Tag Archives: Travel

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.

8cGEnppLi

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!

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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 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!

365 Days of Joy: Week 17

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 17!

benrectorbeautifulThere are some days when a song just hits you hard in the guy…but in a good way. This happened to me with Ben Rector’s song “Beautiful”. This song is all about loving life again and living with a childlike innocence. It’s a nice reminder of how we can fall into the serious routine of everyday life that we forget to celebrate life with joy and enthusiasm, like we did when we were kids.

4.23.15

Mary left today 😦 Had such a great time with her, but unfortunately she had to go back and work, or some nonsense like that. The kids and I went to the park for the first time this spring and we had so much fun running barefoot in the sand and picking flowers…Spring is just the best!

4.24.15

Skyped with Kilty and the Gonzo boys and in the middle my grandparents come to her house so I got to say hi to them too!

4.25.15

We went to Saturday Night Mass in a Church in a little village close by. It was so lovely. There was a georgian choir and and a beautiful back chapel for Our Lady!

4.26.15

WILD WIN, WILD WIN, WILD WIN!!!!! WHOOOOO! The Minnesota Wild beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1 to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second year in a row. Next they travel to Chicago on Friday to take on the Blackhawks. Oh and my dear friend Katie Desme attempted to watch the game in my honor, and apparently it was so difficult for her… 😉

Also, my lil’ sibs got their London hats and showed them off to me!

4.27.15

Kings day! It’s a National Holiday here in the Netherlands, and everyone wears Orange, because it is the most attractive color on everybody….right? In the morning we went to mass in the village and in the afternoon we went to The White Village of Thorn, which sounds super awesome, and it actually is. It has kept the tradition of painting the buildings white and it is just a perfect little village.

4.28.15

The kids and I went on a really long walk, and in the middle Elisabeth got really cranky so Lambert-Joseph and I had to distract her by asking her what color every car was and she would get really excited when she got the question right.

4.29.15

Finally wrote my London blog (yes, I know I said it would be done during the weekend, but I’m a liar, ok!) and it’s up on my travel blog! You can click HERE to check it out and look at the copious amount of pictures that Mary and I took. 🙂  Also, Clemens-August is almost walking! He can now walk behind a stroller by himself!

That’s my week! If you want to hear the full song that my quote is from, here is the video. Ben is awesome and everyone should love him.

365 Days of Joy: Week 16

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 16!

the best things...There is nothing better than traveling with someone who you love. That’s what I got to do this week when my sister Mary Kate came to visit me in the Netherlands! While we have our sisterly quarrels and attitudes, there is always something reassuring about the love of sisters. No matter what I know she will always be there for me, and I hope she know’s I’m always there for her.  I’m so glad I got to help her experience something she has wanted to do since she was little: go to London! Seeing her here was so much fun and being with her was just perfect! Thank you Mary so much for coming to visit me, it truly meant the world to me!

 

4.16.15

First day with Mary! The kids and I showed her all around the Kasteel. It’s so nice to have my sister here!

4.17.15

Arrived in London! First win of the day was finding Kombucha at the train station, our second win was finding our way to our hostel, and our third win was Mary having her first legal beer of her life!

4.18.15

First full day of London was so exciting and fun! We did everything Sherlock related and saw most of the city! I only put up a few pictures, but this weekend I will have a blog post on goingdutchtravels.wordpress.com, so stay tuned for that!

4.19.15

After Mass at Westminister Cathedral, we made our way to Wimbledon…home of the only sport Mary actually likes. It was so fun to see her extremely excited about stepping foot in this iconic tennis club. After that we went back and explored London more and finally we finished the day eating at Jamie’s Italian–the restaurant of Mary’s favorite cook, Jamie Oliver.

4.20.15

Our last day was a half day, but we still fit in so much! Mainly, seeing The Globe Theatre and Platform 9 3/4.  Again, check my travel blog this weekend for a more detailed account of our trip!

4.21.15

Surprisingly, we didn’t take many pictures today. We spent the day playing with the kids and trying to figure out how much of my stuff could fit in Mary’s suitcase.  Oh…and Mary made BOMB Enchiladas and they were amazing!

enchiladas

4.22.15

For Mary’s last day we went to Utrecht, a city in the Netherlands. However, we didn’t do/see much because it was very cold when we got there and we didn’t want to pay for museums, so we walked around for a little while, did some touristy shopping, and then went back home. Nothing too crazy happened after that because we had to be off in the morning at 4:30 to catch Mary’s flight back home. Oh, also, I finished the book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed –I’ll post a review of it next week!

hollandshoes

 

And that’s my wonderful week for you! Spending it with Mary was so much fun, not only because I finally had a travel buddy, but because she is just a blast to be around!

