Monday, March 29, 2010

Date night at the movies!

The first time my darling husband brought me to the movies here in the Netherlands I was rather confused on many aspects.  First we ordered popcorn.... the lady behind the counter asked if we wanted salt popcorn or sweet popcorn. Sweet popcorn? My husband (boyfriend at the time) explained it wasn't caramel corn like I assumed but a sugar topping - I later found that this was  kettle corn. I ordered a large (to share) of salt and asked for a shot of butter.  Nope they don't do butter. They lady must have thought I was crazy! She handed me a small container full of popcorn, so I corrected her and said, "No I asked for a LARGE popcorn" She assured me this was their largest.  This was smaller than our smallest at our Canadian movie theatres. We settled in to watch our movie; our popcorn was done before the previews were over.  Movie started and half way through, the movie STOPPED! Yup just stopped! 10 minute intermission so you can get a drink or use the bathrooms- as if this was a high end musical. What a concept!

The theatre in our home town works a little different; it's a full service theatre (with no intermission).  You sit down in VERY comfortable chairs.

  I can stretch my feet straight out in front of me and not touch the seat in front of me (mind you I have short legs).

There is a table with a light that dims during the movie and a menu.  You can order anything from popcorn and nachos to kroketen.

To top it all off, you can order a beer or a strong whiskey to enjoy your meal with.

When the movie is over you can sit at the bar and enjoy your date even longer or have a bite to eat.

We went to see Tim Burton's, Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp in 3D.  I loved this a lot more than I expected to.  Johnny, as usual, played a very good role as a mad hatter.  I knew he would - these type of roles suite him to a tee. Alice was played by Mia Wasikowska and even though I wasn't familiar with her acting, she played a good Alice.This is one of those movies you have to watch a few times to catch everything.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tag Team Expat Kitchens

I have teamed up with 3 other expat bloggers who will also show you their European kitchens. 

When I first moved here we had a very tiny kitchen ... here you can see the most of it.  Not seen in this picture was the washing machine, door to the backyard and the door to the shower-room (yes we had a perfectly planned out house - hear my sarcasm).

Notice the small beer fridge (bottom left) - this required almost daily visits to the grocery store (which is very normal in Holland).  Above my fridge is our potable gas stove top where only three of the four burners worked.  This type of stove tops are also very normal here.  At the end of the kitchen is my big microwave that also doubled as an convection oven and under that my dryer that died with in a few years.
This small kitchen suited us fine at the time.  We didn't have much money, any extra money we did have went into vacation trips to Canada. 
One thing that bothered me the most was that I love to BBQ but BBQ's here cost a lot of money and we just could not afford anything big or with quality.  We would buy a BBQ use it almost daily and have to buy another "affordable" one a year later.

Luckily we were able to find a good deal on a bigger good quality one at a time when we were both making more money to buy our selves a much deserved big BBQ so now we are cooking on a not so typical Dutch BBQ.

As you saw our fridge was also very small - what we would call a beer fridge in Canada (just the right size to keep some beer in). One year we got a good tax return back and decided it was time to get a decent size fridge which I will give you a tour of.

(when I speak of Lidl - I am talking about our grocery store).  This was before doing our weekend groceries so usually my fridge is much more fully stocked. 

Over the years my cooking appliances also got an upgrade and now we are cooking with fire and electricity...

Another appliance I could not live with out is my coffee maker.  It's a little different than the ones I have seen back in Canada so I will also let you see how it works.

The only thing that has really downsized over the year is my counter top.  I liked my old one much better.  This one came with this house and we have not yet gotten around to replacing it with something else that we prefer.  This is my whole kitchen work area (still very small but my kitchen area is much larger).
(close up of the counter top)

What is typically found in the Dutch kitchen this time of the year is a bouquet of flowers.  Flowers are crazily cheap here which makes it irresistible for me to buy a bouquet to bring a bit or spring in side.

Please go see what are in my other blogger expat friends kitchens

Sonya - An American living in the Netherland

Rena - An American living in Germany

Lytha - An American living in Germany

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Realistic Google Maps

I know this is almost going to sound like a cyber info blog but really this is expatriate related.

Google maps have changed their views to look even MORE realistic than before. 
When you go into google maps you will now see on the top left hand side a little yellow/orange man.

If you click and drag him to any street that lights up you can now see that street in perfect picture quality.  I can now see my own house as if I am standing out side of it. 

(this is not to benefit my stalkers)

What is even cooler, I can now see my home city and my parents house - kinda makes me a little home sick but happy I will be there next month. 

Any person seen in the map has their face automatically blurred out.  My neighbours and their children are seen playing out side of their house but you can not see their face.

This is so cool - thank you google! I know what I will be doing this evening!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Anouk Baby!

I mentioned in another post that I love Anouk.  not changing my mind one bit especial now she has her hit "For Bitter or Worse".  Yes it is OVER played on the radio (I think I counted 4 times in one hour on Saturday) but I could care less because I love it.  It is a song that is pulling me through some emotional stuff that I have been going through (no not relationship stuff like the song may suggest).  This is just one of those songs I could crank up and start singing as loud as I can - I pity my neighbours... well not really lol.

Anouk wrote this song just a few weeks after her divorce.  I can totally relate with her being in that situation myself (many moons ago).  Just after the release of her original video she pulled it and re-made another video using her beautiful children.  

Check out her you tube video by clicking the image below:

(Not sure if this is available to be seen in all countries yet if not please try to do a search for this song and find another copy). 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympic Pride!

I could sit here and boast about how the Canadians totally rocked the Olympic games this year!  How we had the most gold medals especially for a host country!  And especially how the Canadian Hockey players just mastered the ice! And how for once I was so incredibly proud of everything Canadian especially the Canadian Olympic players! Really I could boast and really I want to, but I am not going to. 

As I mentioned before, my mother was coming to visit me.  One of the treasures she came bearing was Olympic paraphernalia.  This is much welcome as I love anything to support my home country.  I still have mitts, hats and shirts from previous Olympics and am proud to still wear them even if it says 1996 Asian winter games.  There was nothing better than seeing a sea of red when the cameras tilted to the stands as all the red mitts were waving.  I'm so glad that both my daughters and my self now own a pair, and what's even cooler is knowing a percentage of the money spent on the mitts goes to the Olympics and the athletes. 

The beauty of living in Holland for 9 years is that I have developed a true love and sportsmanship for this country.  I really did want to see Holland come home with some gold medals.  I was excited to see Sven win his gold and was horrified to see him disqualified.  What I would have loved was to have been able to have bought Dutch Olympic products that supported the Dutch Olympic athletes.  I would have worn the Dutch mitts, hats or shirts just as proudly as the Canadians. 

On a side note:  My mother is looking for a shirt that says "The Netherlands" - I can only find tourist or sport shirts that say Holland.  Any body know of any "Netherlands" shirts?