Cold Days in Holland

June 5, 2013

Gracious Living Day by DayI arrived in the Netherlands a few days ago, and it’s been cold (50′s) every day so far. I realize now that I was thinking more of Serbia when I packed since I brought only one sweater and one light jacket. The rest are light summer dresses.

Winter coats                                                My aunt Ans and I, in winter coats, I borrowed hers.

My aunt and uncle have been taking good care of me, and after all the recent work on renovating our house in Michigan it feels luxurious to have someone wait on me. I feel like a princess. They make me coffee in the mornings, cook for me, do my laundry. In the evenings, we look at pictures and talk about old times – always in three languages – Serbian, Dutch and English.

My oldest son Mike has been interning with a judge at the International Criminal Court at The Hague for the past six moths, and I got to spend a couple of days with him and his girlfriend, Fabiana. We explored Utrecht and Amsterdam together and had a lovely dinner at a Peruvian restaurant in Amsterdam. Then Mike flew back to the US to prepare for his Bar exam.

Peruvian Restaurant From left: I, my uncle Joep, Mike’s friends Jeremy and Mandy, Fabiana and Mike

On Monday, my uncle, aunt and I went to Arnham to spend a day with their daughter Bettinka and her family. She has five children: Sophie, Vera, Tom, Margot and Milou, the oldest fourteen and the youngest six. We picked the children up from school, gave them snacks, and took a long walk in the park around their house. We ate dinner, and spent time with the children. Vera is planning an exciting party for her twelfth birthday. Sophie, the eldest child, told me about her school classes: she has eleven classes and is studying five languages.

Bettinka and family                                                        Ans, Vera, Milou and Bettinka

Yesterday, Sam and Nikki arrived from Spain – tired, hungry and in great need of showers and clean laundry. They hadn’t slept or eaten anything but crackers for almost nineteen hours. After they cleaned up, we went to our cousin Nick’s restaurant in The Hague.

Nick's restaurant1 Nick’s restaurant: Nikki, Sam, Joep, Laura and Nick

Nick has a beautiful French restaurant called The Archipel, in the center of The Hague. He serves the most flavorful, organic ingredients, fine wines and most delicious olive oil I have ever tasted. To us, his family, he served an appetizer of smoked hams, then a salad of salmon and tiny Dutch shrimp, and melted cheese sandwiches. We sat in a sunny outdoor garden full of flowers ate and drank Dutch beer or fine Chardonnay from the south of France. We talked about Serbia and our family.

Nick's restaurant Sam, I and Nikki enjoying the afternoon in the restaurant garden

I could have stayed there forever.

Weary travelers Weary travelers
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula June 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Liliana, You’re SO cosmopolitan–what a great trip you are having–and it is just beginning!

I had dinner with Wendy last night–and I know we both will want to hear your stories in person when you return.

Sending hugs across the Atlantic, Paula

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Liliana June 6, 2013 at 12:45 am

We’ll share lots of stories when we get together later in the summer. Sending hugs right back to you, dear friend!

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Jelena June 7, 2013 at 7:53 am

It all sounds very wonderful–enjoy yourselves to the max! Lots of love to you all!

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Liliana June 9, 2013 at 4:08 am

Miss you so much, girlfriend! Sending you love, hugs and kisses across the ocean.

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Loi - Tone on Tone June 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

Dear Liliana -
Have you been to the Kröller-Müller Museum located in the National Park De Hoge Veluwe? They have a fabulous collection of Van Goghs, and a wonderful sculpture garden which should be beautiful now with all the spring blooms. I was there in late March. Also, I loved the Teylers Museum in Haarlem. Have a wonderful time!
Warm wishes from DC,
Loi

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Liliana June 9, 2013 at 4:10 am

Thanks for the suggestions, Loi. I am adding these places to my itinerary and hope to visit them on Monday.
Have a great summer!

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Rosanna June 7, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Your trip, Liliana ~ despite the cold!! ~ sounds like it’s simply been *delightful* so far!!

The two mealtime pictures of you, with family members around a table………… (i.e., first, in Amsterdam at your family dinner, at a Peruvian restaurant; and, secondly, in the center of The Hague at your family dinner, in your cousin Nick’s French restaurant The Archipel)………… just have “home” written all over them!! Next month, I’ll be flying “home” (to Texas) for a week; and as I think YOUR heart is feeling in the two mealtime pictures, (Above)!!………… I also so look forward to feeling………… MY heart *being replenished* with my family’s love, too!!

Have a great weekend!!

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Liliana June 9, 2013 at 4:11 am

Have a great time in Texas, Rosanna. I hope your heart gets replenished with family love and delicious food.
Hugs and good wishes to you!

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Jeff June 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

So marvelous to see, Liliana. It makes me regret that I didn’t travel more in my life – so your adventures are wonderful to read. Twelve years old and studying five languages! Oh boy! And here we think that everyone should just speak English! What we are all missing!
Enjoy, safe adventures and a safe trip back! – Jeff

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