Monday, May 31, 2010

Getting your weekend's worth of Amsterdam love...

Whenever we find ourselves in a place that we've never before been, Kirse and I have always lived by one essential principal: We Rage. This can be translated as: We try to see everything we possibly can. This principal was amended when the kids arrived - our raging being bracketed by just how much our kids could take. The long weekend brought ample opportunity for igniting the raging May spirit in Amsterdam.

Having successfully figured out the cheapest way to navigate Amsterdam's extensive tram system...

The kids made their own pizzas at the kinderkookkafeé near the Vondelpark. The Vondelpark bills itself as the Central Park of Amsterdam. The comparison works except that, the buildings lining Central Park in New York are impressively tall, the buildings lining the Vondelpark are impressively old.

Pious raging is a blast here. Everything is translated into English in real-time. The congregation is incredibly diverse with members from almost every continent contributing at some point to the block of meetings. Heaping gobs of religious fun - and yes - I am really that enormous.

Seems as though Dutch safety standards for children's playground equipment aren't quite as strict as what we've got in the states. The kids were definitely raging on this nutty contraption that swung them up and down and around at an amazing rate. Ethan remarked that this particular see-saw-inspired device belongs at Disneyland. This park we visited after seeing the remarkable tropenmuseum and before we visited the Hermitage museum, which Sullivan remarked upon entering: "No! Not Pictures Only!" Sullivan and Kirse spent their time enjoying the lobby of the Hermitage Museum while Tim, Karina and Ethan looked at works by Picasso, Mattise, Kandinsky and others.

Local raging - we've had fun exploring buildings in our own neighborhood, some of which are older than America (although the Puritans have this one beat by 18 yrs). We didn't manage to see everything - but luckily we've still got some time to rage.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

As it turns out, the Netherlands is a foreign country. First of all, check out the dryer picture from the apartment. Good luck with that - I just push random buttons. Then imagine going to the grocery store where everything is in Dutch. Also, instead of baby carrots they have carrot balls. The good news is that everything I bought at the grocery store was absolutely amazingly delicious. I could eat cheese and yummy bread and chocolate for every meal. And everyone does speak English and all Dutch people seem to be extraordinarily nice. We stick out for various reasons - I have yet to see anyone with more than one child, and we don't ride bikes, at least not yet. Shepherding the kids around bikes, cars, and mopeds through the narrow canal streets and keeping Sullivan from chasing pigeons has been a bit of a challenge. I've been here three days, eaten seven different kinds of cheese, gone to one world-class museum, traveled the canals, ridden on a tram - but the kids favorite thing so far was playing with a big black dog at the park.


It is apparent that we, the Mays, have rather rashly translocated to the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I am responsible for this as it was my employers who decided they wanted to open a Northern-European office, and upon hearing this news I campaigned mightily to be selected as the designer they chose to lead the efforts. At times my change-averse partner Kirse found this idea to be ridiculous, impossible and frequently repeated the phrase: "I'll believe it when I see it." We are now rubbing our eyes.

The entire NW May clan has landed in Amsterdam, where we will live for the next three months. The purpose of this blog is to share images, stories, thoughts and adventures with any and all (a number well into the tens of thousands I'm sure) who would care to keep up with this unexpected chapter of our lives. The image is of Brouwersgracht, the street where our apartment lies, which was voted in 2007 by the reader's of Amsterdam's paper Het Parool as "the most beautiful street in Amsterdam."

-Tim, not Kirse, by the way.