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Author: Hanneke

I started my first blog when I left the Netherlands (my home country) for an internship in Alaska in 2004, to keep my friends and family updated on my adventures over there. Little did I know it would be more than 13 years before I'd move back to the Netherlands! I spent a year in Toulouse (France) before starting a PhD in meteorology at the University of East Anglia in Norwich (UK) in 2005. That's when I started this current blog, first in Dutch but I soon switched to English. I really enjoyed life in the UK, and was actually planning to stay there after my PhD, but "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans" and I ended up moving to TromsΓΈ in Northern Norway in 2009. TromsΓΈ is a photographer's dream, surrounded by spectacular mountains, with the light ever changing from the midnight sun in summer to the dark days compensated by aurora-filled nights in winter. I learnt Norwegian and got a job as a weather forecaster - I got thrown in at the deep end, doing radio interviews and speaking with fishermen with way-too-strong dialects straight from the beginning, before I was anywhere near fluent in Norwegian :D I survived though, and slowly started to do some research on the side. I got more and more involved in research projects and in August 2015 I moved 2000 km south, to Oslo where I started working 100% as a researcher. A year after moving to Oslo, I met Michiel at a music festival in Brussels :) and we started to travel very frequently between Oslo and Rotterdam, where he lives. You can't do that forever though, and I soon realized I found the perfect "excuse" to finally move back home, something I had been considering many times before. So since July 2017, I'm living in Rotterdam! I'm actually taking some time off before finding a new job, and I'm looking forward to lots of adventures in the near future - so stay tuned!
Looking Back: October 2018

Looking Back: October 2018

It’s January now, but I still wanted to finish the monthly posts I started with last year. I like writing them, if only for my own memory πŸ™‚ So here starts my attempt at catching up: October 2018.

October was actually a nice quiet break after a busy period, and before an even busier period starting in November. During the first week, I worked a lot, but after that my schedule was relaxed. This photo was taken from the office on the 1st of October, I love these kind of skies – and of course the rainbow!

A few days later I went to the city center of Rotterdam to buy a present for a friend – it was a beautiful day, especially with the beginning autumn colours!

That weekend we did something unusual one night: we watched a water polo game in the swimming pool right next to our flat! My sister’s boyfriend plays waterpolo and this time they were playing a match in this pool – I love this place, for a while I went swimming there regularly. Michiel had never even been inside!

We were about the only supporters πŸ˜€ so we had to make a lot of noise! It didn’t help though, they lost rather badly πŸ˜‰ but it was a fun evening!

My friends had been asking for a belly picture, which I didn’t even really have. So Michiel took one for me πŸ™‚ here I’m about 23 weeks or 5 months pregnant.

I took this photo from the metro, on the way back from a dentist visit πŸ˜€ love those views! Rotterdam is such a cool city.

Another nice view of the “Kop van Zuid”, our favourite area in Rotterdam…

It was such a nice day that I decided not to go straight home, I got off the metro and walked to the Kunsthal to see an exhibition. On the way, I saw some really cool murals πŸ™‚

I went to see the exhibition Action <-> Reaction, about 100 years of kinetic art. It was fantastic!

I loved this installation, with lots of mirrors. No surprise it was one byΒ Yayoi Kusama, I love her work!

A play with light and shadows…

I really enjoyed this exhibition and spent a couple of hours there.

A couple of days later I decided to visit my parents, who were staying in a hotel in Wassenaar close to the beach. The same hotel we stayed at back in August, we thought they might enjoy it as well! It was a beautiful sunny and quite warm day, and I rented a bike from the hotel and we went for a cycling trip through the dunes.

A break along the way πŸ™‚

This is the hotel, really nice place!

As the weather was so nice, we decided to have a drink on the terrace outside the hotel. My dad was drinking jenever (Dutch gin) – I loved the reflections in his glass πŸ™‚

I spontaneously decided to stay for dinner as well. With a very yummy dessert πŸ™‚

Later that month I went for a short walk on the city walls of Gorinchem after a checkup by my midwife. The autumn colours were fantastic, and I looked forward so much to Gorinchem becoming my home town – soon!

