29 May 2008

Boot Party

Last weekend I was invited to a verjaardag boot party! This is when you have a boat (boot), some people (one of whom has a birthday - verjaardag), some wine and other party favors, and take it all out on the canals around the city, drinking and reveling.

It is a really amazing sight, the water, the houseboats, and the lights. It is also a very different way to see the city. Most of the time, you bike around the water, basically getting around the city by going over and around the canals to reach your destination. On the canals, it really feels like you are going the quickest route. We floated up the Prinsengracht, around Prinzeneiland, around Central Station, down through the Red Light district, through the old center, and back to park the boot at the Prinzengracht.

I have been super excited about learning Dutch, so it was really fun to learn the birthday song - Lang zal ze leven. It goes:

Lang sal ze leven, Lang zal ze leven, Lang zal ze leven (Long shall she live)
In de gloria, In de gloria, In de gloria. (In glory)
Hippity hip - hurrah
Hippity hip - hurrah

Too bad I can't actually sing it to you because the tune is really cute and catchy. (or, lucky for you , however you want to look at it!) I like how it's all about living long and having a glorious rest of your life. I can't wait until they sing it to me!

Friends Forever,

27 May 2008

Kids are cool.

Addison started school today at the local openbare basisschool. That's the public elementary school a few blocks from our house. So, the vacation is officially over for Addi. But, in five weeks, we'll be on vacation all over again.

Lately Addison has been taking these great close-up photos of his own sculptures. It's really cool to see the perspective that he has for his own work. This particular sculpture was made on a trip we took with Pete and Ferris to a pirate show.

Hyland took these of Addi when we were out on a walk discovering the neighborhood.

12 May 2008

Yesterday we took the ferry over to a cafe in north Amsterdam called the Norderlicht to meet some friends of friends that have lived in Amsterdam for the past 6 years. Just after we got off the ferry, Pete gave us a brief bike tour of this huge warehouse that has been converted into an art compound - for lack of a better word. It is an old warehouse that was once squatted by artists, and has become legal. The place seemed to be evolving very quickly with a new front door going in and studios throughout the space being built. There was a skate park in the building, and we could hear the skateboarders, but we didn't have a chance to go up and check it out. We'll definitely be going back to get a better look. It was pretty amazing.

After that we had a really nice meal and a few delicious beers with Pete and Amy and their son Ferris. Addison had a great time pretending to find asteroids and kicking around in the sand. It was really nice to have some social time with other parents. The cafe was really cute, a quanset hut building with clear plastic siding. They incorporated the use of strawbale in parts of the building, and Pete explained that they have a cooling system that works like a swamp cooler with water and fans.

(the photo of Addi and Hyland in the tree is actually from a few days ago when we fietst through flavopark.)

08 May 2008

Images from Amsterdam

It is difficult to explain what it is like here in Amsterdam without posting photos. So, today I have a bunch of various photos from the seat of a bicycle and from the window of our flat.

It is such a beautiful place, and the living is good. We have eaten nothing but fresh food since we have been here, and we are cycling everywhere every day.

There is a park out in front of the flat where Addison can play. There is a great photo here of him jumping off the apparatus in the playground.

There are great sights and smells all over the city, and it is a never-ending discovery for me.

The day we signed our contract for our flat was Konningendag - seemingly the biggest holiday for the Dutch. It was so busy in the City, people everywhere dressed head to toe in Orange - the color of the ruling house. Above is a photo of the carnival in Dam Square during Konningendag.