Sorry for the delay in getting this letter out. We moved into our new house last week and things have been hectic!
The house is amazing! It is so bright and airy and cheerful. We have enough room, but no room to spare. Those little rooms filled up so quickly, especially after I realized that we had no closets whatsoever and would be needed wardrobes. Still, the furniture fits so nicely. With the 10 ft ceilings, the house gives a nice sense of space despite the small rooms. It has a little wedge shaped garden in the back with tall hedges providing lots of privacy. I’ll attach some pictures.
The kids are enamored with the house. As soon as we moved in, children from the neighborhood started coming over. I frequently find children (and one time a dog) in the house that I’ve never met. Our kids tear outside almost as soon as they come home. Hide and seek is the current favorite game choice. The kids might be gone for 2 hours. I have given them two rules: they cannot cross the street and they cannot enter anyone else’s house unless I know where they are. This works out well since the other children seem to have the same or very similar rules.
From the third story of the house I have a good view of the yards behind us. Our block is nearly a circle. All of the houses on the block are connected by walls or garages. Our backyards fill the circle within, making wedge shaped gardens lined with tall hedges. In the very center is a HUGE oak tree. The Dutch are very serious about their gardens. All of the yards are filled with flowers, Wisteria vines, hedges, and espidrilled fruit trees. It is quiet and pleasant here.
The kids are doing well at school. Since all of the children are from somewhere else, there is very little in the way of “cliques”. Most children seem anxious to make friends. Jack and Jordan are both thriving.
Walt returned from Malaysia last week just in time for the moving truck to arrive. The poor guy was so tired, but he was a trooper and helped with all of the moving arrangements, trips to Ikea, and assembly of bunk beds. It was not the best timing by any means, but it is over, and now we are settled in the house.
I went out last week and bought myself a boxfiets. It won’t be delivered for two or so more weeks. I can’t wait. I went to the big bike store in The Hague and test rode 5 different types and sizes. Audrey squealed with delight every time we took off on another tour around the block. I’m thrilled I’ll have a bike with a box big enough to hold three children or two children and the groceries. This is my new mini-van! If you’d like to see a picture, go to www.boxfiets.nl and look for the box bike with the “long” box.
This weekend we need to get bikes for Walt and Jack.
Oh, a funny story: Jack was invited on a playdate and the mom picked him up after school and took him to their house. Walt and I went to pick him up. The house was way out in the boonies. We ended up on a private road lined with gated houses. The house we were looking for had a closed gate across the drive way and one of those intercom boxes. The gate opened slowly, and before us was the BIGGEST stone mansion. We pulled up to the door to realize it was a TWIN! A twin mansion. I’d have never thought it would exist. Before Jack and I even reached the car, Jack said, “MOM! Did you see how big that house was?!!!”
I should add that most of the families I have met at the school are just like we are: middle income on an expat assignment that includes school tuition. It is the exception to find the diplomat or CEO of a major corporation. For that I am grateful.
Jordan would like me to tell you that yesterday they went on a field trip to a local farm. There were goats, cows, ducks, and sheep. She got to feed a one day old baby goat with a bottle. She was in heaven!
We will not have internet access at the house until May 28th. I will check my e-mail daily at the school, but I cannot check Facebook (they have the site blocked). Our magic jack phone line will also not work. Mom and Dad have our cell phone numbers if there is an emergency.