Tag Archives: Netherlands

W, X, Y, and Z

My nephew Joseph asked me to teach him a little Dutch by making him a Dutch Alfabet. The easiest way for me to do this for him is through my blog. These are written for him, but hopefully anyone else reading this can learn a little Dutch! 

W is for Wagon.

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Wagon in Dutch means car.

In the Netherlands, the people try very hard to protect our environment, and one way they do this is by limiting the amount of time in a car. Instead, the Dutch tend to take public transportation, or more commonly, bikes.

When they do drive cars, however, they almost always drive a manual transmission car because these cars use gasoline that is not as harmful to the environment they are trying to preserve.

 

X is for nothing.

X is probably the most uncommon letter in the Dutch language and the only words that would start with X are words taken from other languages, such as x-ray or xylophone.

Y is also for practically nothing.

Y is another very uncommon letter and is usually, if not always, replaced with “ij”. One common and delicious word that starts with these two letters is “ijs” meaning ice. And by ice, they usually always mean ice cream 🙂

 

Z is for Zomer.

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My last Dutch word to give you is zomer, which means summer. I moved to the Netherlands in the summer and it is a beautiful season to be there. It rains a lot but when it’s not, everything is green and alive. The country is full of animals and there are endless activities are festivals to go to because the Dutch love to have a good time!

U and V

My nephew Joseph asked me to teach him a little Dutch by making him a Dutch Alfabet. The easiest way for me to do this for him is through my blog. These are written for him, but hopefully anyone else reading this can learn a little Dutch! 

U is for Uil

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Uil is the dutch word for Owl.

Where I lived in the Netherlands the Owl was the symbol for the town.

During Karnival, which is the five days before Lent starts, the Owl is unveiled to mark the beginning of the Karnival festivals.

On Fat Tuesday, the last day of Karnival, the owl is covered up again, telling everyone the festivities are over and lent has begun.

 

V is for Vuurwerk

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Vuurwerk is the dutch word for firework.

In the United States we have fireworks in the summer, and especially on the Fourth of July. In the Netherlands they save most of their fireworks for a different holiday: New Years Eve!

On New Years Eve, right when the clock strikes midnight, all the towns set off fireworks so if you are standing outside you can see fireworks from every direction!!

 

 

S and T

My nephew Joseph asked me to teach him a little Dutch by making him a Dutch Alfabet. The easiest way for me to do this for him is through my blog. These are written for him, but hopefully anyone else reading this can learn a little Dutch!

S is for Sinterklaas

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Sinterklaas is the Dutch for Saint Nicholas. In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas’ feast day is bigger than Christmas. Sinterklaas comes on a boat in late November and stays until December 6th, his feast day.

The feast day is celebrated usually with a parade, where Sinterklaas rides through town on a white horse, assisted by his Zwarte Piets, who represent a boy who Saint Nicholas saved from the Roman Soldiers.

Sinterklaas gives children chocolate letters. pepernoten and kruidnoten, which are both a traditional candy that taste almost like gingerbread.

Saint Nicholas’ feast day is full of games, songs, and celebration. But make sure you are good, because at the end of the day Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Piets gather all the bad children and send them to Spain! Yikes!

 

T is for Tulp

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Tulp is the most popular flower in the Netherlands, the Tulip.

Although tulips are originally from Turkey, The Netherlands known worldwide for their large tulip fields and tulip festivals. The most famous tulip garden is located just south of Amsterdam called Keukenhof, which holds over 7-million flower bulbs.

Tulip season goes from late March to the middle of May. This makes Spring the best time for tourists to visit Holland!

365 Days of Joy: July

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉

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Ok, so July was a mess of a month and I didn’t do any blogging whatsoever. While it was annoying that I didn’t have enough time to blog, it was also nice that I was busy enough to not have time to blog. Instead of doing a daily account of my joy, I will just write a summary and then get back to the weekly thing on Wednesday.

July started off with two of my best friends arriving in Europe. Kate and Marissa started their 8-week European backpacking adventure by visiting me in the Netherlands. Their visit brought so much joy into my heart. Not only was it great to get bear hugs instead of the European kisses on the cheek, but it was also great to be with people who I could be 100% myself around.

I spent a little over 2 weeks with Marissa and Kate. We went to Germany first to visit Linda, who was Marissa’s foreign exchange student in high school. And then we went to Spain.

