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God behoede mij voor mijn vrienden, mijn vijenden neem ik zelf voor mijn rekening

i did not expect to be battling with this incredible urge to break into a devastatingly massive shopping spree at – of all places – utrecht. i expected history, yes. i expected interesting architecture, yes. some culture, check. but shopping?!

but that is what hit me. as i walk through utrecht centraal station, shops. out of the station complex, shops. all around the domtoren, shops. my visit to utrecht is defined by this pretty impressive window shopping experience. plus, this close to christmas, all the sales are on full swing.

at one point, i had to park myself at a cafe, and just watch all this shopping activity while being comforted by a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of cheesecake.

it is not a bad experience. but now i know where to go to indulge in a shopping calling. hehe.

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De baard maakt geen wijsgeer; anders was er de bok goed aan

rotterdam has… character. that is my first impression of the place. bold, proud and surprisingly colourful character. like most big cities, it is sectioned into the creative district, the cultural district, the very vibrant commercial district etc and in my very quick walk through the city (using this pretty nifty audio guide app), i feel that i have only briefly skimmed through the city.

memo to self: must go back to rotterdam. must make it all the way to the harbour next time. must get nails done at that leopard lounge place. must.

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A donde fueras, haz lo que vieras

give me a real beach anytime and i am one happy happy happy girl. the sun, the sea, the sand beneath my feet and the endless sky above. we jumped right into the water the moment we got there and between the jet lag and the stretch of meetings that the following days brought, the water resolved everything. EVERYTHING. that, and some good company. and couple more tacos.

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De uitkomst zal het leren

mungkin ada di kalangan pembaca blog ini who realise that sangat tak banyak gambar or post makanan these past few months. this may also come across as a bit disappointing bacause sebagai seorang warganegara malaysia, i have a tanggungjawab to live up to that holiest of malaysian pasttime: eating.

however, dutch food is pretty much meh to me. if you have seen a sandwich, you have seen about half of a dutch person’s diet.

but once in awhile, i do come across something interesting. this is my first boerenkool stamppot met gehaktballen. that’s spinach smashed (smashed, not mashed) potatoes with a giant beefball. and a knot of butter on top. ini adalah makan musim sejuk orang belanda.

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Beter één vogel in de hand dan tien in de lucht

this tiny little wren (winterkoning) wandered into our office this morning and made at least half the people on our floor jumpy. the poor little thing could not find its way out so we had to help guide it out. it was absolutely tiny. let me assure you that it became quite a ceremony too when it finally flew out of ben’s careful hands and into the great, wide world.

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Kennis is macht

so i joined this volunteer program here in the hague. the program is called “the world in your classroom” and basically, it is expats talking to kids about their home countries. i volunteered to teach one class and ended up with a class of 12 and 13 year olds. very very energetic 12 and 13 year olds!

it was awesome. we talked about south east asia, and where malaysia is. i showed them the city of kuala lumpur, the beaches of our east coast islands, the green paddy fields of our northern states and then i took them to borneo to meet our local “dutchmen”. hehehe. then we talked a bit about malaya’s colonial history. finally, we made wayang kulit puppets. it was fun.

i underestimated how much fun i would have being in a classroom again. it has been at least a decade since i left teaching. methinks it is time to consider this line again? well, i’d like that option on the table. certainly.