Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sint Maarten

Tonight the Dutch (and the Lesters) celebrated Sint Maarten's day. It's essentially the feast day of St Martin of Tours, a roman soldier turned monk. (That's about all the history I know). Anyways- for an expat it meant searching the stores for a lantern, attempting to learn a dutch song so my child could get candy from strangers, and explaining a new tradition to children who insisted they needed to wear costumes because we made a rookie mistake of comparing it to "halloween" 

There was a huge Lampion (light) parade at Vondelpark, the cities biggest park, just down the street from us. We met up with some of Luke's school friends and our play buddies. I made a few more rookie mistakes- like not opening the lantern packaging until arriving at the park- "batterijen niet inbegrepen" apparently means "Batteries Not included". Lucky for us I had a spare bike light in my bag and another friend had two random batteries in her purse. I also bought the ready made paper lanterns- so cute- so cheap- broken in 10 seconds flat! No wonder everyone makes a big deal here about making your own lantern. Next year I'll just have to make a sacrifice and drink two boxes of wine to have the empty cartons and make our own lanterns (i saw it on pinterest!). The sacrifices we make as parents:)
The parade started with a marching band and we jumped in toward the front to hear the songs. It was PACKED- and we hopped out of the route by our house- it was a sea of people. If I had to estimate it was close to 1,000 people walking with kids and lanterns. 

On the walk home Luke was brave enough to jump in and sing with other kids to get his candy!
The candy givers were hard core- no signing no candy.
The song my Dutch teacher taught me translated to "my mother is fat, my father is small now give me some little candy". I chose to teach Luke and alternative song-
                                   Elf november is de dag, (11th of November is the day)                                                 dat mijn lichtje (that my light)                                   Dat mijn lichtje branden mag"  (that my light may burn)

Derek and I had to laugh as he showed us his Unwrapped Candy (gummies and marshmallows)! It took us back to our childhood of pre-wrapped halloween candy.

So that's Sint Maarten's day in Holland.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bikes... Bikes and more Bikes

Just when you think you have seen all the different kinds of bikes that exist- you find a new one. I wish my bike had an odomoter on it- I easily log 40+ miles a week on it- so in almost 6 months that would be close to the 1,000 miles marker. I feel like I should take it in for a tune up, tire rotation or maybe a break inspection.

rent a bike- just like green wheels
Nice outfit
The true mean of group fitness

our adorable little strider- she can really move on this!

More to come- I really need to get back to taking pictures while out and about

The Marathon

Last weekend Derek and I ran the Amsterdam Marathon with 33,000 other runners! It was my third full and Derek's first. We ran the first 30 km together before I hit a burst of energy and Derek hit a brick wall. I finished in 4.17 beating my best race time by nearly 30 minutes! Derek finished in 4.29 beating my first marathon by 17 minutes. I will run another one some day- Derek is officially finished.
Before and After- look how proud we look!

Usually when people think about running a marathon they think of the 26.2 miles or in this case 42 kilometers that you run on the official day. But the real experience includes 26 weeks of training to build up the 26.2 miles of running. For us that meant a combined few hundred miles of running around and through Amsterdam, eating up our weekend mornings!

We stuck together for 30km and then our paces changed.

Here I am running the last loop around the olympic track and cheesing for the camera...
                                             and here is Derek- not feeling as celebratory!
Derek will now mark Marathon off his bucket list. I will try to do a few more every few years or so-any takers?

*** Pirated photos compliments of my mom! ***