Thursday, August 29, 2013

My New Best Friend

I was on a bike ride the other night, picking blackberries (they're by the dozens along the Streets and open for picking; we make jam out of them) while W. was working late.  Along one of the roads we frequent is a field with 3 horses.  Every time I stop to see them, every time they seem disinterested.  This time my persistence paid off!  One of the horses came by, said hello and we were inseperable.  I scratched her head, then she'd bend down and I scratched her ears (she really liked that)'.  It was really funny, cause she'd move so I could scratch a different part of her; her neck, her belly... even her be-hind.. lol.  Then she'd go back to the face again.  Spoiled.  I was probably there for about an hour.  I'd talk to her and I'm sure she didn't understand a thing I was saying but she didn't seem to mind.  She'd just move around so I could scratch different parts. 

A lady arrived with a young girl and they came to walk one of the smaller horses.  We spoke for a bit and seeing how well this horse and I got along, she suggested I check out the riding school down the street.  I thanked her for her suggestion, though I'm not sure I will (not having money, for one, and I don't have much of an interest in riding).  Would I like to volunteer with them and get involved with something?  For sure.  Anything to get me out of the house more, at this point.  The horse and I really got along, so I'm quite curious. 

Well, whatever happens, this is my new friend.  I'd tell you her name, but I'm not quite sure how to spell it :/

She didn't want to stop and pose for me.
I'll keep going by to see her and say hi, if she's around.  We'll see how this relationship progresses :)


Cultural Differences

First.. technical difficulties: Chrome isn't letting me log on to make a new post (ironic that Google isn't letting me log in to contribute to a Google blog.  Just sayin').  It's literally not giving me the option at the top of the page to create a new post.. so.. I've had to.. *gulp*.. resort to IE.  Excuse me while I shudder slightly.  *shudder*

Anyhoo... I've been wanting to write about cultural differences for a while but wanted enough to write about.  Where can I start?  Some things may be ones I've mentioned before, but only now shedding them in a different light.

Roads.  I'm getting used to them, especially cycling.  I'm learning the rules of their roads and say, how to proceed at an intersection (none of which have stop signs).  They also follow the rule "those to the right proceed" so that's easy.  I haven't gotten myself killed yet, so I put that in the 'win' column.  You REALLY have to keep your eyes open on their roads, there's so much going on; drivers (multiple), cyclists (multiple), the odd walker.  And it's true, everyone really does ride their bike here. 

Health.  W. and I were just discussing how he's going to a doctor's appointment next week and I asked him when the last time was he got a complete physical.  He looked at me funny.  They don't do that here.  Then I looked at him funny.  I said, "What?  You're not a medically-induced hypochondriac society?" :P  And they have some of the healthiest people world-wide.  They're doing something right, and I kind of like this mentality.  Physicals were never my favourite, anyways.  That's a rant saved for a later date. 

Food.  Local food (i.e desserts) is highly wheat-based, as you may have guessed.  Cakes are the top seller.  And I don't mean a round, icing-covered sugary goodness; I mean.. dense cakes, like loaf-pan shaped.  Oh, and in home baking, they're high on springform pans (it's kind of weird).  It's almost as if *everything* is baked in a springform pan.  Now, these cakes and desserts are found in grocery stores.  If you want something special, you will find it in a restaurant (as you've seen by some pics). 

Livestock.  You can't go half a mile without seeing horses, cows or sheep.  Less popular are goats.  Today on the train to Groningen I saw a field full of cows - all lying down, almost akin to how a cat sleeps.  I mean, they were just cuddled up and relaxed and sleeping.  It still weirds me out.  I find it fantastic that the animals are so relaxed.  It shows me they're being treated well.

Stairs.  It's true; they are more narrow than back home.  It really took me back when I first arrived here but have quickly gotten used to it.

People.  People are so much happier and at ease here.  As much as G. was a fairly laid-back town, this is even more so, if that was even possible.  And they're.. *gasp*.. happy.  You can see it when you're cycling around town; everyone's smiling, they say hi to you as you go by.  It's really weird (when you're not used to it).  If they worry about anything, they don't let on about it.  I'm still adjusting to the pace, but it's a very welcomed one.

Well, that's all I can think of for today.  I'll try and write back again with more :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Wow.  I hadn't realized it's been so long since I last wrote.  I've just sort of been living life; trying to get a bike, for one (obtained!) and trying to figure life out (what to do next, etc).  The bike needs a name (right, AR?).  I should take a picture of it today and show you.  I was going to get W. to take a pic with me and the bike, but he's a bit busy these days, so there's low opportunity.  No matter.

Last weekend we went to Heerenveen to their museum.  The city was 'closed' as it was a Sunday and not their Sunday to be open, so it was pretty desolate.  Seemed pretty, though, and would like to go back sometime.  Sorry, this'll be a repeat for those who've seen on Facebook.  As usual, click to enlarge.

We're not sure what this building was, but it serves as a restaurant now (and possiblly hotel? I don't know what's upstairs).  Date on the building is 1640.

Church.  Unknown name or faith (though I'm guessing Catholic or Anglican as it had a rectory attached (not shown)).  

Walking through town waiting to catch the train.. and bam.. there's a windmill.  It used to mill grain (grind into flour).  It's out of commission now.  

Beautiful flower-covered bridges.  

It continues down the street and on other bridges.

Even the pigeons are relaxed.  This place cracks me up.

At the museum we learned about Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis (1846-1919).  A very interesting man who stood out very much in his time.  A Lutheran preacher-turned socialist-turned anarchist, he lost the faith, started fighting for workers rights and then started fighting everything else (he was an anti-militarist and didn't believe in war and even openly discouraged giving kids war toys -guns, etc).  He was the very first Dutch socialist elected into Parliament, wrote in various papers, published a book and the museum had his entire library contained; it was so fabulous.  Books on psychology, anarchy, literature (even in English!), religious works (Bible, New Testament, etc).  It was so extensive.  To be that close to books that old... oh boy did I want to get my hands on them.  They'd be priceless.  (If you're unsure what I'm referencing, I collect old books of a certain nature, pre-1940).  He seemed like a really interesting, full-character sort of man.  If people agreed with him or not (there was even a copy of a note of insulting terms against him, someone who did NOT like him at all), his funeral brought about an entire town.  Hundreds of the working class came out to pay tribute to a man who fought for 8 hour days, breaks, needed rest, etc.  He had a good heart.

I got my health insurance card!  Go me!  So now I can go see a GP, chiropractor and I thought about seeing an accupunturist.  My parents are seeing one and can't say enough good about it.  The sky's the limit (or that.. whatever my card will cover for the remainder of the year).

Well, W's slowly starting to wake up and I should get moving and start the day.  Sorry it's a long post.  Hope everyone's having a good week!

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