Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Irrland - Germany

This summer we had a weekend of fun family activities in Germany.  Besides Movie Park we also visited Irrland.  It's a huge park, I mean massive!  There's everything from swimming pools & slides to mazes & bouncy houses.  And it only costs €5 per person!!!  There is no way to truly experience the park in one day, but due to the low entry fee and the fact it's actually not so far from Eindhoven we'll definitely return.

We set up shop in Irrland North, in a centralized spot so the kids could find us.  Since there is limited food in the park we brought out own.  Almost every table includes a bbq grill, so we were sure to stop off at the grocery store on the way.  We made a day of it, eating, drinking, and playing at our leisure. 

Things to keep in mind, again the place is huge.  Be sure to rent a wagon to load all of your items in because you can't just pop back to the car.  And the walk from one section to the other is quite long.  Like I said, bring your own food.  You can buy drinks there but if you've already packed food you might want to pack drinks also.  There is tons there to rent, from little boats to bikes, so be sure to bring cash.  Don't forget your towels & bathing suits, because someone is bound to go in the water.  And bring sunscreen too, well, that's if you're going in the summer.  Most of the park is out in the open, and nobody wants to go home sun burnt.  Get a map on your way in because finding your way around at first can be overwhelming.  There are plenty of bathrooms, loads of parking, and endless activities.  There are also two towns close by if you do happen to forget any supplies.  Also, if you visit their website there is a great virtual map, my daughter loved looking through it before our trip.

We highly recommend a day (or two) at Irrland!  (FYI - it's also great for b-day parties.)

(Wish I had some original pics from the park but they're all full of family & friends, and I doubt they want their pics plastered on my blog!)

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Movie Park Germany

During the summer we like to make a trip over to Germany and spend a day at Movie Park.  It has fairly reasonable prices, and there is generally some kind of coupon or discount if you look for it.

Besides the decent prices there is plenty for the adults and adventurous kids.  There are at least 7 fast rides including roller coasters that even the little ones can go on.  Our daughter went on her 1st intense roller coaster at Movie Park when she was 3!  (She's a bit of an adrenaline junky... she went on Space Mountain at Disney when she was 4!)

Our daughters favorite part of the entire park is Nick Land of course and the Dora log flume is top of her list.  For the less adventurous kids there are slower rides, two playgrounds, and a handful of shows.  The parade is on the weak side, but the character show & stunt show are worth it.  And of course there is plenty of yummy treats along the way.

For the adults there are 3 large roller coasters and 4 other intense rides.  And for the entire family a couple 3D/4D rides.  My favorite ride is definitely the Van Helsing rollercoaster, it's fast & partially in the dark so you never know which direction you'll go!

The park tries to convince you to return for a 2nd day, but I feel you really can do everything in 1 day if you're willing to buy a Speedy Pass.  Instead of waiting 1 hour per ride, you can whip through the park not missing a thing.  We highly recommend the Speedy Pass, we've tried both Silver & Gold... you just have to read the details and decide which one works for you.

This time at the park my husband convinced me to go on one of these trampolines that soars you high in the air thanks to harnesses.  He would have done it himself but he weighed too much, see it's actually for kids but I met the weight requirements and convinced them to let me on.  And to be honest, wow, it's a little scarier than you imagine.  I pictured Cirque Soleil, and instead I flew around uncontrollably for a while.  Then went I attempted front flips, I ended up just screaming and wimping out halfway through.  But then I built up the nerve and finally did a back flip!  Once you get the feel of it the back flips are pretty easy.  (You can use your arms to pull yourself up & over.)  I would do it again, and definitely recommend it to the older kids!

So if you're ever in the area and looking for a fun summer day out, head over to Movie Park Germany!  (Only say summer because of the fun water rides, not something you want to miss out on because of the winter cold.)

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Changes, Changes

I promise I'll fill you in on our great summer, but I figured the best thing to do would be getting content on my blog again!  What's going on in my part of the world right now... well, we're on to a new phase.  Changes, changes...

See, for the last couple of years my daughter has attended Dutch schools.  Which re-immersed me into full-on Dutch culture.  As an expat your involvement with your surrounding culture can fluctuate, especially depending on who you associate yourself with.  Obviously if your kid attends a local school, well, you end up spending a lot of time with the locals.  As much as I love the Dutch or feel integrated, there are still moments when you remember you're foreign.  Even though Dutch & Americans look similar there are still underlying differences.  Besides the way I dress or my accent, interests also vary.  Standing at the Dutch school being one of the few foreigners was hard sometimes.  They don't mean to exclude you, which makes you have to work twice as hard at being outgoing and making friends.  They don't mean to stare or not quite understand what you're saying, hey Dutch is a hard language.  Needless to say it happens, and it can play with someones confidence.  All the while as a parent you're trying to keep your head up for your kid, be strong, and not show that you also feel anxious... telling them it's ok if the kids don't want to play or they're not being left out we just have different priorities.  I think both my daughter & I were looking forward to the summer.  A nice break to just be who we are for a while, Americans living in The Netherlands, living a mixed cultured life.

Since our daughter was born we knew we wanted to put her into the international school here.  My husband attended there, and many of his friends also.  The education level seems higher, it's in English, and it exposes the kids to the world we know - a world full of different cultures.  I think my daughter & I both took a breath of relief knowing we could speak English, finally being able to express ourselves as who we are.  (Your true personality doesn't always shine through when you're trying to communicate in a 2nd language, unless you're extremely fluent... often my sarcasm was confusing for the Dutch because they didn't realize I was joking, oops.  And as for my American husband, he's been dealing with this for over 25 yrs, it doesn't phase him at all.)

