Sunday, July 08, 2018

My Daily Life in the Netherlands #007

I have a huge backlog to report! Since March up to May =)

The mark of spring, Cherry blossoms in Utrecht.

Visited the city centre several times.

So we will pick up where we left in March (end of winter season) up to May (also the end of spring season). Thus, this is going to be a very LONG POST with LOTS of pictures. That's a warning, hehe.

There’s been a lot of stuff going on in my life, personally and professionally...

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

At work, it’s gotten so increasingly busy, what with the reorganisation, so many changes implemented, new processes, new people, new structure and new responsibilities and tasks to take on. I will be on the road and travelling more, which I do welcome with open arms. I am quite excited actually with the new set up at work.

On the personal front, I am busy with the house, meeting family and old connections, travelling and just about everything such as making the most of my life together with the Dutchman. We can never take time for granted. It is precious!

We have to do the things we want to do now. Be with the people we love and spend as much of our time with them. Laugh, eat, travel and make memories with them. Enjoy life because it is fleeting.

MARCH 2018

Two of our breakfasts on a Sunday weekend in March that I managed to take a photo. Nothing grand, just simple. We do pancakes on Saturdays.

Dutchman always has 2 eggs while I have just 1.

March recorded the lowest temperature.

-7C and snowy conditions in Utrecht.

It was cold outside so what to do? Well, I did some real baking and cooking!

I made my own version of ham and cheese tarts. They are delicious.

Because March is still officially winter and it was very cold with below OC temperatures, I whipped up some traditional Dutch ewrten "pea" soup with rookworst (Dutch smoked sausage). Yum!

We visited the construction site. They have just finished doing the ground foundation (last March) and I am standing here in front of the future house.

We are taking lots of pictures to document the construction and development of the house.

I went to Utrecht town to do some errands. The city center is undergoing a massive uplift. I can't wait for these projects to be finished so I can enjoy the city without the construction chaos.

The new Hoog Catharijna shopping center.

Utrecht Centraal Station.

The nice thing about the supermarkets here in the Netherlands is that they come out with their own food and recipe magazine on a regular basis. They are very handy and a great delight and source of information and inspiration for foodie and cook (at home) wannabes like me.

The inspiration is still winter and the lent season (which was the end of March).

For the second time, my car was broken into! Argh. So here I am working at the car shop garage whilst waiting for the broken window to be fixed. I drive an Audi and they are very popular with thieves. Luckily, they haven't been successful in taking the airbag, steering wheel or navigation. #crossfingers

Working while waiting for the car to be fixed at the garage shop.

Some of the dinners I made.

There's a lot of room for improvement =)

We did a little walk in the forest and nature reserve terrain in Leersum, Utrecht.

I wonder where this red door will lead me to in the forest?

At the end of the month, I met up with a very old friend. We were classmates in the Inburgering (Dutch Integration) class where we both learned the Dutch language. We are talking here about 16 years ago! We probably haven't seen each other in 8-9 years? I cannot remember anymore really. Anyway, she has left the corporate world and now has a restaurant in Rotterdam called Ceviche y Maas. It's the first real Peruvian restaurant in Rotterdam and I believe in the country. She has Peruvian roots although she grew up in New York City.

Delicious Peruvian cuisine at Ceviche y Maas in Rotterdam. I will post a separate entry about my visit and experience here very soon.

APRIL 2018

Spring has come in Utrecht and so have the Cherry Blossoms. I took this picture when I was out running one weekend. I try to run weekly but lately, I have been slacking off, mainly because of the travelling I did in the last 2 months.

Cherry Blossoms originally came from Japan.

Early April I met up with ex-colleagues from the American company I worked for in Amsterdam 10 years ago. Wow, time flies!  We had dinner at Pllek in Amsterdam Noord. Good old times.

Dinner with old colleagues in Amsterdam.

I went to Utrecht Centrum again for the usual monthly errands and these are the sights I encountered during my walk. Yes, I walk to the city centre which takes me approximately 20 minutes. It was a lovely April weekend as you can see.

People sleeping outdoors whilst enjoying the sun.

Good weather calls for some gelato.

Dutch mother came for dinner and I managed to take pictures! She actually joins us for dinner quite often but I always tend to forget to take pictures (I make a 3-course dinner when she is around) but this time I did not, except that I didn't take a shot of the dessert. In the near future, especially in the new house since I will be giving away lunches and dinners to family and a few friends, I will for sure be documenting them on this blog. This is going to be a serious hobby in the making.

Dinner at home with the Dutch mother. as our guest. The lower right is our starter.

I was in Bijenkorf (upscale department store) for some reason. I actually cannot remember what I bought haha. But I had a little coffee and cheesecake time at the new and lovely cafe they have that has sweeping views of the Vredenburg. I have been here many times since it opened and this time I was waiting for the Dutchman to arrive as we will further hangout in the Neude (big square in Utrecht).

Little coffee and cheesecake time in Bijenkorf. The cheesecake was delicious.

Waiting for the Dutchman here whilst looking down at the rainbow pedestrian zebra pad.