I’m not going to go into detail about Spain because I want to save it for my travel blog, and I will let you all know when that get’s posted.

I left Spain and went back to the Netherlands for my last five days in Europe. Those days were consumed mostly with tying up loose ends and packing. The family did have a celebration for my feast day (July 22nd) and they had a wonderful going away dinner for me. Not only that, but they got me a sweatshirt that says “I was an Au Pair at Kasteel Amstenrade, and I survived” followed by the names of the kids. It is so cool.

Leaving the Netherlands was hard. I was shocked that I made it through the day without crying, but I think I was just too overwhelmed and jittery to have any real emotion. It was like I was shell shocked the entire trip.

The airline lost one of my bags, which was annoying at first, but all that didn’t seem to matter when I stepped out of the customs area and was greeted immediately by Grace jumping into my arms! Then I saw the rest of my welcoming crew and I was in a state of overwhelming bliss. My grandparents, my brother Joe, my brother-in-law Bryan, and two of my nephews, Matthew and Dominic, were there waiting for me with a sign that read “Welkom Thuis Madeline.”

The next few days were just as joyful as I reunited with my family and my best friend, Katlin. My mom had a party for me on Sunday and it was the first time our whole family was together in over 15 months.  It was loud and full of laughter, just how it’s always been.

The last week of July was spent getting my room together at Kilty’s and starting my new part-time job as a nanny for three kids in Des Moines. Yes, I’m still a nanny, but hey, when you are good at something and love it, why quit?  It’s weird being back in Des Moines and having it be a permanent stay. I have never actually lived here for more than 3 months, and I’m excited to call this city my home. I still need to find a weekend job and a car, but so far I think I’m adjusting nicely to the new arrangement.

I loved my year in the Netherlands, even with the tough language and cultural barriers. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I will always have fond memories of it. But now, I’m so happy to be back in the good ol’ USA.

Now, as I always try to do when I start somewhere new, I have a list of goals for my new life back in America.

  • Get a second job
  • Buy a car (yikes)
  • Get started on a book program
  • Volunteer for a presidential campaign in Des Moines
  • Get involved with the Church, hopefully by helping with a pro-life or youth group
  • Write book reviews for my blog
  • Start a work-out routine
  • Save my pennies for traveling

This list is pretty vague right now, but it’s a start!

365 Days of Joy: Week 24

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉 So here we go, week 23!

achildwhosingsI’m starting to realize how much I’m going to miss my little family in the Netherlands. They have made such a beautiful impact on my life, and saying goodbye will be so hard. These three little kids will forever have a place in my heart, their infectious joy will be hard to go without, and of course, I will miss hearing “MADELINE” screamed in a cute Dutch accent.

06.11.15

Playing in the dirt and grass, and not having to wear our coats! 🙂

the gang

06.12.15

I posted my Austria blog! Which just made me want to go back and watch Sound of Music! Check it out here!

Salzburg
Salzburg

06.13.15

Saturday was the first night in a long time I got to sit around with my host parents and one of the aunts, and have a nice evening of good conversation (and yummy gin and tonics!) 🙂

06.14.15

Sunday was a perfect day! The family had to go to Antwerp, so I stayed home with the dog, drank Piña Coladas, and read in the sun. It was glorious!

06.15.15

One of the cool things about castles is that they have long hallways, and this is perfect for testing out new wind-up cars…which is what Lambert-Joseph and I did for hours on Monday.

06.16.15

The Twins game was the MLB Free Game of the Day, and since it was a 12:45 p.m. CT game, it was at a reasonable time here, so I could actually watch it! Even though they lost, it was so nice watching baseball again!

06.17.15

Taught the kids how to play broom ball…kind of. It’s fun to see them started to have a little interest in playing sports.

 

And that’s my week! hope you all had a good one and thank you for reading!

365 Days of Joy: Week 23

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉 So here we go, week 23!

ExplorerI love this. Too many times I forget to really take in what is around me, but I have to remember this passage. I am an explorer, and it’s my job.

06.04.15

Tennis. Not playing, obviously, but watching. I love watching tennis!

06.05.15

USA vs. Holland! This game was awesome! It’s one thing to see the Dutch in their natural soccer (not football) habitat, and it’s another to beat them on home turf at “their” game. It was a great game, and out boys definitely put on a good show for our small, yet loud, American section.

