Monthly Archives: December 2009

The window is open casting spells of sun on the amber coloured parquet. A gentle breeze is landing on my skin. I can hear the churchbells in the distance, echoing through the bare, empty streets. I feel so good. All around me are signs of love. The cuddly toys strewn over the floor, a discarded sleeping bag from Sebastian resting somewhere in the space between me and my husband. Shoes, designer bags, a mahogany chest of drawers displaying a collection of a rare perfumes. A photo of me and my loved one from Juan les Pins. Memories, collections, items of daily life. I feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.

There has been no work in the last few days. Instead we’ve been watching films (Australia and Jane Eyre), I on the sofa with the dogs and Reinout in his chair next to me.  I can finally feel the stress bleeding off as I’m lulled into a sleepy rhythm where days and nights are blending into eachother.  Although I start working next week, this will be from home, and I will do my best to carry on the pattern having emerged in the past days.

I’m filled with peace, but also anticipation of the year to come. It’s the time of year when I shall get a new notebook, conclude the objectives I have achieved, contemplate on the ones I didn’t and set course for a trip into the future. 2010 will be my year. The sense is so strong it cannot be ignored. I just have to hoist the anchor and set sail.

And so Christmas eve has come to an end. My day started early with laundry and cleaning to prepare for the big day. As an expat in a foreign country, traditions become even more important, and most important of all is Christmas Eve. It’s the evening when a big family meal is prepared followed by Christmas gift exchange. As usual in our household we eat pretty late, and as I was preparing turkey, meatballs and ham together with other delicacies such as smoked salmon, pates, fois gras, and various sauces, musterd fruit and lingon berry, our meal wasn’t ready until just before 9 pm.  Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling so well, as a stomach bug had caught hold so I didn’t eat that much. On the other hand that wasn’t such a bad thing either and this morning I hadn’t gained the usual extra kilo which is accustomed after our Christmas celebration.

After dinner we continued with our gift exchanged. This was Sebastian’s first Christmas, and he was particularly amused with the idea of stuffing wrapping paper in the mouth. I got some lovely presents. Bath paraphernalia by Lush from Victoria, a Vogue designer issue by MJ, Cappuccino cup and a shot glass, a scented candle from Reminiscence and a wonderful perfume by Bond No. 9 – Andy Warhol edition. I shall write a separate review on this one as it’s spectacular.

Victoria got a lot of clothes, underwear, earrings, a karaoke machine, perfume, a book and most importantly a skateboard which had been highest on the wishlist. For Reinout we had bought CD’s, RocknRolla by Guy Richie, a classic cardigan and two shirts, a scarf (since I use his!) and underwear.

MJ got the coolest present of all, a leather toilet bag filled with sample products that Reinout has been collecting over the years not using. In times of crisis one has to be resourceful!

As I wasn’t feeling so well, I left the party at midnight, having a shower and then straight to bed. At 4 am I was awoken by Reinout who dropped in having played poker all night. Boys will be boys. I’m now in bed, so relaxed. The next couple of days will be minimal work, maximum relaxation. Bliss!

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Christmas dinner

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My camera is broken so Reinout had to use his mobile

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As custom, silver, bone china & linnen serviettes

came out for the evening

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Presents under the tree

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Sante!

I’ve been really bad at blogging these last few days. A few reasons: A stressful week and weekend left me exhausted. On Saturday Caroline was here Christmas cleaning the house whilst I was getting ready for Christmas, shopping for presents, making the order at the local butcher for Christmas delicacies and getting the tree. Sunday, Victoria and I did some baking and traditional handcrafted orange pomanders as Christmas decoration. Monday we did the tree, yesterday (Tuesday) I had a bunch of meetings and didn’t finish work until past midnight. So that leaves today. I wouldn’t say I’m exactly prepared for Christmas. I still have some cleaning to do, baking and cooking, and a few hours of work. I’m still contemplating if I should put the alarm clock to 7 am in order to hit the gym. Am I a fanatic or WHAT??

