Ventura, LA, Paris, Amsterdam, around Rotterdam, Goudswaard and Oosterhout

So I am here in the Netherlands. It is  late here and I’m pretty tired so my ramblings may be more rambly than usual. Fortunately we will be sleeping in tomorrow.

The flight here was thankfully uneventful. Tina and Bran took me to the airport and I got a nice send off of toddler kisses and hugs. 🙂 Apparently Thursday afternoon in April is a good day to be flying out of LAX (or maybe it is just the economy, stupid) as it didn’t take terribly long to check in and get through security. (Insert rant about TSA and security theatre here.) The first leg of the flight was to Paris on a 777 (hurray for large planes with personal in-flight entertainment centers.) I even managed to sleep a little. CDG is an orderly airport and I managed to get through passport control and back through security to catch my flight to Amsterdam. The plane was delayed slightly and then we spent at least another 15-20 minutes circling before we could land in Amsterdam. But finally we were on the ground. Schipol is a pretty fair-sized airport so it took me some time to get to the baggage claim and even longer for them to get the bags out on the belt but wonder of wonders, mine actually made it.

My cousin Benjamin met me at the airport. He really loves planes (and trains and cars) so he was taking pictures of the planes landing while he was waiting and even managed to get a pciture of my plane taxiing. Unfortunately, the minor delays were just enough to put us in Friday “rush” hour traffic for parts of the drive home.  But on the other hand it gave us a chance to have a nice conversation, despite the jet lag.

Finally made it to Goudswaard, where my Uncle Ari and Aunt Joyce live, driving around Rotterdam to avoid the traffic there.  I was so pleased to see them and got to meet their two new dogs Belle and Sam. They also have a great big cat names Uzi as well. A quiet evening of dinner and watching TV (US programs with Dutch subtitles). I did get to sit up and talk with Joyce a bit too although finally my body said enough so I took myself up the steep, steep stairs to the room I am staying in – it’s the same one Darren and I stayed in 5 years ago when we visited last. It used to be Joram’s – he had moved out but a lot of his stuff is still here. Much like my room at my parents house for some years after I left. Some things are universal, hmmm?

Today we went to Oosterhout. First Benji took my over to the house that Oma used to live it. They are selling the house and are doing quite a bit of work to make it ready. They had an inspection on April 1st and found out there are still some things they need to fix to make it ready. Walking through the place still brought some good memories but also made me sad. The house looks so very different, stripped of all the things that made it the home it was. I know that what I feel can only be a small reflection of how hard it must be emotionally for Joyce and Jim (not to mention how physically difficult the work has been.)

After a short trip down memory lane, and saying hi to Uncle Jim and Aunt Ingrid, Ben took me over to see Oma in her new apartment. It is in an assisted living building and the apartment itself is very nice, bright and warm. She has already made friends in the building and another friend she’s known for many years lives there as well. Oma herself was very happy to see me. She is doing better than I had expected; she was alert and upbeat. She gets around mostly on a walker or in a wheelchair now as she has little energy and cannot walk far on her own. And though her English is not as good as it once was, we were able to get on quite well. I got to hear some new stories and hear a few of the old stories over again. Oma is still pretty mentally sharp though a bit forgetful – she does tend to repeat things but at nearly 88 it is to be expected. It was so nice to visit with her.

Jim, Ingrid, Ari, Joyce and Ben worked on the old house much of the day and then they brought take out Chinese over and we all had dinner together. As I am sure most of you are aware, Chinese food in America is really Americanized dishes that vaguely resemble something one might eat in China. The same is true of Chinese food in Holland, though of course it is Dutchified (is that a word?) and comes with krupuk which is an addition I’m all in favor of!

Then it was time to say good-bye for the day to Oma, Jim and Ingrid, who live in Einhoven and Benji, who is going back to his own apartment in Ede for the night. Oma is going to her church tomorrow for Palm Sunday and she wants to be at the apartment when her cleaning service. Joyce and Ari will bring her to Goudswaard later this week so we won’t have to travel back and forth everyday.

All and all, it has been a good day and I am glad I came though I wish it could be a happier time for everyone.

Anyway, I’m going to try to add a couple of pictures then go to bed.

Love and blessings to you all,

Janice

Ben and Sam

Ben and Sam

Opa's home built radio transmitter

Opa's home built radio transmitter

Oma

Oma

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One Response to “Ventura, LA, Paris, Amsterdam, around Rotterdam, Goudswaard and Oosterhout”

  1. Dssokol says:

    Yay! Have fun at the pool, enjoy your new shoes, and take your time emailing ppeloe back all your friends understand, and if they don’t, they’re definitely not worth your time xoxo!

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