Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weird sign!!

in the us i was always looking for weird signs, and i found plenty. so i was glad to see that weird signs are also present in amsterdam. this is next to the terrace of some hotel in amsterdam, and the sign says "vetafzuig", which literally means "liposuction". eeehhh?! tim tried it by lying on top of the wall, but nothing happened..... too bad! (perhaps you need the key to that box in the wall..?)
yesterday we went to ikea as i needed a new mattrass. so sad, since i had just trashed our perfectly fine mattresses in boston... :((( we needed some small stuff too, so we ended up going twice, by subway, to ikea (no more huge car). it took more or less the entire day and gave us quite the workout (and public transport is so expensive... buuuh, that certainly didnt change in my absence).
i tried to bake my first bread, but the yeast i had was different and the bread didnt rise.... but well... lets see... :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hello again....

ok, ok, its time to stop hiding and finally write another post again.... this monday i was still in the craaaazy heat of boston (it was well over 35 C, i think), frantically getting the apartment entirely empty. even though several people had come by during the weekend i hadnt managed to dump all our stuff with them and so it was really time to trash things. i realized i never have trashed something that you can still use and i did not like it at all! all that stuff that we used now just disappeared in the dumpster... :( i also had placed a bit in the hallway of our apartment complex, and at least fellow residents were taking stuff from that...
somehow i managed to get the place entirely empty (with the help of my sister), and then it was time to lock the door and go to the airport.... :( i had quite some luggage; two 22-kilo suitcases, and a 15-kilo small (!!) hand luggage that i was forced to check in as well (grrrr!!). 
and so... since tuesday i am back in the netherlands. in amsterdam, to be precise. it all feels weird. the weather is shitty, i cannot run down to goto the pool or gym anymore. in public transport (the ticketsystem changed during my 3year absence) people are all staring at their phones (just like in boston. when there, i always thought that was an american thing, haha), and when talking on their phones they do it sooooo very loud!! (much louder than in boston, i think). when i bump into someone i mumble "sorry" in english (with my dutch accent, ofcourse). i havent done much yet, aside from unpacking my suitcases and going to the shops around the apartment here. i dont like that i cannot find my way in the supermarket (i like routine, i guess), nor that the eggplants and zucchini are so very very expensive!! ($1,30 each!!). at least there is good cheese, as you can see above. and my boston mug, a gift from someone at work!!
i need to fill the kitchen cabinets again with spices, herbs, sugars, flours etc etc.... the apartment really needs to be painted and there is not enough space for all of my clothes and shoes (and this is already before our shipped goods are here! which come in a few weeks). so...., im just grumpy about all of it and i guess it will take a while.....

Monday, June 24, 2013

Upside down

yesterday i didnt know what to post, so i didnt post anything. and today i didnt know either. i went back to our first year in boston and found photos of us packing around this time. we had lived in a temporary place for 3 months and were about to move to our current apartment. and now, after 3 years, there is only 1 night left here before i fly back to the netherlands.
yesterday some people came by and they took some of our stuff. i was so happy about that! and... one of them was actually flying to the netherlands that day, for just a week and he was willing to take 2 pairs of my shoes, my folder with recipes (i forgot to ship that, so stupid), and some other stuff!! today i could get rid of some more stuff to other victims i lured into our apartment, and then me and my sister brought quite some bags to the garbage receptacles that were already overflowing. i also put some small stuff in the hallway, and some of it was taken by our anonymous neighbors.... 
this picture i took somewhere in cambridge 2 years ago. right now i am not really here anymore, but i am definitely also not in the netherlands yet. i guess mostly im just worried about my stuff. now that i think about it, maybe i should start practising the philosophy of non-possession, as it is weird actually, how much you can worry about stupid possessions... but i think i wont start that until hmmm, at least next week or so.... ;)
i packed one suitcase, and my second one is half packed. i hope it will all fit but i am still not sure...

