I have been MIA from this place with no good reason, and every good reason all at the same time. Chalk it up to all that insanity, just like pretty much everything else I don't have a better explanation for. The important thing being: I am here now! Now is all that matters.
Let us play a little game of catch up.
1. I taught Lindsey how to make meatloaf. This is funny for two reasons. First: I only learned how to make meatloaf myself about a year ago. Second: I got to watch Lindsey knead raw meat and eggs. It was hilarious. I have pictures to prove it, and you can read the first person account of Lindsey's meaty misfortune right here.
2. Prinsjesdag (Prince's Day) came around and marked the annual reading of our country's financial plan by none other than our queen, Queen Beatrix. She reads this plan whilst sitting on a throne in the Ridderzaal (Knight's Hall) in our city of The Hague. She gets to the Ridderzaal by exiting her working palace Paleis Noordeinde and getting into her (no joke) gold carriage which her noble steeds then ride over to the Binnenhof. This procession takes place right here in our city and is one of the bigger national events that takes place annually, and so, Lindsey and I figured it would be nice to go see in person. Lindsey for the first time, and the rest of us quite possibly for the last time.
We got to see her alright, in her mighty shiny carriage, with her immovable hair and ever present hat and everything. It was fun to see the whole parade, but some of the fun was killed by the mainly 55+ people standing around me who did not appreciate the fact that I had brought Elliot. Elliot was not having fun you see, and I expected no less. This whole thing happened in the middle of his normal nap hours, and consisted mainly of waiting - something 15 month olds are just not very good at. I had anticipated some crying... and cry he did. Though he didn't nearly cry and moan as much as the people around me, who, instead of using their precious energy to maybe help me, loudly complained to each other about my stupidity for bringing a baby to such an event.
I wondered to myself 'Do you really lose all memories of what it was like to be young when you pass the age of 55? Do you honestly lose all sense of compassion and good manners, and become a judgmental, agist, cranky sourpuss?'* This is a range of qualities that especially the Dutch seem to excell at.
At one point I turned around to the particularly nasty couple behind me (who were also commenting on how happy they were that they weren't one of those 'brown' people the police would be watching so closely to prevent acts of terrorism), looked them straight in the eye (not difficult to do since we were packed together like sardines) and stood up for myself. I said: 'You do realise I can actually hear you, right?', to which they glanced around uncomfortably and mumbled something intelligable. I waited another couple of seconds to see if they had anything to say for themselves. Then I became worried they might soil themselves -they truly looked uncomfortable and you know, they were kind of old- , and I turned back around.
The moment I had repositioned myself the man, again loudly, said to the woman: 'Maybe this will teach her not to take small children along to such events, ::sigh:: youth today...'. Yep, they pretty much embodied every single cliche there is of narrow-minded pensioners. I turned around again, looked him in the eye once more, and said: 'Maybe this will teach you to in the future watch these events from the comfort and quiet of your living room where you don't have to worry about brown people being a threat to you ,or young, hard working mothers trying to teach her children about our country!'. OK so, maybe I didn't actually say that. And I'd like to pretend the reason I said nothing was that I was taking the high road, not deeming them worth another thought or word. The real reason of course was that, between frantically trying to keep the kids happy and having to listen to their whining for forever, I was worried I might have a fit if I turned around again. The only place that would have landed me is in a jail cell, charged with several counts of geriatricide.
There he is behind me, looks friendly doesn't he? Sorry, no pictures of the actual gold carriage and our Queen - I had my hands full most of the time.
* Of course I realise I just got unlucky here and that most of you lovely over-fifty-fivers are loverly people - my own parents being excellent examples!
3. We got to go to the beach last week. The beach! In October! It was hot and incredible and fabulous and wonderful and we all got sunburns. I can't tell you how happy this made me - one last Den Haag beach experience. We ate grapes, TUCs with cream cheese, melkbroodjes with chocolate chips, potato chips and plums. We lazied around in the hot sand while the kids played in the water until they could play no more. It made me so happy.
4. We have a date for our final visa interviews! On November 10th we will find out if the US will have us or not. If they do then we are currently thinking of December 8th as a good day to fly out
5. This past weekend was our church's semi-annual General Conference, when our church leaders come together to speak to all the members (and everyone else interested) and remind us of how we should live our lives. That's not all they do though. They inspire, strengthen, encourage and exhude pure love. I came out of this conference feeling changed for the better and invite you all to read my favourite talk of them all over here. Feel free to browse the other talks that were given. Hardly anything will give you as good of an insight as to what I believe and how this church operates like listening to these men and women.
6. I am on a diet. Sander, Lindsey and I are on a diet, actually. We have vowed together that October would be our month of health and that together we would stick to some gruelling rules. One of those rules means that I have to stop typing right now and start exercising. Ugh. Halloween is our day of freedom... come celebrate and eat yourself into a stupor with us!