Friday, September 23, 2011

International Advantages

So far in my experience, there have not been many advantages having an international relationship. I won't bore you with the predictable disadvantages (plane tickets! moving! language barriers!), but instead I want to shed some light on some unexpected advantages.

Sports Fans
Some hard core fans would recommend dating outside your own conference, because how could an Eagles fan like myself live happily in the same house as a Cowboys fan? How about a Yankees/Red Sox romance? When dating an American, you always find out early where your potential partner's loyalty lies. For me, that was never a problem. Aron didn't know the difference between National and American League baseball, so it was relatively easy to convince him that the Phillies were the best (especially after their World Series win!) baseball team. I also had no loyalties within the Eredivisie (Dutch soccer league), so I had no problem accepting that Ajax Amsterdam was the best.

The only time our nationalities have influenced our sports viewing pleasure was during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Dutch hearts everywhere were broken when Sven Kramer WENT IN THE WRONG LANE! OMG THE WORLD JUST ENDED!!!! We were with a lot of family when the US speed skaters faced the Dutch team in the semi-final men's relay. The winner would race for gold and the loser would race for bronze. After much trash talking before the race, (not from me, for once) the room got pretty quiet as the US led by one second, then by two, and I forget the final difference, but their hearts were broken again. USA finished with silver, and the Dutch team won bronze with a faster time than the US and whoever won gold. Hearts. Broken.

No In-Law Competitions
I have seen some pretty hard-to-deal with in laws. Grandparents insisting that they want to see their new granddaughter AT LEAST every two weeks. Heck, I've even heard of a woman who's MIL can't even be in the same room as her own family. No matter how terrible or wonderful your in-laws are, it's always a balancing act, trying to make sure one set isn't favored over the other. And if step parents are also involved, my heart goes out to you. I can't imagine balancing three or four sets of parents! And that's good, because I don't have to balance ANY!!! Which parents should we go to for Christmas? EASY! The parents that are in the same country as us. Whose turn is it to babysit the Little Monster? SAME ANSWER! The only balancing we have to do is alternate Christmases. EASY! Seriously, if you have in-law issues, I would try to convince one to move far, far away. It sure has made my life just a little bit easier.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 7: Favorite Childhood Toys

Growing up in a house of three girls, there was one type of toy that seriously overwhelmed our house. And I know I'm not original when I say it. We were a Barbie household. For every Lego piece I've stepped on so far, I know my parents have stepped on fifty times as many Barbie shoes wedged in the fibers of our carpet. Their Christmas mornings were spent trying to find and untie all fifty wires Mattel deemed necessary to package one individual Barbie (and her "functioning" boombox of course). Our neighbors across the street had four girls, their youngest around the age of my older sister, and they were happy to give us their crap hand down their boxes full of Barbies, dresses, MORE SHOES and every single excess accessory they could find. I thought it was the best. thing. ever.

I don't remember when we gave all of our Barbies away, or who we gave them to. Childhood is like that I guess. For years, your world revolves around something. I ate, drank, and slept Barbie. But eventually there were days the Barbie box stayed under the bed. Then the box stayed under the bed so long, it started to collect dust. And one day, my parents decided it was time to cut Barbie loose, and they gave my once prized collection away to someone. And I didn't even notice.

Day 6: Zodiac

 Today's challenge: What is your zodiac sign and does it fit your personality? Well  know I'm a Taurus, and that's pretty much all I can tell you. Here are some excerpts from a description of a Taurean woman from, and how I feel they apply to myself (or don't)

She is capable of handling the severest of problems, without shedding even a single tear.
I think I can handle pretty serious issues, but without shedding a tear? That's not really my style. I cry. A lot. When I had to make the decision to leave my family and friends, it seemed like I could never stop crying. I would cry before I could even start the conversation. And I think faced with severe problems, anyone could handle it. They have to. When faced with a huge problem, you can try all you want to ignore it, but one day you'll have to deal with it. So, no. I don't think this particular Taurean trait applies to me.

Their friends may be a little weird, but they will not be phonies or hypocrites
I only inserted this part of the description because it calls my friends weird. I don't think they're weird. They're my friends. Who knows what other people think. (And quite frankly, who gives a crap? Not me.) When I'm with my friends, we can get pretty weird though. I'll give this point to Taurus.

A Taurus girl doesn't fight with people she dislikes, she simply ignores them and becomes indifferent to their presence.

Well I know this is true. I've heard a quote (I don't know who it's from. oops) "The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference." I certainly try not to hate people; quite frankly it takes a lot of energy to hate someone and avoid them at all costs. I find it better to not cause a scene and act civilly. But Aron's ex who tried to kiss him a couple months after I started dating him? She will always get the stink eye.

The Verdict? I believe horoscopes are written to be so vague that anyone could identify with their designated sign. I'm sure I could liken myself to a few Pisces characteristics if I weren't too lazy to research some more of this zodiac BS. But honestly, I think it's a bunch of garbage and will not waste any more of my time learning about the pseudoscience of astrology.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 5: Your Favorite Comfort Foods

I decided to skip yesterday's challenge. I was supposed to write my views on religion, but I don't think I'm quite comfortable writing something like that on here just yet. So I guess it's more of a 29 Day Challenge.

Today's challenge, My Favorite Comfort Foods. This could get pretty long.

My Mom's Lasagne
My mom has been making lasagne from the same grease-covered magazine clipping for as long as I can remember. It oozes with four different cheeses and just the right amount of sauce. Unfortunately, my mom's awesome lasagne has set the bar pretty high. I tried to recreate the culinary delight over here and it just was not the same. The noodles were too thin and flimsy. I couldn't find spicy Italian sausage. And for a country that takes such pride in their cheeses, there is not much Italian cheese to choose from. No grated mozzerella, no parmesan, just the other day I finally found where they had been hiding the ricotta. Certainly no muenster, which (I think) is the fourth glorious cheese. While my version wasn't terrible, it was by no means anywhere nearly as good as my mom's. For this reason, lasagne is always my first request when I get to America.

Big Fat Cheeseburgers
You can't expect a red-blooded American to write a comfort food post without mentioning some sort of red meat. My weakness is most certainly cheeseburgers with fancy, gooey toppings. Lasagne is always my first hot meal in America, and Red Robin is my first restaurant stop the next day. So many delicious burger choices. And REALLY chocolatey milkshakes. That are actually brown. (Here, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between my chocolate shake and Aron's vanilla. I was even convinced that one time they gave me vanilla due to the serious lack of choclatey goodness, but I digress.) But OH the cheeseburger. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Red Robin seriously needs to think about going international. I would totally be at the Grand Opening.

Mac 'n Cheese
If the neon orange macaroni from the blue box didnt make it on my comfort food list, I think it would seriously cast some doubt if I had really grown up in America. We've all had it and we've all loved it. It needs no explaining. Now that I have a child who is CLEARLY too small to eat a whole box, I just HAVE to help him finish. (Again, this is something only to be found in America unless I'm willing to pay 3 Euro/$5 per box. Which is totally NOT happening.)

So sigh. There is no replacing any of these lovely dishes. And upon the plane touching down, my mouth is already watering after months and months of missing good lasagne, burgers and mac. My tastebuds already know how close they are to being oh-so-satisfied, and that 20 minute drive form the airport to dinnertime seems almost as long as the flight itself. Ok, so I may be exagerating about that. 

Man, I could really go for a cheeseburger right about now. America is still 3 and a half months away, so I'll just have to wait.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 3: Top 5 Pet Peeves

Today's challenge is to list my Top 5 Pet Peeves.

1. I am a big fan of crime shows. Criminal Minds, Cold Case, Bones. I'm borderline addicted to them. But Aron isn't. Most of the time I record them and watch them during the Monster's nap. Sometimes, however, the scheduled time for the show isn't 100% accurate and I miss the end. WHAT THE HECK? WHO KILLED THAT GUY?? Sadly, I'll never know. Criminal Minds just turned into Unsolved Mysteries. Worst.

2. The weather here. Oh. My. Goodness. This Spring was pretty nice. When we moved in to the apartment, I remember sweating bullets. That was May. I was thinking how awesome it was that it was already warm in May! Well that didn't last. Summer was over before I knew it even started. Today, I turned on the heat. Uh, hello... it's AUGUST here. Moments like these leave me longing for the long days in the sun at Camp. I'd even love the three-a-day workouts on Lehigh's winter training trips if it meant I could be in Florida for just a couple days.
*Since starting this post, on the radio I heard All I want for Christmas is You. And my friend heard a commercial for winter tires. HELLO RADIO-PEOPLE!!! IT"S STILL AUGUST! even though I had to turn the heat on. Maybe winter tires aren't a bad idea...