Friday, June 21, 2013

American eagle

we were at the forest hills cemetery in boston the other day, and suddenly we found a grave with a huge eagle on it. here you see a part. it was really huge and quite intimidating... :) and, to me, very american.... :)
its on the grave of 2nd lieutenant kitchell snow who was killed in 1923 (thats how its on his grave; born 1899, killed 1923). so far, i cannot find much more, other than that he was a pilot and landed the first plane on what is now boston logan airport (then still a tiny piece of land), in 1923, just a month before he died.
i will be having my last weekend in boston. it will be mostly consisting of emptying out the apartment and worrying whether everything will fit in my suitcases (maybe i should start packing so that i know!), and whether there are things i forgot to do/arrange etc....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Just this...

today just this pic. i dont want to write yet again about my upcoming move, its going through my head all day already... :)
it was such a lovely day today. very sunny and warm, but not hot. and above one of the images i saw today. this is on georges island, one of the islands in the boston harbor. those people have a view of boston, from afar.
 perfect weather for swimming too. so this evening i did some laps in the pool. so very relaxing!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bye MFA...

today it was time to say goodbye to the museum of fine arts in boston. its one of the largest museums in the usa, and has its own subway stop named, ofcourse, "museum of fine arts". once someone put an F in front of arts, but that was quickly removed....
me and tim have visited this museum many, many times. sometimes we went for a special exhibit, sometimes just because we had nothing else to do. we always very much enjoyed it and i was a little sad walking there today for the last time (at least for now...!). dutch as we are, we never paid the steep entrance fee of 25 dollars (when we came, in 2010, it was 20), as we could go with our bank card for free every first weekend of the month, and each wednesday its free from 4 pm onwards for everyone (you can, however, make a donation. i donated some money in the gift shop today ;) ). 
the museum is gigantic and has a very wide variety of art. we would often would get lost, despite having visited it so often. there were 2 pieces i liked to visit every time we went there (also to again try to take pictures of them, never satisfied when at home), and today i said bye to them.. :) (ooh, how dramatic! ;) ). the first you see above. its from the american painter john singer sargent. i had never heard of him before, but visiting museums throughout the usa we started to recognize his paintings. they are always beautiful, and full of detail. this one is named "the daughters of edward darley boit", painted in 1882.
the ladies were sitting there and didnt move... so then i decided to include them in my picture... :)

Last days...

there are only a few more days to go before i leave the usa.... i start to get a littl more nervous. i look in my closet and wonder how its all going to fit. i look around the apartment and wonder how i will get rid of all the stuff still left (without having to trash it), i look at the fridge where i put up all these colorful post-its with things i have to do before leaving. (we had these post-its for 3 years, and only now i am using them). then there is my little booklet in which i had made a list of all the things i would still like to see, do and/or photograph in boston. me and my sister did some today.
and my mind is not so much on blogging.... but here is a picture i took yesterday from the local cemetery. the clouds were so ominous!! and yes, not long after it started to rain. and not much later lightning, and very, very heavy rain. somewhat later again there was a gorgeous rainbow, but i managed to miss that... :( many others didnt, as you can see here.
yep, boston is showing its entire weather repertoire.... from quite hot and sunny to chilly, rain and thunder. and back again.... while i actuallywould just like the sun... but well....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cardboard bears

these are made out of cardboard! pretty cool, no?
in montreal!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

By train

so actually me and my sister spend a day in new york (with some rain, beeeehhh!), and then from new york we took the train to montreal, canada. we were told to be at the train station between 7 and 7.15 for a train leaving at 8.15. well that was a waste of time... a lady checked we had the required documentation and so at 7.01 we were told to be back at 8. but at 8.15 we were in a fancy amtrak train with lots and lots of legspace and fancy chairs (those where you even have a "leg piece" that you can move up an down. sort of like a dentist chair). 
and then we were off for a 10 hour train ride. that is quite long!! luckily i really enjoyed the views and every now and then even i fell asleep. we mostly rode along the hudson, and passed through teeny tiny towns with tiny "stations", some with cute yellow stepstools to get in and out of the train. amtrak says on their website its on of the top 10 most scenic train rides in the world (because being one of the best/beautiful/fastest etc in something is always important to americans... ;) ). but i was too lazy to take pictures and the ones i took were not the best... i just was enjoying the view and didnt actually want to do anything.
at the border with canada we stood still for an hour or 2. that was quite boring, especially as we were not allowed to "move" (i.e. getting up). everyone was questioned. and one person was not allowed into canada. the guy was sent back after having just spent some 8 hours in a train....

