Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Down and Out on Halloween

Day #9: Wednesday, 31 October 2007

As soon as I opened my eyes this morning, I knew it was going to be a long day. I’ve been zapped with some kind of flu-like illness. I feel better tonight, so perhaps it will pass.

It was tough on the kids today as I could barely function. They somehow managed to keep themselves busy inside all day with playtime. We managed a very short, very slow walk to the corner market late in the afternoon.

Halloween? Non-existent here, although some expats arrange a trick-or-treat outing for their kids. We arrived a bit late, however, to take advantage of the planning. That’s alright…the kids didn’t miss it.

Photo: The "essence" of Amsterdam?

The past few days have been full, with trips to various markets and sights. I took the kids to the Albert Cuypstrat Markt on Monday…they loved the various “funny” things for sale and got pretty wide-eyed whenever we passed fish or produce stands. A piece of fresh fruit goes a long way in appeasing a kid…at least in our case.

Yesterday was a lovely day, and the kids and I set out for the Waterloopleine Markt, a very old flea-market-style place near the central part of the city. Cole bought a cheap magnifying glass, and it has hardly left his hand in two days. He loves examining everything up close. If you need a trinket or an antique pair of Dutch ice skates, Waterloopleine seems like the place to go.

I’ve been practicing my Dutch daily, and I must say that I’m proud of my progress after just one week. My online lessons certainly help, as does the cursory knowledge of German, a language quite similar to Dutch. I’ve been able to conduct a number of transactions completely in Dutch, so I’m well on my way to my self-imposed 3 month schedule of being comfortable with the language. Silly, perhaps, but I like to be able to speak the local tongue. And what better opportunity than now?

ANOTHER trip to Ikea (last night) was very fruitful, as we ordered the majority of our furniture--beds, tables, and chairs. A next day delivery sounded great at the time, but little did I know that I’d be knocked out cold when they were scheduled to show up. The delivery time was not fun for me. Now it’s just a matter of assembling 20 boxes of furniture…fun!

As promised, here are a few pics:

Kids on the plane trip from the US.

Cole with a picture of a primate friend at the monkey park.

Maya looks intently at a water vortex machine.

My new ride. Stacey's is next to mine.

Tomorrow: Go get the parking permit; buy Maya’s new bike; take the kids for a bike ride.

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