Weekend in Barcelona

Last weekend, over Easter, we were off on our third and final trip for the month of March – this time to Barcelona. What a busy month!  Essentially we had 2 weekends at “home”, home being a relative term – one in Boston and one in Barcelona.  It was fun getting to be in both places that we once called home within 10 days of each other and recalling the things that make each of them special in our hearts. Continue reading

Christmas 2015

While we are now days past Christmas, I can’t not write about it.  What was supposed to be a mellow week before Christmas with no sports, activities, etc, was anything but that.  But that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a great time this past week – we were just busier than planned. Maybe that’s our defense mechanism keeping us from being sad that we are away from home for yet another holiday season.  Or maybe we are just too damn busy lately! Continue reading

Christmas Tree Fail

Today we went to get our Christmas tree.  We went to Intratuin – a gardening center in Almere – that we know sells trees before the 5th of December.  Most Dutch don’t buy their tree this early because they first celebrate Sinterklaas and then after he leaves, they then focus on Christmas.  Last year we got a lot of chuckles from people regarding how “early” we’d bought our tree. Meanwhile, it’s an American tradition to buy right after Thanksgiving. Ahhhh different cultures…always something! Continue reading

What a Difference a Year Makes – Thanksgiving 2015

Last year we celebrated Thanksgiving just the 4 of us.  Josh was still recovering from his knee surgery and we really didn’t have any friends.  It was the first time we’d ever celebrated “alone”.  And it sucked.  I hated it. We were alone in yet another country.  The anger took over me for a long time – especially over the holiday season.   Continue reading

Vrolijk Pasen – Easter in the Netherlands

It used to be that with every passing holiday that we were gone, a little piece of me died.  Sounds dramatic, I know. But being away from friends and family during any holiday has to be one of the hardest things about being an expat.  However, you’ll be happy to know that these days, instead of a little piece of me dying, a little piece of me is growing.  I’m finding pleasure in new traditions and for us to find ways to celebrate as our little family unit of four. Continue reading

Oud en Nieuw (Old and New)

OMG am I really almost a month late on this one?  I really wanted to get that anniversary entry up and it ended up being quite the bear, taking me a solid week to write and then of course, some shiny object distracted me and here we are, almost a month into the new year.

It’s hard to believe that we are already into 2015.  There’s no sugar coating that 2014 was a bad year. I’m glad it’s over.  I know it’s just a number and any day, month or year can be not so great, but 2014 was just terrible as far as years go.  But it was also eye opening to me.

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Sinterklaas Visits the Marcus House

While there are many benefits to living abroad, one that our children have done their “best” to embrace is as many holiday traditions as possible.  I truly think this is because they think it will garner them more presents over the course of the holiday season!

In Spain, in addition to our traditional American Santa Claus, we also had our caga tio (http://megustatuzapatos.blogspot.nl/2010/12/our-new-catalan-christmas-traditions.html) who would “poop” presents for them on Christmas Eve, and the Three Kings.  We didn’t focus much on the Three Continue reading

Dutch Fall Traditions

While I know that this does not cover everything that happens here in the Netherlands in the fall, I’ve started to compile a list of things that we’ve noticed so far – most of which we are thoroughly enjoying. I’ve no doubt I’ll be adding more to the list as we learn about more and more traditions here in the Netherlands.

Sint Maarten
As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, Sint Maarten is the patron saint of the poor and of children. Similar to Halloween, kids go door to door singing a song about Sint Maarten and Continue reading