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oooooohhhh rain!!

oooh, still a lot of rain... reaching almost my last week here in the states and rain is what i get.... 
lets see about tomorrow....

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cemetery angel

another cute cemetery angel, which reminds me, i want to goto the cemetery once more before i leave. last time with tim the battery of my camera was empty (which seems to happen almost every time we go there. that, or there is no memory card in the camera..).
today the weather was ok-ish. but very windy and mostly cloudy. some rain later on, but had a very nice swim in the pool!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rain, go!!!

this was when we were in new york. the subway train was above ground and outside was something i wanted to picture. but my camera only wanted to focus on the rain drops.... :(
now its raining like crazy in boston too!! grrrrr! i am SO annoyed. i hoped for some sun and pooltime. but yesterday evening the pool was pretty chilly, and it rained the entire night! today was grey and rainy too. during the day not extremely bad, but very grey. and now... crazy rain again.... hope the sun comes out before we leave!
and while everything is totally soaked with water, the sprinkler system at our apartment complex still switches on every evening, drenching the poor plants even more. such a waste!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Homeland security

homeland security.... i think thats a very funny term, and something you probably will only see in america. what other country assumes that naturally anyone knows what "the homeland" is? if this car drives to canada, would it provide homeland security to the canadians...? :)
i have a list of things i still want to see, do or photograph while still here. this i can now cross off my list.. its funny how you see some things every so often and always think; hmm, i should take a picture of that! but before you know, 3 years have passed and you still think that.... 
wikipedia just told me that "homeland security" is "an American umbrella term referring to the national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce the vulnerability of the U.S. to terrorism, and minimize the damage from attacks that do occur". the term came into use after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
my sister arrived today from the netherlands and to protect the homeland, she had to wait in a very long line, proving she is not of any harm to this country. i knew the plane had landed, and waited, waited, waited... i guess some 1.5 hour. when it was finally her turn, the guy protecting his homeland asked her very important questions like "what are you doing here, how much money did you bring, do you have a creditcard, where does your sister work, what is her status (really??!! he meant whether i am allowed to work here, but still... grrr), what kind of work do you do? and the weirdest of them all; why is your sister (thats me) not married to her boyfriend (that would be tim)? really...?!! really?! she answered that she didnt know.... hahahaha. and after that, he finally let her go without another word. i dont know how i would have reacted to that question. these "homeland" officers really tend to piss me off, and i often have to make the greatest effort not to show how awfully annoying i find them. i guess they do it on purpose. just because they can...
anyways, i feel a lot safer now. i think my sister wont be a threat to the homeland.... 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Two weeks

last sunday we parked the truck next to a row of cars that had been standing there for a very long time. including the one above. all cars that when fixed up, would be so impressive! but now they were just standing there, a little sad. tires empty and falling apart, rust everywhere..... it was funny how i was very much aware that for at least a while "our" car would be standing there too, unused. i wondered when and how these cars were left, if the owners ever come back, whether they are at least planning to come back, some day.... i couldnt get the safety belt perfectly straight from the passengers seat, and somehow that seemed very important. we also left a tin with some candy in it. candy that you can keep forever, so thats fine. i guess it was a bit on purpose, although it is very likely that tim didnt think about it for one second, while i am now writing a blog post about it, hahahaha.
the next day i brought tim to the airport. and everything we did that day, breakfast, swimming, going down with the suitcases, locking the door, taking the subway, would be the last time here together. again, tim was most likely just thinking about his flight and his new job starting in just 2 days, but i tried to remember every moment. even though we did all those things so often, and i never thought about it! (and its not like we will never visit the us again; theres still so much to see!)
and now there are only 2 weeks left before i will leave as well..... the kitchen is still so full with stuff (quite some food and we hardly packed any kitchen ware). will all my clothes (and the ones i bought on top of that during a 6.5 hour shopping spree yesterday) fit in my suitcases? what do i still need to do? what stuff still needs to be arranged? (change of address, cancelling subscriptions, my bank account, etc etc). and sometimes i remember an item, and am not sure whether i brought it to goodwill or packed for shipping. more often than not i hope that i packed it..... i guess (i hope) when we get our boxes in amsterdam, it will be kind of like presents on christmas....