Last night as I was sitting in bed working on my emails, my husband came upstairs. He sat down besides me, pushing the laptop away from me in order to get my attention. We talked about all kinds of things, and at one point he said he was really proud of me. His remark astonished me so I asked why, to which he answered that he could see I was working so hard to achieve something I really believed in. And he saw I was doing things right. It made me really happy hearing this. Of course the results remain to be seen but the fact that he thought I was doing something right filled me with a sense of belief in myself. Sometimes I suppose you just have to hear those words. So little, meaning so much…

Last days in pictures…

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Like a little dog carrying his own sock in his mouth (yes he put it there himself)

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Is he cute or what?

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Victoria looked gorgeous getting ready for her school Christmas party

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Baking last Sunday

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Fun in the kitchen

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Traditional Swedish saffron buns

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More baking

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Victoria was getting into the Christmas spirit

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Me too as we were doing the tree

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Proudly presenting our Christmas tree!

Sleep is a blessing. Because at 12.30 after dropping off the last emails I fell into a deep, deep sleep. Entirely different from the night before…

Thursday 9 am in taxi on my way to Hoorn
I never got to to sleep. As Jacques de Molay was burning on a stake on the Ile de la Cite,  morning was approaching. It was my worst night, as I was batteling with my mind to go to sleep. R believes if I can set my mind on anything, I can do it with sleeping too. But it doesn’t exactly work like that. It only made me more agitated. I cried, I cursed and in between I read my book about the rise and fall of the Knights Templar. I’m almost finished. If anything, it gave me resolve as their less than heroic demise seemed rather poignant to my own situation. Miles apart but  at 5 am leaps become steps and steps becomes vast distances ready to be conquered.

Today, Friday 10.19 on the train
Yesterday Victoria had her Christmas dinner. We all went to her school where they were singing carols and drinking gluhwein. Christmas really hit me. Like a cold slap on the cheek from the icy winds, carrying snow flakes with them. I stood there, freezing to the bone, but finally slowing down. Christmas is about family, traditions, spending time with those close to you. As I see the houses being lit up with candles, Christmas tree and yuletide decorations, I can’t help but feeling envious. They know how to put family and traditions before work and duty. I realize I have a lot to learn. But this weekend will mark the beginning to our own Christmas countdown. This weekend Caroline is coming over to Christmas clean the whole place. I will polish the silver, clean the christal and make orange decorations to be hung in the window together with Victoria. We will get the tree, a 3 meter tree to match our high ceilings and dust off the season decorations. Christmas is about to arrive to our home!

We live parallel lives. He goes to work, I go to mine. The occasional mail comes by…it’s either about business or domestic. At 7.30 pm, or 8 or 8.15 our lives stream together for a brief moment over dinner. He’s on the phone, I lay the table. I wait for him to end his conversation. I can hear from his pace, walking up and down between the living room and dining room, that it is important.  Dinner is suppose to be a family affair, but more often than not it consists of two. I send Victoria up to get ready for bed. He comes and says goodnight. I take out the laundry and put another batch in. The laundry room is next to Victoria and every little time saver helps.

After Victoria and Sebastian is asleep I get into bed and continue to work. He goes downstairs to watch TV. Sometime around 11 pm I come downstairs to say hello. Like, “hi, I’m your reclusive wife.The one that sits upstairs. “

He continues to watch TV and sometimes, in a bid to blow off steam puts on Sensation White on his headphones. If everything else in the house is quiet I can hear the beat from upstairs.

I stop working at midnight, and pick up the book that I am reading. This time the history of the Knights Templar. It’s suppose to help me to get to sleep. Sometimes it does, other times not. Around midnight he comes upstairs, carrying two puddings which he consumes rapidly whilst reading a Donald Duck. He turns out his bedside lamp before me. I continue to read another 10-15 minutes, until my heart pace is even, my breathing relaxed. I say Goodnight.

