Arriving in Amsterdam

Stroop Therapie (Dutch translation = Syrup Therapy)
An Evolutionarily series chronicling the moments that left their mark during a time of self discovery and renovation.

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Picked me up some stroopwafles.  How about you?

I also picked up Stephen’s Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa to try a new trick. You set the cookie on the lip of the cocoa cup and let the steam warm the waffle and soften the syrup. (Thanks for the tip, Sharon!)

Mmm, mmm, mmm! I’m ready to dive into the memories now.

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My First-Evers Journal

February 13, 2006

Holland – Day 1

Yes. I am actually in Holland! I find it difficult to believe that I’m here. Barbara has been the perfect hostess and it is so good to see her! Quint (her 8 month old son) is a sweet blue eyed darling. I need to go to sleep and catch up with the time difference (3:30 p.m. in Utah, 11:30 p.m. here) and am falling asleep as I writed. Will fill you in tomorrow morning on the adventures of the day and the flight.

LG

That’s no typo; I actually wrote “writed”. Fourteen hours on an airplane can do a number on you.

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Day 1 – continued…

I awoke at 10:30 this morning. Uggh! Jet lag indeed.

So, to recount yesterday’s beginning of my first ever foreign journey, I will begin with the flight here–because it’s a doozy.

I left Salt Lake at 10:10 a.m. My flight was originally supposed to go through JFK in New York, but they were rerouting all flights due to a heavy snow storm. My flight was now going through Atlanta. Since I would be arriving later I called my mom and asked her to email Barbara in case she didn’t check on the flight status. Even though we left late, we still somehow arrived in Amsterdam on time.

The flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam would have been better had I gotten more sleep. I would have gotten more sleep had the man and woman directly in front of me not become very drunk. They were rudely obnoxious for the first 4 hours, but I was too tired to fully awaken and complain. Each time I was jarred awake, I stupidly thought, “They’ll crash soon”. They finally did, thankfully.

We landed in Amsterdam at 8:10 a.m. the day after I left.

En route to baggage claim I received the first stamp in my passport! All signs at the airport had English next to the Dutch words so it would be hard to get lost, much to my relief.

I also followed the crowd and found my way to Customs. Almost as soon as I made it to the Arrival Hall (as it is labeled in English) I spotted Barbara there with little Quint in his stroller.

I wish to capture every sight, sound, smell, and taste of this wonderful place. Impossible, but I’ll make an effort.

We loaded up her sister-in-law’s V.W. Golf (she shares it with Barbara) and we traveled the 10 minutes to Bab’s home. She and Quint and her boyfriend, Olav, live in the 2nd story of a typical Amsterdam 5-story apartment building, above a photography shop. They have their own entrance while the other three apartments share one. The wooden door is tucked back in the brick and makes me want to take it home as a souvenir. Once you enter, there is space enough for a few biking necessities and the stroller (placed behind the door), but that’s all. Then to really enter the home, you must climb a steep set of 16 stairs (yes, I counted them) to another, larger landing where they hang their coats, and then you go through the door to the apartment.

…The decor of their home is simple and pleasing to my eye…

Barbara's mom painted that painting hanging on the wall. She's a terrific artist.

I proceed to describe the apartment in detail and then there was this fascinating element…

There is the Bath Room and down the hall is the Toilet Room. The kitchen is not much bigger than a closet and has a matching cupboard-like refrigerator (very small fridge).

Since they are on the corner of the building, Bab’s balcony goes around on two sides and they have a large set of windows in their dining room with a cool view of their neighborhood.

There doesn’t seem to be enough heat in the place for this time of year, but maybe I’ll adjust– even if I have acclimated to Vegas and soaked up the Hawaiian tropical sun. I do, however, prefer this weather to the Vegas Summers.

We walked about a mile down the street to the Albert Clyup Market–an open market extending 2 city blocks. This is where I find my new, warm scarf and gloves. Bab and I also found matching hats–hers brown, mine off-white. I was a lot more cozy! I think I will scout out some slippers tomorrow.

Bab insisted I try two Holland treats–pickled haring and the stroopwafel. I had one bite of haring and did not enjoy it in the least! Maybe it’s an acquired taste.

Loved every single bite of the warm stroopwafel! Oh my. I intend to get more of those before I leave.

(Albert Clyup Market. Barbara's buying me some haring.)

 

The booths and stores hidden behind them were a feast for the eyes.

We rode the tram back and then we walked back to Barbara’s neighborhood to “grocery shop”. Here’s how it went.

We walked to the fish market to buy some salmon. Then we walked down the block to the produce market for vegetables. Then we walked another block or two to the “supermarket” for milk, soda pop and dishwasher detergent–every one of these items was half the size I’m used to buying. The supermarket was maybe the size of two convenience stores in Utah. (That explains the size of the fridge—or vs./vs.) Then we went a few doors away to the butcher for some meat spread to go on our bread that we bought at the bakery a few more doors further down our path. (This would be our snack when we got home. I crave that meat spread. It’s a seasoned minced meat sort of the thing.)

Stopped at the ATM for my first ever Euros that weren’t given to me as a souvenir.

Before we went home, we had to stop at the book store to pick up a guidebook to Amsterdam. Barbara said, “I should be your host but since I have to work some of the days, I have to buy you the next best thing.”

While Bab fed Quint, I was thumbing through my guidebook and fell asleep, dropping the book. Jet lag.

My first meal in Amsterdam was home cooked by Barbara from all the ingredients we bought that afternoon. It consisted of tuna steaks (cooked rare), green beans, peas, potatoes and tomatoes stuffed with black olives, mushrooms, onions, and Parmesan cheese. It was delicious. And formal with lit candles in candle sticks and plate coasters.

Between all the walking we did to shop and the items in our meal, it’s no wonder I haven’t yet seen a single overweight person since arriving.

I sat down to show Bab my Hawaii photos on her computer when Olav came home from work. I should have read up on the greeting customs because I’m still embarrassed that I didn’t respond correctly. It’s three alternating touch-cheek-kisses with a slight grasp of each other’s upper arms. 1… 2… 3. A little awkward for this space-bubble American…

Bab and Olav are doing everything possible to make my first European trip a memorable one, including making plans together in Dutch with me sitting there and then telling me what they decided would be best. I love it. I love these Dutchies! A lot of phlem sounding words go on around these parts.

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Day 2 Preview: I travel on my own through this.


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Today’s Syrupy Moment: Finishing a project that has taken me several days and hours to accomplish. Which is why I treated myself to a fabulous cake ball made by my sister-in-law for my mom’s work Open House. Made with Red Velvet cake mixed with cream cheese frosting and coconut rolled into a ball then dipped in white chocolate. It’s all about treats with me at the moment.

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