Doing Cool Stuff

I’m writing this from a sticky train (Tilburg – Leiden) in the middle of a week that has been pretty busy so far, and it will probably stay that way, but that’s OK. At least stuff is happening, some pretty cool stuff as well, so here’s a short account 🙂

Friday (not really this week but still): dinner & theatre with the Man from my Kitchen (MfmK). I think it was the last dinner of the mysterious man from my kitchen at the local Mexican place because he tried to set fire to the place by laying his napkin onto a candle, but the food was nice and we had a good laugh. The play afterwards was alright, a bit odd, it was about a guy who was working in one of the twin towers before 9/11, but who was with his mistress at the time of the WTC collapse. He’s then torn between running off with his mistress (who also happens to be his boss) and not tell his wife and kids he’s still alive, or call his wife and confess the affair. A very, very odd situation, and the actors had trouble making me believe it, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

Saturday: lazed about a bit. MfmK and Steve volunteered as guinea pigs for a little cooking experiment, after which we went to see Pirates of the Carribean 3 from the bottom left-hand corner of the screen (we arrived a bit too late at the cinema for better seats but at least we had three seats together).

Sunday: again lazed about, had a very nice brunch at the English Pub in Leiden at 16:00 🙂 Went to the place where salsa is usually taught, but it was cancelled, so instead I had some hot chocolate with whipped cream and watched a film.

Monday: yay! Another day off because of Pentecost. Again took it easy, went to the Mauritshuis gallery in The Hague in the afternoon, as well as to the American Book Centre (the only shop that was open) and had lunch at Burger King 🙂

Tuesday: working at Naturalis in the morning, in Etten-Leur in the afternoon. Dave and Sophie (Steve’s dad and sister respectively) are in the country and they liked to visit my family as well. And I had to go there anyway to pick up some stuff for my trip to Illinois next week, so it seemed a good idea to travel together. It was great to see them again, Sophie has turned into a real lady since last time I saw her, and Dave is still as relaxed as ever, although he couldn’t refrain from bringing up the issue of us driving on the wrong side of the road (again!). We did some shopping in Etten-Leur, getting Steve some proper jeans, and Sophie a cool top and a pair of trousers with combat print. After the really nice dinner, I got to tour a little bit with dad on the back of his new motorbike, I want my motor licence!!!

I also dropped my new phone and it bounced all the way down the staircase but it doesn’t have a scratch and still works perfectly!

Today: working in quiet Tilburg. I had to go there to return a book to the library, and I also wanted to talk to some people but only succeeded half in doing so. The rest of the day was well spent on reading some papers, booking a greyhound bus from Urbana-Champaign to Chicago, printing my travel info for next week, and eating pie with some fellow PhD students whilst discussing positive side-effects of Viagra (supposedly it can help rats deal better with jetlags…)

Tonight it’s going to be rushing home, drop off my bags, eat something, get back to the ballet school, do some jazzdancing, then go out for some drinks with the girls. Tomorrow there’s Naturalis, singing lesson, yoga and hiphop. Friday Naturalis and packing and on Saturday I’m flying to grid nation again!

Mother-daughter days

Last year I already promised mum a weekend out for Mother’ s day, but only this weekend we could realise it. On Saturday morning we went to Amsterdam for some proper shopping (shopping in Leiden is OK, but it doesn’t have a Zara for instance). We took it easy, did a little bit of the Kalverstraat, had lunch in the Kalvertoren (discovered Christmas shop whilst looking out over Amsterdam), did a couple of bookshops…the usual stuff 🙂 Of course we couldn’t spend too much money because we were still going to visit the book fair in Leiden on Sunday, but I still scored a nice book on the history of Paris and a travel guide of Prague, and a bag and a cap (OK, maybe I did spend a bit more than I had intended to).

The “Big Leiden Book Fair” turned out to be not as big as we thought it would be, but that was OK, seeing that mum had a terrible night on my sofabed (everyone else seems to sleep fine on it, btw) and she still found a very reasonable number of nice books with interesting discounts (I want to borrow that Pessoa when you finished it!). After the big book shopping event we relaxed over some raspberry juice at Bagels and Beans, before taking on some clothes shopping in the Haarlemmerstraat. Mum got a lovely top at H&M’s and I succumbed to a rather fashionable tunic to be worn with a pair of leggings, that I still have to get used to a little bit, even though the fabric is very comfortable, jeans just make me feel *more* comfortable…Ah well, but it was a very good weekend, but we still need to go to Jill’s…

Sister Act

On Thursday morning Sara arrived in Leiden for two days of sister-bonding (=> shopping). Unfortunately the shops were closed on Thursday, but we had an excellent afternoon touring through and around Leiden in Oscar’s boat with Oscar (obviously), Ko, Francisco (also Naturalis people) and Judith. It was extremely cool to be picked up in front of your house by a boat, the canals are definitely one of the best things about Leiden. Around 5 Sara and I parted from the boat to get some food from the Albert Heijn, and to do some cooking. Sara had promised to cook, but she fell asleep so I ended up making the lasagna, in return I took pictures of her while she was sleeping :P. After dinner we had a quick little stroll to the English Pub, she isn’t allowed to enjoy the fabulous Whiskeys there yet, but at least when she is she’ll know where to find them ;).

On Friday was the big shopping day, starting with a fresh haircut for the lady. Sara is very brave in that she had quite a bit cut off her hair (she wanted the same haircut as Judith and I think it got pretty close), and it looks fabulous! After that she bought some simple white trainers and some truly awesome pink/black checked shoelaces and a white scarf (scarves are just must-have accessories!). After some food again and some drinks at my place we went to the train station where Sara took a train to Etten-Leur (next time we’ll make time to watch some nice DVDs!) and I caught a bus to Katwijk to catch some waves before the weekend (only some windchop unfortunately, but I got to do some paddling).

1 Happy surfgirl

I just got back from a (bit of a long) lunch break in Katwijk. On my surfboard to be precise. As usual the Dutch waves were a bit messy, but I caught a few nice ones, had a nice wipe-out, and just enjoyed being out there in the sun. Pics to follow 🙂

Eew!

After a quiet but productive day (working on my poster, tidying up my apartment & some excellent cooking if I may say so myself) I was watching TV on Friday evening when around 2300 I saw a black shadow sneaking past my chair and disappearing under the TV cupboard. OK, I must be tired, and it’s a bit dark here, I may have imagined it. Time to go to bed, I switched on some lights, and then I saw the mouse (so I didn’t imagine it, I’m not crazy!) rush from underneath the cupboard into the kitchen…I’m fine with mice, as long as they’re in the shed, or in the kitchen and the kitchen is at least 10 metres away from my bedroom, preferably also on another floor, but the thought of mice dancing around my bed doesn’t really appeal to me. I also never expected a mouse in my apartment so it really took me by surprise, and of course I had no mousetraps or anything. To make things worse the damn creature didn’t even seem scared and dashed past me again less than a foot away and they are fucking fast actually. I didn’t feel quite comfortable with the unexpected visitor, that also won’t leave if you ask it to, so I (not heroic at all, I confess) packed up my sleeping bag and spent the night on Steve’s sofa. In the morning I bought some mousetraps, set them out with some bait (some excellent dark chocolate and peanut butter) and left again to go visit my mum for mother’s day (and to pick up my new phone that had arrived at my parents house).

Tonight when I get home I hope to find a mouse corpse 😛