Monday, December 31, 2007

3rd New Year's Eve in Amsterdam...

Wow, this is going to be my 3rd New Year's Eve in Amsterdam!! I don't think I've celebrated NYE so many times in one location!
This is also a funny and special occasion because it's the first time Arno and I met one another. We didn't say much to one another, but hey it's the first time we learned of the other's existence, and that is pretty special, right? lol. :o)

NYE in Amsterdam is pretty crazy, as you can probably imagine... In addition to the normal Amsterdam craziness, you have fireworks and the rather free and abusive use of them....people started setting off fireworks here about 3 or more days ago - I suppose to 'test' that they work. It's just lovely hearing them in the middle of the night when you're not actually prepared to deal with the loud, exploding noises!

This year's celebration is going to be a rather tame (or lame as some of you may see it) one. We did the club thing last year and, the year prior, the pre-partying and firework extravaganza at the Nieuwmarkt, one of the main squares here.
With the amount of work Arno and I have put into our new place, we're ready to take it easy. We may venture out to another square to watch the firework display, but honestly, it's scary to do so!
People literally set fireworks off overhead from the balconies (which obviously fall to the ground where you are below, thanks to the force of gravity), and from the sidewalk while you're right next to them! I've really never experienced such carelessness with fireworks! As you can guess, I really don't mind staying in and observing the display from a nice distance and away from the ridiculous crowds! I just hope Arno doesn't mind either way.... ;)

Regardless of what you will be doing to ring in the new year, be safe and enjoy!!!

Happy New Year to you!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

We're proud homeowners and boatowners!

All within a week, Arno and I have become official, first-time homeowners and boatowners! Merry Christmas to us! Lol. What more could we ask for, honestly?

Needless to say, these new "firsts" - combined with the Christmas holiday - have kept us quite busy.

We started on the interior of our new apartment today (23rd) and will be continue with it throughout the next couple of weeks...we need to paint, put in a new floor and an entire kitchen! Not to mention, we need to buy some key pieces of furniture! Whew...! I know it will look great when we're done and I am really looking forward to it. You're all welcome to come and visit :)

As I mentioned, we also managed to buy a used boat from one of my colleagues for a very good price! This will be a fun Spring project...just need to get some of the rust off, give it a fresh coat of paint, a new name, and then we're set for some Amsterdam canal-cruisin' :) It's one of the most popular and pleasant things to do here in the city on a sunny warm day!

And, in the midst of all of this, Arno surprised me with a cute and real Christmas tree! This is my first time not going home for the holidays, so I really wanted to make it cozy and Christmas-y in our (current) apartment. We went retro and used color lights - it seems most people go for the all white lights these days...alas, we won't have any presents under that tree though because a house, furniture and a boat will just not fit! (Also, the Dutch have a holiday earlier in December called Sinterklaas and we exchanged some gifts then).

We've got all we wanted and more this holiday and we wish you all the same. May your gifts, friends, family and holiday season bring you much cheer and love.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Amsterdam!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ah, 'Par-eee' - early Nov. 2007

As mentioned in a previous post, Arno and I went with friends to Paris a little over a month ago...this was my 4th time methinks. No matter what you hear about the French, the city and country is just beautiful...and this one in particular.

For these shots below, I went for the 'antique photo' look :)

Every time I go to Paris, I can't help but stare and take too many photos of the Eiffel Tower...just like every other tourist, I suppose!! Did you know that the Eiffel Tower is the most photographed monument in the world?

Monday, December 10, 2007

What's happenin'?

It's been a while since I've blogged, but in the meantime Arno and I have travelled to Paris with friends for a weekend, and I have spent the past weekend in Brussels (Belgium). I have to say, I love both cities. Paris is just great with its chic cafes and shops - and general vibe. Brussels is comparably chic, and also boasts beautiful historic architecture.

I hope to have a few photos from these trips soon...but you can also visit some old blog posts on both Paris and Brussels since I visited both in the past 2 years.

In other news, my dad, stepmom, and baby brother Jared will be visiting for 2 weeks next April! Should be a fun trip! We'll be exploring the Netherlands a bit and also travel to some cities in western and southern Germany by car - most likely Munich, Nuremberg, and Cologne...

This is also my first time not being home for Christmas!! Arno and I are going to make our place very cozy and Christmasy, the same time, however, we're get the keys to our newly purchased apartment on the 21st so our Christmas period will involve a lot of home-related events/things to do...I do hope to find a church or event around town that will have a Christmas evening with the carols and feelings I associate with this time of year!!
Anyhow, to be continued....
Wishing you all well this season! :o)