Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hello from the other side.

So the big move happened. Six months ago, almost to the day. We packed up our lives into boxes (so many boxes!) and closed the door behind the house we called home for seven and a half years and the city we called ours for twice as long. There were emotions, and tears, and goodbyes, and all that goes with. It was really hard, but we were really tired and ready to move on.

We spent two weeks in a little airbnb in farmlands just outside Delft, where we had no washing machine (thank goodness for friends) but had sheep and cows as first neighbours. The choice of the inbetween accommodation proved great in the sense that it confirmed that our decision to move to a city was the right one. Yes, in our “let’s shake up our lives” plot we even contemplated buying a farmhouse and living far, far away from our first neighbour, which in Dutch context is about a hundred meters, but still. Living for two weeks in farmlands showed us that we really are city people, so there is that.

And the moving day came. We packed up our suitcases of dirty laundry (you can only abuse your friends for so long), put our cat into a tiny cat box and all squeezed into a slightly bigger, highly packed box on wheels and off we went. Moved to the other side of the country. The whole of 150 km, but don’t let the number fool you, in Dutch terms we moved FAR (so far that our friends still struggle with the idea that we hop in the car, and just like that make a day trip back to Delft).

So much has happened in the past six months. Too much to write it all down. A new school, new friends, job transition, more goodbyes, new family dynamics. Head spinning changes.

But I guess what really counts is quite simple:

There is a roof above our heads (and it is a good one, one of the few things that do not need fixing in this 115 year old house)

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There is fire to keep us warm (let’s not talk about the smoke in the cupboards for now).

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There is a river to run along (and oh, it is so beautiful).

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There are friends to host fancy dinners for, old  and new (and we do like hosting, even if not all of our faces show that).

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There have been visits by the people we love (so when I tell my sister now that I am having coffee on the couch, she sees what I see and knows where I sit and how the light falls on me. It is almost like she is with me. Almost.)

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There are books to read, a blossoming tree in our backyard and time to see beauty in everything.

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We are home.

 

 

 

 

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The Seesaw of Thirty Nine

Thirty nine is (in no particular order of importance):

  • Knowing that opportunities are fewer, every door no longer open yet having the courage to throw myself into the deep unknown.
  • Feeling wistful about leaving this town, our home for fifteen years, and being excited about all that awaits.
  • Enjoying what must be the mellowest years of parenting and being deeply aware how numbered the days are.
  • Knowing that I am much more than what I do, yet being terrified what losing one part of my identity will mean to me.
  • Asking big questions, being at peace with small answers.
  • Enormous privilege of being able to learn from those fresh and new to life (“it is good to be alive”, my son, age 5) and those with wisdom and softness of years (“it will come”, my mother, age 67).
  • Knowing that achievements are not all they are cranked up to be, yet feeling the need to achieve more.
  • Feeling connected with the world stronger and broader than ever before and deeper than ever being pained by its sorrows and horrors.
  • Having some greys and still being occasionally mistaken for a student instead of a lecturer.
  • Using three languages on a daily basis switching seamlessly between them and at the same time being unsettled not knowing what language I dream in, love in or what language that book that one day will come should be in.
  • Being anxious about starting all over again yet knowing that we do this every single day.

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Filed under Cherished moments, Life in Delft, not such a zen mama, Reluctant academic life, Uncategorized

Latest Nestorisms

 

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Nestor: “Mama, M (the new kid in his class) does not speak Dutch, only German and English. I think he is really sweet so I am helping him learn Dutch. Today I thought him to say “In a galaxy far far away”.

I: “Very sweet of you, Nestor. And very useful, indeed.”

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I: “Nestor, what would you like to do today?”

Nestor: “Build technology!”

There is no hope for this one either. {The photo below is Una’s first technical design of a boat made from milk carton. At the age of 6. }

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Nestor: “Mama, I am so happy you were born.”

I: {sometimes there just are no words}.

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As though there was ever any doubt (Take 2)

Seriously, was I just a carrier? (see Take 1)

(I got the photo below from Louise, showed it to Una, and she asked: “Hey, who are those people with Nestor?”)

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Mark (5 year old)         Nestor (5 year old)

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Day 72 and 73

I am grateful for a lovely weekend with our friends who drove across the country (that would be a 2.5hour drive :)) to spend the Easter weekend with us. We have been friends for a long time, and since we live SO far from each other, our visits always involve an overnight stay. Over the years these have changed from late nights on the town and whole-night birthday parties in BC (before children) times, through passing out at 9pm only to get up multiple times at night in the early days of parenting, to passing out at 8pm after a day of trying to keep four children born within five years alive, to actually staying up til 11pm (!) with a bottle of good wine and discussing politics, never ending exhaustion, meaning of life and other stuff that comes up after the second glass. See, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not a train – with the youngest of the four children being 3.5 we are not quite at the point of having an uninterrupted dinner yet but it HAS gotten easier.

They arrived on Saturday late morning and we spent the afternoon visiting the dinosaurs expo in Rotterdam, where we decided to, on top of our children, take Una’s best friend and his brother with. A good time was had by all and it went much better than we Mark had feared but seriously, you do need one adult per child to ensure everyone’s safety and sort of sanity. On Sunday we went to Delftse Hout for the Easter egg hunt and stayed on for a few hours as the weather was lovely, hired two rowing boats and chilled on the terrace of Knus, followed by cooking a festive Easter dinner (my Tiramisu turned out delicious, not to brag or anything). The Monday morning was the time to say goodbyes which did not go without tears by the kids. Until the next long weekend/birthday party/opportunity to do the cross country drive!

 

Protecting Una from the dinos

Protecting Una from the dinos

Nestor was happy to admire the T-rex from a safe distance only

Nestor was happy to admire the T-rex from a safe distance only

All six of them

All six of them

Easter egg hunt

Easter egg hunt

Meeting Paashaas (Easter Bunny)

Meeting Paashaas (Easter Bunny)

Merrily, merrily...

Merrily, merrily…

Delftse Hout is one of my favourite places in Delft. Here you can see why.

Delftse Hout is one of my favourite places in Delft. Here you can see why.

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Day 66

Today I am grateful for having done a few things around the house that were waiting for quite some time.

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Day 50

Today I am grateful for the teacher/parent meeting that went so well, according to her teachers Una is a very keen learner and enjoys school very much. It is always so nice to hear other people speak about your child, especially those who are involved in this very important aspect of their lives that we as parents are not really a part of.

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