A Depiction Of A Departure

As I write the tale of one departure, we’re currently on the road to our next departure, also to connect with the oma and opa, but also Lake’s never before met uncle, aunt and cousin in Arizona 😎🌵✈️

10/11/21

Lake’s cousins had spent the night, so he was retrieved from his room before we could get him, and deposited into theirs 😉

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While Mike packed, I took a couple of pictures of photos in some of their old family albums, wanting some to compare as Lake ages.

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I too helped pack obviously, even it wasn’t by being the one physically placing items into the suitcases 🤪
Doing that, room checking and tidying, preparing ourselves, the carry on, snacks, toys and travel distractions.
Mike as always, did a fantastic job of fitting in all that we had accumulated 😅🙈

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We said our goodbyes to Mike’s mom, at their house 💗😔
She had managed to squeak in one last bike ride with Lake, while we’d been packing 😉

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They are much, much more composed and held together than my families goodbyes, but it was of course still sad, tears or no tears 🙈
Mike’s dad drove us the long hour to the airport, detouring into town to find us one last snack bar.
Turned out there wasn’t a snack bar, so in its place, Mike got us a Turkish wrap. An acceptable substitute 🤪

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We were dropped off at the terminal, and thus, the trip home truly commenced…

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The airport proved less entertaining to Lake, than it had been on the journey there, so some pre-occupying was attempted, prior to our departure.

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Starbucks was purchased for us adults, and I couldn’t believe my ears as the lady ahead ordered a cool lime refresher.
It sounded vaguely familiar, Mike said I should try it, and then, it clicked.
It was the drink that I had so loved, which was now discontinued in both Canada and the US, for multiple years?!
I ordered it, one, cool lime refresher with coconut milk.

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One beverage enjoyed, every sip cherished and bringing back all the nearly forgotten longings, just as delicious as I thought it would be 🤪💗

‘Luca’ once again got us through pre flight/take off.

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Lake did not sleep nearly as much as he had on the way there. He was pretty busy for a while, and not completely thrilled with the circumstances, but no outbursts or real crying episodes, thus, a complete success in my books 😅

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Eventually I did get him to sleep, which did take a fair chunk of cajoling mixed with him laying, and kicking me, for 45 minutes 🥴😬 (not aggressively, just in a unsettled way) and then I couldn’t put him down, or he’d startle awake.

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I gently handed him off to Mike, who had a row in front of us, once my arms were too tired to go on 🤪
Mike found entertainment in Lake’s array of in flight occupiers for a little while too 😜

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We made it to Calgary and got food, stretched our legs, and did the usual layover tasks and pastimes.

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Come boarding time, we painfully took our seats.
The little plane making even me feel claustrophobic, muchless imagining how it made Mike feel 🥴
The chairs were like sitting on pieces of cement after our tired bodies were maneuvered into them. The hot air blasting us pre take off, and the cold air surrounding us the rest of the journey.

Our drooping eyelids catching painful moments of uncomfortable sleep between head bobs, Lake sleeping splayed across our laps the entire time.

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Finally we landed in Saskatoon a little before 9:00 pm. I humorously heaved all of our bags off the conveyer as Mike stood holding Lake and directing me which to grab next, as they all came out nearly one after another🙈

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Large Mike standing, holding Lake and pointing, little Jess, dashing, heaving bags and depositing them just in time to grab the next 🤪

My parents were our chauffeurs home, and during the drive back, we were entertained by the northern lights.

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A pleasant welcome home 💚

There was an array of goodies waiting upon our counter as well. Bread, cookies, muffins, and fridge necessities having been dropped off by family ☺️

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Lake had fallen asleep on the drive home, and had actually stayed asleep during the transfer from the truck, into the house, speaking volumes of his tiredness 😅
We too quickly went to bed, all sleeping soundly until around 5:00 am.

And so, the retelling of Lake’s first trip to The Netherlands, has finally been completed.

Much, MUCH later than I anticipated, but I persevered, making it to the end, and did those of you reading this as well.

I applaud us all 😜

Post script …

The yard was covered by a thick blanket of leaves, in all their various shades of fall splendour.
After a morning of lounging, coffee drinking, and slight unpacking, we all headed out into the yard to play in/begin the clean up, of said leaves.

