I’ve exhausted myself shopping!!!
Two weeks after our arrival in the States we moved into our new rental home. It is a town house, quite pretty if I might say so myself. There are three bedrooms, two full baths, a half bath, a basement, a garage and a porch in the back of the house. Plenty of space! You can see the mountains from the corner of the street and it is a few minutes walk to a park where our little one can run around and play. It’s a quiet neighborhood, mixed people. I’ve seen two families with little children so far and a fair amount of university students as the Colorado State University is near. Someone warned me about that we might have rowdy neighbors, that is still something I will have to experience as for me it seems like a little piece of peaceful, quiet and green.
Moving into the new house was just the beginning of another period of busy, busy, busy. I managed to exhaust myself shopping! Seriously! A few days ago I joined my toddler for her afternoon nap and woke up 4 hours later confused about what time it was. Hubby quietly went downstairs with the little one while I was far away in dream land. We had to get almost everything for the new house as we left all our furniture in our house in the Netherlands. Think about that we needed a car, beds and bedding, towels, kitchen appliances, cleaning stuff, blankets, dining set, a tv set, plants, curtains, fill the fridge with food and so on and so on. We’ve been out shopping almost every day in the weeks that followed us moving into the new house. It was a lot and it drains you of energy after a while of doing that. I’m delighted to say that there is light at the end of the tunnel, the house is coming together and I will not have to hunt for stuff for a while… Although, there is Black Friday coming soon! More about that in another post.
More on the shopping subject I have to say that, despite that it is a time consuming activity when you need everything for a house, it is a pleasant experience to shop here. Not only a great variety of choice and price but I find the quality of some things a bit better and the customer service is top-notch! People are nice, polite and very helpful even after you buy from a store, if there is a problem there is actually no problem, the shop employees are ready to help you out at all times. I’ve had quite a few different experiences in the Netherlands so for me this is a big improvement.
Mighty food, good and healthy food – Praise the Lord!
People back in the Netherlands would be in for a nice surprise to see that the average store here holds a great range of organic products, gluten free products and more greens than in the average store in the Netherlands. I know there is a general opinion about the Standard American Diet but I have to come to the conclusion that it comes down to ones individual choices. To me this is a walhalla when it comes to doing groceries for our family. Considering that hubby has a severe allergy to wheat, our toddler that I want to feed healthy stuff, my own hobbyist interest in nutrition, I pay a lot of attention of what goes in my cart. I am almost tempted to do a little dance of joy because everywhere we go it’s much easier now to find food that hubby will enjoy and will be enthusiast to try. There are shelves full of gluten free, wheat free products, organic products and so much greens and fruits that it makes my trips to the store something to look forward to.
Hash House Harriers
Last summer, while in Bali for our wedding, I was introduced to hashing. I remember the ecstatic feeling I had with the first hash through the middle of Bali. Going through rice fields, tropical forest, fairy tale village paths shaded by palms, left and right old temples and the magnificent sunset! It was one of those life experiences that I will remember for ever as a perfect moment of happiness. One can only imagine how excited I was to learn that there is a hash group in Fort Collins. I went on the very first occasion that arouse. The experience was a bit different to those in Bali but that is no wonder. The nature, the temperature and the culture are different. It was a wonderful experience as I got to go criss-cross down town Fort Collins, through parks, near the railroad, across the University Campus to arrive after almost three hours of walking to a little eatery where the after hash rituals had me laughing with tears. My husband enjoyed my stories so much that he says he will join me on the next one in November. Hurray to that! All right, I’ll give you a little funny story on my after hash experience.
The hashers were gathered in a circle and people were called in the middle for different reasons – for being ‘virgins’ (first time ever hashers), for being accused of funny things, for having the best costume as it was a pre-Halloween costumed hash and such. The hare kind of makes up reasons on the spot to call you out. By the end of the rituals everyone has been in the middle of the circle at least once. A lot of creativity is involved. The point is that if you get called in the middle of the circle you will have to chug down a beer as fast as you while a short song is sang. If you don’t finish your beer by the time the song is over you will have to poor the remaining beer over your head! Not something you really want to do… most are working really hard at chugging down their beer – a small one though, maybe half a glass.
Before you drink your beer, the ‘mis-manager’ leading the rituals will sing a special personal song just for you. I was amazed at the creativity of the mis-manager’, I will have to ask her how she does that. The song is pretty vulgar but funny as hell. You definitely need humor to get through it! So, I was called in the middle of the circle a couple of times too for different reasons. One of the reasons was because I am a visitor – you get adopted by the group after 6 months. The mis-manager lady yells questions that you have to answer while the hashers in the circle will cheer and laugh. It turns mostly into a hilarious something thanks to the talent of the mis-manager and the funny replies from the hashers that are in the middle of the circle. This one, very innocent me replying, went something like this:
Mis-manager (shouting): What is your name?
Me (shouting too): Just Endora!!! (I don’t have a ‘hash name’ yet)
Mis-manager (shouting): Where did you come from?
Me (shouting back): The Netherlands!!!
Mis-manager (shouting again): Where is your mother(s) hash?
Me (startled for a few seconds, thinking … what the h… is she asking?) shouted back: MY MOTHER DOESN’T HASH!!!
