Some school results

I't not freezing anymore, but still very cold. The wind has picked up and when you bike it feels as cold as minus 4. And I bike a lot! That's one of the things in Holland I really enjoy. Car drivers are also very polite to bikers which makes it feel safe. The kids were keen bikers at first, but now the 2nd week of schools starts they realize they have to bike 1.5 hour every day and that for the next x (lots of) weeks. Auke came home after his first hour of school, his class has tests all week so the teachers sent him home to do some extra stuff. He goes back on Friday where he will participate in the Maths test. For Wednesday and Thursday we found him a job at my brothers farm. I am sure he will enjoy the physical challenge! 

Dieuwe got to do an English test at his 2nd day of school. Just the same together with the subject his class had been working on. He was very surprised when he got his mark back today. He got a 59%!!! We would like to see the actual test and answers, but unfortunately he didn't get the sheets back. He knew a few things he had done wrong, but we don't understand why they were wrong. If something is priced to high, you call it..................Overpriced, was Dieuwe's answer. Wrong, according to the marking. ????Also sentences with shouldn't and mustn't. Again, would be nice to see the actual test.

Anne Roos got to do a so called 'dictee' for Dutch. She had to fill in ei or ij. Something which doesn't exist in the English language. It is the i sound in mine which can be spelled in 2 ways. There are no rules as far as I know. Another part of the dictee was au or ou......and another part l or ll. Very hard. She got only a few words right and that by guessing.....Poor her. Hopefully it will improve a little bit after a couple of months.

Netherlands Week 2

Now as a new week of school started we had to wake up early. Then we had to bike about 45 minutes to school. When I arrived I went to the first class for about 50 minutes then I went to talk to the teacher because everyone else in my class had tests the whole week and I did not have to do them as I had been just one week at school. The teacher told me I could have one week of (a bit like a holiday :D), so I biked all the way home again. We worked out something at home that I can go and work at Gerberts (my uncle) house, which is cool.

Ice skating

It seems the weather will turn slightly warmer so last Saturday might well have been the last time we have ice skate. In the afternoon we went to the home of Ida's parents. We hadn't actually seen it as they had moved in after we last had been back to The Netherlands.

The kids went with "Opa" to the Uddelermeer, while Ida and I went to see if we could borrow some skates of the parents of our (through Ida's brother) sister-in-law Gerdien.

And yes, we found a fitting pair. It was already busy at the Uddelermeer, and blue clear skies as well:

I found Opa (Ida's dad) and Auke and Dieuwe ice skating:

But although they can start together, this was more the usual picture: Opa at the back, Dieuwe in the middle and Auke in the front:

And here the proof that yes, I was on the ice as well! It went sort of ok, would need to train a bit more to gain strength in my ankles as they weren't up to scratch to ice skate for more than 15 minutes at a time anymore.

Opa treated the kids on hot chocolate and split pea soup:

After a while Gerbert and Gerdien arrived as well with Hilde, their daughter and AnneRoos' niece:

All in all, a nice day.

Order of service

For those interested in the order of service in The Netherlands, here the order of service as used yesterday by our pastor P.C. Hoek. Order of service varies a bit between pastors, but it's representative:

  1. The organ starts playing a while before the service starts.
  2. We sing Psalm 85:3, before the minister and elders enter. Stances often don't correspond with verse numbers. Dutch psalms, as in many other countries, use the tunes used by Calvin. Every psalm has it's own tune, and the tune determines the metre and with that how many verses from the Dutch translation fit into a stance. In this instance the third stance corresponds with verses 8 and 9 in the KJV.
  3. After the singing the minister enters. After entering the pulpit he greets (it is a prayer) the congregation with Psalm 124:8, 146:6b and 138:8b (the so called votum):

    Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth;
    which keepeth truth for ever;
    and who forsakes not the works of his own hands.

  4. He then blesses the congregation (with uplifted hands) with 1 Cor 1:3 and 2 Cor 13:13b:

    Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, in the communion of the Holy Ghost


If you look into the name Fatima, you get some fascination sources. It is the name of the favorite daughter of the prophet Mohammed, but it also refers to the site of a Marian apparition, Our Lady of Fatima. We heard it first a few years ago when the name was used in a radio commercial of the Rabobank (Dutch bank), as a person visiting the bank. At that time we wondered why a bank would use a non-Dutch name, obviously names had changed in Holland so much that this was now the common name. After a few days the name was dropped from this commercial, perhaps the bank had received some comments...


