The difference between an I-phone and a Blueberry?

Trip Start May 04, 2010
Trip End Aug 05, 2010

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Flag of Netherlands  , Utrecht,
Sunday, July 11, 2010

First things first I need to apologise with the long stretch between blogs... I had no idea so many people were following them and have been reprimanded for not doing it more frequently - sorry folks!

Around 2 weeks ago now we took the long drive from France to Holland. Right up until the night before Hans, Marjoke, Inge and Robert all thought I should leave my car in France and travel with Hans and Marjoke. For some reason I was really keen for a long drive and so insisted on doing it solo - well with 'Ken the Tomtom' for company. I looooved it, the countryside was beautiful and the motorways so easy for driving, not at all like driving long distances at home, I went through 4 countries within 12 hours. We stopped twice along the way - once for lunch and the other for a refuel of the cars and a coffee. We hadn't planned to drive as a convoy but it seems that we were travelling at around the same pace as I got to the recommended pit stops at or around the same time. We stopped in Maastricht for dinner at the Onze-Lieve-Frou Plein which was very picturesque and relaxing. After dinner we grabbed ice creams from an amazing shop with really different flavours... mmmmmmmm... so good!

When I arrived at Marjoke and Hans place I was shown up to my room which had been set up before they came to France and to my surprise and lots of laughter, Marjoke had printed 3 pictures of Man Kerren and I from my blog and put them into frames to decorate the room. I was hilarious and very sweet too.

When I woke up the next morning I opened the blinds to be reminded of how stunning Marjokes garden is, it truly is a work of art and such an inspiration for me and my green fingers. We visited Mariyati at her apartment in Amsterdam which was really nice. Last time I was here the apartments were still being built so it was great to see it all finished. She and Patrick have two cats Saartje and Roxy and I managed to get lots of cuddles which I had been missing without my furry family.

Subandi, Mariyati and Patrick all belong to a club for people who were adopted from Indonesia. Twice a year they get together with groups of adoptees from other countries for a social event. Marjoke and I drove an hour (!!) to the nearest beach at Scheviningen to meet them at the beach volleyball tournament. It was a beautiful day and so nice to meet all their friends. It was funny to see the different groups of adoptees Indonesians, Korean, Columbian, Pakistani... some groups obviously took it more seriously than others who were there to have fun. In the end the Indonesian group was runner-up and Marjoke and I left the group for the post-match bbq and we went to a fish shop to pick up some dinner. Now, here’s a surprise, after trying and really disliking smoked herring last time I was here, I tried smoked EEL and loooved it - what a shock! Dont think I will be able to find any smoked eel back in Australia though.

Not long after getting to Holland we had news that mum was joining me for the last few weeks of my trip, completely unplanned and impromptu she decided on Monday and arrived on Sunday!! Because mum was going to miss Kez's birthday by coming over she arranged a dinner at her place and we managed to time it so I could be on Skype while everyone was there. It was really good to see everyone together and hear them joking like always and taking the 'piss' out of each other - very typical of us. What was strange was seeing Kerren there with my family but not with me.... weird! Lucky for Marjoke my Oma was also there so they had a good chat in Dutch which I loved listening to but couldn’t understand a word of.

We had a funny morning when Marjoke got up and decided to do some gardening, went out the front door intending to come back through the side gate but found it locked. The front door automatically locks behind and Hans was at work. As per usual for the morning I was sound asleep so she had no way to get back in but to ring the doorbell and hope for the best. All the houses here are very close together and in my half-asleep state I heard a doorbell but also thought I heard Marjoke out the back too so didn’t really rush to get out of bed or wake up. After it had rung a few times in succession I thought (still half asleep mind you) perhaps Marjoke has the back door closed and can’t hear the bell, or she knows who it is at the door and doesn’t want to see them... Eventually I twigged that the doorbell was ringing constantly without a break and ran downstairs in my pj's to find Marjoke leaning against the doorbell. We had a good laugh about it afterwards but I also felt terrible that it had taken me so long to get up and check the door!

It was such a great feeling as we waited at Schipol for her to get off the plane - I realised how much I had been missing family. The airport was full of vuvuzelas and people dressed in garish orange as the world cup final was that evening. She as mum was just in time for the Holland vs. Spain match, we forced her to stay awake and watch with us. I even bought an orange flag to wave around (will also be a gift for Joel when I get back, ssshh!) You could almost hear the whole country sigh when Spain won in extra time, everyone was quite a sombre the next day especially Subandi who was very disappointed. It wasn’t long before it felt like I hadn’t been away from mum at all, she really makes me laugh (see the title of this blog for an example) and it is so incredibly special to be sharing the end of this journey with her, fantastic! 

PS... Kez so far I’ve had poffertjes twice once with cream and chocolate syrup and the other with butter and icing sugar.. I like it the traditional way the best but will continue to keep sampling while I am here!!
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