Weekend Wrap Up

Hi there. This is the first installment (hopefully not the last) of our weekend adventuring. We do things. Go out. Eat stuff. See stuff. I thought it might be fun to have this standing post each Monday-ish to share what we were up to during the end of the week. And I’m going to attempt to do so in not enough too many four pictures.

On Friday night, we tried out a restaurant in our ‘hood – The White Elephant. It was good. Really good. We will be back.

On Saturday, we headed out to explore some of North Holland that we haven’t seen before. Leading us to picture #1:

Boring picture until you realize I'm driving manually. Then it becomes terrifying.

I have driven stick before in my life (like twice) and this was my first time behind the wheel of any vehicle (other than a bicycle) in over 6 months. Hence the terrifying aspect of this photo. Jaro displayed a patience even I didn’t know he had. Wonder who will teach our kids to drive? Anyway, I got a lot of practice and feel great about it! Can’t wait for more road trips.

After one or two stalls in the parking lot We headed out to a nearby town called Beverwijk to see its HUMUNGOUS weekend market. Seriously, I read that 80,000 people visit this market in an average weekend. Dat be HUGE! Anyway, it was a strange place, which leads us to picture #2:

Manicure, anyone?

Shops used displays such as this to lure (?) customers in for a manicure. I’m sorry, what? Okay, I’ll go ahead and get the British flag, thanks. The best part about the market other than these tips was the Asian food market. We picked up a ton of gems like Sriracha hot sauce, ginger beer, peanut snacks and rice noodles. I’d go back just for that store.

Moving on, we headed to Edam. Cute, quaint Edam. Right up there with Delft in terms of charm. Which leads us to awe-inducing picture #3:

Teeny bridge in Edam

We wandered around this town for a couple hours wondering where all the people were. It was like the entire town was sleeping. And on a Saturday. Need to re-visit in the summer.

After driving through farmland with more windmills than you can count and small towns like Alkmaar & De Rijp, we headed back to Amsterdam. A quick bite at Bazar (unusually quick, we only had an appetizer and beer) and that was enough. Goodnight.

On Sunday, we got going early (again, with me behind the wheel!) and headed south to Maastricht. This medieval town in the very tip of the Netherlands still has intact 13th century fortification walls around parts of the city. Very cool! Here we enjoyed a lunch at Bisschopsmolen, a bakery that still used a working watermill for power, followed by afternoon beers at In Den Ouden Vogelstruys, with pretty views of Sint Servaasbasiliek, which you can somewhat see in picture #4:

Sunny afternoon beers in Maastricht

We arrived back in Amsterdam late last night. BEAT. Worth it as we had a chance to discover all sorts of new parts of this incredible country we live in. We had a blast! And it was nice to just hang out together. Even though we moved out here on our own, I still don’t feel like we do that enough. I hope everyone had a weekend just as fulfilling as ours!

xxx

New Orange

Hey all. I realize I haven’t posted anything recently, but that’s because my lovely parents are visiting! Forgive me. I’ve been busy enjoying their company and showing them around Amsterdam.

Last week, Nike hosted an event at the Bijenkorf (our big department store- like Macy’s) on the Damrak here in Amsterdam. Those of you that know the city know that the Damrak is the main artery through the middle of city center. Well, guess what? Nike closed it down! Trams and cars had to be re-directed because there was a huge crowd in the middle of the street. Yeah, they have that sort of power, I suppose. Anyway, the purpose of shutting the street down and causing a huge ruckus was to unveil the Netherlands away kit for the European Championships this summer. Behold:

Black is the new orange

Cool. (read: Can’t wait til I get mine.) And yes, that is a giant projection screen on the side of Bijenkorf. Beneath it was a elevated stage, where the team captain made some remarks followed by a surprise jam session with DJ Afrojack. See?

Nike-sponsored concert on the Damrak

Not a bad way to spend a Thursday evening.

Our Dam Life

Hi loyal readers! I’m sorry it has been awhile since my last entry. We have been in our new home for two weeks (already!) and a lot of my time has been devoted to building, painting and organizing everything in this wonderful apartment! After four TOO MANY trips to Ikea and lots of frustrating fun hours spent on making all this furniture, we now have a fully liveable and comfortable home. Yay! We have had a great time designing it and, no doubt, you would all think the style suits us perfectly. Unfortunately, we still have a few hurdles… from our cable not working (yet) to the dresser I painted that looks like a 5th 1st grader’s handiwork. Both of these things will be taken care of in due time. Overall, we are so happy with our loft and so excited to start hosting guests! 

Other than getting the place set up, things around here are starting to fall into a routine. Jaro goes off to work in the morning and I have a little schedule of my own. So you may be asking yourselves, what exactly does Jaro do? How did we get this sweet deal living in (both western and eastern) Europe? Well, I’ll tell you. 

Back in April, Jaro was approached by his manager about an opportunity over here with Nike. Since we had been talking about needing a change (read: getting out of Chicago), it was the perfect timing! When Jaro started at Nike a few years ago, one of the higher-ups never forgot that he mentioned wanting to work on the Euro Championship of 2012. Why this specific event? Well, Jaro is a full-blooded Ukrainian, fluent in the language, and they are co-hosting the tournament with Poland. To make a long story short (ahem, Stacy), they ended up needing someone and his name was brought up! So, Jaro is now the Nike Brand Manager for Ukraine, specifically for the Euro Champs 2012. At first, we thought we would be living in Ukraine full-time, but due to some difficult work visa issues, that got nixed and here we are: Splitting our time between Kyiv and Amsterdam. Why Amsterdam? The Nike Euro Headquarters are located in Hilversum, a town just outside Amsterdam. This arrangement is actually better for us as Amsterdam is a comfortable place for me to live while Jaro is taking care of business. I’m so proud of him for everything he has accomplished and for bringing us here. Such a great experience to kick off our marriage!

So… what do I do? Going from workaholic to workaphobic… I mean, workallergic… I mean, simply NOT working… has been great. Once we knew this was happening (is this really happening?), I decided to not work for a full year. Now that we are settling in to this Euro life, I’m really enjoying my daily schedule of exercising, market-browsing, and cooking! Things I never had time to do before! Cooking has become a real treat (pun intended) and I’ll find a way to start sharing delicious meals that I exhaustively effortlessly throw together. Real housewife of Amsterdam? You bet.

About pictures: I finally delivered, yeah? I have posted albums on Facebook and Flickr of our Amsterdam trip in August, and our Barcelona and Kyiv trips in September. For those of you out of the loop that want to get in, look me up on Flickr so I can add you as a contact. More Euro stories (hopefully interesting & funny ones) coming soon!