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cemetery angel

i like the little ceramic angels that a lot of people have put atop graves. often they are glued to the stone, like this one. i guess they are a bit cheesy... there is quite a variety. whenever i see one, i take a picture. or 3... :)
this is behind our apartment complex, even on tims last day we went for a walk there. i brought my camera. with an empty battery. grrrrr....
the weather is really bad currently. the whole it has been pouring and the temperature really dropped. its chilly right now and it doesnt seem like the rain is going to stop any time soon. in fact, while writing this sentence it started to come down even harder. beeehhh. hope it gets better soon, i stayed here to avoid the dutch weather, remember!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Holland style...

quite a while back i saw this product in "our" supermarket here in the usa. of course, i had to buy that! i know we often had them at home, although i wasnt the biggest fan of them. when trying these, i was really disappointed. those were nothing like the dutch "zilveruitjes" (pickled silverskin onions). they were not at all crunchy, as they are supposed to be... :( so... after one bite they were left in the fridge for months, since i first wanted to take a picture before trashing them... maybe we had a bad batch, but i think these are just american style holland-style onions (the barn in the background also looks more american than dutch to me).
wikipedia tells me that you can hardly find these onions fresh, they are almost always already pickled (like above), and are often eaten as a snack (with a beer or something), but are also used in soups (never had that, i think) or in casseroles.
its funny how almost everyone always refers to "the netherlands" as "holland". i myself never do that, but have noticed that sometimes people then dont know which country you are talking about. but as soon as you mention holland, they will say "aaaah... amsterdam....". for an entertaining video explaining the difference between the netherlands and holland, go here (it was going around on facebook at some point). warning; during the 4 minutes they manage to make it actually really complicated!! :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The boardwalk

this is the boardwalk at coney island, new york. we were there almost 2 weeks ago and it was so very cold, windy and rainy. still, we had fun!
the lady and pink and husband (i assume) were watching what was going on in the blue building to the left. there seemed to be some kind of emergency, with an ambulance crew arriving... 
getting to coney island from new york city is easy, you just take the subway to the very end. i forgot which one. there are 2 lines, i think. it takes pretty long, but at least that means that the 2.50 subway fare is taking you real far! there are about 3 miles of sandy beaches here, but we never saw them "in use", as we never managed to be there during really warm weather (somehow it always rains when we are in coney island). i guess it can become pretty crowded then!
hurricane sandy (already 7 months ago!) damaged quite a bit of the boardwalk, especially a bit further down. so far, 270 million dollar has been spent to restore the 8 beaches of new york, and another 386 million is available in the years to come for further repairs...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Self portrait

a self portrait in worcester this sunday, after we had put the truck in storage. this is in front of the train station. it was really pretty and so huge! the hall inside was pretty too, and very empty. the entire place was airconditioned and quite cold (especially when compared to the outside temperatures), must cost a lot of money to keep it that cool.
i had brought my balloon, which was the only way we could capture the entire station from where we were standing... ;) i just came to realize that balloons are a nice, cheap alternative to flowers; a bit too late as in 3 weeks i can buy cheap flowers again in the netherlands! probably i am a weirdo, but the past weeks i had 2 inflatable pink heart balloons in the living room, and now i have this silver one... so pretty! for sale at the dollar store..... im probably the only adult buying them to decorate my living room....

