March Photo Challenge: Day 19: Funny

We really should celebrate Halloween here in The Netherlands, it is my favorite holiday and it made me so homesick to not have a party to go to. This is me and my friend Chris a party a few years ago, I was a 1940's starlet and Chris was a killer chef or something. 


Not funny enough? Okay, well here is the worst photo of me ever taken. It was at my best friend Christy's wedding. I promise I was really happy for her! It's just that me heel got caught and the photo was snapped at a really terrible time. But seriously, look at my bridesmaids dress! I love it when brides assign a color and a length but let you pick your own dress! 




March Photo Challenge: Day 17: Green

orchid Keukenhof

Here is an orchid that I took a picture of last year at the Keukenhof.

The Keukenhof is located in Lisse and is one of the largest flower  gardens in the world. It is only open from the end of March until the end of May. This year it is open from March 22 to 20th. As far as tourist traps go, this is one of the best. It also holds a special place in my heart since last year it was at the kasteel just outside the park that I got engaged! 





March Photo Challenge: Day 16: Sunglasses

Apparently, I am not a girl who likes to protect her eyes from the sun! I had such a hard time finding both my sunglasses and a picture that had me wearing some. 
So here you go, this is me at a Georgia Tech Football game in 2010. I really miss heading downtown to go to a game. I miss the tailgating. Do people tailgate for voetball games here? I've never been.
Also, I had way too much fun playing with new retro effects. I mean, I just went in there to crop a photo. I came out looking like something that should be submited to tacky photo effects, but I like it. 


March Photo Challenge: Day 15: Car

I don't have a car here. Actually, neither of us have our driver's license for The Netherlands. I honestly don't miss having a car at all. I love public transportation and even when I had a car, I always tried to pawn off driving on someone else. 

To be honest, the thought of driving in The Netherlands scares the crap out of me! There are bikes that you have to dodge, the tiniest parking spots known to man, and most of the time you have to parallel park. * I can't parallel park, I failed this part of the driving test but because of my sparkling smile, still managed to get my license.* 

One of the odd things they have here in The Netherlands is the little car above. It drives in the bike lane, not on the road and can't go past like 10 miles an hour or something.

Here is my bike, probably the closest think I will own to a car for years. You can accessorize it just like you would a car in the States. I haven't done it yet, but one day I will trick it out. 



March Photo Challenge: Day 14: Clouds

Dutch Light

I briefly touched on how much I love the Dutch sky in my post 10 Things I Still Love About My New Home After 3 Months. There is something so breathtaking about the way the sunshine passes through the clouds here, that it paints the landscape in a beautiful golden sheen. Dutch light has long been a phenomenon in the art world. If you want to see what I am referring you have only to look at the work one of the most famous Dutch artists, Johannes Vermeer.  Pictures hardly do it justice, but here are some of the best ones I have.

Museumplein Amsterdam

Museumplein, Amsterdam

Street view Delft


Street view Leiden



A few have asked where this Photo Challenge comes from. It comes from fat mum slim. You can still sign up for the rest of the month.



March Photo Challenge: Day 13: Signs

In the United States, it is not uncommon to see "NO PARKING" or "TOW ZONE" signs. Here in The Netherlands, it is not uncommon to see "No bike parking" signs. The sign above translates to bicycles are removed. As you can see, this sign like almost all others is completely ignored. I think there is something uniquely Dutch about this. 



March Photo Challenge: Day 12: Fork


Utrecht has a diverse history. The Romans even had a settlement here! When you are walking through the Center, you can not help but feel taken back in time. Like most cities who had their heyday in the Middle Ages, the city is a maze of side streets and alleyways. There is always more than one way to get to where you want to go. Part of what I love about the city is discovering all the forks in the road.



March Photo Challenge: Day 11: Someone I Talked to Today

All friendships take work. But, when you move across the planet and leave behind a great group of friends, you make sure you make it work. You need a good support system behind you. While I was not naive enough to think that I would continue to be as close to everyone I left behind, I do have a group of people that I work hard to talk to be it Skype, g chat, Facebook chat, whathaveyou, that I make sure and talk to on a regular basis.  

One such friend is Katie. I met Katie through my old job. The one great thing about that job was that it allowed me to meet some really awesome and talented people. Katie is a very opinionated person with a love for animals. She even has a blog called Life with Arie, in which she blogs about different pet related things and her adorable white German Shepard. 

The last time I saw Katie, she pretty much threatened my life if I didn't keep in touch. I'm glad to say my life is not in danger. If you are thinking about becoming an expat, I suggest you hang on to your support system back home. They are a bright light on the lonely days you are going to have! 



March Photo Challenge: Day 10: Loud


Let me tell you about one of the weirdest days I have had here in The Netherlands. It was back in January when my mom was visiting my new home for the first time. She had been here a few days when a Monday rolled around. For those of you in the know, Mondays can be a little boring around here. Shops have odd opening hours and museums all take this as their day off. Stuck finding something to do, my mom, Loek, and I set off for Utrecht's Center to open up my Dutch bank account. ( This really has nothing to do with the weirdness of the day, I just want you to understand why the following happened at the time of day that it did.) After our trip to the bank, we decided to check out a local area castle. So, we loaded the bus we would have to take to get back to my house and road it all the way to the end of the line in Vleuten. From there, we loaded another bus to Haarzuilens, so that we could go and visit Kasteel de Haar. 

When we got off the bus, I pointed out that I believed the Kasteel was to our left, however, we spotted signs with a castle on them to our right so we decided to follow them. It was about 3:06 at this time. The last guided tour for the kasteel is at 4pm and to go inside you have to be on the tour. So, we started walking through Haarzuilens, which is really a lovely little town, all the windows of the buildings have red and white shutters to match Kasteel de Haar. So, we are walking and the whole time I am sure that we are going in the wrong direction, when we stumble upon an ostrich. In the middle of The Netherlands. Apparently, there is some kind of town community bird and goat park. There were signs all around specifying what to feed the animals in the fence. The ostrich for some reason decided that it needed to protect me. Anywhere I would walk around the encampment, she would follow. It was pretty cool actually. Then a goat came what it deemed too close to me. The ostrich decided to charge it, full on wings up in the air. It was awesome! But it happened so fast that none of us got a photo. Needless to say, I think I made a friend.

Birds are really common in The Netherlands, in fact there is hardly a minute that goes by when I don't hear any squawks. It suprised me that so many stayed all winter long!  But I never thought I would see an ostrich just hanging out in the middle of a small town. Oh and Kasteel de Haar, it was in fact the way I thought it was, but we didn't make it inside so no tour for us. Because it was Monday, everything in the entire town was closed. The bus only comes once an hour and I really had to pee. So, we walked back to Vleuten and thankfully on the way I got to have another first experience, a dutch port-a-potty. 



March Photo Challenge: Day 9: Red


You probably guessed that for Red, I would post pictures from the Red Light District in Amsterdam. Good guess, but I bet you weren't anticipating seeing a bunch of photos of swans. When I was walking around the Red Light District in January, I was overtaken by the juxtaposition of resting swans against the sextastic streets. Cleary beauty is all around us. You just have to look. 



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