USA vs. NL

06.06.15

Happy Birthday Grace! I spent the day in Amsterdam with another Au Pair. It’s a cool city, and I’m glad I had a tour guide to show me around! Thanks, Katrina!

Amsterdam boat

06.07.15

Happy Birthday Bryan! He really is the greatest brother-in-law a girl could ask for!

06.08.15

Went on a 15 mile hike to break in some hiking shoes and get ready for the Camino de Santiago in July.

06.09.15

Lambert-Joseph keeps telling me he is going to visit me in America, but he refuses to take a plane or a boat. He said he is going to find a way to drive over the ocean…so I will see him in 2054 when cars can drive on water.

I also started some new boards on Pinterist about my USA travel bucket lists. So, if you have any suggestions, let me know!

06.10.15

Went on a 10 mile hike for the same reasons as the hike on Monday. I actually have found I like hiking, and I really want this to become a “thing” I do.

And that’s my week! Hope you all had a good one too!

D is for…

My nephew Joseph asked me to teach him a little Dutch by making him a Dutch Alfabet. The easiest way for me to do this for him is through my blog. These are written for him, but hopefully anyone else reading this can learn a little Dutch!

D is for Dijken.

The Windmills and the Dikes help keep the water from covering the land.
The Windmills and the Dikes help keep the water from covering the land.

Dijken in Dutch means Dikes: The system of water control in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is a very unique country because a lot of it should be under water. The country’s capitol, Amsterdam, is about 3 feet under sea level.

In order to keep the land dry, the Dutch use dikes to keep the water out. A dike is a wall built of sand, clay, rocks, and covered in grass. The dike keeps the water out and the land dry.

The dike is strong, but it can’t keep the land dry by itself, it needs windmills and canals to help. Canals are like rivers that run through the country and cities. The canals were built to give the water a place to go so it didn’t cover the land.

The windmills in the country are used to push the extra water away from the land. Underneath the windmill there is a big wheel that brings the water in and pushes it back to the sea. This keeps the land dry.

While the dikes work very well right now, the Dutch know that the sea is very strong and they have to keep working to keep the land dry. The Dutch work every day to find better and newer ways to make the water control stronger and safer.

C is for…

My nephew Joseph asked me to teach him a little Dutch by making him a Dutch Alfabet. The easiest way for me to do this for him is through my blog. These are written for him, but hopefully anyone else reading this can learn a little Dutch!

C is for Carnaval.

Here the Carnaval colors are covering up the original colors of the Limburg flag
Here the Carnaval colors are covering up the original colors of the Limburg flag

Every year right before Lent there is a celebration called Carnaval. In America we usually just celebrate Mardi Gras on the tuesday right before Ash Wednesday, but in lots of places they have a celebration for a whole week.

In the Netherlands, especially the south, where I live, Carnaval is the biggest celebration of the year. They have parties and parades every day.

In the Netherlands each town has a special prince who is given the keys to the city, and he is in charge for all of Carnaval. There is a new prince every year, and he is elected a few weeks before Christmas. The prince carries around a special scepter, and everyone in the town tries to steal it from him. If they steal it from him, he has to buy them lots of beer. To make sure nobody steals his scepter, the prince picks a man from the town to be his body guard and keep his scepter safe.

In the Netherlands people dress up in funny costumes for Carnaval, and every day they try to dress in a different costume. It is kind of like Halloween, except they don’t go trick-or-treating.

During Carnaval in the Netherlands, the number 11 is very important, and so they try to start everything either in the 11th hour or on the 11th minute of the hour.

During Mardi Gras in America we usually decorate with the colors green, purple, and gold. In the Netherlands they decorate with green, red, and yellow. During Carnaval many people hang green, red, and yellow flags from their houses and they try to wear this colors when they dress up for the parties and parades.

During Carnaval when you see someone you know or if you are at a party, you don’t say hello to them, but instead you say “Alaaf!” and you salute them.

In our town the symbol of Carnaval is the owl. At the beginning of Carnaval they hang a crest on the town hall with an owl on it and they have a children’s parade with lots of music to tell everyone that Carnaval has started. At the end of Carnaval they take down the owl crest and they have fireworks to tell everyone that Carnaval is over.

Carnaval is full of funny music and silly costumes. It is one of the best times to be in the South of the Netherlands because there is always something fun happening.