A few days later we signed some (expensive πŸ˜‰ ) paperwork – a cohabitation agreement and wills for both of us – to make sure all the paperwork is in order before our little girl arrives!

We celebrated with a Bossche Bol πŸ˜€ (traditional Dutch cake)

That evening, we left for Noordwijk for the weekend. My parents had organized a weekend for all of us (including my aunts and uncles) to celebrate my dad’s (and his twin sister’s) 70th birthday, and my parents 45th wedding anniversary. As a present, they had asked that we (the 4 kids) organize a day out for everyone on the Saturday. Nobody knew what we were doing that day… my brother drove all of us to Schiedam first, where we arrived under a fantastic sky!

Our destination was a chocolate shop called De Bonte Koe, in a very pretty building…

We did a workshop in praline making there! We all had to wear funny clothes for hygiene, and learnt how to make chocolate…

It was a lot of fun, and especially my dad took it very seriously!

I think he made the prettiest chocolates of all of us, mine were in no way looking this neat πŸ˜€

After the workshop, we drove on to Futureland, an exhibition center in the middle of the enormous port of Rotterdam, from where you can take excursions by bus and boat. We went on a bus excursion which was really fun. These are gigantic pillars for offshore windmills…

The coolest part is watching the crane load/unload container ships, all completely automatic with self driving trucks. Fascinating!

It was a really fun weekend, and my parents enjoyed the surprise day out πŸ™‚ The next day, we went for a short walk on the beach before returning to Rotterdam.

At work, things have been changing. Another company joined us, which doubled the amount of colleagues – quite nice actually! It also meant some changes in our work schedule, and for the first time I had to work an evening shift. I wasn’t too happy about that (they finished at 22:15, and with parking being a nightmare late in the evening in Rotterdam, it would often be 23:30 before I got home) – but watching the sunset from the office was quite nice at least πŸ™‚

A few days later I went “baby shopping” with Sofie. We had given her a gift voucher a while ago for a day out with us, anything she wanted to do – and this is what she chose πŸ˜€ we went to a huge baby shop, it was a lot of fun actually. We also enjoyed a nice lunch followed by cake πŸ™‚

At the end of the month it was time for holidays! One early Sunday morning we met Jessica and Sander at the airport, ready for an adventure!

We waved goodbye to the Netherlands…

.. and said hello to FLORIDA πŸ˜€

The trip went smoothly and fast, and that evening we were having drinks in the middle of Miami South Beach πŸ™‚

It was Jessica’s and Sander’s first visit to Miami, and our second. Of course we had to photograph the amazing beach houses again, we couldn’t get enough of them πŸ™‚

We had a wonderful time in Miami, and after that we left on a road trip to another exciting city: New Orleans! But by then it was November, and anyway – this trip deserves a blog of its own πŸ™‚

More soon!

Still alive!

Still alive!

I’ve seriously neglected my blog lately! It’s been a really busy time, the last two months were spent getting our new house ready to move in. I still plan to publish a blog about October – December, and especially about our really fun road trip from Miami to New Orleans with Jessica and Sander πŸ™‚ but that will take some time.

In the mean time, I thought I’d show some photos of our new home town Gorinchem! We moved yesterday, and today I went for a little bike ride. It’s been ages since I had time and energy to do that, and I enjoyed it so much – the winter sunshine, the river, the beautiful scenery and the fact that this is just 1-2 km from our new house πŸ˜€

This mill is called De Hoop (The Hope) and it’s located just outside the city gates of Gorinchem.

The path seen from one of the city gates…

Canal houses in the center of Gorinchem…

Hopefully I’ll be able to get out to take photos more often, now that nice scenery is really on our doorstep πŸ™‚ But there’s still a lot to do at our new house, and I’m also nearly 8 months pregnant now, so I am not promising anything πŸ˜› I’m on maternity leave now though, so I hope I’ll at least have time to catch up with my blog!