Yesterday I got some great finds on sale. A sheer blouse from D&G, black patent leather pumps from Hugo Boss and a green silk dress from Milly. The dress I am going to wear tomorrow for Club Fiera’s Gala Salsa Party. With that a pair of beautiful dance shoes I got from Alina, from Alista Dancewear. As icing of the cake, Stephen is coming over to do my hair and make-up. God I can’t wait!!

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Retro blouse from Dolce & Gabbana

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Black pumps Hugo Boss

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Silk dress from Milly NYC

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Dance shoes Port Dance on Alista’s Dancewear

Half an hour until next meeting and a window of opportunity presents for a blog post. Today is one of those good days, when the action list is diminishing in rapid succession and I’m down to (you won’t believe it) 6 emails in my inbox. Tjoohoo! Life is good!

I’m so happy about something else too (a minor thing….but still) I’m under 53 kg’s today working hard on my 52 kg goal! And I manage my best eye makeup to date! The other day I bought some great make-up from Guerlain and Chanel and it’s doing the trick for smokey, seductive eyes! On Friday we have the Club Fiera Gala Party and I booked Stephen to do my hair and make-up. I will ask him to teach me a few new tricks 🙂

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Love the effect

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This is what I used… Guerlain Bal de Minuit 407, Chanel Quatuor Boutons 1703,

Chanel eyeliner Celadon and YSL black waterproof mascara

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My latest find at Players in Haarlem – sweater from Jean Paul Gaultier

I’m rummaging my bag for something to blow my nose with. Anything to blow my nose with. It’s so bad that when I find a pantyliner I contemplate for a moment to use it, I scan my fellow train riders. They appear to be into their Metro newspapers and I just need one opportunity to fish up the pantyliner. Then I get a brilliant idea. I tear it in two (as to disguise it into a more legitimate nose blowing item) and use the upper part of it (after all the string of it won’t lend the support my desperate, red, sniffling nose needs at this moment). That went well for most of it. No suspicion aroused seemingly.

I’m still tired from last nights thrashing and turning about in bed. I know my husband is tired too. My tirades and monologues about seeing a shrink for my obvious psychological problems (why else can’t I sleep!), going back on sleeping pills or alternatively go downstairs for a few shots of whiskey, has worn him out. I opted for the latter, which now has put me on the firm road of substance abuse.

Sleep is shallow as Sebastian wakes up a few times in the night. When I wake up at 8 my eyes are blood-shot. Reinout walks about like a zombie. He has an important meeting and presentation today. I feel guilt creeping on. I was after all the one that kept him awake.

15 minutes to the office. Did I tell you I long for a double espresso?

Yesterday was Sinterklaas, a tradition I never really got the hang of conflicting with my beloved Christmas. In previous years we had been giving Victoria some presents in the morning of the 5th, in the spirit of the English Father Christmas. It was not until I met Reinout I realised how wrong I had been. Sinterklaas is celebrated in the evening!
All well and done, at the same time as our take-away was being delivered, Victoria discovered a sack outside the door.  We brought it upstairs, paused the film we were watching and went onto discover what gifts Sint had brought to us.

Victoria got some really cool jeans and a shirt from Vingino. She also got earrings to match with it. Sebastian got a baby computer and a book for the bath together with some bath toys. I got a cappuccino mug and a set of bowls for my nuts….a snack I eat all the time.
As for Reinout, he got a Snoek book (Sports Illustrated meets Playboy) and a set of shots glasses. Saints and Sinners have a clear distinction in our family!

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Aaaah….Reinout started to feed Sebastian in the midst of the Christmas shopping

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Letter from Sinterklaas

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Sebastian got his first computer…boy was he happy!

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We are celebrating in Victoria’s room as our living and dining room are being painted

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Take-away chicken sallad

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My gifts from Sint!