaps I had decided that I didn't want to meet him after all. 

Of course, this was not the case and finally we found each other. The rest is history, four months later we got engaged and 6 months after that I moved to the Netherlands. Perhaps, not the most ordinary of love stories, but it is ours and we like it. 

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3 Ways to Beat Those the Winter Blues

It is freezing this week in the Netherlands. Beautiful, but freezing. Which means that trains aren't running as frequently, causing me to have to leave two hours early to make it to my final. I also totally ate it and slid like a meter on the snow leaving my whole body sore. See that kids, I said meter, I'm becoming so European. All these factors can come together to create some winter blues. 

I'm doing my best to combat these, here are some of the solutions I have found:

1. A nice cup of tea. In the States, the only tea I would drink was sweet. Hot tea was just something I did not do. Lately, especially since working at a company with so many European Internationals, tea drinking is part of the culture. I am pleased to say that I am now an  avid tea drinker. Personally, I find that the tea I favor tend to have flowers or mint in them. My mom recently sent Loek and I the yellow submarine tea strainer, I can't wait to get some loose leaf teas to try it out.

2. Sweaters. I just bought this Mango sweater from Mode Republik. Having enough sweaters to layer is key to staying warm this winter. I love the embellishments on the sleeves. Hopefully it will come today so I can make sure it fits!

3. My kindle paperwhite. When my old kindle broke, I was heartbroken. I use it everyday! Which id why I am so glad I splurged on the paperwhite. Plus, it has the added bonus of being backlit and the ability to turn the light down so that I don't disturb sleeping people. Some of the other features I love are, the ability to change font, the touch screen, the timer for chapter, and the book covers instead of just names of the books, so I can remember why I selected the books in the first place to add to my collection. Since I have a smaller reading goal of just 75 books this year, I am curling up with the complete Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

What keeps you from beating the winter blues?

Image credits: 

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The Best Books I Read in 2012: Part 1 July to December

I was soooo close to completing my GoodReads Challenge of 100 books in 2012. I read 94 to be exact. I blame my kindle breaking on my inability to finish the last 7. Luckily, my new one is in the mail on its way to me. I read a lot of really great books this year. Here are some of the best.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien: I re-read this after seeing the movie. There was just so much in the movie I didn't recall reading about. Oh, that is because it is not actually in the book. Peter Jackson took a little creative liberty in his films. Both are good, but the Hobbit is much more of a simple tale than the movies. It's a classic. 

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman: I have a thing for books about Dragonlore. Seraphina is probably the most unique piece of literature written about dragons that I have ever read. The title character lives in a world where dragons can take human shape and she must hide who she really is. 

Watersmeet and The Centaur's Daughter by Ellen Jenson Abbott: I really like this series. It is really refreshing to read a series for teenage girls in which the heroine faces much greater problems than who she should date. In fact, any sort of romantic interest is not introduced until book 2. Seriously, girls need stronger literature role models. Think Hermione Granger and Katniss Everdeen vs Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele.

The Copper Sign by Katia Fox: When I was in high school, I took a metal working class. Since then, I have had secret dreams of being a jewelry designer or blacksmith. This piece of historical fiction is about a female blacksmith in the Middle Ages. The author did a ton of research on the techniques, and at least for me it proved to be an interesting read. 

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant: My mom has been harping on me to read this book for years. It follows the story of Dinah, Leah and Rachel of the Bible. It is a fascinating retelling of a familiar story and shows the strength of connection between womankind. 

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: This book was recommended to me by my friend Christy, and by recommended, I mean she would not stop mentioning it on facebook and her blog. While I don't think I loved it as much as she did, it is still worth a read. It follows a young scholar discovers that you can't escape your families past. Mainly, this book made we want to visit Oxford and take up rowing. Perhaps, not the intended results, but that is what I focused on.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: Picked as a selection for the now debunked book club of AMS bloggers, this book about being a woman in Afghanistan both before and after the Taliban is heart wrenching. 

This year, I am going for a much more modest 75 books. Don't forget to follow me on GoodReads!

What was your favorite book of 2012?

Images from Good Reads

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In Memoriam: Atticus Hawthorne Baak July 2010 to December 27, 2012

This post fills me with such sorrow. Last Thursday, Loek and I had to put our beloved cat Atticus down. He suddenly lost a lot of weight and was sleeping a lot over Christmas so we took him into the vet when it reopened. We were quickly told that he had an incurable virus and which was made more complicated by his inability to breath through his nose. Because he was in so much pain, we really had no other choice. 

For those of you who have been reading for a long time, you know that I brought Atti with me from the States. He was the best cat that anyone could ever ask for. 

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