Sunday, January 20, 2013

So I've been home about a month. The return was turbulent in many ways. There are things I would have changed and the top one of them would have been making plans to stay longer!
It's nice to be back with family and friends, and get all those things done I'd been thinking about. Start making art again. Make some recipes I missed. Make some I've learnt. Having a glass of wine with a friend and tell some stories. And start planning the next trip.

Oh yes, I am.

As for my trip I'll leave you with this: do it. I highly recommend going and living and being somewhere else. And for as long as you can muster. I saw this text last summer just before I left via
And I kept it in my thoughts. Run with it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The HEMA sausage

So I mentioned eating Boerenkool a couple times. What I did not tell you was my initial judgement of the meal:

One night the family says "we will have a traditional winter meal- we also serve it with the very best sausage!" Now when this family says "the very best" it is carefully selected, narrowed down after decades of being foodies and wine connoisseurs and world travelers.
Later in the evening the meal is served and I notice the sausage ring has a tag from HEMA. HEMA is a local department store that sells almost everything... Clothing, stationary, kitchen and bathroom stuff, seasonal, bike accessories... And yes, next to the makeup aisle, sausages.
I was grateful for the meal but I just figured the butcher was closed and that was the last resort.


After I relayed this story to a friend they quickly corrected me: HEMA is known for their sausages. They are the choice nation wide! Who knew!

Anyway, they know it too. Pictured below is a sausage from HEMA made out of marzipan. For Christmas. For the vegetarians out there who need some of the tradition too!

Also pictured: some canal house cookies I brought back for my coworkers.

Thinking of this frosty misty day from my Amsterdam neighbourhood.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cost of living

People keep asking me about the day to day cost of living while in holland. I have to break it to you, it's cheaper than Vancouver or Canada.

Some examples:

I never paid more than €2.95 for a latte. With the exchange rate today, that's $3.89. It's about what I pay for a coffee drink at Granville Island, but let me tell you my first coffee drink back in Canada was 12oz for $5.10 at Starbucks. Rip off. And I never had a latte I didn't love in holland.

Stopping and having a drink when out and about is such a part of the daily life. A glass of house wine at pretty much any place was generally €3. Today that's $3.95. Again, the first place I sat down at and thought of ordering a glass of wine in Canada was $9.99 (plus tax and tip). I ordered a cola instead. My favorite go-to excellent bottle of wine I bought again and again was €4.05. That's only $5.34. A "pricy" bottle was never more than €8 ($10.55).

The warm lunch time snack equivalent to having a sandwich or simple burger was €3, again $3.95

And this one drove me nuts: these make-up remover pads that I use daily only cost €0.33 which is 43 cents. CENTS. At London Drugs or Shoppers the same item costs a minimum of $4.00. I should have lined my suitcase with them when I came home.

Sure, rent was expensive. But to have such a stunning, central apartment in Vancouver would have also been at least as much or more. More.

I honestly can't think of a single thing that was more expensive there, than here.

(And I can't wait to go back!)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Flowers grow for those that know
To bloom is to know your roots
To give the earth all it's worth
Tend to the new shoots"
(From Greenwich)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I had started seeing these toad stools and mushrooms pop up in shop windows and displays in late fall. I thought they were cute! But not until my parents came in November and my mom blurted out "we had these decorations when I was a kid!"

I was sold. I wanted one for my own tree.

Friday, January 4, 2013

At first these look light and fun- seemingly random installations of tiles. But in fact they mark places of senseless violence. There was one on the track 5/6 in Weesp, on my way to the grocery store, and this one in Leidseplein. Makes you think.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Love me some text art. In Greenwich.