Wednesday, January 03, 2018

My Daily Life in the Netherlands #005

Happy New Year!

I was in Paris, France between Christmas and New Years meeting up with an old girlfriend, Pinpin. We visited the gorgeous Palace of Versailles.

This is IJsselstein centrum, taken during one of our visits in December.

Hope everyone is having fun during the holidays. Because I was =)

For the past 2 months (November and December 2017), I have been very busy with living life to the core. To the point that my blogging has suffered. I tell you though that living life hardcore style is sometimes not fun at all.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Living life the hardcore way for me means getting super busy with the daily life run-rate of things, and when it gets this busy, sometimes it results in taking the fun out of the equation. Not really nice at all.

I value my private "me" time a lot. It is the time when I spend quality time with myself. This is very important to me. Crucial in fact. It is also the time when I work on my travel pictures and write short real-life travel stories into blog posts. Sadly, the busy life in the last 2 months got into the way of my "me" time. I did not like it a bit.

In addition to this, I was having physical therapy sessions + recovery exercises for my sprained shoulder tendon so it's making me very tired at the end of the day. After dinner, I am totally exhausted and just wanted to sleep! Just like last night.

Anyway, I still managed to take pictures as I go on with my daily life. Well, when I do not forget of course! So all is good =)

Having tea with the Dutch mother sometime in early November.

In November we had a whole day meeting with the project contractor of the new house for the kitchen and the toilet and bath. We did not make any decisions but explored the many choices. The project contractor has a very nice showroom with a restaurant where we had free lunch.

The second time I ate at a McDonalds in a short span of time because of a lack of time. Dutchman and I only had a few hours in between appointments and driving through traffic, so to make sure we do not miss appointments, we settled for the easy and quick solution. Have dinner at McDonalds, which happened to be located beside one of our appointments. Dutchman had the burger and fries and that's my salad. Not bad.

We watched the "Soldaat van Oranje" musical together with the Dutch mother at the Theater Hangar in Leiden. It was our birthday gift to her last year which took a long time for us to arrange and book because everyone had a very busy schedule. No pictures of the actual musical of course. At the lobby, we managed to see an exhibit of real-life stories during the war from real people. The toilet is also interestingly decorated.

I highly recommend the "Soldaat van Oranje" musical (Soldier of Orange) to anyone living in the Netherlands (who speak/understand Dutch). It is a great way to learn about Dutch history especially during the Second World War.

The holiday season in the Netherlands is all about pepernoten. Go google "pepernoten". This shop sells all kinds of pepernoten =)

The new Hoog Catharijne Mall with winter/Christmas lights. I had to go shopping on the last weekend of November to prepare for Sinterklaas the week after.

Whenever I visit Utrecht center, I always pass by the Utrecht Centraal Station and stop at ENOKI, an Asian food store selling my favorite (Vietnamese) spring rolls in vermicelli noodles, lettuce, and tofu and dipped in hoisin sauce. Yum. Check them out when you are at Utrecht Centraal.

Augmented Reality at Hoog Catharijne Mall with Jurassic Park experience.

One of the items I bought for the house. I could not resist.

 Birthday of my niece An and I got to eat again my favorite tart, the Monchou tart. She also just finished school (her masters) and will be joining the working force very soon. Welcome to life's reality, hehe.

Pictures of IJsselstein during our visit to the centrum to check out a store selling huge sizes of stone flooring tiles for the new house. We visit IJsselstein regularly because of the family but we do not normally go via this route which is why I took these pictures. Very charming and scenic huh?We have actually been visiting many stores and showrooms (which I didn't get to take pictures).

Here I am at the party of the start of the construction of our new house. Cheers! Proost! Construction started last December 2017.

The event started at the site of the project and then we were brought to a different location for the party which was followed by drinks, food and some artistic presentation. 

The family Sinterklaas celebration at the Dutch mother's home. We played Dubbelspel for the exchanging of gifts and we had a healthy dinner and banketstaaf after for coffee.

We also had surprise visitors. Guess who? The naughty "Zwarte Pieten" (Black Piets)! Haha.

The first weekend of December, Dutchman, the Dutch mother, and her niece and moi all went to Duisburg to check out the yearly happening Christmas markets. 

We also had sub-arctic conditions for a week in December. But yeah, just for a week.

This is the cat of my niece. She is a Norwegian forest cat. Very pretty! We were visiting our niece for her birthday celebration. Hmm, I might just consider a Norwegian forest cat....

Do you have cravings as well? I was having super crazy cravings for Japanese food. I had to eat Japanese food. So I went to Utrecht center and bumped into Sushi time whilst looking for Japanese food. Problem solved.

Utrecht center in December.

We had another appointment with the project contractor for the new house and this time we signed the purchase of a new kitchen and a bath and 2 x toilets. Dutchman and I were happy that we finally made a decision, especially for the kitchen which is going to be a massive kitchen island.

At the showroom of the project contractor we had a nice lunch of warm soup and sandwiches.... and fruits, of course, fresh orange juice, coffee, and some delicious butter cakes.

Dinner with the Dutchman in Amsterdam at Spingaren. 

Dutchman and I checked out the yearly Amsterdam Light Festival. It was not as impressive as the last few years we have visited. But it was a nice date out night for us though =)

The First Christmas Day dinner was held at the second eldest sister in law's place. I made those apple pastries myself. We ate them for tea before dinner.

This is our starters for the First Christmas Day dinner. We had a choice of duck, salmon, and vegetarian. The one in a glass is our dessert made by the oldest sister.

Our dinner main course is beef with an array of healthy option side dishes.

After the Christmas dinner, we had a quiz game and were divided into groups. Yup, we are an intellectual family I guess. Unfortunately, my group did not win. Helaas.

On the Second Day of Christmas Dutchman and I invited the Dutch mother for dinner at home. I was not able to take a picture of the dinner (as I was busy cooking) but managed to take a picture of our pre-dinner finger foods which is already our starter. Since we had a heavy dinner the other night, I thought a light finger food plate for starters would be better.

Between Christmas and New Years I met up with a dear old friend, Pinpin in Paris! She flew in from the islands of Hawaii. We are here in our room in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. I drove to Paris and it was a nightmare arriving in the city. It took me almost 2 hours to reach my destination within Paris. Super traffic!

We visited the opulent Palace of Versailles outside Paris and had dinner at chic Monsieur Bleu restaurant in Palais Tokyo that has a nice view of the Eiffel Tower.

We also checked out Montmartre on our last night.

For New Year's Eve, I drove back to the Netherlands from Paris, and then, Dutchman and I drove another 2 hours to the north of the country to spend it with close friends. We realised that we are so over with fireworks. We are really getting old, huh, haha.

Welcome, 2018! This picture was taken on the morning of the 1st of January 2018. The holiday season and new years celebration are not complete without the traditional oliebol.

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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