Saturday, January 18, 2020

Another Five Years!

Not that I ever worry about it, but it's actually a big deal when my renewal comes up for my staying/residence permit here in the Netherlands and it happens.  We both celebrate!

On December 5, 2019, I celebrated 10 years of residence here in Gorinchem where we live.  My first staying permit was for 1 year, followed by a 4-year permit and then my first 5-year permit.  It was time now for my 4th permit and, for the first time, to be picked up in Den Haag/The Hague.

Our appointment was for this past Wednesday, so off we went and made a nice, rainy, windy day of it.

Right outside our parking garage stood the Nieuwe Kerk, completed in 1656.
More on it later but I LOVE how Astrid does the research to find the perfect spot for parking.

Not knowing exactly how long it'd take to find our important destination,
we set off to find the government building and THEN stopped for a latte macchiato.
We were an hour early!

Being early meant we had time to get the lay of the land.
Right around the corner was Den Haag's Central Station (train).

Here you see it farther out, showing Den Haag's coat of arms, their city's official symbol.
Vrede en Recht = Peace and Justice.
Den Haag is the seat of government for the Netherlands 
and hosts the International Court of Justice.

Almost every skyscraper/building we saw that day was in the center of government activity,
all right there at our fingertips.

We could have spent hours observing every little thing.

See what I mean?

The Hague has traditionally been a city of storks, thus the stork on the coat of arms and as the logo of the community.  In the Middle Ages they were domesticated to remove fish remains at the fish market and nested on the buildings around the Binnenhof and in the area of the Groenmarkt and were seen as bringers of luck and prosperity.

  But I digress.
It was time for my appointment at the IND Loket (ticket window)
IND = Immigratie-en Naturalisatiedienst = Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Once my number was called, I was in and out by the actual time of my appointment, 11:30.

The coffee house and IND (behind and to the left) were both in this courtyard.

Remember when I said it was a windy day? YUP.

But back to the skyscrapers as we left the IND office.
The Ministry of Justice, Affairs and Security....

City Hall.

What a beautiful skyline!
[credit:  Wiki]

 If you squint, you can see Gemeente Den Haag = Municipality of The Hague.

Moving right along, as we head back to the car...

...we see the Nieuwe Kerk again.

This time we hoped it'd be open to visit before lunch.
But alack and alas, it wasn't.

However, at least the gate was open for us to walk around.

The Old Dutch words across the front = The Word of the Lord is Everlasting.
Notice the city's coat of arms again, with the lion and stork.

Now, let's celebrate!

This was Astrid's treat, so very happy for this permit being yet again a done-deal.
It should have been MY treat but she insisted...and I was in heaven.
(And yes, there were enough leftovers to take home!)

I realize it's strange to end such a day with this, but...
don't you just love how sometimes you don't need words to describe what you're trying to say!

Thursday, January 09, 2020


So, after a nice 3-week holiday break, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Sometimes we just need to get off the merry-go-round and smell the roses.  Hopefully you had time to do that, too.

Part of my "break" has been no travel pics to process.  I usually think of that as my job (lest they fall into that proverbial Black Hole) but with fewer excursions these days, I'm being kind to myself.

However, I AM making two new books (one each for my Watercolor Sunday and Saturday's Color posts on Facebook) and am having a blast doing them.  It's like heaven for me, when time either stands still or flies.  Eternalized moments of pure, creative joy.

In the meantime, I still color Happy Color pics on my iPad and pay attention to some of the themes I'm collecting.

For instance:

I wish I knew if these are from the same artist.
The tilt, the triste:  the sad, mournful, wistfulness.
What is he/she thinking?

The same/different artist?  I wonder.
But more of the same "what is he/she thinking?"

This is a bit more lighthearted, perhaps...

...and a bit AI-ish?
I'm not sure if they're robots or caricatures of US the day we're full of spare parts!
At least they're carrying on as though nothing happened, seizing the day.

Life does go on, doesn't it, and now it's 2020.
Let's seize it by the horns, no matter what happens.