It’s midterms and fall vacation time for students, and as a student of life, I guess I should turn in my “What I Did This Summer” report before it’s any later. I’m back from an unplanned hiatus. There was really no reason for it except that I didn’t feel like much was happening here worth sharing. But now I have enough small things collected to justify a blog post. Therefore, in the spirit of fun, I compiled an alphabetical list of 26 random things that I did, which I titled:
What I Did This Summer
All in Dutch – My Dutch is getting a lot better. I had a mini phone interview with a temp agency on the phone the other day, did it all in Dutch. Later that day Sjouke’s work called me (I have his old cell phone) asking for his work phone number, did that all in Dutch as well. A big highlight of trying to be bilingual happened a few weeks ago when I told Google to translate a web page for me. I read through the entire thing before realizing that it didn’t translate. I can do pretty much anything all in Dutch now!
British – Our buddy from London, Chris, came to visit us for a week. That was fun. He drove his 30 year old Mini here. A drive that normally takes 3 hours took 6. That was not so fun.
C.S.I. – I have developed a weekend routine of watching a double episode of Crime Scene Investigation every Saturday and Sunday night accompanied by a glass of wine and pretzels/chocolate/ice cream/chips/I’m really not picky. I also catch a double episode of Bones on Sunday nights and NCIS on weekdays after dinner. Dishes can wait until commercials!
Deep Fryer – Our grocery store has a saving stamps program and we finally had enough full stamp books to trade in for a deep fryer. Now we make french fries and deep fried snacks every Sunday night.
Exploring – I’ve been biking a lot more and I can now successfully navigate myself to several nearby towns. It’s nice to be able to go to the stores and the train station whenever I want to…or whenever I have some spending money.
Fishing – I can’t remember how many times we went fishing while the weather was nice. I’m not afraid to bait my own hook with maggots anymore!
German – My friend David suggested that I check out Duolingo since he spent his summer learning German through this free online language courses site. I took his advice and am now enrolled in Dutch to brush up my skills, German because I think it’s useful, and Irish because I’m crazy and I like learning languages. Plus did I mention that it’s free?
Hockey – Ice hockey season has started once again. Last week we went to our first home game. I have my own season pass this year with my name on it. I feel pretty special about that.
IKEA – I built my very first piece of IKEA furniture all by myself and now we have a lovely bookcase to match our TV stand.
Job Searching – I check all of my favorite job search websites at least once a day and I’ve been applying to as many as I can, but still nothing has worked out beyond an interview. At least I know that I am putting in the effort and in the mean time, I’m keeping the house clean and I have time for little projects. It can be discouraging, but being upset about it doesn’t make it go any faster, now does it?
Knitting – I need to start knitting again. I haven’t knit a single thing all summer!
Lasagna – It’s a running joke in my family that we have a curse, neither of my parents has been successful at making lasagna. I decided that it can’t be THAT difficult, so I tried my hand at it, and it was good! My second variation with fresh zucchini, peppers and onions was even better!
Meeting people – Last week I decided that I needed to get out and meet some new people, so I attended a coffee meeting put on by a group called Connect Intl. They’re a relocation service that also does events for expats. I met a bunch of other expats in Groningen and it was really nice to get out and talk to people who are in the same situation that I am.
New furniture – We bought a new couch that matches the old one, so now we have a nice living room set. We also put up a lot of new shelves, furnished our guest room with two new beds, bought a matching coffee table and end table for the living room and a sweet old chest.
Orchids – Annemieke got me a pair of orchids shortly after we moved and I’ve been trying my hardest with them since. I did my research, trimmed off the stems after all the flowers fell off, and then they seemed to be dormant. I thought to myself “I just need a sign that I didn’t kill them!” Low and behold, the very next day I noticed 2 new stems sprouting on one of them. Apparently I’m doing something right!
Parents – My parents came to visit me for a week! It was fantastic to seem them after 10 months and for them to get a chance to see our house and where I’ve been running off on my vacations since I met this nice Dutch guy while studying abroad.
Quite Interesting – I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of great BBC shows growing up in America. I only got BBC at home 2 or 3 years ago, and that was BBC America. Now, thanks to the power of youtube, I’m catching up on what I’ve missed! I’m enjoying many episodes of Q.I., Nevermind the Buzzcocks and Mock the Week.
Rats – We’ve been preparing for pet rats and even had a pair reserved from a nearby rattery, but unfortunately that nest isn’t going to happen anymore, so now we’re waiting for a nest from a different rattery. The cage is so full of toys, now we just need some animals.
Steampunk – A wonderful fantasy idea of what the past would look like if the future happened sooner, we attended several steampunk/fantasy/renaissance faires this summer. Now our winter project will be to put together costumes for next summer’s faires.
Tim & Phill Talk About Games – I discovered this fantastic podcast/vodcast duo, Tim & Phill, from Australia. They do some pretty awesome game reviews, they’ve been super helpful when I’ve had gaming problems, and I even won a copy of a game called Transistor from them. If you’re a gamer, you really should check them out for yourself here or on facebook or on youtube.
Unclog – Warning: This letter contains gross events. We had a crappy experience this summer, pun fully intended. The drain in our laundry room kept overflowing. At first we assumed it was because of the rain. Then I pointed out that it smelled like sewage. After several fun evening of mopping water back into the drain, we finally made the connection that it floods when the bathtub drains. Well that’s not good. It was a clog in our pipes, and what a clog! I am so glad that Sjouke took the plunge and fixed the problem.
Vectra- I tagged along with Sjouke to a few Vectra/Opel (car) meets and even an old timer car and tractor show. One meet was on the opposite end of the Netherlands in Sevenum (Limburg) which turned out to be a long, but fun day trip. And I learned that there is a city in Limburg called “America”. Go figure.
Wood – We finished laying the laminate floor upstairs and we nearly finished the downstairs wood floor. We also put up molding in the bathroom and acquired a new shower door, although it’s glass, not wood, but it works for this letter too.
Xbox – Inspired by my friend Amber, I finally got an Xbox 360 and this summer I’ve been really enjoying it. Not that I’m trying to plug Xbox as a suitable alternative for PC gaming, but there are very few other things I can make out of ‘X’ without being annoying.
Yummy – Really, I’m down to the end of the alphabet here, I’m getting desperate. I ate a lot of yummy food since I last posted. Some home cooked meals, and some delicious meals at our favorite restaurants: China Garden, a delicious wok restaurant and Vishandel Sterkenburg, a place right on the Wadden Sea that serves fresh fish. I had plans to take my parents there for a fun afternoon of walking on the dijk and eating fish by the sea, but it burned down, just a week after we were there with our British buddy. Only the kitchen though, the restaurant part is fine, but it’s still upsetting.
Zoo Tycoon – I’ve been super addicted to playing zoo tycoon this summer.
Yay! I finished a list of 26 random things I’ve been up to since you last heard from me! I hope you enjoyed it!
America, Limburg. It really exists.
Keep an eye out for new house pictures this weekend. I’ll do a “Look! I got pretty furniture!” update. And now that I’m getting back into the spirit of blogging about my life and experiences, please let me know if there’s anything you would like to read about or pictures you would like to see!