Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Swimming lessons

I went to visit my sister today and happened upon her in the swimming pool, waiting patiently while her little four year old started her first swimming lessons.

It's a must, here in Holland. Swimming lessons. Given at terrible times, like early mornings before school, or just around dinner time. Mothers hanging patiently around in the damp rooms, exchanging gossip, all hoping their kids will finally achieve their A, B and C swimming diplomas.

For a long long time it was common for the schools to supply swimming lessons. Which meant whole classes getting into a bus, driving to the nearest pool for maybe half an hour of lessons, and then on the bus back. Very inconveniënt, expensive, and often times unneccesary because lots of kids already had earned their diploma's in their own time.

When our son was little the waiting list at the local pool was so long that we had to go to another one. This meant a half hour bike ride, either with our son on the back of the bicycle, or him biking himself with us pushing him along. We didn't have a car at that time.
In my memory it was always wet on this particular bike ride, and the wind was always blowing against us.
We were very very happy to stop the swimming lessons after the first diploma was received.

For our daughter, we did even better. After her swimming techniques became worse rather than better due to a teacher she didn't get along with, we simply stopped the lessons and let her swim without her diploma. She kept her head above water, that was the most important!
Believe me though, many a dutch person would be shocked if we told them this was how we handled it!

Monday, September 10, 2012


I went to Urk with my brother today, to give him a bit of a last feel of Holland, before he heads off to Curacao.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Odds and ends

It was a day filled with odds and ends:

Buying paint at a store with this view: 

Buying honey with this view:

Market at the windmill with these views:

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Today's journey will take me to the International Church in Amersfoort, about half an hours drive away from here.
Usually we attend an evangelical church here in Nunspeet, but lately I've been feeling a longing for some english speaking company and a different perspective. We'll see how that pans out!

Nunspeet is in the middle of the Bible Belt here in Holland. Sundays you will find many large families on their way to church. Dressed in the appropriate manner, girls with skirts or dresses only, often times with hats on and often in shades of grey and black. People will bike as much as possible and adhere to the sunday being a rest day and a day of worship. If you happen by one of their churches it's amazing to see the amount of bicycles parked in front of it!

There is actually a pretty big choice of churches for such a relatively small area. From very strictly traditional to your more evangelical type. No megachurches though. Have to travel a little bit further for those!
One small catholic church has managed to stay alive and we also harbor a small community of  Ahmadi muslims. 

It sounds eclectic, but in practice the older, more traditional churches are quite defining for the  "mood" of the town. Practically all businesses are closed, one does not work in the garden, or do odd jobs around the house that would be noisy for the neighbors. You don't wash your car out in the street and don't hang your laundry outside. Definately no loud parties or gettogethers. This is all out of respect for those who do want to keep sunday as a day of rest.

I've just been rebellious and  put in a second load of laundry (but won't hang it outside). I like the sense of peace that a sunday has here though. The world is a busy place enough without adding another day of business to it!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Swimming, two ways

Summer seems to have arrived! Glory!!

Instead of the calm tranquility in this post, the lake was filled with laughing and playing children and with teens showing off, all the while holding their smartphones in their hands. At a certain point two girls on horseback came riding by, madly twittering as they went (or whatever it was they were doing).
Hubby and I enjoyed a little lakeside break and I finally got to use my wonderful present, my bicycle bag picknick set.

Earlier this week I was at my sisters house. She has transformed her back yard into a swimming paradise for her young ones. Their slide construction is ingenious and has led to lots of fun, especially for her son. Even my son got in on the fun and jumped into the relatively cold pool. As for me? I voted to take pictures instead.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I got an Asus Transformer Pad for my birthday this year which has led to me almost obsessively playing with it. I have around 40 books downloaded on to it, and further investigation shows that I can also use it as a laptop. Gone is my habit of getting up in the morning, fixing breakfast and reading blogs behind the computer. Now I just check my reader at intervals throughout the day (and facebook and twitter and my e-mail and so forth and so on...). I find myself scanning all the free e-books, to see what I want to download now. It makes me feel rich to have a library at my fingertips, all chosen by me!
The library here in Nunspeet is nice, but is not known for its extensive collection of english books. I've been added to the waiting list for The Hunger Games, maybe I'll get to read that before the summer is over. For the rest the choice is minimal. I also do a nice trade with my secondhand book stall man, where I only have to pay 50 cents for every book I trade. Seeing as I still prefer reading in english over reading in dutch, this doesn't make for a huge book selection. 
My virtual bookshelf now has a delightful mix of old books like Pollyanna and Little Women, as well as Lynn Austin and Janette Oak, but I've also discovered David Simpson, Brian James Freeman and Peter F. Hamilton.
Has anybody else noticed that a lot of the free books are the first of a series? I guess Kindle hopes to lure you in to buying the next book, and the next, and the next.
Whatever the case may be, I think I may have to discipline myself a bit more so that I don't get too lost into the world of reading.

I am however, also wondering if there are other great free book suggestions from you. Any books you'd recommend?