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Atlas joined in, and a while later, the cousins had to come over for a hello as well, having been missed 😉💗

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That was on the 12th.

On the 13th, a spot showed up by Lake’s mouth, which I didn’t think much of, as kids get little spots that often disappear the next day.

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He was a bit warm, unsettled and come evening, a couple more spots had appeared on his hands, and feet.
I then put it together.
Hand, foot and mouth had been going around in Europe 😬

By the 14th, he proceeded to become more, and more blister covered throughout the day.

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He was still eating, drinking and generally happy, so that was a big blessing, but the blistering looked so terrible it hurt our hearts 😬
I had to take him for a walk later in the afternoon that day to get him to settle enough for a bit of a nap.

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Sad to have missed the part of fall, pre the actual ‘fall’ part, wishing I could have seen the orange hued foliage upon the trees and not the ground🤪
October 15th I called the doctor to just double check that what he had was indeed hand, foot and mouth, and it most assuredly was.

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She said in efforts to not spread it, we needed to stay away from people for 24 hours at least, after we noticed no new blisters appearing.
So, we didn’t have to quarantine after coming back from Europe… but then Lake and I kind of had to anyways 🤪

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We didn’t go out and see anyone until the 21st, knowing how contagious and unpleasant it is.
Thankfully, the one day he had seen the cousins before we realized he had anything, hadn’t resulted in any of them contracting it, and neither Mike, nor I got it either 🙌🏻

An older cousin we seen even later than the 21st, for only a small amount of time, did get it. Which seemed extremely weird and we felt very bad, but it was well passed the time period the doctor had advised us of, and literally all of the rest of us who spend much more time together, came through unscathed 🙈

Lake did amazingly with the jet lag once we were back home and settled in, post sickness.
Waking around 5:30 or so for a couple mornings, before settling into sleeping straight through from lay down, until 7:30 or even later.

(That’s not the case anymore, but it was nice while it lasted 🤪)

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The End

Fuelling Up On Family

10/09/21

 

That morning we had to get our covid tests taken care of, to have them ready come flight time, and after those were done, we drove to meet up with the parents, to visit Mikes uncle for a bit.

Lake got to swap cars, and go for a ride in the convertible with Opa as we left there, heading for the great grandparents house 😏

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They have a dog, Rose, whom Lake thoroughly enjoyed, giving her open mouth kisses on her nose and all 🤪

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More family came, and some afternoon visiting took place. 
After which, we left, and did some more family visiting 🤪 
Making full use of our second to last day 😉

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We visited, were served more cappuccino’s as well as some peppernuts, and filled up on a little more family time, whilst it was available 🙂

After getting back to the house, we quickly freshened up, said goodbye to Lake, as he was going to spend the evening with his grandparents, and we were going to go out for our sixth anniversary dinner date ☺️

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The sky and airplane trails mixing with the sunset, put on an enjoyable show for us as Mike drove us to  Doetinchem, a town I’d actually not yet been to.

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We parked, and then walked the streets to get to the restaurant Mike had seen online. 

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Though we passed many other interesting looking  places to put on our ‘to eat at’ list 😉

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We started with a tasty appetizer platter.

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Shrimp, fried shrimp, bitterballen, olives, bread, spicy broccoli soup, ribs, carpaccio and dipping sauces. 
The ribs were very tender, and so tasty. The crispy fried shrimp was enjoyable, Mike got all the bitterballen 🤪 
The actual whole shrimps, creep me out a little bit, so while they were good, they were also a little bit tricky to get down 😂 
The pleasant carpaccio was topped with cheese shavings, pine nuts, and arugula and the broccoli soup was really good, all be it, confusing 🤪 
The little shots of soup were swallowed, and at the start, the flavour was just ‘broccoli soup’, then it turned to ‘oh, a really nice broccoli soup’, which then turned to ‘oh wow, that’s a hit of an unexpected  kick!’ 😅 
We cleaned up the remains of that platter, then waited for our main dish to come.

And waited. And waited 🤪

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It ended up being over an hour for our main dish to come, which maybe isn’t the most insane of waits, but it felt like forever 😂 
The appetizer was for sure more of an enjoyed moment then the burgers that followed, but it was fine and we ate them, and departed 🤪

 

10/10/21

 

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The slanted ceiling in our room was often the cause for many a head bang, but the window there, also often afforded a nice morning view 😉
It was the typical Sunday morning. Prepare, eat, out the door, an hour or so drive to church.

