Friday, April 18, 2014

Goede vrijdag

Today is Good Friday (or in Dutch, Goede vrijdag).  We're starting out with sunny weather, but it's supposed to turn to rain.  How fitting.  Today is also my birthday.  I'm forgoing any celebrations to honour our Lord's death instead, and I'm okay with that.  I'm listening to Taize songs, what they would be singing back in Canada.  I always loved Easter weekend at church, it's such beautiful music.  I don't care so much for the songs we're singing now.  Besides not understanding them too much yet, they just don't have the solemn 'feel' to them like Taize has.  We have no soloists.

I was a bit sad the other day about missing normal Easter routine at church, but while I was sitting in church Thrusday night, I got to witness new routines.  Our church is the diocesan church and we had like, 12 priests there AND the bishop, several altar servers, even a female deacon (I think? I'm presuming her position) and incense up the wazoo (it was fantastic).  It's always such a sight to witness such a gathering.

So I'm very curious about tonight's service.  I liked Good Friday service the best at COOL; I think they conducted and arranged it very well.  (A small note to anyone reading from COOL.. I can only imagine how stressed out J. is right now, thus stressing everyone else out.  Try not to kill anyone, eh. Hold fast, it's almost over) ;)

In other news... I have my first client!  A friend of mine has asked me to make brownies for her son's birthday on Monday.  Woot!  I just might throw in something a little extra for the "thanks for having faith in me".  :)

Remember how I said the recipes I'm doing are read by like.. 3000 or so people?  Yeah.. no.  Turns out the magazine doesn't have circulation in the whole town (short of volunteers to deliver).  So it's only read by 1800 people.  Wanna hear something, though?  One of the members of the editors team went to interview the other lady who also submits recipes (has been doing it for years, writes cookbooks and stuff) had my breadpudding recipe page open and the recipe made on the counter!  I couldn't believe it!  And then I worry, right.  Inner diaglogue: "Omg, I hope I gave correct measurements." "What if it turns out differently for her? (and not in a good way)" "What if.. " "What if... "  Bah.  I finally let it go and hoped for the best.

Taxes.  Oh, hateful taxes.  Do not move to another country and do your previous country's taxes.  It's hell.  Hell I tell you!  I can't file electronically, I have to do it by mail.  Which I haven't done yet.  Cause I'm still researching..stuff (best way to go about it, etc).  That will be my focus over the next couple days.

Stuff to do, so I best get to it.  I'm attending my first Stations of the Cross this afternoon (better late than never?).  Won't understand it much, but it'll be nice to see.  Then a choir member invited me over for dinner before we have to go back to sing tonight.  That was sweet :)

Oh.. remind me to tell you about how they celebrate birthdays in the Netherlands, later. :)

May you find time to reflect today and remain in prayer.  Peace be with you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thinky Thoughts

I have a few thoughts that have been building up for a while.  Or that.. my frustration has built up and I'm about to pop my top.  I have all of this... stuff... building up, like un-used energy, and I don't know what to do with it. Let's see what this blog post can do.

An observation I've had of late, is the word 'sorry'.  Europeans don't say it as much as we do.  Not half as much.  That's the one thing I (well, both W. and I, actually) noticed when I first came here, was how often I said 'sorry'.  We interject it into sentences or situations so smoothly and stealth-like.  I won't go so far as to say it's lost it's meaning.  I don't think it has.  I just think that we are short of taking ownership of it or our actions and over-using it.  (Addendum: when I say 'we' I mean Canadians. Americans use it a lot too, but I don't think as much as us, really.)  It came to the point that I would be out and about and maybe accidentally bump into someone at the store.  I would say 'sorry', cause that's what we do.  But when someone bumps into me, they don't say sorry.  I would have a knee-jerk reaction of thinking it was rude of them not to.  Okay, perhaps that's a bad example.  Or they'll cut ahead of you in an isle.  They don't apologize for that, either.  I view it as rude, they view it as simply taking their place.  They all do it and we both approach it with a completely different mentality.  One day a Dutch person said sorry to me and I had to turn around and look at them twice, it was so weird.  Now, don't go thinkin' Dutch people are rude.  They're not.  They're some of the kindest and nicest people I've met.  They just.. approach life a little differently.

Funny story; I was writing a recipe for the magazine and at one point I said (translated), "Feel free to add x, y or z to the recipe as other options." W. chuckles and calls me over and he said, "Um, honey.. this part here where you tell people to "feel free"?  Yeah, we don't say that.  You don't tell people here to 'feel free' to do anything. We were occuppied for 5 years... we just do it." Touche.  Fair statement.  After a bit of a laugh and feeling a little lot bad for potentially offending my fellow Dutchies, we removed it :)

So that's a classic example of their mentality, if it helps you at all.  I can't say I'd act any differently.