Merry Christmas to all my readers!! πŸ™‚

Looking back: September 2018

Looking back: September 2018

It’s the last day of September and for once I am on time with this monthly overview blog πŸ˜‰ Compared to July and August, September was a lot better. Especially towards the end of the month, we were finally able to slow down a bit and feel a bit more in control. The beginning of September was still very hectic though, we spent the first weekend emptying the flat of Michiel’s mum which was hard both physically and emotionally.

The second weekend we decided to go for a little break. We went to Dwingeloo in Drenthe, where I also spent a couple of days last summer (click here for that blog) and we stayed at the same B&B as I did then – but this time we got the luxury “sterrenstudio” (star studio). It was a beautiful room which had a big window right above the bed so you can watch the stars at night – I loved it πŸ™‚

My parents love Drenthe as well, so they joined us, but they slept in their camper. The first day it was raining for most of the day, but in the afternoon it cleared up and we went for a little walk where we saw lots of sheep πŸ™‚

I loved the clouds that day, they were very photogenic…

My parents on the big field of heather at the Dwingelderveld National Park.

Driving back, we saw this beautiful cloud with a rainbow underneath and Michiel was kind enough to stop the car so I could get a photo!

That evening we had dinner together. It was a really nice evening, though the portions were huge and we all felt like we should not be eating for the next 3 days πŸ˜›

The next day we rented bikes and I came up with a nice route to cycle…

It took us past this mill, that turned out to be open for visitors.

So we took a look inside, and were invited for a tour by the miller. Very nice!

She talked a lot though, but that gave me time to take some fun photos of the spinning wheel at the top of the mill.

I find mills fascinating, they are so old and they creak and they move right above your head…

Ready to continue our bike trip. I didn’t take any more photos but we had a really nice weekend away!

Fast forward to later that month, we went to Gorinchem for the 20 week ultrasound and found out we’re having a girl πŸ™‚ very nice! Afterwards we had dinner in the town center overlooking this nice square…

A couple of days later CΓ©lia was in the Netherlands for work and she came early so we went to visit Jessica in Gouda as CΓ©lia hadn’t seen their new house yet. It’s in walking distance from Gouda’s city center where we enjoyed a nice lunch…

And afterwards we did the touristy thing and took selfies on the square…

It was a beautiful day!

One early morning at work we had this view at sunrise… amazing!

A week later we were back in Gorinchem to meet with a contractor at our new house. I went there by train and spent some time walking around the town center, pretty as always… Can’t wait until we can call Gorinchem home!

Here we are in front of our new house after the meeting. It went well, now we’re just (im)patiently waiting for the quotation to see how much we will be able to afford πŸ˜‰

Yesterday was another beautiful autumn day (September has been beautiful!) and I decided to go for a walk at the Ackerdijkse PlassenΒ (where I went on a bird excursion back in March). I climbed up one of the bird watching towers…

Which had a fantastic view! It was fun to be in such a beautiful nature area, but see the skyline of Rotterdam on the horizon πŸ™‚

Another beautiful view from the bird watching tower…

I continued my walk and visited another viewpoint / bird hut. It overlooked this small lake with lots of cormorants – very nice!

The path to the bird hide was full of small mushrooms and I took some photos of them…

Pretty but tiny mushrooms!

This is the path to the bird hide, lined by knotted willows…

Nice views at sunset, I loved this area!

A farm right on the edge of the nature area, must be a nice place to live!

Autumn berries…

And another photo of the berries. Autumn is really here!

And with that, September is coming to an end. It was a busy month, but it has been good. We prepared a lot of things for our new house: we bought a sofa and a kitchen, met the contractor to talk about renovating the bathroom and possibly placing roof windows in the living room. We bought a floor for the kitchen… Lots and lots of decisions to make, and lots of money that has to be spend πŸ˜‰ We’ll get the key in about 5 weeks, so I think November and December are going to be really busy trying to get the house as ready as possible before we move in. So we better make the most of relatively quiet October πŸ˜‰