Easter in The Netherlands

So Easter has come and gone again and this year I decided to head out to The Netherlands to visit some friends. At first I struggled to explain to people that I was visiting some friends I had never actually met in person before. That concept still seems strange to people and perhaps the fact that it doesn’t seem strange to me speaks of my willingness to trust others. In any case, I am now writing a blog post about it from the comfort of my room in Poland so evidently my trust won out and my friends were everything I expected them to be, amazing people.

Much like my trip to the Czech Republic last year over Easter, I left early in the morning, 4AM and I was getting a drive to the airport from my wonderful co-worker. Two things of importance happened at the airport: I made my flight on time and I also had the joy of being randomly selected for a pat down at security. I’m not sure about you, my darling readers, but when you’re standing in your stocking feet, with shorts and a loose fitting sweater dress with the security lady patting you down and saying “don’t be nervous, hun.” Nervous is exactly the first emotion that you feel, especially at 5am. It was at this point that I began to regret the extra 3 ear piercings I had gotten since my last time flying and the silly idea that these extra earrings had set off the detector.

Once on the plane, the trip was short and pleasant and I had the best cheese sandwich ever. Whoever said airplane food sucks, has been flying with the wrong airlines. Now I managed to navigate the Schipol airport and find the train station. I also managed to buy my train ticket, once I had that though… I was at a loss as to how to find the right platform and the right train. I must have been standing there like a lost puppy because a nice man approached and offered to help, he even helped me check in and explained how the Canal_Deftticket/paper card(?) thing worked.

When I was finally able to start taking in my surroundings I noticed the sheer amount of bikes outside of shops, shopping centres, and just about everywhere. That is something that I can appreciate about The Netherlands, you don’t seem to need a car to get around and the transit system is pretty good and reliable from what I could tell.

Once I had met up with my first friend, the one I was staying with, he showed me around Delft and I have to say so far it is one of my favourite places as far as scenery goes. There is something about the canals, just having so much water around, that drew me in and held me there. My mum always says she wants to live by the water, near a large body of it and I think that idea is beautiful in its self. However large bodies of water make me uneasy, maybe its not knowing what lurks in their depths or the fact that it would be so easy to get lost in them. The canals in The Netherlands are the type of water I would want to live near and I don’t really think I can explain why.

Alley_Building_Delft

So we took a nice walk through Delft on Friday evening and of course I stopped every now and then to snap photos. I must say that I did not take as many photos as I normally would have on this trip. I was so nervous every time I stopped that I would be standing in the way of a bike or some other form of two wheeled transport. I also found myself apologising to people far more than usual, a fact that my two friends were all too happy to point out.

Church_Delft

On our walk I was told about the Royal Crypt being underneath this imposing church and how much of a mystery the size and exact location of this crypt is. I love hearing bits of information like this and it stirs ideas for stories or tall tales. Something I have desperately been needing.

All in all Delft is a charming place and I enjoyed hearing about the market and walking

Market_Square_Delft

through the slowly darkening streets. Staying out of the way of bikes and people was a bit of a challenge for me, but I am proud to say that my clumsiness did not win out!

I think this is the trip that brought back my writing and drawing inspiration, I have been forcing myself to do a drawing at least once a week. Forcing might be a bit strong of a word, since I do enjoy it and no one needs to force me.

On Saturday we finally headed in Amsterdam, with plenty of plans and I had a mental list

Amsterdam_Flags_building

of things to see. This goes back to one of my earlier posts, where I said I have decided not to plan anymore. Saturday taught me that not planning is the best way to go.

We got into the station just before noon and met up with my other friend, someone I have known through an online writing forum for almost 10 years now, it was amazing to finally meet her in person. It was also in no way strange or uncomfortable, for me anyway, I cannot speak for my two friends.

We walked through the down town and headed straight for a sushi place, something that is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s also something I haven’t been able to find here in my little town of Myslenice, Poland. We got to talking and eating and just generally enjoying ourselves. After that we went to the Amsterdam dungeon and if you have the chance to go you really should. The experience was worth it and even if the line looks long and daunting, it does move quickly. The actors in this attraction were great and they created an educational and immersive experience. Leaning_Building_AmsterdamWe ended up enjoying the Amsterdam dungeon so much, that we didn’t realise it had taken far longer than we expected. We had to end out day short and headed back to Delft. I had after all promised to cook poutine for the my friend’s family since they were kind enough to let me sleep on their couch for the weekend.

I have to admit this weekend did not feel like Easter, it was nice and I enjoyed it, but it also made me realise how much I miss being home with my family. I thought Chirstmas would have been the holiday to stir up these feelings, but then again my brother did come to visit me over the Christmas holidays.

For being someone who is not very religious, I think it was more the traditions that my family has that I missed. On that note I am going to leave you here and as always thank you for taking the time to read this.

 

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What I’ve Missed

Well I have taken a long break from writing blog posts, I have sort of been distracted with other things and I suppose I do not really have much of an excuse. I should have written sooner, since I have missed about six months worth of writing now. Do not fret though, nothing terribly exiting has happened in those six months. To sum up the last couple months: I went back to Canada for the summer, worked my butt off at one of my favourite jobs and got to see my family again. Just as I was getting back into the swing of life in North America, I was packing my suitcase again and getting on a plane with my mum.