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That Sunday the sermon was actually spoken in English, by a family friend whom we know from the states 😅
So, Oma Inge took Lake to the baby room, and I got to sit and listen to one more, entire service, since Lakes birth 🤪
We mingled for a good chunk of time after service ended. It being our final day to see any of them, and wanting to get in one one last hello, and goodbye.

I also had my first ever, completely bilingual conversation 🤪
Meaning someone spoke Dutch to me, and I answered in English and I think we actually managed to make sense. Don’t ask her 😂🙈 I do live with a slight fear that I was answering her, completely wrong 🤪 It is an odd realization, knowing that you can possibly get the idea of what someone is saying in another language, but not having the words to answer them back in it. I guess it’s not that strange, especially for those who’ve grown up speaking multiple languages but for my little brain, it felt interesting 🤪

Not long after we got back to the house, Mikes sister and her kids also arrived.

One last group bike excursion was taken by Opa, Oma and their group of grands, while we stayed back with Judith and her youngest, who wasn’t feeling the biking vibes 😉

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Our opa and oma joined in on the visit not long after 💗

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It was a lovely time, spent soaking up the last of the visiting and eating, being served our favourite broccoli tart and of course, one more after eight crème dessert for Mike 😉

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Aunty Judith thought she’d do something nice by giving Lake a bath with his cousin, and it was going fine, until the ‘fun’ blue bath coloring was added 😅  
There was no calming him down from the shock of that, so the bath was quickly evicted 🤪  
Memory made 😂

A time of song ensued before goodbyes and goodnights were said.

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Lake loving the guitar and songs, all the while doing his best to imitate the actions that went along with them ☺️

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Mike always postpones the packing for as long as he possibly can, which drives me a little bonkers.
But he’s much better at it than I am, thus I just wait until he deems it time 🤪

We started that night, mostly due to my harassment 🙈😅

The Final Foray Through France

10/04/21

We awoke to a sunny morning, prepared ourselves as best we could in the small-ish quarters and drove back into town. Mike somehow recalling the location of a bakery we’d passed the day before 🤪

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A display case full of delicious looking temptations was fully stocked, as were the shelves of bread behind the counter.

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What a way to start the day 😍 
We walked back to the RV, goodies in hand, walking by the ever eye-catching scenery.

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Much that we saw, being old walls built from hand-picked and assembled stones. 
The labour that was put into the things we so casually pass by, causing one to stop in total awe if you pause long enough to consider what it is you’re actually seeing 😳

Mike drove us to the waterside in Fort – Mahon Plage, so we could eat our goodies with a view.

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Not eating them outside, as the wind was pelting sand around and causing a general feeling of unpleasantness 😜

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Once we licked the crumbs off our fingers, our drive began again.

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And I didn’t even relocate to the ‘back seat’ 🤪 
We stopped at a grocery store, as what trip of ours is really complete unless we overspend in a local grocer ?? 🤪 
This was just a small section of their chip selection.

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Please take the time to read all of those vastly different flavours 😅🙈
A drastic change from Holland, where they have very few chip flavours (the main one being ‘paprika’) compared to many places.

We journeyed on through little, and large French towns. Pausing at places with viewing opportunities as necessary, slowly moving back towards Holland.

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We considered going to Europe’s largest aquarium in Boulongne-Sur-Mer, but when we drove by, they were closed 😕 
Making that probably once in a lifetime opportunity, a non opportunity 🤪

We went into the city then, Mike managing to find a parking spot for the RV, so we could walk around and explore a little via foot.

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We walked into what would have been the old city center.

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Homes, stores and their massive cathedral, all being built within the confines of a protective stone wall. 
People still living and working inside the existing walls, where no cars are allowed, but now with a thriving city also continuing on outside of those walls. Whether because it was Monday or afternoon in France, or both, finding an open place to eat, was once again a little tricky.
We finally found a pizza place and ordered a margarita pizza to go, taking it back to eat in the RV. 

The thick, chewy mozzarella atop a thin but still doughy crust, not at all failing to satisfy 🤤

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Two murals were spotted while driving through town, the man in the yellow raincoat was painted by a Canadian artist 

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One more bakery was stopped at for good measure before we left town.

