We are settling in. Like so much sand sliding down a 4 year old’s back and directly into her buttcrack. The beach is our saving grace thus far. We’ve gone 3 of the 6 days since arriving in Holland. Why? Because bus and train fare is cheap and beach access is free. On the contrary, the zoo, aquarium, etc. are all mighty costly. Oh, and we just moved from Kansas. So, there’s not much in beach time there. Nor was there in our previous residence, near Syracuse (NY). Not to mention, the tram/bus/train riding is still a wildly exciting adventure to the kids (ok, we adults think it’s pretty cool too). In fact, I think tomorrow we should just spend the afternoon riding trams around the city. Honestly, it’s the best entertainment value for your Euro. And isn’t it just as good to ride by the Van Gogh museum as it is to stop, wait in line, pay, and drag whiney children through it? I knew you’d agree.
I’m exhausted. And my enthusiasm for blogging is fading. So I’m gonna buzzfeed this out tonight. And why are my children still awake? It’s past 10pm. And it’s still light outside. How far North are we? Are we in the Arctic Circle or something? And where is Bumbles the Pillow Pet? And who took the pillowcases off of every pillow in the house? And why does Gwen insist on using a full set of silverware at every meal when only a spoon is needed? And who left a pile of raisins, meticulously picked out of a bowl of granola, on the table? And, most importantly, where is my glass of wine?
List 1: Things we are learning about Dutch life
- When crossing a street, one must cross 6 different paths – bike (x2), auto (x2) and tram (x2). We actually already knew this from many previous stays in Holland and have communicated this with the utmost seriousness to the Zipplettes. However, if they are chasing a pigeon or see an ice cream (ijs) stand across the street, they must be physically restrained. Every damn time. For every path. Every damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn time.
- Dutch kids often swim naked. At the beach, at the public pool, whatevs. And not just the baby/toddler crowd, but kids up to 6ish. And they are all blond-haired, blue-eyed beauties. It’s a bit off-putting and creepy, in a vaguely horror film kind of way. Imagine a swarm of naked blond kindergarteners running toward you on a beach. It’s weird. And then you realize the ice cream truck is behind you. Now it’s slightly less weird. At one point, a 2ish year old nudey boy came wandering our way to play with some sand toys. The girls just sat their stunned, looking at his tiny dangler. (In a brilliant moment of self-contradition, I must admit he was dark skinned and had an Afro as large as any 70’s NBA star). He was young enough, and somehow it is more ok for boys to be naked in my mind. Especially with the sand. Naked girl parts and sand is just wrong.
- Ever try eating herring? Ever try eating herring from a food truck on the beach? Then you must not be Dutch. Husband loves this stuff. I wish I could be so cool, but I’m repulsed. There are not enough onions in the world to make it ok to my palette. The highlight of one beach day was when the herring truck broke down. The entire beach bumming community rose up from their sandy towels to help the driver. People really do come together in times of distress. Then, the truck drove off, literally, into the sunset along the beach. Cue the orchestra.
- This post has been interrupted by the cat escaping out the back door. We had to calmly herd her back toward the house and lure her in with the sound of opening a food can (husband and I, the kids are asleep now thank the good lord and the makers of Benadryl). We did not pay hundreds of $$$, take her to umpteen vet appointments to get her “pet passport” and fly her 26+ hours to have her run off 5 days later. Oh hell no. Not up in here!
- Douche is the word for shower/wash. I’m certain that’s true in more languages in Dutch. It’s everywhere here and it will never cease to make me giggle. Don’t forget to douche your hands after using the “toilet” (or water closet, if you’re a British prick). Honey, don’t forget to pick up some douche at the store today. But don’t be a Dutch Douche, though. They’re everywhere too. You can spot them by their tapered, capri jeans and Air Jordans.
- Speaking of douche .. . while public transport is amazeballs here (honestly, I don’t think I will ever tire from riding trams), the hygiene aspect with small children is troubling. And Addy is a thumbsucker. Is there anything more disgusting than watching your daughter pop her thumb into her mouth after riding a bus, holding the railing down the escalator at the train station and pushing the buttons on the tram door? No, there is not. And there is not enough “sandsitizer” (Gwen’s combo word for hand sanitizer) in the world to make this ok.