Another day with frost, but nice and sunny. We had a late start this morning which was quite nice after all the early mornings during the week. The kids did some home work to get ready for Monday. Dieuwe has Greek and Latin as well and because he just stepped in in the middle of the year he has to learn the Greek alphabeth first. The teacher told him it usually takes about 2 weeks to learn this by heart. After 2 days Dieuwe asked him if he could do the test, that was ok. He got a 100% which was encouraging. He finds it really fascinating as it is a completely differnent language. You also learn a lot about the history of the old Greeks.

Btw, I noticed the name Fatima used regularly in their Dutch books......A name which didn't exist 10(?) years ago in the books. This book is from 2006.

How many people will watch the coronation live?

When we were in Washington D.C. we heard a varied number of the visitors who would come to see the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama. The most reliable estimate was about 1 million. We heard that around December 27.

Interestingly, it seems the media had been doing their own numbers. A hilarious round up documents the estimates that are dropping from 5 million on November 20, to 1 million now:

With the crowd estimates dropping like a stone, and the inauguration rental market going bust with no turnaround in sight, one starts to wonder if maybe, like Obama's candidacy itself, the inauguration crowd size fever is a left-wing media creation.

Mexico, failing state?

Just encountered a blog post on Mexico. Interesting details, but not a city I would recognise from our visits:

Mexico is on the edge of the abyss—it could become a narco-state in the coming decade. ... The crime rate is staggering. The US State Department notes that crime in Mexico continues at high levels particularly in Mexico City. Criminal assaults occur on highways throughout Mexico. Armed street crime is a serious problem in all the major cities. Robbery and assault on passengers in taxis are frequent and violent.

I must say we felt very safe in Mexico City. But it's a big city obviously.

Holland, school

Well, I am in holland now!

I have been going to school for a week now!

School is okay, but the cool thing is that you get free hours, like yestersay I got three hours free from school (I get that every week). You do seven hours of work per day.

Well I have to go now because I am going ice-skating soon!!!!!

Netherlands 2

For the rest of the week I have been going to school. Everyday except for Monday I have an 1 to 2 hours of which is really cool. I dont have to do any realy homework yet as tests are next week (which I dont have to do :D). But after the tests are finished I have to start doing homework.

Ice skating has been good this week except on Wednesday when it thawed. Going Ice skating today (Saturday), which may be the last time, it all depends if it keeps freezing at night and through the day.

First Week

We just finished our first week at school. We have to bike 45 minutes to school, and back. I normally bike with 3 of my friends who live round here too (Bram, Daisy, Marit). We are in constant negative temperatures, -1 to -11 during the day and up to -20 at night (not quite that but close). There has only been 1 day this week where it thawed for an hour or two.


School starts at 8:30, so I have to get up at 6:45 and leave here at 7:30 on my bike. School finishes at 3:20, with a total of 7 lesson (50 minutes each) and about 30 minutes of breaktime the whole day (plus 10 for eating). Luckily I have 3 hours off on Thursday and 1 on Friday. I have atleast an hour of homework everyday (if I'm lucky) otherwise it's about 2-3 hours.


Icescating is still good. There is probably 20-30 cm of ice everywhere. I go icescating everyday with my friends.

One week gone

One week gone already. We are getting used to the cold, it keeps on freezing night and day. Most of the shopping I do by bike, it's only 7 minutes biking to the shops. Hoevelaken is a village with most of the main shops such as Hema, Kruitvat, DA, Super de Boer, Albert Heijn, Zeeman, Blokker. (kind of Pack 'n Save, Foodtown, the Warehouse, Pharmacy). Which is quite convenient. I am still surprised about the huge selection of products they have, you just don't know what to buy. The kids love the food and I do really enjoy the selection of spreads and sandwich meats. There is also a fish stand at the town square which supplies fresh battered/fried fish, so Berend and I can have kibbeling (yummy, small battered pieces with spices) with our sandwich every lunch time.....How much weight will we gain???


Frozen fog on the tree in our backyard.

Reflections on the revolution in America

One of the things I did with Dieuwe and AnneRoos was a Washington afer dark tour.I don't think any of the kids put in pictures, and I still had them on my hard drive to put them up. We were picked up by bus from the camping (just us three) and driven to the city center. Pickup was free, and took us about half an hour. It was very cold and it started to rain as well, luckily the view wasn't really impaired. Here our first few of the capitol:

First couple of days in Holland

I decided to write in English as I got a question from some Kiwi friends. It's also nice to read something about another country. We have settled in quite nicely, at the moment still busy organizing things and getting used to the Dutch supermarkets. It feels really strange, because my Dutch still sounds Dutch:-) and I get strange looks when I fumble with the Euros and don't know what some products in the super market.

This is me, Wednesday 7.30 in the morning. Ik go to school together with the kids. Ready for 45 min. of biking through a thin fresh layer of snow. It's about -10 degrees.........Berend calles me a Palestinian terrorist:-)

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