Monday, June 3, 2013

Bye Tim!

today i had to say bye yet again. this time to tim... i shipped him off to amsterdam this evening while i will stay here for another 3 weeks. i have some work to finish. also, the weather is probably better here than in the netherlands, and there is a outdoor pool just downstairs, so..... 
oh, and the apartment complex did not want to let us break the lease one month, or even a half month earlier. it ends july 1st. we first inquired about a 1 month extension which was perfectly fine, but when we asked whether we could leave 1 month or half a month earlier they said no. they literally said that "it was of no benefit to them". tim calculated how much rent we paid over the past 3 years (a very painful number), and asked whether that wouldnt warrant a little leniency, but the answer remained no. (we saw many people moving out the past week, i dont think they are doing very well currently). so.... the best option for me was to stay. in a week my sister will arrive, so we can say goodbye to boston together!
tim in the meantime will start his new job this thursday. while we were sorting everything out in our apartment, we found many, many pens. it could be that we have well over 50 of them. they seemed to appear from everywhere, which is weird because i never could find a pen when i needed one. while walking to the subway station tim realized he did not even take one pen with him. then he found one from his new job, so i think thats a sign! it has the name of the hospital on it (bovenij; "ziekenhuis" means hospital). he had a huge amount of luggage. luckily i could convince him to check an additional suitcase. 2 suitcases of 23 kgs each (max weight), a backpack and a large carry-on.... while he now is somewhere above the ocean with 3 pairs of my shoes (the additional suitcase was of benefit to me... ;) ), i really need togoto sleep... good night!

Bye car!!

today we said goodbye to the car we were happily driving the past 3 years. or rather, that tim was driving since i dont have a license... (since a few months i have a learners permit, but... well... i will not be able to obtain an american license anytime soon... buuhhhh.. :( ). it belongs to tims parents and it made our life quite a bit easier... we had absolutely no trouble obtaining furniture, as it all was just thrown in the back of this huge car! we had no trouble getting groceries either... (theres no supermarket in walking distance of our apartment. and we got used to doing shopping only once a week, or less. very undutch! there i used to go whenever i was cooking dinner, just a little walk from my apartment). i got used to climbing in this huge thing, and very much enjoyed the royal view above everyone else.... and of course, it made me feel like a real american, sitting in a real american truck!!
thats why yesterday was so stressful; we HAD to get rid of the couch, even if it meant secretly throwing it in a dumpster somewhere, anywhere.... (i found out normally the dump we brought it to is not open on saturday, and we were there not that long before closing time. pfew..). today we got up early and drove the car to its storage, an hour away. when we had it storage ready (tim did most of the work, lucky me, it was so very hot again), we got a cab to the nearest train station, and had our very first train ride in the usa.... :) as it is sunday, the train was going only 3 times, over the entire day!! if we had missed it, we would have had to wait some 4 hours!! (thats also rather different from the netherlands!). it took forever to get back into boston, but it was actually quite relaxing to sit in the very slowly moving train for 1.5 hours....
bye bye car, we will certainly miss you!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Decaying beauty

june 1st! another month has gone by, its theme day and our apartment is empty... this months theme is the "beauty of decay". i actually have quite some pictures of abandoned places (i like to visit those), but currently we are busy to "abandon" our apartment... so, heres another picture... :) its all i can think of right now....
we sold the dinner table and chairs on thursday. since we had some boxes left, tim immediately set out to make us another table, as you can see (compare with the original situation here!). today we also got rid of our bed and couch. we got the couch out really easy, and also carrying it down 2 flights of stairs was not too bad (it was horrible getting it here when moving in, so we were a bit worried about that). while getting that all done i was also doing laundry and baking bread as we had a goodbye BBQ this afternoon; when we had gotten the couch down one flight, i had to run back up, just to check on the bread.... not to rest, ofcourse.... ;)
we went to goodwill to drop off the couch, only to find out they didnt want it... it has a small tear and the guy accepting "donations" said he only takes things he would want to buy himself. having brought numerous itmes already over the past days, that really pissed us off. moreover, now what to do with that huge couch??!! certainly the soaring heat (35C!!, around 95F) did not help to cool us down... after some ideas of where to secretly drop the couch, some weirder than others, we finally figured out that we could bring it to the "solid waste station". i was very sad to see our couch being brutally dumped into a huge, disgusting, smelly pile of waste.... it didnt belong there at all!! buhuhuhuhuh. moreover, we had to pay 6 dollars and 40 cents, as dumping goes by the pound, and we dumped 160 lbs of couch.... :(
for more beauty of decay, go here!