Whoaaaahahahahahaaaa!!! Everyone in the circle went crazy with laughter! One of the hashers came to hug me with tears in her eyes from laughter saying “I love this girl”, another hasher kneeled down saying “I love youuuuu!!!!” … and I was still startled! What did I do? Ok, fine, you can say that I am blond, I don’t mind it, sometimes I’m even proud of it!
The mis-manager meant to ask where my mother hash was as in where did I hash for the first time? The correct and appropriate answer to that would have been: Bali!… not ‘ My mother doesn’t hash!’. It was an honest simple mistake due to language subtilities but who cares, everyone was having a good laugh and I actually love it when people really laugh. As long as I don’t look too stupid which was not the case, it actually made me more likable I guess. And who doesn’t want that?
So yes, I made quite an impression on my first hash in Fort Collins. I wouldn’t be surprised if they come up with a name for me that would involve some blondness.
For the ones who don’t know what Halloween is, it is a huge nation wide celebration. People decorate their homes, lawns with scary stuff like grave-yard stones and scary creatures. They dress up in all kinds of scary characters and parents go with their kids from door to door ‘Trick or Treat’-ing. The kids will collect a lot of candy by the end of the evening. The old old reasons to celebrate Halloween or the old old meaning of this holiday I will leave out for this one time as it can bring up a lot of discussion.
For me it was a celebration that I was enthusiast to experience first hand. For our friends M&D and their children, Halloween started a couple of weeks before. When we arrived in Fort Collins, the front yard was decorated as a cemetery and there were huge huge scary things hanging in front of the windows. Our little one enjoyed those things a lot, not even a hunch of being scared. She enjoyed hearing the message of the skeleton that was sitting on a chair in front of the house and was trying to figure out where the button was to turn on the noise.
We went to a neighborhood event where the shops got a little stand outside and had games and goodies for the little ones and not only. We dressed our toddler in a peacock costume which she loved as she kept pulling her hat off and putting it back on. At the pumpkin stand I chose a big pumpkin that I carved with star shapes. My very first Halloween pumpkin turned out so great that I displayed it at the front door of our house. I had so much fun doing that.
Of course we dressed up for the Halloween day itself, me and our toddler daughter were witches and my husband was a vampire Dracula like. We went with our friends and their children “Trick or Treating”. Our little one got the hang of it pretty fast and was holding her little pumpkin up for people to put the candy in there. Very cute.
Running outside and Bikram yoga
Patting myself on the back because I picked them up again. There was a big ‘pause’ concerning those activities that lasted from right when I found out I was pregnant to …ehummm, kind of now. The times that I did a little yoga or running in between are not worth really mentioning. I’m in for the real business again. I started training for 5K. I run 3 times a weeks and I go to Bikram yoga 3 times a week. That means that I exercise almost every day and it feels so good! I’m happy and enthusiast and looking forward to my running or Bikram almost every time – except for those times when I’m too tired and I have to drag myself out of the house.
Yes, we are settling in pretty nice
There is a routine in our day-to-day life already. I feel comfortable enough by now to get in the car and drive anywhere in the city – I have Siri with me! As I mentioned before, I exercise almost every day. Our toddler is going to a kids centre twice a week where me and her do “gymnastics” together. Well, we try to, you know. She will follow the other kids and the teacher but she will want to run to the older kids class many times, which is ok, she is a toddler! The ‘gymnastics’ that we are doing are fun! We sing songs, we try to touch our toes, we roll on a mat, play in a big pool filled with sponges, play with balls, go on slides, crawl through colorful tunnels, walk on beams that are close to the floor and so on.
We visit my husband’s family once in a while and we spend a good amount of time with our friends. We are almost establishing a tradition: Saturday morning breakfast with our friends M&D and their kids.
The hubby will start working one week from the office near Washington DC and one week from the office at home in Fort Collins. That will put me even more in the role of the stay at home mom so my organizing skills and time management skills will become crucial to a harmonious home life and a sane mind! I am investigating the option of having our daughter at a pre-school kindergarden for two mornings a week so that I get some time to run errands, go to yoga or run. I scheduled a tour at a kindergarden for next week. I’m very curious to see how this is organized and looks like here.
So far we’ve also been to a family wedding, went out to watch a fight game at a local pub, went to the movies twice, I read two books, went to a ladies book club evening at my friend’s house, had a fair amount of visits at the nail salon hubby has been in Washington DC for the job once, watched our friends son musical performance at his school, had a successful job interview myself for translating software from English to Dutch, went to two colleges as I’m looking into some classes that I want to take, I started working on the curtains for the house that I’m sewing myself and I am half done with building a cats play tree. Busy, busy, busy as a bee!
It feels like we’ve been here longer and not only 7 weeks!
More travel coming up
As the husband works for a company with headquarters in the Netherlands I am a very lucky bird because in January when he will go to the Netherlands for 4 to 6 weeks, me and our daughter get to join him on this trip. It will give me a great opportunity to see friends back in the Netherlands and I am contemplating booking a flight to go visit my family in Romania for a couple of weeks. I will have to see how the winter develops further as the winters in Romania can be pretty harsh. Prior to that, just before Christmas, I am going to visit the area where my husband’s office is, near Washington DC.
There is a great chance we will move to that area in the summer. I know many of you will fall off their chairs hearing this – whaaaattt??? Haha! I will keep you posted!
Have a great day, week, month, year, life 🙂