Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving, Netherlands Edition

Pieterskerk, Leiden

The sky is an overcast gray and a chill breeze tosses orange and brown leaves across brick walkways. The Pieterskerk, while not the tallest church in Leiden, offers warm invitation to the festive Americans flocking through the red doors. This is Thanksgiving in Holland, in the city, as I learned, where the Pilgrims lived for 11 years before boarding the Mayflower for the New World. The Pieterskerk was their church where they worshipped, married, and mourned from 1609 to 1620. The church even goes so far as to suggest the inspiration for the Thanksgiving feast came from the celebrations held there in honor of Dutch freedom after the Eighty Years War with Spain--it's up to you if you agree with that.

Friday, November 22, 2013

DAFT: The IND Appointment

Dutch Immigration Part VI

After going over your checklist of paperwork a couple dozen times, you may finally feel like you are all set to submit your application. Time to make an appointment with the IND! Call the IND number at 0900-1234561 if you are in the Netherlands, or use this number from abroad: + 31 20 8893045. Make sure you have some time to wait on hold.

Rotterdam IND. Photo from
You can look up desk locations and hours here since you will be asked if you have a preference. My closest IND desk was Rotterdam so that was my first choice. However, I was told that Rijswijk was less busy than the others, so if you are flexible you can always ask where the earliest opening is. Still, my experience was to count on at least 2 weeks before you can get an appointment.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Etsy Expats Gift Guide

One of my favorite things as we head into the holidays is visiting craft fairs. It is a fun way to see the creativity and skill of the craftsmen, and I can usually find some pretty unusual gifts. Plus, I am not only buying a gift for the recipient, I am supporting small independent sellers. Why buy the same thing everyone else is buying from Wal*Mart when you can find something special and make a difference for the person who made it? Germany is known for its holiday markets and I am really hoping to make it across the border to one this year. I will also be participating in a market myself in the Hague next month.

In the meantime, those of you who like to buy handmade should check out Etsy (if you haven't already). I follow a team of Etsy sellers who, like me, are expats living around the globe, and we have put together a gift guide showing a few of the items our team offers. Take a look for some unique ideas!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The '30s Live Again!

Blouse from Two-Piece Dress In Velvet Boucle Style No. 880
There are some great vintage knitting patterns to be found online. With all of the travelling I do, I don't know why I didn't get in to knitting sooner. Knitting needles sure beat hauling around a sewing machine. I tackled the Style No. 880 Blouse from 1935, which I found on the A Rarer Borealis blog.

Friday, November 1, 2013


--1 1/8 c warm milk
--3/4 tsp yeast
--2 c flour
--2 eggs
--dash of salt
--olive oil (or frying oil of choice)
--poffertje pan (a mold with small dimples, or possibly use a large frying pan)

1. Combine the yeast and warm milk.

2. Combine flour and salt, then add eggs and milk. Beat until the mixture is smooth.

3. Rise about 45 minutes.

4. Heat the poffertje pan and coat with olive oil. Using a squeeze bottle or frosting bag, fill each well with batter, or if you are using a regular pan, squirt teaspoon amounts. If the batter is too thick, add more milk.

5. Once the top gets bubbly and the bottom side is golden brown, flip each poffertje over and bake the other side.

5. Pile on a plate and top with butter and powdered sugar. I have an electrical poffertje pan so I like to cook them right at the table and serve them when they are hot. If you have a small pan it can take a while to cook them all up so it's more fun to munch as you go!