Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Living in LimboLand and The Disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

This past weekend we had lunch with our landlords at their house in Heemstede. We had previously discussed with them our lease and we let them know we still plan to move out by October 1st. We are on a month to month basis now, which seems to work for all of us. They are such a nice couple, we have truly been blessed to now consider them our friends as well as our landlords.

They aren't sure what their plans are for after we leave...whether they will stay in their home in Heemstede or move back into the house in Haarlem.

We have asked that they let us know by around June so we know if we need to start getting rid of some things in the house, or if they decide they want to rent it out again we will leave most everything here so they can rent it out furnished. We had in mind when purchasing things here over the last two years that we would be leaving it here. We will have a shipment of belongings back to the U.S., but we're trying to keep it small.

Andrew has been applying for jobs within his company and talking with coworkers about us moving back to the States. If he stays with his company he could end up on either coast in the U.S. We are hoping to know by June if he'll have a job. If not, we will most likely go to CA and look around for a place to buy. We also want to check out TX since we have a son there (and he loves living there!). We are just trusting that God will show us the path.

Via Wikipedia:
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370/MAS370), also marketed as China Southern Airlines flight 748 (CZ748) through acodeshare, was a scheduled passenger flight from Kuala LumpurMalaysia, to Beijing, China. On 8 March 2014, the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft operated by Malaysia Airlines disappeared in flight with 227 passengers on board from 15 countries, most of whom were Chinese, and 12 crew members. The aircraft last made contact with air traffic control less than an hour after take-off.
A joint search-and-rescue effort covering an area of 27,000 square nautical miles (93,000 square kilometres; 36,000 square miles) in the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea[1][2] is being conducted by more than 12 countries. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring is in the air!

Friday, 28 February through Sunday, 2 March I traveled to Paris with two girlfriends! Oh my, what an adventure!

Andrew said he would drive Dede and I to the train station in Breukelen where we were to meet Josephine who was doing the driving. So, at 0600 we left the house and headed to Amstelveen, where we picked up Dede and arrived at the Breukelen station at 0700. 

Josephine did all the driving!  She had set the GPS to the address of our hotel in Paris.....but didn't realize till we were on the way that the volume was turned down. None of us knew how to use the thing! When she was entering the address a question came up (in Dutch) that she couldn't understand...so she just pushed 'Ja' for yes!  Welllllll, come to find out that question was: do you want to avoid toll roads?! We had started to wonder what was going on when we were directed to go through a few small towns! LOL!  Dede (the navigator) figured out to change it to English, turned up the volume and reentered the hotel information. Back to the freeway we went and going the most direct route!

We arrived at the hotel around 1400hrs! We stayed at the Novotel Porte d'italie in Paris. They had underground parking, which was very convenient. We dropped our things off, grabbed a map and headed out to town!  The metro in Paris is pretty easy to use and very affordable. We did a lot of walking too!  
 Our first stop was the Eiffel Tower. We wanted to see how bad the lines were. It wasn't too bad, but we decided to wait till the following morning to get in line.

 A double rainbow!

We walked up Champs Elysees:

 To the Arc de Triomphe:

 where there is a Tomb for the Unknown Soldier:

 Our last stop for the evening was The Louvre:

So many beautiful things displayed there. We had about 2 1/2 hours inside. We were exhausted, so it was plenty of time to see a little of everything. But, it could be an all day excursion!

Saturday morning we got up early so we could get to the Eiffel Tower close to opening time. We went down for breakfast......took one look at what was offered (for €18 each!) and decided to find breakfast elsewhere. Nothing there looked appetizing. Sooooo, we thought we'd head towards the Eiffel Tower and find a restaurant on the way. Wellllll, little did we know that in France all you can get is a croissant and coffee that early in the morning....unless you go to McDonald's. Which is exactly what we did!  Ahhhhhh, nothing like an Egg McMuffin to start the day! LOL! Fueled up, we headed towards the Eiffel Tower.

The line was only about 1/2 hour wait. Sooooo, we took the elevator to the 2nd level, got out and took some pictures before heading to the top. 

After spending about an hour at the Eiffel Tower we headed to Sacre Coeur Basilica...

 We took the subway to the closest stop.....not knowing we were deep underground! We climbed flights and flights of stairs to get out of the subway!

 Thennnnn, we had to climb more stairs to get to the top!

 It was worth every step!
It is so beautiful up there, you can see the whole city of Paris! There were musicians and artists galore!

