Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holland: Day 4 (December 20)

Sigh...(yawn)...another sleepless night. Eventually Daniel and I will adjust to European time. We are getting the meantime, I'm getting all familar with the BBC latenight shows! Last night I watched a detective show. Niels and I always watch with closed captioning at home. Usually this is a good thing, because you can have the volume lower...always nice when a baby is attempting to sleep nearby. However, the subtitles here are in Dutch. I missed quite a bit! At least if I can't sleep tonight, I might be able to go to to see how the Vikings are doing.

Today should be a lowkey day. A true day of rest. Niels got home a little after midnight, and Jan and Kitty didn't arrive til much later. I'm sure there will be naps all around today.

I had a realization today as I nearly flooded the bathroom with my shower. In some ways, visiting Europe is more taunting that visiting other countries, like Israel and China. When I went to those places, I expected everything to be quite different so I was more prepared to adjust (squatty potties, anyone?). However, we Americans tend to think of Europe as people just like us, but who talk differently (freaky deaky Dutch, as my Ohio friends say). But there really are a lot of day-to-day differences. Take the shower for instance.

In America, most showers are enclosed...unless you have a really high end walk in shower. You have either a shower curtain or an enclosed area with a door. Here (at least at Jan and Kitty's house, and on the House Hunters episodes we've watched), most showers are not enclosed. Instead, there's a slight elevation where you step out of the shower. With a normal flow of water, the water drains and doesn't overflow onto the rest of the floor. Apparently, I ran too much water pressure this morning. Sorry, Jan & Kitty.

Speaking of the bathroom, the other difference is the toilet. Well, the actual toilet is the same, but instead of an attached flusher, there are two buttons on the wall, one big and one small. One is for flushing #1, and one for #2. I'll let you guess which is which. Actually, the idea is related to the amount of water needed to flush away the waste. It makes quite a bit of sense and is indicative of the rather European perspective of conserving energy and recycling.

In the same way, perspectives of space are different. Our rather modest house at home is palatial by European standards. Here in Holland, especially, land is at a premium. A good amount of land here is "reclaimed," meaning that water was drained from the sea to expand the borders. Very few people have large yards, and houses are build up instead out, like we see in America. It gives you a better idea of why Europeans are in such better shape, as a whole, than Americans. All those stairs!

Enough of that for now...I need to get Niels up so we can go to church. Today we're going to visit a church in Eindhoven, a larger city about 30 minutes away. Helmond, where Jan & Kitty live, is a city of about 90,000, with only ONE Protestant church. There are several Catholic churches however, but still a tiny amount compared to the church on every corner we see in America. In general, the northern part of Holland is Protestant (think John Calvin and the Dutch Reformed) and the southern part is Catholic. The reason we are going to the church in Eindhoven is that it's an international church with both English and Dutch. We'll go to the local church with Oma Toos (Niels' Grandma) for Christmas.

Tot Ziens!

9am...change of plans, no church today. Too much snow! Guess we'll have a very relaxing day at home! Jan and Kitty are already up, trying to figure out how we can take Daniel for a sled ride. They have a sled, but we need something to keep Daniel secure...hmm...

1:30p...We've figured it out. We've attached a laundry basket to the toboggan. Now we just need Daniel to wake up. He's sleeping really well today, almost and hour and a half already. Maybe he's adjusted to the new time? We have blankets ready to bundle him up, then Niels and I are going to give him his first sled Oma Toos' house to deliver dinner.

I've started to upload some pictures to Facebook, but it's slow going. I can only do five at a time and they took about 10 minutes to load. Niels will be doing a little exploratory surgery on Opa's computer to see if we can get them loaded a little faster!

We hear the thumping of pacifers...Daniel's not-so-subtle signal that he's ready to get out.

1 comment:

jens mom said...

I'm enjoying your travelogue, and looking forward to seeing the pictures as they come up. I'm sure the snow and sled ride will be quite the adventure for Daniel!