Sunday, January 29, 2012

Orkest Concert & the Jansen clan grows

We've had a busy week of music making. Several orchestra concerts and Jaap is busy with his party band for the upcoming Carnaval season. Last week we had a series of concerts with our community orkest at the university. These pictures were taken at our concert in Roermond, a city north of Maastricht. I love playing in such beautiful venues. 
Jaap and his French Horn buddy Pasqual
We had two other performances in Maastricht prior to this one. Our concert series for this semester was an 'all Dutch' program. Every piece we performed was written by Dutch composers with a few that lived and composed in Maastricht as well. We gave a performance at a well known bookstore in Maastricht called Selexyz accompanied by a lecture about the composer, Andrée Bonhomme. It was interesting to hear about her life as a composer in Limburg and her studies in Paris and learn a little bit about the music history of Maastricht. I think it brought more meaning to our performances.
My favorite piece was a cello concerto by Hendrik Andriessen. We played with a cellist, Doris Hoscheid. What a treat. Here's a clip of the concertino. Jaap filmed it from the back of the church.

We had nice music highlights last weekend, but the best part was meeting our new baby nephew Simon! Making his entrance into the world a somehwat earlier than expected, we are happy that baby Simon is doing well. What an amazing day. It puts life into perspective for you and helps you realize whats important. We are so happy for the new parents Mieke and Willem. Looking forward to seeing them again, hopefully very soon!
Proud Pop weighing Simon

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our Holidays in NY


Adventures with Jaap has seriously been neglected the past few weeks. Life is busy, but in a good way. Too many things happened in New York to write about. Lots of catching up with family and friends and some heavy duty wedding planning. So, here is a quick post (mostly pictures) of our Christmas holiday.

New York is my favorite place to be during the holidays. The tree, the shoppers, decorated store windows, and the lovely lights of 5th Avenue. It's really a magical place during Christmas.
Visiting the tree & Rockefeller Center
Nothing says Christmas like Cartier tied up with a big red ribbon
Visiting The Met
Here's Jaap at FAO Schwartz on 5th Avenue creating his original 'What Not' Muppet at the Muppet Workshop.  As you probably know, Jaap is an officially Muppet collector.  (This was a highlight of our trip). With the new Muppet movie out in the U.S. we were surrounded by Muppet mania.
Later on we met up with some of my favorite New Yorkers. One of my favorite thing about coming home is catching up with these wonderful people. Good times!
Susan, Michael & Shannon 
My best NY friend and our signature pose
The annual Secret Santa gathering of my friends from home is always a good time. Most of us have known each other for 25 years and in some cases since birth, literally. It's a strong bond we share and I'm happy our traditions hold strong. (We've been exchanging gifts for 17 years!)
Playing games with my nephew, Joey, on Christmas Eve

The Pardo Family Christmas Tree '12

Excited for gifts

Jaap sporting gifts knitted by Aunt Carol
 Jaap and I took my nephew up to Minnewaska State Park after Christmas for a chilly hike and some fresh air. One of my favorite things about going home is seeing mountains! Although the Dutch seem to think Limburg has 'mountains'. (They're called rolling hills, but don't tell them that).
Playing more games/discussing strategy
With Diane and the cute belly bump
We went to Pennsylvania to visit with my roomate and good friend Diane and her husband Chris for the New Year. It was nice to catch up and celebrate all the exciting things happening in our lives.
Chris (with the help of Jaap) smoked some ribs for New Year's dinner. Deliciousness!
We were able to spend lots of quality time with my mom, sister, and Joey over the vacation. Time flew by and I was sad to see our visit come to an end. Good byes at the airport are always hard, but I think this one was particularly difficult because we won't be going back to NY until October for the wedding. I miss being a part of my family's life on a regular basis and sharing moments together with them. But we are back in Maastricht now and enjoying 2012, already planning for our trip back to NY when we say "I do"!
Hiking in Cold Spring with Jaap & Mom

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Vacation!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We're still in NY for a few more hours, but here's a few photos of our December Kerst festivities in Maastricht leading up to the holidays. See you soon, back in Nederland

Our monthly game night get together with our Dutch/American friends
Our Kolonisten cheer ritual
Celebrating Christmas with the Jansens a week early