Friday Links I Love Vol. 4

I love movies, in fact perhaps I should have gone to film school. Perhaps it is the escapism, but I think I just love to see the beauty in the films. In the Netherlands, we either get movies in theaters 3 days before they come out in the States, or months and months after. Which is why I got to see Hunger Games before all my friends back home, and why I just saw Silver Linings Playbook. Both of these star Jennifer Lawrence, and the later of which may qualify as one of my new favorite movies of all time. 
One of my favorite purchases I have made since living in the Netherlands is a Pathe Unlimited Cards. I have found that the Pathe's especially the one at Bijlmer Arena, which is on my way home from school is the nearest to an American theater. For less than 20 euros a month, I can go see unlimited movies. Perhaps you are wondering what this has to do with links I love?
My love of movies also expands to posts about movies. Remember how I said, it was the beauty I loved? There are two blog series that take another look at movies. Design Sponge's Living in series and Hooked on Houses Movie and TV Houses. I love both of these series and get incredibly excited when they come up in my feed.
My favorites from the Living In series are:

My favorites from Hooked on Houses series are:

What is your favorite film set? 


Part 3 of School Daze in Holland: Grades

Getting straight A's is not a thing here in the Netherlands. School's here give you grades on a 10 point scale. Anything above a 5.5 is passing, anything above a 7 is considered good. I was told to never expect a 9. This took some adjustment as my whole life until I moved, I was on a number system, and then A's were 4 points, B's were 3 and so forth. 

I remember when I received my first grade of the year. It was a respectable 7.5 on a group project. The problem was, I didn't know how to feel. My group of very hard workers were all congratulating each other on a job well done, I wasn't  sure how much I should celebrate. I wanted to make it fit on my letter grade scale. Then my brain went to a 75, which would be a C where I am from. Who celebrates a C? 

That was when I was explained the you should be proud of a 7 and think of it more like a B. Because no one every gets 9's. Well, I am happy to say that thus far, I have received four 9's and even a completely unheard of 9.5. 

It is all about adjusting your expectations. 7.5 is my happiness limit, if I get below, I am pretty upset. It is important to note that the only grades received are those at the end of the period. Each period has one project, perhaps a portfolio or two and a few final exams. 

My grades are something I am pretty proud of this year, however I have failed an exam. I could go on with excuses about what all was going on in my life, (I was pretty depressed about all the deaths of people I cared about) but really I didn't study as much as I know that I could have. Now, if I was pursuing a degree in the States, this would mean that I would have to take the class over. In the Netherlands, it just means that I have to retake the exam. You can retake the test up to 5 times. You have to reach a certain number of points to make it out of each year, but if you fail one class it is not going to impact you that much, If you don't have enough points to pass the first year, you can not continue with that major. 

How does this compare to when and where you were in Uni?

Don't forget to check out:

Part One of School Daze in Holland: MBO, HBO or WO, Higher Education Levels or TV Channels?

Part Two of School Daze in Holland Series: You Better Like Your Classmates, You See Them Everyday.


Friday Links I Love Vol 3

I have officially turned into my mother. I don't know if it is homesickness or nostalgia, but lately I have been listening to a lot of bluegrass, folk and old school country. For years, I would bellyache on car trips when it was mom's turn to pick the music, my worst nightmares would be hearing Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt with my mom singing with her low, low singing voice. Yes, I was a pain in the ass, ungrateful teenager. Now I quite like my mom's singing. 

Lately, however I have found that my taste in music has ventured towards good ol' Americana. Mixed in with my Rilo Kiley, Decemberists, and Pixies playlists, Woody Guthrie, Dolly Parton, Old Crow Medicine Band, even Bonnie Ratt and Emmy Lou have found a place. My mother would be so proud. 

There are not a lot of links in this post, I basically just wanted to tell you that I joined the new Myspace, and I actually really like it there! Sure, it needs time to grow, but it is a really great space to discover new music. Won't you join me there? I'm hoping they can get more artists to join, because their influences section is spot on. 

What have you been listening to lately?

Oh and in case you are wondering, I only got to make one of the meals I was planning for this week. The Korean Beef, it was super yummy and incredibly easy to make. I highly recommend it, even though I only had two bites because I was a klutz and dumped all mine on the floor and broke a plate. 


The Last Queen's Day

Yesterday, we here in the Netherlands welcomed in our new monarchs. That's right, we now have a king, King Willem Alexander. I could go more into the monarchy, and maybe one day I will, but what is important for now is that yesterday was not only Queen's Day, next year we will have King's Day, but that it was the last one for the foreseeable future. Last year, the Verlo and I braved the trains and ventured up to Amsterdam. This year with the stepping down of the Queen taking place in Amsterdam, we decided to forgo the insane crowd and stay in Utrecht, after all, I have never celebrated Queen's Day in my home city. 

One thing I noticed is that in Amsterdam the crowds are everywhere, in Utrecht they are in a few key areas around the city. I also noticed a lot more performers in Utrecht that I did last year, but that could just be that I walked around and last year we found a great spot and stayed there. Either way, Queen's Day is awesome!

There was music everywhere!

These kids were playing Smoke on the Water, pretty impressive at their age!

And these girls were singing the Andrew's Sisters, I love how eclectic the city is. 

One of the things about Queen's Day is that it is the only day of the year where markets are free to have. Hence you get everyone sharing their junk! 

This little girl was dressed as Pippi Longstocking. Fun fact about me, the year I went as Pippi for Halloween was my favorite costume ever!

And of course, some people party a bit too hard. I have no idea where this guy thought he was going to climb to, but he was unsuccessful. 

Off course, you need to have lots of orange decorations!

The Dutch may love Willem's wife, the newly crowned Queen Maxima, even more than the king.

Have you ever been in the Netherlands for Queen's Day?


Announcing May's Expat Blogger Brunch

With the success and general merriment of our last blogger brunch, Lily and I have already started organizing the May edition. Open to bloggers of all ages, expat, and blogging experiences, won't you join us on May 19th for brunch in Amsterdam? 

Just as a refresher, here are the aims of the brunches:

  • Generate a creative, social form
  • Expand experiences abroad through a network of expat bloggers in the Netherlands
  • Cultivate Social Media contacts into real life connections
  • Exchange ideas, suggestions and support about and within the expat community
  • Inspire each other through topic discussions and special events

Sound like your cup of tea? Just be one of the first 15 people to RSVP by May 10th and you are in! Just send your reply to



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