Thursday, June 10, 2010


Yesterday was my 65th birthday, a milestone I actually cherish, believe it or not.
Today is my turn at Vision & Verb where I talk about Seniority...and senior discounts. HA! Enjoy.
And by the way, my wife, Astrid, was the guest blogger there yesterday. I still beam when I say those words, "my wife." I am very proud of her!

In celebration of my birthday, Astrid and I spent the weekend driving south in The Netherlands to Maastricht, on Saturday, to visit the "protected area" of its city center. It'll take me time to work on all the pictures I took but I wanted you to know what we did. We spent the night at a B&B outside of Arcen, north of Maastricht on our way home, to visit the castle and gardens on Sunday. After our visit to the Keukenhof Gardens in April, someone told us to make sure we visited Arcen one day. So we did. You'll hear more about it, too, in time.

Now, something to give you a smile:

Back in early December when I first arrived in The Netherlands and started to find my way around to the grocery stores, etc., I discovered a certain spot near the Water Horse pond (where Old Sannie, the salmon fisherman sits) that is frequented by various ducks and geese. Thankfully, I had my camera with me and documented this "Right-of-Way" procession that happens every day on this busy road. Once the geese decide to cross the street (the pond is on the right out of the image), everyone simply has to stop and give them their right of passage.

It so happens this is the exact route I take to school on my bike 4 days each week. Last Thursday I didn't get the main migration but a couple of duck stragglers were in my bicycle lane. PAS OP! Pay attention, Ginnie. I have been intent each day on the cars and other cyclists...but never on the ducks/geese.
What's not to like about this incredible "little" country!

Speaking of school, I have now finished 4 weeks (of 41) and expect to take my third test today/tomorrow, the end of another chapter. There is SO MUCH I'm learning...sometimes TOO much. I think my head will explode. But then I find myself heading off each day in excitement, eager to learn that new word or two that will make it easier to keep speaking Dutch (vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary). Astrid is the Mother of all Teachers, being patient and long-suffering here at home. She is excited for me and keeps encouraging me by telling me how proud she is of me (flattery gets her everywhere). And when I bump into people here around where we live, I excite myself when I actually carry on a conversation of sorts.

65 years old, not too old, and loving every minute of it. Now give me some respect! :)


  1. We had a great weekend celebrating your birthday and yesterday morning I rolled my eyes (don't get me wrong) at breakfast you tried so hard to start a conversation in Dutch to people at the breakfast table. To make a long story short, even I got stuck in talking German... the couple spoke NO word accross the border (Dutch saying)
    In Maastricht you talked to two couples in Dutch and the ladies were inpressed by your Dutch and I glowed with pride.
    You are such a trooper when it comes about learning Dutch.
    Those geese are always taking the right away....for years already and they get away with it.....

  2. Happy Belated Birthday, dear Ginnie! Sounds like you and Astrid had a lovely weekend.

    And you KNOW I have nothing but respect for you. You are one amazing woman! :-)

  3. Christina took the words right out of my mouth. You are an amazing woman! Respect!

  4. It's true, you've always had my respect too.

    By the way, I tried the link to V & V to your post twice, and it was dead. I had tried from Google Reader too, and it did the same thing. Strange. But I'll keep trying. And I'll read Astrid's too!

    I'm glad your birthday weekend was wonderful.

  5. I get such a kick out of reading about your adventures, Ginnie. You have so much enthusiasm and energy and positivism - enough for at least half a dozen people!

    Happy belated birthday, and congratulations on your progress/prowess - I look forward to eventually reading an entire post written by you in Dutch, although will not understand a word of it!

  6. I'm very glad to find your blog, Ginnie and thanks for visiting and leaving the link. I look forward to keeping up to date with your adventures in The Netherlands.

    Once again Many Happy Returns and RESPECT :)

  7. When you speak of the little outings, it really makes me want to get a trusty car so that we can do weekends like that too!

    I got to experience that this weekend with the parents, and not a moment went by thinking of you and your bday!

    Now it's already 4 wks of class, wow!

    The photos just make me dream of living in the NL. Really I do love it in Europe..

    Glad you are enjoying every moment of it..


  8. I'm so glad you are welcoming your 65th birthday, it's a real milestone in life isn't it? I'll be getting there soon, you are just 5 months ahead of me! I'm looking forward to those senior discounts. Now I have to remember to apply for my Candian Govt pension money, I've had the forms since January and have been too busy to get on with the job! I congratulate you on your progress in learning Dutch. How is your accent? Do people say you are speaking with an American accent? Really hard to pronounce the words exactly as the Dutch do.

  9. Belated birthday wishes! I only celebrate the ones that end in 0 now!

  10. sounds like a fabulous way to celebrate your birthday and you deserve it, too. I've always felt that bdays should be a monumental celebration, wether for 8, 33, 54 and definitely 65!

  11. Astrid: You sure do know how to inspire me with my Dutch learning, never tiring of all my mistakles and booboos. Thank you for your undying patience. We're having so much fun. Your humor is often the best medicine. :) Bedankt.

    Christina: Thank you, dear friend. I'm so glad I have so many memories with you under my belt. Maybe we'll have more to come? Hannover is NOT that far away!

    CS: You sure know how to make my day, Woman. Thank you.

    Ruth: Thank you, sister. And thank you for trying again at V&V. Have no clue what that was about. You have birthdayed me well. :)

    Deborah: An entire post written in Dutch. HA! Actually, I have thought of that, but if I do it, I will give you my translation. Something to aspire to, I guess. :) Thank you for your kind words, always.

    Griselda: You're a sweetheart. THANK YOU. The world keeps getting bigger and bigger, even as it gets smaller. I love it. :)

    ET: Now that you and P both have a job, I'm sure getting a trusty car is just around the corner. I know you will have many happy weekends together. Thanks, Jen.

    Sham: I love the big milestones. And why not! I was totally surprised to find out 65 is also giving me a small Dutch pension...something I never expected. So it's definitely paying off to get older. :) Astrid tells me I DO have an American accent, so yes, I do. :)

    Susan: HA! I love the 5s and the 0s, all of them. :)

    Mad: I think you're definitely on to something there. :) All of them are important because you never know when any one of them will be the last. Thanks for your comment, as always.

  12. Hartelijk gefeliciteerd! Ik heb heel veel respect voor je, Ginnie. To learn a new language at 65 must be daunting.

    I loved my little detour to Keukenhof. I was so busy in April, I didn't get to visit your post until now. I haven't been since the 60's. I would love to go to Floriade one of these decades. The next one is in 2012 in Venlo; I'll keep my fingers crossed.

    I love all your train photos. I will show them to my train-buff husband.