This brings me to the phrase “reverse culture shock”, the first time I heard it I laughed it off as a silly notion. Then it hit me when I got off the plane in Canada in my parents handed me a Boston Cream doughnut and double double coffee from Timmy’s. These two things had been my favourite things, had been, when I took that first bite I suddenly missed Polish doughnuts. Something about how sweet the Timmy’s doughnut was just did not sit right with me. The coffee was okay, it took my several sips before I slowly started to fall back in love with it. The rest of the summer sort of continued to go that way, things that I had grown up loving were suddenly very strange to me and I finally understood that phrase. Reverse culture shock indeed, so phrases usually exist for a reason.

Earlier in this I mentioned that my mum came back to Poland with me, we flew into Helsinki and spent a day there on a layover. Sadly jet-lag hit me and I spent the day sleeping in the hotel room, but the people were nice, the ones I met anyway. Then we flew into Krakow and I felt like I was coming home, the thought weird-ed me out, but the city is gorgeous and I enjoyed exploring it again with my mum. We went to a cute a little village and stayed in a bed and breakfast there before we headed out to Germany to visit some relatives. The whole trip was enjoyable and I realise now how lucky I was to be able to share it with my mum. I learned more about where her mum came from and Germany has now been added to my list of possible places to spend a year teaching in.

That is what I have mostly been doing for the last six months, trying to figure out what to do next year. I could not even begin to tell you how much time I have spent trying to figure that out, it was only recently that I decided that “perhaps I am better at not planning.” So that’s the plan, to not plan. That seems to work out best for me, given my previous experience.

So in my next post I will share some photos from my trip to Germany and as always, thank you to my lovely readers for taking the time to read my babbling.

Day three of a Czech adventure

I know this post is long overdue and I must apologise for that. I have been a bit… well not writer’s block, more like distracted. So to continue from where I left off with my last post in this small series, after we had left Prague we headed the small town of Kutna Hora. I’ve been on trains before, if the Go Train counts that is. The trains in the Czech Republic are completely different from any train I have been on before and I think that is entirely due to my being North American. Getting from Prague to Kutna Hora by train, is easier than expect and a far more interesting journey than by bus. You do pay a little more for the train, but in my opinion it is worth the extra coin. Just keep in mind, it does take two trains to get to this small town and it is roughly an hour and a half trip. Read the rest of this entry

We are all actors

This week one of my coworkers made an observation that struck me as rather true and strange all at the same time. To paraphrase what he said: As teachers we are actors, it’s all an act in the classroom. He has a point, when I am in the classroom I am not myself, I am someone else entirely, I put on an elaborate act. My fear of talking in front of groups of people vanishes and I gain a confidence I never knew I had. I know that over the last year I have changed, as a person I think I have grown. I hope I have grown. I know this, but then I still have moments when I’m sitting at home, writing or reading or watching some silly show where I feel like I am still that lost and confused kid who just graduated from high school. I find myself thinking that I have no idea where my life is going, what direction I am headed in and I remember how scary that was when I was 18. The question is, do I still find that thought scary? My answer, no. Read the rest of this entry

Day two of a Czech adventure

There is something magical about spring, maybe it’s the fresh warm air, the sound of the birds chirping or the flowers blooming. Whatever it is though I love opening up the windows on my day off and letting spring flow through our flat. I also love perching on my window ledge with my laptop and writing while watching people mill about bellow and seeing the clouds slowly drift by over the mountains. Spring in Poland is not all the different from spring in Canada and I think after seven months of being away from home I’m beginning to miss home a little bit. I find myself thinking about it when I’m cooking dinner or when I’m walking home from work. Read the rest of this entry

Day one of a Czech Adventure

Spring is in the air, it’s a nice warm day and the sun is shinning and the birds are chirping. How lucky we are to have such beautiful weather. I wish I could say the same about the day we packed up and headed out to the Czech Republic over Easter. Instead when we crawled out of bed at 5am it was dark and cold outside and the weather prompted us to pack more warm clothes than we actually ended up needing. Read the rest of this entry

My Silence is Ending

Dear readers,

I know it has been a while since I have written anything here and I must apologize for that. I have been sitting in a state of not so blissful writer’s block, where the wall has been the focus of my stare for countless hours and my blank notepad had remained blank. It is moments like that where you find yourself not sure if your thoughts are worth sharing or whether what you have to say will be of any interest to anyone at all. Even now I doubt what I have to say will be of any vast importance to anyone, but I want to write, I need to write. Read the rest of this entry

How do you take your tea?

Milk, 2 spoons of sugar, black. How do you take you tea? Maybe with a bit of syrup if you’re Polish. There are several things I have learned to enjoy about this country, when I left Canada I knew I would miss certain things. One thing I was not expecting to miss was cream in my coffee. Instead they use evaporated milk or a version of it anyway and I’ve grown used to it. Read the rest of this entry

The man who stares

Once upon a time, in a small shop, in a small town, there was a man. He often stood in the back corner, waiting and watching. What he was waiting for was always unclear for whenever the three hapless heroes of this tale tried to greet him he did nothing but stare.  Read the rest of this entry

Episode One of Life at a Language School

With snow finally on the ground in a nice thick blanket that crunches under your feet, the small town of Myslenice is finally enjoying the winter season. The mountains are dusted with the white stuff and the tree branches bow under the weight of it. Birds still flutter about in the skies and in the square you can hear their chirping as more snow falls and dusts the ground in it’s brilliance. Read the rest of this entry