Sunday, September 18, 2011


The sun is rising, and Rotterdam is glowing. So is Delft, and so is Den Haag - all visible from where we live in a panorama sort of world. The clouds put on a pink and purple party last night and then again this morning... people think of autumn as having red and gold colours but the sky seems to opt for pastels an awful lot. At least the stunning view out my window is only marginally blocked by racks of drying clothes.... Airing clothes is fine with me, but when it's wet outside it takes a pair of jeans about 24 hrs to dry it's not a pretty sight (plus sometimes the dampness just stays and smells. Not cool.) At least once it gets colder there will be central heating and that should help. Ahhhh- the thought of sitting next to a piping hot radiator. So much cosier than the impersonal air vent system working through a ceiling.

I can remember curling up on a warmed floor in Greece as a kid - there the heating often comes through the tiles as well. A big heap of warm robes and sweatshirts and my siblings, reading books or poking each other while waiting for Mum to cook breakfast. Butter, honey or brown sugar over steaming bowls of oatmeal, to be dallied over as long as possible before having to start schoolwork for the day. Or start chores - my memory's vague on which one was considered worse. I remember being five or six when I was given a stool so I could 'help' wash the cups and bowls; as I got older and our family grew, I did more and it took longer. (How else could you earn an allowance, though?)

I do know that when I was about 11, doing the dishes started becoming fun because I could put music on our kitchen stereo set. That hasn't changed - music on and soapy water make for a good past-time in my book. The kitchen gets clean, I get to have music on, plus I either get to enjoy a friend's company while they help clean up, or enjoy some solo time myself. Win-win. (Plus - word to the wise - washing up is a very valuable skill. I found that dish-doing plus babysitting make a very attractive combination to offer families as a college kid or single adult. They got a clean kitchen and happy kids, I got fed delicious meals. Money is optional. :D )

From my apartment here, I can even watch the sky while washing up. Like most Dutch windows, our window was bare when we got here. Blinds or curtains are used at night, or when watching films; in the daytime the whoooooole world can look inside (probably so the oma's can check on your housekeeping skills.) On one of our (many) house-furnishing trips, D. and I went to the window section of Gamma (the local equivalent of a Homebase, Home Depot, or Obi.) We found some raam-folie, a sort of heavy plastic foil that can be stuck onto a window to make it harder to look inside. There were choices like stained glass, flowers, or basic white matte; we chose bamboo, of course. We discussed using bamboo for our outdoor-style wedding, and currently have a bamboo plant living on the balcony, so it fits. I was a little worried I would lose my kitchen view, but clever D. cut a big strip and a little one, so we have our privacy (dancing in the kitchen might make us lose face with the neighbors) and our beautiful panorama view too....

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