Talk to you all next week, and again, look for my London post on my travel blog this weekend!

Irish Literary Beauty

In honor of St. Patrick’s day coming up, and my realization that I have been in Europe for eight months now, I have decided to do a Irish themed literary post.

Irish authors are famously known for their stories of hardships, trial, and brokenness–just read any of the old classic Irish authors and you will find these themes everywhere. However, you will also find light and beauty in their writings. Many Irish stories tell of perseverance and dedication to finding joy in life and the good in the world, that is often overshadowed by sadness and despair.

Traveling and living in Europe has brought me so much joy, but it’s not always the picture perfect setting you see on my Instagram. There have been many times where I have just sat down and asked myself “what am I doing here?” but the answer is always the same–I’m trying to figure out where I belong.

As many of you know, I love my books, and I love finding those wonderful quotes where it feels like the author wrote it only for your eyes and your heart. Around St. Patrick’s day I always like to dust off the old Irish poems and reread sections from some Irish authors whom I hold dear. And as it is soon approaching, I would like to share 20 Irish quotes that have really struck this 20 something traveling girl’s heart.

365 Days of Joy: Week 9

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato).  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 9!

gieWell, since this is a blog about finding Joy in your everyday experiences, I think this is an appropriate quote for the week. I will say, however, this was a pretty good week and it was not very difficult to find Joy everyday–God is beautiful all the time, and it’s so wonderful when we actually open our eyes and see His beauty all around us!

2.26.15

BABY!!!!!! Kilty had a girl! Little Maria Therese is absolutely beautiful and both her and Momma are doing well. I got to meet her two hours after she was born, and of course, Kilty looked great…not like someone who had just given birth. She is a rockstar.

Teo is a very proud big brother! This was my first skype date with the little princess!
Teo is a very proud big brother! This was my first skype date with the little princess!

2.27.15

Well my main joy overflowed from the night before of meeting baby Maria, and I was continually drawn to the pictures of her on Facebook.

 

2.28.15

Saturdays are always a little hectic around here, and it doesn’t help when 2 out of 3 kids are sick, but we were able to make the most of it by reading lots of books and Elisabeth kept asking to “see baby Maria on Madeline’s phone”–obviously, I was not opposed to this. Also, Henri is now a Belgian Consulate, which is super exciting, and we got to hang a huge Coat of Arms on the front gate.  Oh, ALSO, the Minnesota Wild keep winning and I don’t know how to handle it. How does one deal with a team that wins? This is a new feeling for me and I don’t know how to react. They ended February 11-3…so pretty bomb.

Another one. Because she is perfect!
Another one. Because she is perfect!

 

3.01.15 

Birthday month!!! Congratulations world, we have now entered the best month of the year! I kicked off March with a trip to Brugge, Belgium–the perfect little town with just about as many canals as roads. Also, it has some great beer. For more on my trip check out my travel blog by clicking here!

3.02.15

Today I finished up Brugge and also stopped by Ghent, which was more like a medieval fortress, rather than a precious little town like Brugge. Nonetheless, it was beautiful.

 

3.03.15  

I FOUND FRANKS HOT SAUCE!!! I am so happy! It’s sad that this brings me so much joy, but 8 months without the hot sauce of the gods is long enough! Also, I got out of French early and stopped by the Rumpenerhof Hotel for a beer–this is where Ericka Day (bestie since 3rd grade) lived a few summers ago. The owner remembered her and it was fun to talk about my red-headed other half. 🙂

 

3.04.15

Bible study was really wonderful today. We are talking about Chapter 4 of Esther and this is where she first says she can’t help the jews by going to the King and then later takes up courage and accepts her duty saying “if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). This study was all about giving your fears to God and knowing that even if your greatest fear comes true, God will be there to help you through it. It was just a nice reminder to trust in Him and live his command to “Be Not Afraid.”

I also got a beautiful Save the Date from Hannah Conkin and Mark Pfantz. It made me so happy, they are a lovely couple!

 

Well, there is my week! Hope you all enjoyed it and had a lovely one of your own.

Pax Ex!

365 Days of Joy: Week 8

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato).  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 Wednesday, and hopefully I can stay consistent with this. So here we go, week 8!

adventure is out thereI didn’t actually go on any adventures this week, but I planned for a lot of future adventures, which made this week very exciting.

2.19.15

Today the kids and I spent an over an hour watching a tree get cut down. This isn’t usually my idea of fun, but when it occupies the kids attention for that long, I’m not going to complain. Also, the kids would cheer every time a piece of the tree would fall down, and it was adorable.

