Museumplein Video (herky-jerky)

Kit, Caren and I went for a chilly bike ride over to the Museumplein. I attempted to hold my tiny camera while riding and alternating one hand into my pocket to keep warm. The huffing and puffing you hear isn’t me that winded, it’s just keeping warm !

It’s very rough, but you do get a sense of riding a bike in Amsterdam… ! It’s quite different riding near our house in the canal district. I’ll attempt a video of that one of these days.
Click here for the video (in .mov format)- this file is approx. 35 MB so ’tis best to download to disk first….

School Happenings from Kit

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been really busy with a lot of school happenings and there’s a big unit coming up to graduate from the Primary Years Program for the International Baccalaureate Program for International students. Our school first started the International program because all the schools in Europe were using only lessons from their country. The schools were french schools, dutch schools, and american schools, so people from other countries only went to schools using their programs.

I joined the math club at school for fifth graders during wednesday and friday lunch recesses. There’s also a math team that 4 people are on. The purpose of math club was to find the people who were interested in taking the test to be on the math team. On wednesday, thursday, and friday lunch recesses the past week, I took the test to get onto the math team. I just found out this friday who did the best on the test, and who made the team. The best possible score to get was an 85. The test was mostly concepts that we didn’t know, because they try to see how well your guessing is and one of the main concepts is to stretch your brain. The highest score anyone who took the test this year was only in the 50′s. The people who made the team (in order of the scores) was Utah, Young Mo, Jessica, and me. There was also a fifth person chosen in case anyone is sick or can’t come to the competition.

The competition is a big math tournament with all of the International Schools in Europe and Asia ( I think) that want to participate. We all took the test made by the math guest tournament people. Last year, they competed in Brussels, Belgium. This year, we (including me) are going to Milan, Italy. So basically, I’m going to compete with however many schools in a math tournament in Italy. We do projects with our school group, last year they had to build a bridge. We also do individual sheets, they give you a new one every half hour for 1 whole morning! And the last task they did last year was a math challenge where you had to go all around the city with a certain amount of money, and solve a puzzle. And at the end, they declare a winner of the whole thing, I think.

We leave on march 30, and we take a plane to Italy. Then families there house us for 1 or 2 nights.

Here’s some pictures of Milan and ISA:

here’s the list of schools and pictures of them if I can find some.

Antwerp International School

oslo International School

Westwood International School, Botswana

British International School Cairo

Zurich International School

The Alice Smith School, Malaysia

The International School of Lausanne

The International School of Brussels

St. Mary’s and All Angels, USA

The International School of Amsterdam (thats me)

The International school of Azerbaijan

Rome International School

Vienna International School

British School of Paris

xoxo,

kit

Nor’easter blows in (12 February, 2006)

Since we’ve been in Holland the weather in New England has been extremely unseasonable, highs in the 50′s F, etc. That all changed upon my arrival home though ! There is actually something comforting as a New Englander, despite the apocolyptic forecasts of the over-dramatized news media, about a stiff nor’easter snow storm. There you are, in your warm toasty house, calmly watching the chaotic world blow by…. (more pics here).

Winds today are in the 50 knot + range. There is supposedly accumulation forecast for 12-15 inches, but its hard to tell at 50 knots. The perspective here on the coast is quite different than inland.

Here’s a snippet of the NOAA forecast. Not a good day to sail over to the Vineyard….

STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING

TODAY
NE WINDS 30 TO 35 KT…BECOMING N EARLY THIS AFTERNOON.
GUSTS UP TO 55 KT. SEAS 11 TO 16 FT…BUILDING TO 17 TO 22 FT THIS AFTERNOON. SNOW…BLOWING SNOW AND FOG. VSBY 1 NM OR LESS.

TONIGHT
N WINDS 30 TO 35 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 55 KT… BECOMING NW 25 TO 35 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 55 KT IN THE LATE EVENING AND EARLY MORNING…THEN DECREASING TO 20 TO 25 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 40 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 14 TO 19 FT… SUBSIDING TO 9 TO 14 FT AFTER MIDNIGHT. A CHANCE OF SNOW. VSBY 1 TO 3 NM.