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We paused at Fort d’Ambleteuse, not realizing that’s where we were headed, but not being disappointed that it’s where we ended up for a little leg stretch.

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The rocky shoreline was wandered upon for a little while, and then a little while longer once a couple of shells were spotted, as the search had to become a little more serious in its pursuit 🤓

 

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We also gathered a special little collection of rocks from there, specifically for Lake 😉 

B85682C2-9D60-4CAF-AB32-6D1308B1EB79A toy or souvenir had been looked for, for Lake but nothing had caught our eye. He doesn’t love stuffed animals and hardly any other toys for that matter, but we truly did think he’d appreciate the rocks. Not just because they were easy to get as well as being free 🤪

Back at the RV we took a short siesta, since Mike planned to continue driving later into the day. 
Our next stop after restarting the drive, was at a the Calais Canadian War Cemetery.

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We signed the guest book and took a moment to ponder the graves. 

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Being struck by the ages of so many young men, and their sacrifices.

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Wissant was the coastal town we stopped in next, wanting to find a place to eat.

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A dolphin was the symbol for a street crossing and I wish they were the symbol used everywhere 😅

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We just missed the time for food being served and were thus stuck with the drink and dessert menu options, so an in house pink lemonade and two crepes were ordered.

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They were tasty, just not overly filling 

Next stop – Cap Blanc-Nez cliffs.

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Pretty self explanatory, cliffs, by the waters edge.

 

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It’s actually the closest point of France to England, and The White Cliffs of Dover can be seen on a clear day.

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We had to walk a decently lengthy path to get to the steps that lead down to the actual beach/cliff area.

 It looked like it would be overly far to journey down and really go to the waters edge, but in the end we went further than expected. 

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Our wandering feet and the feeling of adventuring taking over 😉

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Accumulating 10,250 some steps by the end of the day, which for a day that was spent driving more than not, isn’t too shabby in my opinion 😉

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Our feet then took a rest, as our bellies took over and the search for food began once again. 
We passed this impressively constructed house/fence as we drove towards town. 

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I don’t really feel like reliving this next part, but for your entertainments sake, I will 🤪

A menu outside of a restaurant was read, and it seemed like a decent price for what would come with the meal.
A starter, entrée and dessert.  
We figured that since we had an upcoming anniversary and when would we try a semi fancy restaurant during a stint in France again, so why not?

The meal began, with duck.

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But not at all the duck that I had hoped for 🙈 
Two slabs of cold, fat sprinkled, meatloaf looking duck, topped with a semi sweet pickle, was placed in front of me and thus began the feeling of having made a fatal mistake 🤪 
I took my fork and carefully removed a small corner, bringing it slowly to my mouth and using much inner courage, ate it.
It was not ‘bad’ but nor was it what I would call ‘good’. 
Mike too tried it and he then admitted that after reading the French menu, he had thought the duck would either be a soup type dish, or what I got 🤪  
I wish he’d have mentioned that fact sooner.

Neither of us had any desire to eat the duck, so there it sat. Awkwardly untouched, catching the curious eyes of the waiters and waitresses that passed, unsure if we were done, or simply not hungry. 
I excused myself to use the restroom, hoping beyond hope that the waitress would come whilst I was away, but she did not.

I found this situation very uncomfortable 🤪🙈

She finally came, asking if anything was wrong and we explained that we were simply unlearned tourists whom hadn’t expected that type of dish 🤪 
A long wait then ensued. 
As people around us were served and we waited, and waited. 
Our plates were finally brought out, and then quickly taken away! As they were for another table 🤪

So we waited some more 🙈

Finally our dishes did come, Mikes lamb shank being pretty tasty, my fish being fine, just a little boring.

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We never got the wifi password given to us either, and when you’re traveling without any, have routes to plan and a child to check in on, that is a point against the establishment as well. 
It was not the worst dining experience, but it just slowly slid into a less and less pleasant one, considering the price and expectations and it just wasn’t the happiest feeling note to end the last meal of the trip on 🤪 
We got out of there as quickly as we could, which was not very quickly at all, and hit the road 🤓

Mike then admitted he’d thought all along that we should have just eaten at the next McDonald’s, as he’d rarely been impressed by food when in France.
Speak your thoughts out loud next time husband! 
🤪😂

By then it was dark out, and Mike decided he would just drive until he got tired, find a place to park us for the night and call it good. 
I retired around 11 or so I think, and he went on until 1 ish I believe…

Flavours From The Past

09/28/21

I can’t really recollect what happened this day… will you all be able to make it? Not knowing the details of a day of my life?! 🤪 

As far as I can recall, I was actually not feeling fantastic, aching and having some very bad headaches throughout the day.