I find myself saying more and more that things are different here.  A part of me still expects some things to be the same.  Mass, for one, confession for another (these are just a couple examples off the top of my head).  I think these little 'changes' or frustrations are piling up and I'm not sure how I'm processing them in my head.  Holidays are different.  I've already said they don't have the same "whooplah" that we have for holidays back home.  Things aren't as commercialized here and maybe advertised a week or two ahead of the occassion (not 2 months).  My birthday is this coming Friday and I wanted to celebrate but a) I'm not going to celebrate it on Good Friday and b) this is Easter weekend.  Not a lot of people celebrate Easter (at least, not in our circle) but they may be out if the weather is nice.  I haven't bothered to ask for people over for a gathering, really, because I can't decide what I want to do or when I want to do it.  We also had plans to go away, but since then they have been cancelled.  This weekend is so much up in the air, it's making my OCD twitchy.  The only plans we have is his parents want to take us out for dinner (celebrating a double birthday; his dad's was Sunday) Saturday night.  Mind you, it's at one of my favourite restaurants, so it makes me happy :)  I really want to ask myself what I want and what's important to me.  Sure, there are a few kitchen gadgets I'd love to have (as I say half-jokingly), but I have everything I want; I'm where I want to be with who I want to be with and with a roof over our head.  What more can I ask for?  If I was back in Canada I would be having celebrations (multiple dinners, teas, coffees, visits) with the people I cared most about, but things are a lot different here.  It's rare to go out for dinner or tea or coffee.  If I really want to break it down (and be honest), I think I'm used to the anti-clamatic build up to events, and I'm not getting that here.  It's funny how much you notice it when it doesn't happen.  It's become so cyclical that it feels like something's missing when it doesn't happen.  So then I feel a bit down and dispirited.. and I'm not sure how to process it.

I'm not sure what to do for Easter Sunday.  Usually I would make a nice meal for a friend or two or three after a very full (in attendance) and joyful Easter Mass.  I would bake something special (Dulce des Tres Leche cake, anyone?).  There would be socializing.  And now... W. doesn't care 'cause he doesn't celebrate Easter, and if he's not ramped up about something, it's hard for me to get half as excited.  All of our inner circle doesn't celebrate Easter, so aside from (both of us) going to Mass, I'm on my own.  I have one friend who does celebrate it, but she'll be with her family (and please don't suggest I spend it with them).  I just don't know how to move forward right now.  I miss making a big deal of things.

Well, this post has taken a downturn.  Perhaps I should get up and get something done, move my right hip a bit (have been having problems).  The dishes don't do themselves, unfortunately.

I will talk to W. tonight though, and let him know my thoughts.  It's so easy to stay in your head about things sometimes that it's easy to pass over the fact that your other half can actually help you get over hurdles.  Even if it's just voicing your thoughts, it's nice to have them out in the open and not locked up.  It's easy to become independent (or for me, go back to my old ways), when we're really there for the other person to lean on.  And you know what, it's been a looooooooong time since I've said a prayer.  Perhaps I'll do that in my chores tonight.

Hope your world is treating you well.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Well, the sad fact is that I'm house-bound today.  My chronic health issues have caught up with me and I'm having a bit of a pain day.  On the upside, I have enough energy to be in the kitchen in spurts (though I may need to lay down later), so I'm making grain-free crackers.  They're super easy and very good.  A guilt-free snack.  If you're interested, message me and I'll forward you the page/recipe.

W and I have changed our eating habits and have gone GF and lactose-free.  Basically it's the same diet I tried a year and a half ago.  Except this time.. it isn't going so well.  The more I think though, the more I remember it didn't go so easily in the beginning that time, either.  Still, I don't remember being in this much pain last time.  We've just been in this 2 weeks, so it's still early.  I need to persevere.  All of this is mostly what my blog title is about today.

I have been having a problem deciding what to write about.  A lot and a little has happened since I last wrote and most of the thoughts I have that I think I want to blog about, happen usually while I'm out and not near a pen and paper to write them down.  I always think I'll remember them and I never do.

Life in Dutch-land is good.  Spring has been here for a couple weeks, with the temperatures and greenery to show for it.  With the warm winter, I'm not sure what that'll mean for our summer.  We're getting lots of sun now (I think I heard March was a record) and it's nice to be outside.  I'm slowly putting pots out on the balcony (making sure we won't get anymore frost).

Choir is going well, when I'm able to go.  I'm sick (colds, etc) often since I moved, so I'm not there every week.

As I pass my time here I still can't believe how nice people are (usually, though there have a couple exceptions). I've been excercising my language muscles when I'm out more now. I've been developing more ideas for my business and will slowly start putting them into play. I'm happy I have developed a clearer vision.

Hmm.. I really don't have a lot to write about today.  Perhaps I'll pick another day when I can write something more specific.  I know it's been a while, so I wanted to at least show I was still alive :)  How is your spring going?  Your Lent?  Your diet?  Your friendships and relationships?  I hope you are taking care of yourself and all that is attached to you by faith, love or mind.

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