Here are some quick observations from the last few days:

On a quiet Sunday morning, I saw this giant balloon figure in a neighbor’s front yard. I had never seen anything like it before, but it looked like an elderly woman who was about 14 feet tall.

I found out that it was Sarah, of Abraham and Sarah. When someone turns 50 years old, they have either a blow up figure of Sarah or Abraham in their yard. This not only signifies turning 50, but that there will be some sort of celebration. I would assume that rental companies are very busy with these figures.

Birthdays are very big in the Netherlands, and I know that they are big in America too. But there is a different feel here, that is hard for me to explain. It is a great opportunity for families to get together, and they don’t let a birthday go by without some kind of party—no matter what the age. And they use the word “congratulations” to anyone who is celebrating a birthday. Everyone comes up to the birthday person, shakes their hand and says “congratulations”.

Okay, my favorite view of the week happened in old Utrecht. I have written about the army of bicycles that are out and about, but this bicycle was a little different and it made me smile. A man was riding a bike that had a large wooden box in front of it with wheels. I had seen these before as they are great for making deliveries, especially in the city. But on this day, the box had two blonde, curly haired little girls inside (ages 3 and 4) and they were laughing. Sitting in front of the girls were two Jack Russell dogs peeking over the box and all four of them were facing the front. As the girls were laughing, I could have sworn the dogs were smiling.

Finally, my most favorite Dutch phrase of the week: upon eating a dinner I had made, the 9 year old boy said, “Jane, this is so good it is like an angel is peeing on my tongue.” It had to be explained to me that this was very high praise in the Netherlands and as I continue to prepare some meals, my goal is to get that angel back on everyone’s tongue.

Living here feels like I am back in school. There are so many things that I am learning. So many things I am seeing and hearing for the first time. I will next post about legal prostitution in the Netherlands. As I saw what I saw I thought “I can’t wait to write about this.”

What I am currently reading: Sister by Rosamund Lupton

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  • Marty Flint  On March 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I remember a row of houses in Amsterdam with a bay window featuring prostitutes in all sorts of poses, as if they were on display. Mind you, that was in the 60’s! I can’t wait to hear what you found in Utrecht.

    Fascinating about having a Sarah blow-up doll in your yard!

  • Jane Moore Houghton  On April 1, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Sarah’s had some work done! Hope I look that perky at 50!

  • Sandra  On May 10, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  • Joseph  On August 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    zo lekker….alsof er een engelje over mijn tong piest !!!!

  • Ien in the Kootenays  On March 9, 2013 at 2:55 am

    Lol, my uncle, who was an elder in some joyless “gereformeerde” church, used to say that. Funny, when I lived in Holland few people celebrated the Abraham/Sarah thing. It was a regional custom, mostly done in Noord Holland, maybe Friesland. And it consisted mainly of presenting a special speculaas koek, like the ones made around Sinterklaas. Likewise, back then (we left in 1969) carnival was only celebrated in Brabant and Limburg. This a very enjoyable blog, I am working wmy way through the whole thing from start to present.

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