Number of days without a bike theft – 445-453
Days since it last rained – 10
It was a big week here, as this was the week where we had another visit from Aunt Jen and Uncle Kolman!
Visits from Aunt Jen and Uncle Kolman are always fun, and that’s all that needs to be said about that, and they’re also important.
They’re important because they give Kat a chance to meet real-live celebrities that she knows from her weekly Skype chats, and they give her a chance to catch up and reminisce as well.
“Hey, remember that time I pooped my pants at Notre Dame?”
“Hey, remember that time I pooped my pants in the car in Germany?”
You know, important stories like that.
It also feels like progress report time for mom and dad, because we get to show them all the new places we’ve discovered in the ‘Dam since our last visit and a chance to share new adventures.
First up for this trip was a canal cruise.
So, with the knowledge of knowing some people who know a person with a boat, we loaded up and went to an undisclosed location along a canal and waited. Eventually, a big boat pulled up, and we were ushered away.
We cruised along the canals, chatting, drinking and watching the world roll by.
Then, we were shanghai’d.
You see, we floated up to Hannekes Boom, this sort of beach bar on the canals, where more than 70 other boats had gathered. We had been recruited for Plastic Fishing.
Like most cities, litter is a problem in Amsterdam, but plastic bottles bobbing down the canals are a real unsightly problem. In order to help raise awareness and combat it a bit, Plastic Whale has started a project to gather 100,000 plastic bottles from the canal, which they will make into a boat. And Plastic Fishing was a big event for it.
It felt really good to take part in cleaning up the city we now call home.
But it also felt like we had railroaded Aunt Jen and Uncle Kolman into something, like “Oh, I know you signed on for a pleasure cruise, but we couldn’t afford it, so we got you hired on as galley slaves instead. NOW START ROWING!”
Fortunately, they didn’t feel that way, and we actually had a lot of fun cruising and scooping up bottles in nets.
We did meet a real-live mermaid, though, swimming in the canals.
The photos of this day are a bit limited, but I shot a good amount of video, currently trapped in my broken video camera.
While they were here, I took them out to Zaanse Schans as well, so they could see the Dutch countryside, and also climb up in Kat’s windmill. I couldn’t let Miss Kat miss out in seeing the inside of her windmill, either, so with her in the carrier, I ascended the ladder to the top. Windmills are impressive, and seeing a windmill up close on a windy day is pretty mind-boggling. They get some serious speed.
Like all the windmills at Zaanse Schans, Kat’s windmill is in operation. Hers is used to grind pigments for paint.
And we rode bikes. Because that’s what you do.
And Aunt Jen was very leery every time we settled the Kitten into her bike seat, looking at it like she didn’t quite trust it, and voicing her concerns so that we were all aware that she wasn’t entirely comfortable with it. Until one day, as we rode through the city, we came to a stop where Aunt Jen got to see the Kitten sleeping peacefully in her chair.
I’m looking forward to her learning more about bikes as she gets bigger. I’m looking forward to teaching her to ride bikes, and I’m looking forward to teaching her to fix bikes. I am seriously not the type that one would call handy in any way, shape or from, but bike repair is the one thing I can do, so I want to show her that the old man can do something with his hands!
Aside from the other usual things we took Aunt Jen and Uncle Kolman to (our favorite pubs, restaurants and breweries), we also made time to leave the country and head to Antwerp – just to, you know, check Belgium off the list of places we’ve been to. Honestly, how awesome is that, to be able to just hop on a train to Belgium?
Antwerp’s train station is massive, old and impressive. And tall. Many big train stations have platform after platform stretched out flat, but Antwerp actually has the train platforms on multiple floors, so trains roll by over your head and under your feet.
The city itself is old and pretty, and having done no homework, we strolled, shopped, ate, drank and strolled in one big circle that eventually got us back to the station for a leisurely roll home.
And then, wow, a week was over and Aunt Jen and Uncle Kolman went home. And that was hard. It seems like we blinked and it was over. There were hours of playing on the floor with the Kitten, and picnics in the park, and Indian takeaway and nights that went on way to late around the dining room table, but it all ended way too soon.
The night they left, we spent hours on the Skype, calling up all our friends in the States we could reach. It was a way to chase off the sads for a little while, to hold onto our connections in the States, catch up, and hide from the fact that Aunt Jen and Uncle Kolman had left.
Which is why we have decided that Aunt Jen and Uncle Kolman should move here. In fact, all our friends should move here. And all our families. We’ll buy a windmill in the countryside and raise goats and have a little farm where we all live and we’ll sell cheese at the markets and people will start to think of us a creepy little American commune especially once we all start wearing matching outfits and… alright, let me rethink this one a bit.
But Aunt Jen and Uncle Kolman do need to come back soon, at the very least.