2.20.15

Friday the parents were gone all day, so I had the kids to myself the entire day, which adds a little extra chaos to an already chaotic house, but thankfully they slept until 10 a.m. giving me time to get things ready for the day. And Aunt Jean came in the afternoon, which always makes for a fun time.

2.21.15

WHOO!!! Mary decided on the dates to come visit me!!!!! I’m so excited! She will be here mid-April for a week, and I’m thinking that will be a perfect time to visit London!

2.22.15

As lame as it sounds my joy came from taking a long, glorious nap. Also, Aunt Audrey and Uncle Greg came for dinner with their two boys and having a full house makes for hilarious conversation and fun chaos. Oh and I got the cutest Valentines day card from my God Baby, AvaMarie, and some wonderful pictures of my favorite Colorado family! I miss the Katos so much!

2.23.15

Leila told me I get a week off in May to explore South Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic–let the planning begin!  I’m going to try to plan it so I can see Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Bratislava, and Prague. It’s going to be difficult and I might have to cut one or two of them, but I’m going to try!

2.24.15 

Listened to Bach while doing my Bible study “homework”–I’ve heard lots of different renditions of his work, but I think I’ve found that the Philadelphia Orchestra is my favorite. It’s just lovely.

2.25.15 

Well, I was hoping my joy of the day would come from Kilty having her baby, but the kid is being super stubborn. I tried to motivate him/her the best ways I could, but it’s hard from across an ocean, and I don’t think Kilty really listened to all my “labor” songs I sent her. I don’t think she thought “Push It” by Salt n’ Pepa would actually help… but what I did do is publish my Italy Part II blog! Yay for me! So please check it out by clicking here. It covers my trip to St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museum, and Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica.

Well, that’s my week, it’s a little bland with no pictures, but overall it was a good one. This upcoming weekend I’m going to Brugge, Belgium, so get ready for pictures!

Pax Ex!

356 Days of Joy: Week 7

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato. You can find her 365 days of Presence here).  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, but I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every Wednesday, and hopefully I can stay consistent with this. So here we go, week 7!

callingThis seems like an appropriate quote to kick off lent with. This quote is a great reminder that we were made by God for God, and he is waiting and waiting for us to come back to Him in Heaven. He keeps calling, we just have to call back.

02.12.15

Nothing too exciting happened today. However, it was beautiful out so the kids and I spent some much needed time playing in the park!

02.13.15

Carnival in Limburg officially began today! I took the kids to the children’s parade and they actually liked it (which is a big step because they usually don’t like loud music). Carnival is crazy here in the South (apparently in the North they don’t celebrate it like this), they celebrate hard (like to 4 in the morning) every day for 5 days. Also, since the Dutch are not ones to skimp on anything, they go all out–I’m talking costumes that would put many halloween costumes to shame.

02.14.15

Saturday night I took a train down to Maastricht where I met up with Anna-Louisa, a girl I had met earlier in my stay in the Netherlands. She is a student at one of the Universities there and she graciously welcomed me there for Carnival!

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02.15.15

The Maastricht parade was full of life and joy. The Limburgers (I don’t know if that’s what they are technically called but I like it) know what they are doing when it comes to costumes, parades and parties.  It was quite hilarious because I don’t think there was a single float or parade entry that didn’t have a designated spot for their drinks and almost everyone walking had some sort of beverage in their hand, and for the most part it was a distilled beverage of some sort–they really have character here.

02.16.15

Monday I went back to Amstenrade to see their parade. While it was on a much smaller scale than the one in Maastricht, it was still fun and lively to see, and it reminded me of the small town parades in Iowa (only not as many tractors and more crazy costumes).

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02.17.15

Happy Mardi Gras! I went out of my comfort zone today and went to the final town party, where the light on the owl (as seen above) was turned off, marking the end of Carnival. Not to worry, the party still continued, we went back to Jan Van Cep’s cafe and finished the ceremonies…I was also forced on stage at one point to sing “Wannabe”–they were quite shocked that there was somebody in the world who knew all the words–basically they thought I was a Spice Girl 😉

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02.18.15

Lent has begun! I do love me a good day of fasting! For lent I am giving up a few things, but I am also picking up ways to improve my spiritual life (because that is the reason for the season, right?) My two main goals are to say a Chaplet of Divine Mercy everyday and to read the New Testament. The Bible study I am in handed out a reading plan to get through the New Testament in the 40 days of Lent–I’m pretty excited, it’s been far to long since I’ve read the Bible consistently. If anyone has any suggestions for a good Lenten book, I’m always game to here those! Also, if anyone is interested for the New Testament reading plan, just let me know!

Also, I just put up part one of Rome with lots of pictures! Feel free to check it out by clicking here!

That’s all for now! Hope you all have prayerful and renewing Lent!