Bike Capacity (BC)

Deciding to not have cars in Amsterdam was one of the best decisions we’ve made. Bikes and the trams are our primary modes of transportation. I prefer the bike and ride as often as possible. The more you start to enjoy it the more resilient you get in the face of cold and wet weather. However, a bike certainly doesn’t have the capacity that a Volvo wagon does for those trips to the market.

Which brings us to the subject of Bike Capacity (BC), a most important consideration in Amsterdam, and….a commercial for the coolest product I’ve bought in ages, the Joe Breezer Supersize Grocery Pannier.

Our foresight on this took us to our friend Jim at Village Bicycle in Westport, Massachusetts before we moved to The Netherlands. Here’s a photo of 2 panniers after a trip to the market, each filled with the heaviest stuff you can buy, drinks- beer, soda, water, milk, butter, etc. Each pannier on this trip must have weighed at least 20+ pounds. Check them out-

These are the absolute coolest. They are light, strong, ergonomic (they fold flat when not in use), and have a shoulder strap for shopping. They clip onto your rear rack effortlessly. This is a Really Good Idea. More pics here. Thanks Jim and Joe Breeze.

A Pot of Chili in Amsterdam (Caren’s post)

Super Bowl Sunday, it’s a late game here, start time of 12:30am. In keeping with tradition I volunteer to make a pot of chili for the pre-game dinner. It’s a drizzly Sunday morning and Dan, Katrina and I splurge for a breakfast out at the fancy Pulitzer Hotel. It’s a full buffet with eggs, bacon, dutch pancakes (real maple syrup!), fresh squeezed juices (lingonberry, orange), and an artful atmosphere. We step out and take a stroll down to the flower market.

Sundays are pretty quiet, up until noontime when shops open. We pick some tulips to brighten the house, the color variations are amazing and it’s hard to choose. Katrina and I continue on to the American Book Center, she’s looking for a girls’ magazine to curl up with on this lazy day, I’m tempted to buy the Sunday NY Times, but resist the extravagant expense ($12.00!).

I leave her off by the bakery near the house and head on to the Albert Heijn Grocery Store at Dam Square. It’s quite the tourist area there, a great center with grand buildings, including the queens palace, all set around a stately cobblestone square. Today a lone bagpiper dressed in Scottish quilt is standing in the rain playing. His pipes echo off the enclave of stone in a wonderfully haunting way. You just never know what you’ll come across on a day in Amsterdam. That’s part of the intrigue of this city. I listen for a while and then head into the store.

My list is a short one. We don’t keep many extras on hand, it’s easy enough to go out for what you need. I’m looking for ground beef and am impressed that they carry organic meats. Things get a little tricky as I’m looking in the canned tomato section. I like some chopped and some crushed and I can’t understand the difference between gepelde tomaten and gezeefde tomaten. So I pick a few of each and head for the spices. After staring and standing for a bit, I start opening and sniffing the likely jars of brownish greenish powder. I’m looking for cumin (chili powder was easy to find), I was thrilled to finally find it, komijnzaad djinten of course. I hoped no one was watching the brash lady at the spice section.

At the check out, I bag my own (this takes some practice to bag and pay in good timing, not to mention bad form if you’ve forgotten your bags). It’s also good not to buy more than you can carry home, which I keep thinking will happen one of these days…

I step outside into the square, there is a young couple kissing on the walkway (you see this a lot in Amsterdam), a horse and buggy goes clomping by, and even though the bagpiper is gone, I hear at least three different languages being spoken all around. I walk down the small side streets and pass a warm and busy café that we haven’t yet tried out (it’s always crowded so it must be good). Then I cross over a picturesque canal bridge while watching and listening for bikes from BOTH directions, then head down the brick lined street and up the steps to my home on the Singel Canal.

The chili turns out great, and I won’t be staying up for the big football game. I’m looking forward to getting up for the sights and adventure of tomorrow.