And here we are, Dutchman and I hanging out at the Neude, our favourite square in Utrecht. Drinks, reading magazines and newspapers, and people watching go hand in hand =)

Our favourite cafe to hangout is Cafe Le Journal because they have a wide variety of reading material.

I am getting old because I am wearing less high-heels during my free time.

What do you think of these brogues?

Dutch mother visited us for afternoon tea at home. I prepared some beschuit with strawberries and blueberry and heated the cinnamon rolls in the oven and slathered them with buttercream. Yum!

I bought the teapot in Marrakesh and the sugar and cream set in Sarajevo. The glass tea light holders in the Philippines. The sheepskin is a gift from a friend in New Zealand. The porcelain set and the rest in the Netherlands.

Visited Maastricht solo in the southern part of the country. I just wanted to get away on my own, drive with the car, eat in a different city and walk around =)

Yup, I climbed the tower of the church. It was exhausting, haha.

On the car front, I updated the GPS navigation software version of my Audi car. It is using Google Maps. The detailing of the graphics of the maps is sure impressive!

Just look at the map! So cool!

The eldest Dutch sister came to have dinner with us at home. Totally forgot to take pictures of the food. Next time, I will pay attention.

I am not done upgrading my dinnerware set. I will wait until we move into the new house.

On a different day (on a weekend), I had coffee with the second Dutch sister at this lovely cafe restaurant on the water in IJsselstein, the Marnemoende. I would love to come back here! Really a beautiful and relaxing place.

The cafe restaurant has been voted as the best terrace in IJsselstein and one of the best in the Netherlands.

Some of the quick weekend lunches I made at home for the Dutchman and moi.

I will need to pay more attention to plating next time.

It has been 2 years since Blondine left. I still miss her very bad. I can only think of the fun we would have if she is still here with us today. She was a perfect example of someone living the life. She lived to the fullest until her last breath.

Visiting Blondine's resting place. She loved white-pinkish coloured flowers.

On the house project front, we went to Ikea and Hornbach to survey some materials. We will be doing some work ourselves in the interior of the house, such as doing the first layer of painting before handing the job over to the professionals.

The largest Ikea in the Netherlands is Ikea Utrecht. The cafe restaurant is huge.

It was a warm April day so I need a cold ice cream.

We also visited the resting place of the Dutch father. It has been 2+ years as well, he left 5 months earlier than Blondine. The years go by so fast. We miss him so much.

We dropped by at the Dutch mother's home one weekend. This is Lucy and she is her cat. We have the idea that she is an autistic cat. In the new house, we might adopt 1 or 2 cats.

I sometimes wonder what cats think when they give you this kind of look.

At the end of April, just before King's Day, I went to Shanghai, China. I stayed there for 4 days before flying onwards to New Zealand. Loved my time in the country and will be blogging about the places I have been to and my experiences.

Walking the Bund with the Lujiazui/Pudong skyline in Shanghai, China.

Visiting Zhouzhuang water town not too far away from Shanghai.

MAY 2018

Then in May I visited New Zealand for 10 days and went on a road trip with SisterJ and Myrhh. It was nice to see the new home base of my sister. I think they will stay in this country permanently. And oh, the road trip was cool! I will come back and visit the South Island again and check out the southern part.

Auckland, New Zealand.

Treating ourselves to some volcanic spa treatment in Rotorua.

Then I continued on to Hong Kong to meet the parents. It was better for us to meet halfway, at least it gives them an excuse to travel, although they cannot travel that far due to health reasons, Hong Kong is not too far away and very doable for them.

We have the Hong Kong Island skyline view from our hotel room in Hung Hom in Kowloon. Lovely view from our room, huh?

At the Nan Lian Garden with the parents.

Back in the Netherlands!

It was a very hot weekend when I came back, so I suggested a picnic at the beach to the Dutchman who liked the idea. We parked ourselves at this man-made beach located in Woudenberg, Utrecht.

How do you like our picnic spread at the beach?

Need to get used to making dinners again at home.

A light dinner at home =)

Bru came to visit me in Utrecht the weekend I came back as well, so we hanged out in Utrecht, on the Oudegracht as we watch boats pass by and the busy terraces on the embankment. We treated ourselves to some gelato as well. Then we walked around the centrum. We walked for 10 kilometers, haha! It was a very nice and well-deserved day.

Bru and moi hanging out in Oudegracht, Utrecht.

We ate kibbeling (I did whilst Bru had some Burritos - no pic) and had coffee and tea at the Vismarkt.

A few days when I came back from my Asia and South Pacific trip which was the last week of May, I went on a business trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. It was a quick one. I haven't been to Bratislava so this is a new city for me. Because there is no direct flight from Amsterdam to Bratislava, I flew with Austrian Air to Vienna and had a limousine transfer to Bratislava.

The city of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

The limousine service I took for my transfers between Vienna and Bratislava had this special travel magazine talking about the Philippines, specifically the Villa Escudero Resort which I have been to more than 2 decades ago =)

June is coming soon =)

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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

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