But then the 1st day of school came, and to be honest, it's a whole new set of challenges.  My daughter said it was hard to talk to the kids in class because they don't speak English.  All I could tell her was that they will learn, and never to forget how she felt at school trying to communicate in Dutch.  The school is beautiful and will offer many new opportunities for all of us, but as I stood there waving her off it truly sunk in that we're starting over again.  Very few faces we recognize, and with such a mix of cultures it was as if we were no longer in Eindhoven, wow there are a lot of foreigners in the area!  So now that we no longer stick out, except in the fact we've lived here so long and speak Dutch, it's now time to find out what international life is all about.  What was important to the kids & parents at her school last year is completely different this year. 

Being day 2 of this new phase, I'm not really sure what it will bring.  All I know is we're going to do our best to mix our Dutch life & our international life.  Not losing old friends, and definitely making new friends.  Being careful not to immerse ourselves so much in this new international life that we forget we're still in The Netherlands, and it's their country, and we need to be sensitive to that.  So much is swirling through my head, I've had trouble sleeping.  Despite all of the major changes throughout my life, I don't actually handle change well.  All I can do is what I've always done... chin up, smile on my face, and sign up for everything to get the best involvement.  Wish us luck!

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Monday, August 18, 2014

Coming Soon!

I know I recently promised more posts... and they're coming soon!

Keep an eye out for the following posts about our summer!


If I don't get to blogging this week, next week school starts and I should be getting back to a more fixed routine!

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Primark - Eindhoven

So back in November the largest Primark in the Benelux opened in Eindhoven.  To be honest, I had never heard of Primark until then.  Turns out its a British/Irish clothing retailer that sells clothes and what not at ridiculously low prices.  Seems like a great store for a frugal shopper like myself, except I hated the hype behind it all and refused to step foot inside until last week.  From the day it opened it has been insanely busy.  During the opening there were lines up and down the street.  Weeks later there was security letting people in and out to help control the chaos.  And last week, over 6 months after the opening it was still packed!

If it wasn't for wanting an outfit for a theme park and not wanting to pay more than €10 I probably never would have gone into the department store.  See theoretically I didn't need an outfit for the theme park, but I knew the year before walking around in wet jean shorts after the log flume wasn't the most pleasant experience.  My main goal was a pair of board shorts or even thin shorts that would quickly dry, and luckily I found them within 5 minutes of being in the store.  Good thing, because the chaos around us was starting to get to me.  I don't mind a crowd, but swarms of mostly women frantically going through racks and stacks of clothes is more than anyone can take.  Being that the store was new to me and the sizing was based on UK sizes, I decided I should try on the shorts so that I wouldn't have to return to the store.  We fought our way to the back and my mouth fell open when I saw the line for the changing room looping around the jeans section.  It was 11am on a Wednesday!  O.k., there went trying it on, I was going to have to hope for the best and return them if needed.  When we reached the cash register I saw the line was nearly as long as for the changing rooms.  But there were at least 10 registers open, so there was hope.  (It's so busy they even have digital boards to let you know which register is open, never seen this at a department store!)  Once outside the store we took a breath of relief and both swore we would never go back.

That was until I realized the only shirt I had to match the shorts was white, and I wasn't looking for a wet t-shirt contest at the theme park.  Oh no, this meant we were going to have to go back!  So on a Thursday at 2:30pm we returned, and it was still packed.  Almost hard to believe!

Needless to say we survived.  Found shorts for €4 and a t-shirt for €3!  Was it worth the stress and chaos... I think so.  Will I go back... damn, probably.  With prices like that I am starting to understand why all around the center of Eindhoven I see people carrying the brown paper Primark bags!

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wordless Wednesday #89

Check my blog hop page for WW link-ups! 
Our curious camera compilation can also be found here...

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer Fun

Don't worry, I haven't given up on my blog!

I've been busy enjoying all the summer has to offer us, and luckily for you this means fun posts in the future.  Hopefully this week I'll be able to get a post or two on my blog!

Since we took a large vacation back in March, our summer so far has been a combination of free or cheap activities near the house... and one long weekend (three different cities) which saw us travel around 580km/360m by car!

How have you decided to spend your summer?

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Tour #5

Haven't hosted a book tour for Fire & Ice since February, where does the time go?  For one reason or another I either haven't had the time or seen anything that really caught my eye.  Then this booked popped up on the list!  It's not the 1st time a sci-fi book has made it to my blog, but definitely the 1st sci-fi book with a female author!

So, here we go again... drum roll please...

The Enclave
After reading the blurb & excerpt I knew I wanted to tell people about this book in the hopes of getting it some exposure.  I love a good action with a strong female lead, and the fact it's sci-fi makes it even more interesting.  The excerpt left me wanting to know more.  Can Katherine actually battle her own issues in order to remain focused and get her vengeance on the man that destroyed her life?  And who is Joshua?  Is he the captive?  Is he more?
http://danicasbookcorner.blogspot.nl/Want to know more about The Enclave & the author H.M. Clarke?  Well, you know where to go to find the official blurb & excerpt provided by Fire & Ice book tours.  Hop on over to Danica's Book Corner for all the details!  Hope you're as enthusiastic about the book as I am! 

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica