Cozy up by the fire

Here’s a video from the vault. On a cold and autumnal day, Graeme and I make a fire in our white house at Eerde (Ommen, NL). This was our house for the months while we lived/worked at the school. The living room which you see in the video was used for examinations which is why we had to move houses again in June.

[vimeo 34223324]

Move No. 5: things we left behind

Our Eerde adventure was coming to a close and so we had to prepare to say goodbye. Goodbye to our cottage, the country, our garden, some belongings and our lives as parents of 35 teenagers. I snuck out of the house one glorious morning to take some photos of our humble cottage and the surroundings; those photos will be featured in a forthcoming post.

Amanda at dinner table

the last supper

What isn’t apparent from this photo is that the left side of my face is not working very well. I also have tissues damming my nose and I won’t be able to taste any of that lovely chicken in front of me.

Graeme at dinner

Graeme thinks I'll never use these 'test shots' where he refuses to smile

We also recently discovered the amazing goodness that is Royal Club bitter lemon. OH WOW. Graeme used to concoct this lemon juice + San Pellegrino + sugar drink for our summer dinner dates together. Royal Club to the rescue. And it’s super cheap here!

Goodbye Funny Face, Goodbye winter boots

glasses case

My Funny Face glasses case

my "I can beat the Canadian winter" boots

our overgrown garden

Goodbye starter garden.

overgrown garden

We proposed this garden project to teach the kids lessons about food production, nutrition and country life. We planted in late April after the Easter break and we had an amazing crop of arugula for months. Our sla, lettuce followed suit (although we of course lost some heads) but overall we had more crop than we could eat. We planted carrots in early May knowing that we might not be there to harvest them full-grown. We knew no one else would pull them out, so we decided to see how far they’d come.

two baby carrots

Dear, darling baby carrots. I vow to plant your offspring and let them grow. Your tiny life was not in vain.

Strange growth of Mr. Spikey, the cactus


mini cactus grew a rat tail

I fell in love with baby cactus during a trip to Amsterdam one ‘off weekend’. He would be my desk companion. Unfortunately, one week I left him in the houseparent’s office and he was neglected. So, he turned brown. boo. I watered him faithfully even though I secretly planned to cancel him quietly when we left Eerde. Then, he started to produce this strange blooming tail. And so I decided to let him continue–he may not be lost after all. And, I’m proud to say that in these last couple weeks, he’s regained his color and strength!

This proves that I can nurture a cactus.

The spring turns into summer

The shower in boarding has great water pressure and temperature control. I am guilty of taking showers twice a day if it’s very stressful. I also bought the extra fluffy towels for the house parent’s room so there’s a warm welcome after the troubles have been washed away.

I’m tired but the end is very much in sight. This is a welcomed fatigue. The kind you have when you’ve reached the end of long trip; you came, you conquered and you’re returning home soon. Home, for us, is the ‘normal world’ where Graeme and I are partners not co-workers and we cook our own meals rather than supervise the vigorous consumption of food.
We have secured an apartment in Amsterdam for July-August after which we hope to do a bit of traveling (Copenhagen for design week, Italy to meet up with friends and England to visit Graeme’s parents). We have a couple extra beds in the summer¬†apartment, so we’re always open for visitors! I can’t promise sun, but I can promise yummy stroopwaffels, picturesque canals and flower shops galore. If you ever wanted to visit Amsterdam, now’s perhaps the time!!
In the next couple weeks we’ll be purging and organizing. I’ll be creating my case study of my time here for my design portfolio. We’ll be writing evaluations of our time here. We’ll be packing up our stuff to move again!
Once in Amsterdam, we’ll be investigating the visa process for Graeme joining me in the US and of course, trying to get back into the swing of things with our other hobbies. There’s plenty of long term projects that may move from the back burner. I’m excited about moving back into the design scene and reading and blogging.
As we look forward to our summer in Europe, we think about all the wonderful events in the lives of our friends and family. New babies entering into the world, new life commitments being made, new adventures starting. We feel blessed but also a tad sad to not get to celebrate with you in person. Skype will have to do. Skype will also be a bit easier once we’re living in Amsterdam again as well. We look forward to it!

Graeme at a great pie place with specialty chutneys from Australia

La Primavera: Rebirth

a time to be born...

Never before have I been so acutely aware of the birth that spring brings forth each year. Out here in the ‘country’ we are surrounded by creation and procreation. Baby lambs, cows, swans and colts, deer (fawn?), rabbits, frogs. We have baby deer who live near our cottage who are too elusive to capture on film. But these happy swans live in the moat around the castle, so we get to see them interact every day.