365 Days of Joy: Week 20, 21 and 22

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉 Now the consistency thing failed due to my week long trip and my procrastination problem, so here we go, week 20, 21 and 22!

*This is my fourth time trying to write this stupid post and every time it hasn’t saved, therefore, I’m going to do a big “END OF MAY” post and then call it good. Next week I will get back to doing the dates and go day by day. 

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The end of May brought so many joyful memories. I got to travel from Munich to Salzburg, Salzburg to Vienna, and Vienna to Prague. It was a long trip, but it was so amazing. It was my longest trip I have ever taken alone, but it really didn’t feel like I was by myself. I met amazing people, including a cousin of mine in Munich and his family, and a lady in Vienna who is about to be elected into the Austrian Parliament. Everyone I met and stayed with were so friendly and they made my trip a great experience. It’s hard to say which city was my favorite. Munich was full of life and history. Salzburg is full of natural beauty and a “small-town” atmosphere. Vienna is classy and grand. And Prague is Bohemian and magical. Sometimes when you travel all the cities mesh together, but the nice thing about this trip was that each city was so different that they remain separate trips in my memory.

Munich!
Munich!
Prague!
Prague!

Even though my trip was so amazing, coming back to the Netherlands was so refreshing. I realized how much I’m going to miss these kids when I have to leave them for more than just a week. It will be such a hard goodbye when I have to leave this family in July. But for now, I am going to enjoy this last month and pull as much joy out of it as I can!

Pax ex,

Maddie

Also, you can check out my Bavarian blog here: https://goingdutchtravels.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/bavaria-baby/

The others are on their way!

365 Days of Joy: Week 19

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉  So here we go, week 19!

IMG_7971.PNGSince February I have been apart of a Bible study over the book of Esther. This study’s main theme is the idea  of a reversal of destiny–of taking the life you think you are meant to live and turning it into the life God has planned for you to live, and having the courage to follow his path when the moment comes along.
This quote is from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and I think it fits perfectly to what my Bible study has been talking about in our Esther study. We are not meant to be spectators in the world, but players. We cannot wait for the world to give us what we want, but we need to give to the world what we have–our gifts.
Spring is a wonderful time to set goals and start projects. One of my goals this spring is to work on enhancing the gifts God gave me in order to spread His glory to everyone I can.

05.07.15

The kids had bath time with NO FREAK OUTS! I guess there is a first for everything!

05.08.15

Night to myself! I had gnocchi and white wine for dinner and binge watched House of Cards–that show is a whole bunch of messed up.

05.09.15

KINDERDIJK! Finally got to see some windmills (19, in fact) and it was glorious! Definitely a good bucket list moment.

Almost all 19 windmills at Kinderdijk. Panorama beauty.
Almost all 19 windmills at Kinderdijk. Panorama beauty.

05.10.15

Had a Skype movie date night with Marissa and Kate, and we watched Anne of Green Gables! It took us a while to get the movies in sync, and I don’t think we ever really got them perfect, but it was so much fun–it was just like hanging out!

Talked to my mom and family for Mother’s Day!

05.11.15
Spent all afternoon outside because the weather was like middle of summer weather! At night I took a rosary walk. We used to do this all the time as a family, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I did it tonight. It’s so relaxing and refreshing to walk at sunset and pray the rosary at the same time–it’s a habit I want to bring back to my life.

05.12.15

The dandelions are in seed right now and the kids are having more fun than I’ve ever seen anyone have with dandelions–even if it’s the 50th one they’ve seen that day, they still scream out of joy when they see one. It’s hilarious.

Also, I finalized all my tickets and reservations for my Germany–Austria–Czech Republic trip!! Just a couple more days!!!

05.13.15

Today was the last day of my Esther Bible study–it was a great study and I’m sad to see it end. Esther is a great book to see the power God has in our lives and how he uses each and every one of us to complete a wonderful mission on Earth!

I also spent some time today writing fiction. It’s been a little while since I’ve done this and it was nice to have some creative time in my day again.

 

 

And that’s my week! I don’t know if I will have the chance to put up my blog next week because of my trip, but you can see updates if you follow me on Instagram (maddiemmaher) or if you are friends with me on Facebook!

I am going to try to put up a travel blog either today or tomorrow about my recent dutch travels, so keep an eye on goingdutchtravels.wordpress.com for that!

Please keep my trip in your prayers and I look forward to telling you all about it!!

Pax Ex!