So. Unfortunately I wasn't able to post on Saturday, but here is the summary of last week's goings on.
Last week was filled with more newness: many introductions, several laughs, a few hamburgers, a couple sparklers, and a touch of sickness. In short, we had an eventful week. The week started poorly unfortunately, with both Kevin and I contracting a virus most likely from germs in buses and trains (the evil side of public transportation that they never told us about). We spent most of sunday in bed and sadly hobbling around our house with rolls of toilet paper hanging from our limp hands (doesn't that just sound like the saddest thing ever?! look at how pitiful we are without our mothers!!).
By Tuesday our trashcans were overflowing with tissues and empty TP rolls, but I was feeling significantly better (poor Kevin it seems may have contracted a sinus infection...still trying home remedies to relieve symptoms...we'll keep y'all posted). I decided to go with a couple of new friends to pick berries at a local farm. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and I was able to fill my basket with raspberries, cherries, and strawberries. After picking our berries we sat for a cup of tea at the farm's cafe and chatted about babies (both ladies are expecting! Yay! New Birth Stories will be forthcoming!) and home. Before leaving I was also able to pick up a bunch of lavender. Side note: I've found that lavender and mint are particularly cheap in our area. Not sure why this is, but it makes me want to bring back bundles of both for all of you. Also I plan on finding and/or creating many new recipes with these two delectable delicacies.
Thursday, with Kevin's encouragement, I decided to go into Haarlem on my own. Walking out of our apartment by myself was harder than I had anticipated, but once my feet were on my bike pedals I felt much more at ease. I am an independent person and a 'doer' by nature, but I also tend to struggle heavily with anxiety, usually over self-created issues. Its a struggle to fight the latter, but with my lover's help I'm usually able to emerge victoriously on the side of independence. Thursday was such a day and, though it was a small victory, the ability to navigate a still unfamiliar area by myself made me feel generally more capable and free. Upon leaving the bus station I made my way into my (so far) favorite tea shop, Bij Babette's Afternoon Tea. It's a precious little shop only a few blocks and a couple bridges away from Haarlem Central. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and although I wasn't able to sit outside (due to my outlet needs for photo editing), I did enjoy a lovely spot near a big window. Babette created a delicious blend of black tea, vanilla, and fruits which I consumed brewed over iced, and bought several ounces of upon leaving.
Friday was, of course, Independence Day (a fitting day to follow my own day of independence), our first holiday away from home. While it was sad that we couldn't be with family or old friends, we were so happy to be invited to a Fourth of July Barbecue at a fellow American family's home. We met several other American families and were so encouraged by the community of others from home. We were able to relax and enjoy the evening with hamburgers, hotdogs, (albeit the hotdogs were about as thick as pencils so one could't truly consider them hotdogs) and sparklers on the back patio.
Saturday was spent working on our various projects (photos for me, greek for him) until about 8:30 when we decided to go into the City to watch Holland play Costa Rica with the masses. We donned our cheap new fan paraphernalia and grabbed the 9:00 bus into Leidseplein. We arrived at Dan Murphey's pub to watch the game about the same time as some two thousand others, so we had to stand in the crowd to watch the first half. Though we had to leave before the second half of the game, the atmosphere of anticipation and excitement was one that we are both glad to have been a part of.
Sunday we were able to visit a church called Crossroads where several of the students from Tyndale worship. As before, we were encouraged simply by the proximity to other believers as we learn to navigate this new place.
Lastly, honorable mention of the week goes to the air raid sirens. Yes, you read that right, air raid sirens. At 12:00 this afternoon, I was drinking my tea and slowly putting my living room back to rights after the weekend, when all of a sudden I heard sirens. Not the typical ambulance or police sirens I hear very regularly throughout the day, but loud sirens. The sound that you hear in the historical movies about World War II. The sound that you hear in documentaries about tsunamis. The sound reverberated through our living room with ferocity. I was thoroughly freaking out. I ran out to our balcony to see what reaction my neighbors were having. Nothing. The men at the mechanic shop next door kept working and whistling, the children in the parking lot kept playing, the moms standing on the side walk kept talking. Completely confused, I googled 'Sirens in Amsterdam' (because when you don't know what the heck is going on, you google right?). Apparently at 12 noon on the first Monday of every month, Amsterdam and Haarlem test their air raid sirens. I must confess, it was extremely discomforting to know that if an actually air raid were to occur at 12 noon on the first Monday of a month, no one would know to seek cover.
Anyway, I know many of you don't care what our week looked like, but for those of you that do care and did make it to the end of this post, thank you for your encouragement through prayer and messages and posts and FaceTime calls. Our transition has been much harder but also much easier than we had imagined. We appreciate the community supporting us back in the US and are so looking forward to being part of a community in our new home.
Below are a few pictures from last week. Unfortunately, most are from my iPhone. Due to sickness we didn't get into the city for a photo day as I had promised, but we'll hopefully be doing that this week (also I am now inspired by the scenes of our city in The Fault in Our Stars as I just watched it last night, so there's that...). I was however able to capture our evening in the City for the game on my big camera. Enjoy!
Side note: The first picture is of two women riding horses passed our bus stop...horses...yeah we didn't know what to think either.