We went inside the Basilica....no pictures allowed...
Till we went underground into the crypts...

In the 3rd century, Denis was the bishop of Paris. Sometime after 250 AD, the Romans persecuted Denis and ultimately cut off his head. Denis is said to have picked up his head (this would have been my move as well) and walked with the head 10 kilometers preaching a sermon the whole way. He was buried where he stopped preaching and died which became the site of the Basilica. Later his remains and relics were moved to reside under the high altar of the Saint-Denis.
After all the stair climbing we decided to reward ourselves with a drink! Ahhhhh, Irish coffee for me, beer and hot chocolate for Dede and Josephine!

We walked back down to the city....much easier going down!

 We found a cute little garden supply store!
Our next stop was Notre Dame:

 Then we walked over to Le Pantheon.....unfortunately it was closed...

 Hmmmmm....I have no idea who/what this was!
 We were exhausted and found a nice place to have dinner at Le Luxembourg:

 Everything was delicious!

Sunday morning we slept in till around 0700. We had decided to go to Versailles. Little did we know that it was 'get in free day'! Sooooo, the line was hours long. We found someone walking his dog and Josephine was brave enough to ask if he knew somewhere we could get some breakfast (besides McDonald's!) . He suggested a hotel around the corner.....soooo we walked and found a nice hotel, had breakfast and set out for Versailles. Rather than wait in line for hours, we went around the back into the gardens! There we caught the little train that took us around the grounds and to the house of Marie Antoinette.

 Personal armed guard?!?!
We never were able to go into the Palace......the lines were still too long when we came back from the gardens. Afterwards we headed home. It was about a 5 hour drive. We got to the Breukelen Station around 2030 where Andrew met us and drove Dede and I home!

What a wonderful weekend with two wonderful women!


Tuesday, March 4th

Louise and I had plans to meet Gary and Andrew for lunch. I hadn't been to the office since before we moved here! It was interesting to see all the changes that had been made (which were, unfortunately, not for the better...). We all got on the shuttle and went to a nearby shopping area where we got sandwiches at a deli. We got the shuttle back to the office and ate in the cafeteria (which is a very nice area of the building).

After lunch, Louise and I walked over to the Decathlon store where we planned to buy some wool long underwear!

 Unfortunately, they didn't have our size in stock......so, we went home empty-handed!
March 6th....Louise and I walked through Kenau Park which is close to her house. The crocus are in bloom!!!

Jannetje Johanna (Jo) Schaft (16 September 1920 – 17 April 1945) was a Dutch communist resistance fighter during World War II. She became known as the girl with the red hair (in Dutch Het meisje met het rode haar, also the title of a book and film about her). Her secret name in the resistance movement was Hannie.

Over the past several days whenever I take Sammy out for a walk I've been bringing my camera. The birds are singing and everything is coming alive with the warm weather! It's been between 40 and 55 degrees the past few days....it feels so warm, especially when the sun is shining!

Mom with her 2 children:

 Tulips we bought at the flower stand down the street:

 Traffic jam...people going home from the beach..
 Sammy loves his walks in the woods!


March 7th we saw men placing flowers near this memorial statue on the Dreef:

On March 7th, 1945, 15 captured resistance fighters, who were chosen at random, were executed at the Dreef in Haarlem. It was retaliation for the assault by the resistance movement on a member of the Politieke Inlichtingen Dienst (P.I.D., Political Intelligence Services). A group of passing citizens was forced to watch this execution.

A list of the 15 men executed:
  • Hugo Ruijs (20 jaar)
  • Wilhelmus Alb. Jiskoot (20 jaar)
  • Albert Scheepstra (19 jaar)
  • Jacob Miedema (53 jaar)
  • Martinus Molenkamp (46 jaar)
  • Johannes Oelschl├Ąger (31 jaar)
  • Jacobus Oelschl├Ąger (31 jaar)
  • Johannes Volkers (38 jaar)
  • Johannes Rozekrans (43 jaar)
  • Willem de Jager (33 jaar)
  • Pieter van der Haas (22 jaar)
  • Johannes van der Haas (32 jaar)
  • Peter van Sloten (30 jaar)
  • Cornelis Hartog (25 jaar)
  • Jul Alkema (19 jaar)

We walked by McDonald's....since it's such a beautiful building, I thought I should take a picture of it! I have looked for some history on the building but have found nothing as yet.
Crocus are blooming!

Kids playing field hockey:

 The renovated Provinciehuis: