Saturday, January 23, 2010

Home Sweet Home

With my new laptop in hand since Wednesday, here I am again, feeling at home more and more with every day. Today marks my 7th week since arriving in Holland on Dec. 5.

As you see, Gathering Wisdom has found her resting place.
Almost everything, in fact, is situated...except for all the nic-nacs that go on the glass shelves in the left of this cabinet. We'll work on that in the next week, taking our time to get the right mix of hers, mine and ours.

In the meantime, we've had a bit of a setback with Astrid, who fell off her bike this past Monday while riding to work on slippery roads. She has since found out that everyone and their aunt and uncle did the same thing that day. The temps were just above freezing, which tricked everyone, I guess, into thinking they didn't have to worry. Sigh. Her left arm took the brunt of the fall and was too swollen for x-rays when she went to the doctor. Yesterday she was finally able to get an x-ray and found out her elbow, at the tip of the humerus, is fractured. She'll wear a soft cast and sling for a week and plans to go to work, as long as they allow her to do her job (controlling the manufacturing of cabinets and doors) without lifting/carrying. They've promised and said they need her. So we'll see what happens!

Adding to the intrigue of all that's happening, we received the official paperwork saying we can now get married (and have until June 28 to do so before applying again!). They believe, in other words, it will not be a fake marriage for me to simply gain long-term residence in Holland. It's real. We really do want to be married!

So the date has been set for February 5 at 2p on Friday afternoon, two weeks from now. All marriages in Holland have to be performed by an official at City Hall (whether also performed in a church ceremony or not). So we're getting married at the Gorinchem Stadhuis Trouwzaal (the City Hall Wedding Chapel) by a female official who is downright excited for us. We'll be meeting with her next Thursday to go over all the details.

This is fast and short notice, we know. However, it's something we want to do AND will hasten my staying-permit process which has to be begun by March 5 without my being forced to return to the States for 3 months. We've jumped through too many hoops to let the ball drop at this stage of the game. We will keep going till the opera's over.

Things will be hectic these next two weeks, so we covet your mindfulness of us. We want to "be prepared" but we also want to live in the moment every day and not get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent. Thanks for hanging in there with we create this place we call Home.


ADDENDUM (Tuesday, 26 Jan.): That was then, this is now. Astrid was in so much pain on Sunday that we went to the Emergency Room at the hospital where they couldn't believe how bruised and swollen her arm still was. In fact, they thought maybe even her wrist was broken. I don't totally understand the Dutch system on such things but they weren't able to x-ray it then. We had to go back the next day (yesterday) and NO, the wrist is not broken. Thank God.

Later in the afternoon she then had to go to her doctor's office to check it all out. The doctor does not think it's infected but after changing her pain med to one that includes an antibiotic, Astrid has been a totally different person...feeling and acting almost "normal." So, who knows! She remains off work till Thursday when she hopes to get back into the swing of things...with her sling on for protection, if anything else, and a message that says she can't lift or do hard work (which she is always offering to do as she controls, wanting to help whenever she can).

Maybe we're out of the woods?!


  1. I absolutely love her resting place. She's got a lot to watch over there! I can't get my mind off of all of those cabinets etc. I love them!!!

    And Astrid, here's to a speedy healing to you! That looks very black and blue, but thankfully it wasn't too much more..

    Ah to have a job loving what you do! One day I hope to have one!

  2. Ginnie, although our acquaintance is very recent, I would like to offer my congratulations to you and Astrid and to wish you much happiness together. This is wonderful news, although I'm sorry to hear that Astrid's arm is out of commission for a while.

    You live in a great country, hmm???

  3. Maybe all that money is going for universal health care and other wonderful things.
    The shelves look fantastic. The position of Astid's arm does not (awkwardly turned:)

  4. Tell Astrid to be very patient with her arm so it will heal well and won’t bother her later on – my mother had a fracture like that and it bothered her in her 80s as it had not properly healed. What an exciting time for both of you. In France too you have to go to city hall to be officially married because we have what is called “separation of church and state” (real separation) and then one can get married in a church, synagogue, temple (that is what they call Protestant churches) or mosques (if not that would mean they recognize a religious institution to deliver an official government act.) I always liked to go to weddings in France because it was a double celebration this way and always so much fun. I send you both my heartfelt congratulations and know that the affection and love you feel for each other will keep growing and enrich your lives. I wish I could send you a good bottle of Champagne – but I’ll open one on the 5th in Atlanta and drink in your honor and send you thoughts of happiness!

  5. Oh what a great idea Vagabonde has - a bottle of champagne in your honor Feb. 5. Don and I will do the same!

    When we got your wedding invitation via email yesterday, we both said was a gorgeous photo it is. It makes total sense that you would grab this date and NOT have to return to the U.S. for 3 months! But I'm confused now about what else will be hectic in the days ahead??

    Gathering Wisdom is just beautiful on that perch along with your other gorgeous things (I don't recognize that beautiful chest of drawers, how soulful). I think you have learned from her to be able to use the word "intrigue" for these levels of complexity you've experienced.

    So much love and happy wishes to you both. To Astrid, as we say in Turkish: Geçmiş olsun (literally, may it pass).

  6. Maybe the hecticness is planning the wedding reception?

  7. I am a little envious that you and Astrid get to live in Europe. I think I need to spend at least a year over there at some point.

    Astrid's arm looks very painful. I'm sure it affects her sleep. Tell her I am sorry and to be sure to let it heal properly.

    You look and sound so happy!!!

    Congratulations on the upcoming wedding!

  8. Still with a big smile on my face I am reading your post.
    Home sweet home, where I return to every afternoon after work, everyday it feels more like home to me/us.
    My falling down on the road did have a follow up, tomorrow I need to go again for x-rays, my wrist might be broken too, I will keep my rest.
    Lieve schat, thank you for taking care of me so well and thank you for lending me your shoulder to cry on every once in a while.
    I am looking forward to our wedding, we both want this so badly.

  9. ET: That's a good way to put it...that she's watching over everything. I like that. We think Astrid has also broken her wrist, which we will find out tomorrow. I'll give an update after we know. And your job is on its way....just hang in there.

    Deborah: You are such a sweetheart to congratulate us! Thank you. We are very grateful Holland recognizes gay marriage, yes, and are waiting for the day when it will "count" in the States. THAT will be the day!

    Susan: You may be right on "all that money!" We'll see, I guess. :) You should see Astrid's arm now...twice as black and blue and all the way to her wrist. We went back to Emergency this morning and they think her wrist may also be broken. We'll find out tomorrow....

    Vagabonde: Astrid has read your comment and we both agree about the prudence of erring on the side of being too careful, which we will do. Thanks for the caution. I think Europe has it right about the separation of church and state. It sure makes sense to me. Thank you for your congratulations and best wishes. We cherish them all. I will have such a smile on my face when I think of you and others drinking a glass of champagne on our day! Thanks for the thought.

    Ruth: I LOVE it! Let the corks pop all over the world. It will be a day of celebration! As I have already told you privately, the hecticness we feel has to do with making sure Astrid's arm is taken care of properly...and that we figure out what we will wear, etc. The wedding reception is thankfully taken care the restaurant we have grown to call our own. Gathering Wisdom sits next to the multi-drawer chest that used to be in the Atlanta basement hallway. Every drawer is filled with pens of every sort...ballpoint, high-liters, felt-tip, mechanical pencils...and erasers. We will never need to buy anything like that the rest of our lives, for sure! Thank you, thank you.

    Don: Well, I guess you did your time in Turkey, which is still trying to be accepted by the European Union, right? Maybe that doesn't seem the same to you? One day you will come to visit us here in Holland and we'll let you get your fill of it. I LOVE it here, as you know. It is home. And yes, we are both very happy! Thanks for your congratulations.

    Astrid: It amazes me how many things keep popping up to stand in the way of our Journey. But we just don't give a hoot, do we. It all just makes us more determined than ever. Maybe we needed to know that. Maybe that's why it hasn't been easy. One day we will look back on all of it and say, "See, we knew it was worth it!"

  10. I'm so very excited for the two of you for your upcoming union and for living in the moment every day! You're blessed (despite the challenges!)but I hope to send you both many many more blessings!

  11. *clap* *clap* *clap*

    So happy for both of you that I think I just peed in my pants :D

    All my best to ya both.

  12. Mad: Thank you one hundred times over. We are so excited, in spite of all the roadblocks that keep turning up. We are troopers and will keep soldiering forward.

    PC: HAHAHA! I love it, Maria. Thank you so much for your applause. We are so happy about finally having a date on the calendar. YAAAY.

  13. Late, late, late! But not too late to be ready for this most important date!

    I was so honored and thrilled to receive your invitation, and we'll be sure there are corks popping in Houston, too, on the big day!

    I was just wondering - in Holland, do they have the tradition of "something old, something new..." If so, perhaps the "something blue" can be Astrid's black and blue arm - I so hope that it's no longer paining her by then, even if she must have it in a sling.

    Some years ago, before my mother had moved to be with me in Texas, she fell on the first day of a two week visit, broke her ankle in two places and was with me for five months! We never know how much patience we're capable of until we're called on to exercise it!

    I'm just so happy for you - and for the love gathering around you during this special time.

  14. l am so glad Astrid is better. Your arm really looked painfulx I am so happy about your wedding. My dutch gay friend got married in Holland a while ago. I am so glad you can now get married and l wish you all the luck in the worldx I don't know if you would do this BUT..l would love to make you a small wedding gift..would you send me your address? If you would rather not, l do understand.xlynda

  15. Oh I'm so sorry to read about Astrid's arm. Winter has just been crazy all over Europe this year. But I know nothing will stand in your way on Friday. I'll be thinking of you both as you start your journey together...