Monday, January 03, 2005

2004 Wrap Up

Just a little summary of my 2004 year with monthly highlights…

JANUARY – Winter Holiday! Dutchman and I went to the Canary Islands in Spain for a 1.5 weeks escape from the cold. Perfect, it was Dutchman's birthday too! The islands were fantastic geographically located beside Africa facing the south of Morocco and the north of Western Sahara. Enjoyably, it has a reliable 23C winter temperature by day and a soft 18C-19C at night. When I got back to the -0C winter in NL, I suffered fever and cold shocks that lasted for a month!

The famous sand dunes in Corralejo, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. A photographer's haven!
FEBRUARY – Dutchman and I had a playful tug of war fight, kind of a bit romantic re: Valentines Day. He reasons that it is pointless for the supposedly cold-unemotional-pragmatic-Dutch to celebrate this futile commercial event since this act doesn’t exist in their book, thus no dinner and no gift! WAH! Eventually he cowered and treated me to the American Broadway Steak House at Utrecht’s Oudegracht. The meal was humongous, I regret. Of which I only finished ¼ of my plate and Dutchman, ½. I received too the VD gift, a perfume, hehe.

MARCH – Work! Got promoted to Sales Manager, salary adjusted, commission adjusted, benefits adjusted. Have also filed online my first ever Income Tax Return in NL to the Belastingdienst (Dutch Tax Department). Ah, I am now a full pledge tax paying resident.

APRIL – Nagged Dutchman why he isn’t touring me around Europe and demanded for a short weekend getaway. His response: “I have seen ALL of Europe!” Well, I succeeded and we booked to a nice hotel in the center of Antwerp, Belgium during the Holy Week. It turned out instead to be a shopping holiday for me! (well much to Dutchman’s chagrin)

MAY – Found my long lost friend in the UK (currently still searching for another lost friend in the USA). Flew there via Manchester and visited her in Sheffield, which is in the middle to the northern part of the UK. Was a great reunion!

The easiest way to familiarize London - The Big Bus Tour!
JUNE – My 34th birthday and did nothing special. I bought however a Dressoir (buffet table) for myself which became an epic story, see this entry: “The Tale of the 3 Dressoirs”. Also went the 2nd time to the UK this time via London, and went up north to York… a beautiful city with a village fairy tale charm. Then on my last day I gallivanted and painted London red on my own.

JULY – Our Summer Holiday! Dutchman and I went to Crete, Greece. We stayed at Malia which is quite near to the most sought after Chersonissos coastline. Superb vacation, beautiful island-country... I even had the chance to visit the palace of King Minos (Minoan Civilization) in Knossos (!) which was said to be dated back to 1600 BC.

King Minos Palace in Knossos, Crete, Greece.The island was also believed to be the place where Zeus was born. Am I right Sixt?
AUGUST – Started THIS BLOG! Special thanks to “Pinay in Netherlands” for showing me the light of day and for giving me the learning ropes in this blogging mile game. I actually started a blog a year ago but never updated it until I forgot it’s URL – can you believe that? LOL

SEPTEMBER – Began my 2x a week evening Dutch Language Lessons at James Boswell Institute in Utrecht University. Then I went to the Philippines on a Business trip at the end of the month with my Dutch colleague for 1.5 weeks. Culture shock with the traffic, heat & humidity and the pollution.

OCTOBER – Returned to the Netherlands on the 1st week. When I came back to work, my contract was extended and the company gave me more promotion benefits. Hmm, nice way of receiving me. And YES, my first Castle Experience in NL! Dutchman brought me to Castle De Haar in Haarzuilens which is relatively near where we live.

NOVEMBER – Busy planning for our upcoming December winter holiday. Busy too with birthdays!

DECEMBER – Winter Holiday again! Flew back to the Philippines, this time together with the Dutchman for 3 full weeks. Attended and celebrated my brother’s wedding in Manila and a post party in Cebu. We slipped in between schedules to Panglao Island, Bohol for 9 days/8 nights and spent the eve of Christmas eating at McDonalds in Tagbilaran City! Haha! But on the 25th, we had a fantastic buffet dinner by the beach complete with torches, flowers, candle lights and program-activities such as tribal dances and fireworks at Alona Tropical Resort’s coastline. Splendid, it was.

We then flew back to the Netherlands at 10:30PM 31 December 2004 (arrived in Amsterdam 6:00AM 1 January 2005) and celebrated New Year - On Board for supposedly 7 full hours. But surprisingly, the kuripot (thrifty) KLM didn’t even pop out any champagne!? Por que? I had red wine instead while the Dutchman was mad complaining why there were no other menu than fish (he is allergic!). HHRRMMPP!

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