Friday, November 12, 2010

Rain, Dutch, holidays, and more rain

Onze Lieve Basiliek (10th-15th century)
I think it's safe to say that I have officially experienced what Dutch weather is really like. Riding the bike was rough this week! Today and yesterday I have come home wet and completely soaked. Not fun. However, on the bright side, cycling is free, good for the environment, and burns those extra calories of hot Chocomel. Yay! But man, riding in the rain stinks! I'll get used to it though. Not to mention the wind. Today I felt like I was pedaling and not getting anywhere. A good workout though. 

I did notice lots of traffic on Thursday night when I was leaving my Dutch lesson though. Hmmm...coincidence? I'm guessing people looked out the window and said, "Yeah...I'm taking the car today." However, I love that people don't complain about the rain. (Well, except me). It's the Dutch way of life. I showed up at Dutch class wet and cold, as did everyone else in my class, and everybody was still cheery. I love it. Not to mention I really enjoy my Dutch class at the university. My class is full of such interesting people from all over the world. Talk about diverse. Everyone in the class comes from a different country throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East. And then there's me, the lone American. I love the class and I feel that my Dutch is improving. Jaap and I are starting to use more Dutch at home as well. We've made a deal that in the future we will speak Dutch on certain days and English on others. Yikes. I'm scared. But hey, that's how I'm going to learn. 

I went to the market today and for the first time I started to feel like the holidays are coming! I'm lucky to have a boyfriend who let's me play Christmas music starting the first week of November. I know I'm a dork, but I'll blame that on being a music teacher. Haha. And not just Christmas, but Carnival too! Even though Carnival is not until March this year, the eleventh day of the eleventh month is the official start of the Carnival season. There were tons of people out and about last night as I was riding to my second Dutch class. And Carnival is only celebrated in the southern provinces of the Netherlands in Brabant (where Jaap is from) and Limburg (where we live). Fun for us!

Here are some pics of the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Basiliek. It's the oldest church in Maastricht. I went there this morning before I went to the market. 

Delicious stuff at the market. This is before a 2 by 4 piece of wood fell on top of my head at my favorite fruit stand. Ouch. It wasn't anybody's fault...just the wind. I did get some free apples because they felt bad. Added bonus. 
Yummy meat stuff at the market
Random pics from my Tuesday afternoon bike ride. 
Waldeckpark near St. Pieter
St. Theresia off of Tongerseweg, built in the 1930s
Sint Lambertuskerk at Koningin Emmaplein, built during WWI

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