3. Some of Aron's family members think I'll understand what they are saying if tehy repeat the word 3, 4, or 17 times. Newsflash: if I didn't know the word the second time you said it, I still won't understand no matter how many times you repeat yourself.

4. I'm starting to run out... but I also really hate when there are two good tv shows on at the same time.

5. Most of the time, it is advantageous to be 6 hours ahead. It seriously sucks though when I wake up to find out that Lady Gaga dressed up as a guy, some Britney tribute I didn't know about was disappointing, and holy moly, Beyoncé is prego! But I'll be the one laughing next summer when I can watch the Olympics in real time.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 2: Where you'd like to be in 10 years

In ten years, I'll be 33. We'll be married. We'll have a house with a yard. I'll be done with school, sort of. Because I'll work at school, teaching English to high school students. We'll have more kids. Hopefully two more. We'll be going to America regularly. My little Monster will be 12, and probably not so little. On our regular visits to America, Monster will go to Camp. I hope he loves it just like I did as a kid. I was 12 for my first week away at Camp, but I think Monster will go earlier. I want him to go to mini-camp at like 5 or 6. He has already been to Camp for a visit.

Future Camper on the pier. Winter '10-'11

There is a lot in store for our family in the years to come. But right now, Monster is trying to read The Fire Engine Book and he is calling me back to the present. Can I just say that in 10 years it'll be 2021?! It'll be the Next Roaring Twenties.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

30 day challenge

Well I guess now that I explained how I got to where I am, I have to figure out what the heck I'm going to talk about here. I thought a good way to start was to complete a 30 day challenge that I found on

Day 1: Your current relationship

Currently, my boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years and counting. When I got pregnant way earlier than anyone should, we always agreed that when we decided to get married, it would be as a celebration of our love and our relationship. Not because we had a baby. Not because one of us needed a visa. We want our marriage to be about our love and our family.

We also want to do it right. Plan ahead so that family and friends from both sides have time to plan their travel plans (to America). Have enough money to have the wedding of my our dreams. And I did not want to be engaged for the sake of being engaged. I never wanted to be that couple that was engaged for 2 years before we even started to set a date. As soon as he asks, I am going to pull out a calendar, and circle one day with a big red marker. Well I guess I will call my family and friends first. And maybe I'll wait until the next day to whip out the calendar. But you catch my drift.

So yes, we are young. Yes, we are in love. Yes, we are parents. No, we aren't married. That doesn't make us stupid or bad parents. It makes us unique. And I like us the way we are.

The beginning

So I've decided to start blogging. But where do I even begin? I guess I'll start in 2008, when I unexpectedly met the person who would change life as I knew it.

It was summer 2008. I was on summer break from Lehigh University and back at Camp Pecometh where I had worked every summer since '05. This particular camp chooses to hire about 15 or so counselors/staffers from other countries. That summer we had staffers from Australia, Hungary, England, and (most importantly) one blonde-haired blue-eyed Dutchman. The official policy was no romantic relationships should develop during the camp summer. Well rules are made to be broken right? Aron and I started dating a few weeks before the conclusion of summer. We spent every weekend together and after camp, we flew down to Florida and went to Disneyworld. My older sister asked me if I needed to add one more guest for her wedding, but unfortunately, Aron had to be back in Holland for HIS sister's wedding (which was about 30 hours before my sister's).

My junior year at Lehigh was certainly atypical from the average student. Turns out I was pregnant (oops) and trying to maintain a SUPER long distance relationship. It all worked out and May 22nd, 2009 Aron and I became parents. We lived with my parents, flew back and forth a few times, undecided where to plant our roots and grow our family. We knew one thing, we had to have our family together. When Aron couldn't find work in America for a Visa, around Christmas '09, we figured out it was pretty simple for me to get a residential permit in the Netherlands. So after a lot of tearful conversations with family and friends, I boarded a plane with everything I could fit in two suitcases, a diaper bag and a stroller, and took a huge (8 hour) leap.

We were now in February 2010, living with Aron's parents. By September I had my official paperwork, and April 29th, 2011, we closed on our first apartment. We are now homeowners, an independant family of three, ready to start planting our roots and live our own lives, together.

If someone had told me on my 20th birthday (May '08) that by 23 I would have a kid, live abroad, be in a committed relationship, and that we would own our own home, I probably would've laughed in your face. Funny how life happens. And I wouldnt have it any other way