So much to tell, but where do I start?
Choir - I've gone to 2 practices. Very nice people, very proper and most of them are older. If someone doesn't recognize me they immediately walk up, shake hands and introduce themselves. Do I remember names? Not at all. I do well to remember names at best when in English, but in new circumstances in Dutch - forget it. Still, I reply in kind and make it obvious I'm the new Canadian girl. The lady I sat next to last week though was from New York, so her English was fantastic. Phew. I will email her and ask her any questions I have; she seemed to know her stuff and communicating with her will be easy. It turns out we don't sing every Sunday in church, though. Not what I'm used to, but given current schedules I welcome it. We don't sing until Feb 23rd, and that's in another church. It seems we're the parish choir (which would explain our size; I still haven't counted all the people yet but I'm guessing around 40 or so) and we hop around between 3 churches.
I had my interview for the magazine W. volunteers for and submitted not one, but two recipes. Read by almost 4000 people, they will learn who I am, why I came here and what brings me into the kitchen so often. So yeah. I don't know what I'm expecting from it, or that I'm expecting anything at all, but even when you say you "don't care" there is still a part of you that wishes for feedback or some sort of acknowledgement. So we'll see.
I had to turn down meeting a friend in Paris the other day. Seriously? Who gets to say, "Oh, so sorry, but I can't get to France or Switzerland this weekend." Who says that?! Apparently I do and it blows my mind. I consider myself fortunate.
Last weekend (or maybe it was the weekend before) W. and I went to Zwolle; We hadn't travelled in some time and I was gettin' antsy. For the religious folk, Thomas a Kempis settled here in 1399. The city centre (centrum) is surrounded by a moat and canals for protection (established in the 17th century) and was also surrounded by town walls (which only survive on the north side of the city now). In the town centre in the Grote Markt is the Grote Kerk where public executions took place (we were both surprised to hear this). Unfortunately the church was closed when we got there so we couldn't go in. I posted a couple pictures on Facebook, but for those that don't have it, I've included them plus a couple more. Click to enlarge.
The Sassenpoort, from 1409 and it's the town's oldest mediëval gate. The following pictures are beneath the gate.
Closer, on the outside
Outside (and W.).
Grote Kerk (1614) where the executions took place. The sign reads, "Watch and Pray".
Part of the town wall. I believe the steps were added after? But we're not sure.
An old church converted to a bookstore. It was pretty :)
Town wall (and W.)
Town wall, bridge that raises when boats go by in canal.
Town wall. Sign out front a restaurant says you're welcome to board on the pannenkoekenship (pancake ship). Pannenkoeken boats are a Dutch novelty; since the ships aren't used anymore, they're put to use for your eating pleasure. Not in this visit but a recent one in Leeuwarden, I finally ate at one and it was quite good. Dutch pannenkoeken (pancakes) are different than North American pancakes (larger and a bit flatter, but not quite a crepe).
Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (Our Lady's Church). They were supposed to be open but opened late, even despite waiting around 20 min for them. Originally a Catholic church (the last sermon was in 1580), the Protestants took it over in the Reformation and finally gave it back in 1809.
Entrance to unknown church. Guessing from the way it's set up, it's not used very often.
This city was amazing. I got to geek out in a couple kitchen stores (I will be back!) and I got to touch walls that are 700 years old. I was out of my head. Incredibly humbling. I could imagine those walls have seen a lot and I, in a way, felt my place in the world. Small, but significant. Each one of us makes up a whole and contributes to some sort of history.
Phew! That was a lot. So.. I need to not sit at the computer anymore :) Hope you enjoyed the pics! I am going to have lunch, do some cleaning up and organizing and prepping tonight's dinner. W. has planned a surprise for me for my 6th-month anniversary here (which was actually Jan. 4th). Can't wait!