Sunday, January 30, 2011

Interesting Sundays

Sundays have sure become interesting since moving here to Amsterdam. We try out a different church each Sunday. Last week we worshipped at the Oude Kerk...a church that was built in the 13th century. The whole service was in Dutch but we were able to glean some things from the book of Matthew. We enjoyed it but decided it wasn't for us. The church is beautiful but under construction...there was a backhoe in the sanctuary!

Well today we went to a beautiful little chapel within the Begijnhof (which I'll explain later). The service was in English since it is an English Reformed Church Amsterdam. It was founded in 1607 to serve the English-speaking community of Amsterdam. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves & think we may have found our place of worship while living here. They have quite a few works outside their walls & even have Sunday evening worship time & Wednesday Bible classes! It is part of the Church of Scotland so the pastors are Scottish so that was really cool.

The Begijnhof (a women's island) is a sanctuary for women living as nuns but do not take the vow. They vow to lead a frugal lifestyle but are not required to give up their monetary possessions. This is a beautiful sanctuary in the middle of a hustling & bustling city. This is a place where I will return to read & be still.

I'll try to get some pictures if I can. You'll see what I mean!!

Swans on the canal

Houseboats on the Herengracht Canal

Statue of Rembrandt in Rembrandtplein (right behind our house)

Interesting intersection just off Rembrandtplein...don't you want to come see it?!?!?!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nothing like starting your day with trauma, er, I mean drama!

Learned something else new about Amsterdam today!!! At home, if you want to deadbolt your door you have a little knob to turn inside & voila! There you go!!! Here in Amsterdam, you have a key on the inside of your door that you deadbolt it with. Well, we've had no problems thus far with this system...until this morning! We walked out & Ed turned around to deadbolt the door from the usual. Well, the key won't turn at all!!! Which means we cannot get back into our apartment!!! So, Ed doesn't have his's inside the apartment. I have mine but the only phone number I have is Ed's! So we walk down to the corner smoke shop & visit one of our first friends "John" who owns the shop. (We've met once & introduced ourselves to him last week). He & his shopkeeper call a locksmith for us & he's at the apartment within 15 minutes!

(waiting for the locksmith)
Well, a little "secret tools" & 70 euro later & BOB'S YOUR UNCLE...WE'RE IN!!! Whew! I thought I was going to have to sleep's chilly in Amsterdam this time of year!!

We spent the rest of the day strolling the streets of Amsterdam in the beautiful sunshine...VERY unusual for this time of year!! Beautiful day from what started out to be disastrous! Here's a little bit of our day & how we enjoyed it!!
Rembrandthuis Museum (the home is on the right) Rembrandt was bankrupt & his home & all possessions were sold to pay his bills. So sad for such a genius!

Coffeeshops have things other than coffee...if you know what I mean! filled science museum for the kids

Beautiful houses...not all perfectly straight!

Especially this one!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Funny thing about Amsterdam...

Well, went to the Rembrandthuis Museum today; amazing & beautiful. Couldn't take pictures so you'll have to check it out on your It was very interesting. Saw probably 50-60 original etchings that he'd done & several beautiful paintings. What I learned was that Rembrandt was fascinated with the stories of the Old Testament & so many of his paintings are of stories from this extremely interesting part of scripture. They were all beautiful!

On the way home I stopped at the grocery...of course. (this is almost an everyday occurance) Thought I'd share some of my discoveries & mistakes with you. Since I don't read Dutch, I have to rely on pictures...if there are any. But things like meat & cheese all look basically the same.'s been very intresting shopping for dinner. Thank goodness they have peanut butter & jelly!!! Also, they have lots of wine & cheese so I don't think we'll starve! For instance, as you'll see below...some things are very clear what they are...(available only in 1kg bag (which is probably about a pound).

Others aren't quite as clear...
So you see my dilema. Hopefully I purchased vanilla ... smells like vanilla but we'll see when I make cookies!! And I finally found some brownie mixes...very few prepared foods here! Which I suppose will be better for us in the end.

Anywho...just thought I'd share! Have a great day!
Oh, by the way...The Weakest Link is an every day occurance here!!! Yes, I know you're terribly jealous but I can watch it every day!!!! :<))

3 reasons to live in Amsterdam

They have Ikea too!!!

Beautiful tulips for sale on almost any street corner...and cheap too!

The amazing view from my apartment & where I'm sitting right now!!

Here I what?!?!

Well, I've been in Amsterdam a little over a week now. This is a beautiful city that I, before now, had only visited for a few days. I've traveled a little over Europe but only, again, for a few days at a time. I find that a week or so is about the limit to what I can comfortably be away from my family. I am; now what?!

I came here with my husband who is opening a new branch of the company he works for in Minnesota. We left behind an amazing family of 3 awesome kids, 3 wonderful grandsons, 1 totally awesome son-in-law & 1 almost son-in-law (who's pretty awesome too). Also a job that I loved (actually a dream job), tons of friends & a great church family. So, know you know a little bit about why I struggled with this decision. But, it is a chance of a lifetime! To live in Europe & see things most people will never have the chance to see! Yes, I love to travel but I'm a homebody at heart.

So this blog is at the urging of my 2 daughters so if it's terribly boring...blame them! Also I thought it may garner a little information from any of you out there who may be in the same situation I'm in. Any & all suggestions are welcome. But be nice!

We'll see how this goes. I would love to hear from all of you! But for now, I think this is a day to go see Rembrandt's house!! More later.....