So between unpacking, laundry, Lake tending, showering etc. the day passed by.
Mike had went out and purchased supplies to make supper during my and Lakes nap, as Inge was working that day and we had no plans for the evening. He purchased what we’d have typically gotten some random day for a meal back when we lived in Europe.

Four, breaded and seasoned pork schnitzel €5.00

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Pre – chopped and seasoned potato’s €0.89

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Bagged lettuce, tomato’s and mozzarella €3.00

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Garlic baguette €0.50

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Mike also did most of the preparations for dinner ☺️💗 

Because he’d been bound to the house for most of the day, aside from him grocery buying expedition, he ‘needed’ to get out 🤪
Thus, meaning he wanted me, to go out with him too 🙄🤪
I suppose I should be flattered but really he just can not relax in a space… where I prefer to become a part of a space 🤪🙈
We opted to go to a nearby restaurant to grab a drink while Oma and Lake went for an evening bike ride.

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Since I still felt a bit under the weather, I ordered a mint tea and Mike got a hot chocolate.

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You probably know by now that I don’t advise tea drinking, but if you do it, the way they do mint tea with the actual leaves/stems, is rather a nice way to partake of the tepid, slightly confused water style drink 😉

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09/29/21

Oma Inge had the day off of work, and when that would occur, she’d urge us to make use of her grandmotherly abilities of babysitting 😉
Zevenaar was the town we decided to go explore for a little while, as well as begin some of the purchasing of items we desired to take back with us.

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We began with fries and ice cream. Knowing we’d be regretting it if we didn’t take every opportunity we had, to indulge in those two simple pleasures 😉🤪

As we wandered along the street, a sign for a men’s clothing shop that was having a closing down sale, caught Mikes eye 🤓
He entered in casual attire and left with a new suit and dress shirt in hand 😅

Unplanned and mostly unneeded, but the joy on his face while he tried on suits, was nearly worth the price tag 😜🙈

Oma paraded Lake around while we where out. Biking, walking, visiting neighbours etc. keeping him (and herself😉) ever entertained ☺️

Lake’s great Oma and Opa were over when we returned and Opa was quickly interested to learn which shop Mike had gotten his suit from, so he too could go shopping the sale 😉🙈
Such a different genre of men then I am accustomed to having grown up around 😂
Where the very idea of suit shopping would cause great unease 🤪

09/30/21

We three, along with John and Inge, drove to Utrecht to do some exploration. 

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A place in line was found outside of Broodje Mario.

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A restaurant that’s been around since 1977.
A ‘ Broodje Mario’ sandwich was ordered, being made up of cheese, salami, chorizo and a kind of coleslaw mix.
John said he would go and get the same thing when he was growing up near there.

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As the sandwich was shared, it didn’t do much to dent the hunger and not much farther along, some loempia’s were purchased and then a little further, a five guys burger 🤪 The two previous foods were much better than the burger 😬

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It wasn’t the nicest of days weather wise, being overcast and a bit windy, but we walked in and out of enough stores and down enough streets, to stay decently comfortable.

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We walked past the building John’s father had grown up in and it was interesting to see a couple of the places the generation(s) pre Mike, had experienced ☺️

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A drink and snack were gotten before we walked back to the vehicle and drove back in the direction of the house.

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I got another mint test, but as my unwell feeling had left, so had my enjoyment of said tea 🙈


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I snoozed a little during the drive to our next quick stop at John’s brothers office to say a quick hello, to combat the car sickness that taunts me all around Europe.

863F09D2-73D3-4501-9B82-C1F16B6C3C47Once we got back home, Inge mixed us up a salad for dinner and Mike went out to eat and watch a Vitesse soccer game with his cousin. He’d said I was welcome to go with them, but I respectfully declined 😜
Lake was tired from the day out, so he went to bed decently and I used that opportunity to chat with the sister back home 💗

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