Thursday, April 30, 2015

How to Scare an Egg

My husband is standing at the counter, trying to peel off a sticky shell.

"You didn't scare the eggs? I'm losing half of it," he says.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spring Fever and Capsule Wardrobes

Pink and white trees are blooming all over Rotterdam. Pippin and I have been to parks twice in the last week and played on the swings and slides. The sun shines through the windows and has coaxed me to pull out some Tshirts and shorts.

Not long ago, my sister sent me a link on capsule wardrobes. A few days later, my mom sent me the same link. And then a few days after that, a friend messaged me with "Random question: do you do a capsule wardrobe?" Either spring fever is in the air or they've all been conspiring together. Maybe both.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Meeting The Faceless

Since we've had a baby, I've become very aware of the next-door-neighbor-through-the-wall.

Since he's in the next building over, we don't see him in our stairwell and say hi.

We don't know his name or whether he has a significant other.

We just know that there's a good chance that our crying baby bothers him and that his loud music definitely bothers us.

When someone is faceless it's easy to reject them. To sigh in frustration, make snarky comments about their music taste or laughter, and yet be uncomfortably conscious that we might be annoying them too. To grumble about the parties they throw and yet never actually get to know what sort of person they are.

On Saturday I met our neighbor.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

One Small Act

One of my favorite websites for eco-friendly living is One Small Act. I discovered it when my life went through a makeover in October 2012 – new house, new city. I started chasing minimalism and conscious consumerism. I blogged about the start of the journey here. Did I have any idea how the journey would unfold, or the friends I would "click" with? I doubt it. But I'm glad I started down that road.

"Recycle a piece of cardboard"
It's interesting to look back at how much I didn't know then about eco-friendly living. My family had always been frugal. My mom can stretch a grocery budget further than anyone I know, and my dad was always the one to explain how solar panels or cycling crops worked. And of course I knew how to recycle, compost, and use up leftovers. But I had never really thought about the chemicals in shampoo and makeup. Or what made Fair Trade food fair. And I hadn't known that there were other "normal" people like me who wanted to be better stewards of the Earth but weren't always sure how to do that. One Small Act (then called "Practically Green") was the perfect answer, because it provided a community as well as bite-sized challenges within bigger projects like recycling, parenting, and saving electricity. I found and tried challenges like:

Track your trash for a week

Find a healthy recipe

Watch "The Story of Stuff" documentary

Take a shower that is 5 minutes or less

Donate a gently used item to a charity

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Be Yourself

Poster for sale. Inspiration for free. "Be yourself, don't try to be normal." Good thought for those of us who never totally fit in.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015



The virtual home of hipsters who drink organic green smoothies, display nail art and Crossfit abs, and spend hours writing songs in Starbucks. Since I do none of the above, I obviously do not belong on Instagram.

Or so I thought.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

DutchInLaw Blogger Interview

"Meet Lee, an expat who lives with her husband and baby in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands....." Read more here at

Monday, April 6, 2015

Learning the Language

A Hungarian Poster
"Study the language. The language is key to the culture. This doesn't, however, mean you have to attend class (thank goodness). Just turning on the radio is a big help - you'll become familiar with the speech patterns/intonations/dialects, the popular music, and what's going on in society. You can also watch movies in the language (especially with subtitles), take up a hobby outside the home, or get a language buddy. Then, of course, there's the Internet - podcasts, language websites, and online forums. If you enjoy classroom learning, there are classes at different language levels....."

I'm drafting my response to interview questions on an expat site. Some of my answer I've already put into my draft of DutchInLaw, the book. It's fun to think through, but I feel like I'm missing some of the answer because it has been so long ago that I first set foot on Dutch soil. And the way I look at language learning as a 29 year old woman is different than when I was a 15 year old girl. Then, I had studied some Greek, Spanish, and French. Now I've studied Dutch, Polish, Italian, and a little bit of German. I've figured out that I do not learn well in a classroom setting; I learn best by immersion, and following my interests. I've also found that I'd rather watch a movie or listen to music in the language than study the details of grammar details, which means I can quote sentences but not necessarily conjugate them.

Writing about language learning makes me wish I had a reason to learn a new one. New friends who only speak Turkish? An upcoming move to Spain? Still waiting for a big enough lure....