Saturday, January 28, 2012

Spinach Shake

Drinking my first spinach shake today. Man, it is good!!! Actually looks pretty cool too I think.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Alena's Leaving


Tonight I had dinner with a few friends, including Alena who is moving back to Germany tomorrow.  It really is sad because she was one of the first friends that I made here in Holland outside of work.  I remember meeting almost 2 years ago now at my first My Haarlem event.  Over the last two weeks we all hung out, had pancakes, went to the pub, and now tonight had dinner.

I just amazes me to think that I've been here in Holland long enough to have met someone, became friends, and they are now moving away already.  But, at least Germany is only right next door.  I will be visiting for sure because I want to finally make it to one of these German Christmas markets that I've heard so much about.  And hey, in the meantime, there is a My Haarlem event this weekend...I wil just have to recruit a new German person with a British accent to our group of friends :-)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Paris


Wow Paris, it impresses me more and more every time I go there is just soooo much to see and do.  I think if I were to move anywhere else in Europe and I had the choice, Paris would be at the top of the list.  Everything there is just so amazing, the architecture, the amazing transportation, the stores, the food, list list just goes on.  I think every time I am there I find something bigger, better, and more interesting than the time before.  For example this time I walked into a store that was seven stories high, I was looking for the mens section which I thought the signs were saying was on the 5th floor, then I realized, no, there was no mens section because it actually had it's own building next door that was 5 stories high!  Geeze!



I also ate some amazing food as usual.  I honestly think it doesn't matter what restaurant you choose, it is always good.  I even had roast duck across the street from the train station and it was perfect!  The salmon tartar that I had was great.  I think if summertime had a taste, this would be it.  And of course I had foie gras as well.  Mmmmm.

One thing that I would of course have to work on is French!  It is a nice sounding language and I am kinda working on it in my spare time, but man, it is hard.  Especially since I live in Holland and there is not much opportunity to hear it all the time.  But I am going to keep at it, because you never know what the future might have in store.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Resolutions

Ah, it is time to list my 2012 New Years resolutions.  Over the past couple of years, I have been quite ok at keeping my goals, so lets see what happens this time.  Here are my goals in no particular order:
  • Travel more.  Mainly more weekend trips and not trying to depend on others to make travel plans.  Now that I've been to Prague, I know it's possible to see places on your own.
    • Some places I'd like to go include: Scandinavia, Bruges, Mexico, and maybe somewhere else in Eastern Europe
  • Make a better effort to learn basic French.  With my number of trips to France increasing, I would really like to be able to speak some basic French.  I want to dedicate a few hours per week to learning French.  My biggest obstacle to overcome here is to get it out of my mind that spending time on French is "wasting" time that I could be using on Dutch.
  • Make some new friends.  I have some good friends here in Holland already, but I want to make some more who are more into doing the things I want to do, and more willing to go out on a regular basis.  Would also be nice to get a few more Dutch friends as well (although international friends are also good.)
  • Follow a better diet.  Ever since moving to Europe, I have been letting my diet slip.  I used to be so conscious about what I ate in the US.  While I still do not go crazy here in Europe, I am not at the point where I want to be with it.  My main problem here is time and proximity.  Time because I now have to commute to work and that takes up a good portion of my day (I did not really have to worry about this so much in Pittsburgh.)  Now when I get home I want to scarf down food ASAP and get myself to the gym.  Most of the time I will eat whatever I can get fast.  Proximity is an issue because at work the only lunch option is the cafeteria which does not serve healthy food and I hate packing my own lunch.  My plan is to work on these two points and see where I end up.
  • Stop biting my nails.  I did such a good job almost 2 years ago with this, now I am back doing it in full force.  Stopping with this nasty habit starts NOW!
Well, these are my goals.  Let me know what you think.

What are your goals for 2012?

Looking back at 2011

Looking back at 2011, I had a pretty full year.  I traveled a lot and learned (I think) a lot more about living in Holland.  The year started off with me still being very uncertain about me speaking Dutch and constantly worrying about it.  Thankfully over the course of the year, I've gradually became better with Dutch and am now at a much more comfortable point with it where I don't let every little thing bother me.  Dutch is now an every day skill that I use while I still of course try to perfect it in my free time.

I got to see a lot of places this year, such as various cities and towns in Holland,  Malta, Paris, Munich, Washington D.C., Prague, Antwerp, and some others I just can't think about right now.  I plan to continue my travels in 2012 and hopefully get to see more cool places.

One thing that I am not so happy about is the frequency (and sometime the quality) of my posts on this blog.  I hope that this year I will post more frequently.