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

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

The Big 4-0

It’s the year we (ok I) have been dreading. The big one. 40. Thankfully Josh is taking one for the team first. This being a big one, I really wanted to make it special for Josh.  But I found it to be a struggle.  I wanted us to go somewhere for a few days, but then there were personal things that came up that made us rethink spending the money on 2 trips – one for each of our birthdays.  We thought we’d go on one trip some time in April – only April is in another week and between our availability, our babysitter, visitors, etc – that’s not going to happen either.  We’ve got both kids birthdays and then a surprise trip with Liam and Josh at the end of the month, so we’ll postpone the trip to perhaps June.   Continue reading

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

The Tale of Sinterklaas

Did you know that Santa Claus is not the original Saint Nick?  Nope, he’s not.  The Dutch Sinterklaas beat him to it.  In fact, it was the Dutch who brought the tale of Santa Claus to the US (as Sinterklaas which was then modified over time) back when New York City was New Amsterdam. And get this, everyone celebrates him, no matter what their religion.  He is a patron saint of children – it does not matter what their belief system is, he gives to all.

Both Santa Claus and Sinterklaas are based off Nikolaos of Myra, a Greek bishop known for secret gift giving.  He became Saint Nicholas around the 4th century.  Like our American Santa Claus, Continue reading