Sunday, August 31, 2008

Being A Beach Bum

I have always loved going to the beach. It is the one place that as soon as I get my feet wet, feel the sand under my toes and hear the constant pounding of the waves, I can forget what is going on in the rest of the world and relax into those thoughts and dreams that slow life down and let you really enjoy the moment.

I was anxiously hoping that Petra would like it and when I realized that she not only liked it but loved it then I was thrilled. I think we will continue to make a trip to Cape May every year to get our time to just be beach bums and curl up in a beach chair and read a few good books, take long walks on the beach with the dogs and watch the sun set over the water marking the end of another great day in paradise.

Cape May is my favorite spot for many reasons, one important one being that it is relatively close to where I live. It is historic and the town is very scenic. I have found as Petra said, a great dog friendly house that I rent so being without the pups is not a question. And, what you have there that you don't at most shore locations are beaches on both the east, (Atlantic) side and on the west, (Delaware Bay) side where every night you are treated to a quiet walk and beautiful sunsets.

What I hope though is that besides making a trip to Cape May every year we can see some of the other wonderful beaches we have here on the east coast of the US. While many of the popular spots are over-run with hotels and attractions built right on the shoreline and in my opinion, terribly ugly and commercial, we still have great isolated strethes of beach that are worth exploring. I hope I can show Petra and her son the rugged coast of Maine, the big strethes of remote sand dunes on Cape Cod and the interesting wild horses and ponies that have occupied Assateague Island for 350 years now. Lot's to see and I can't wait to show.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Getting our feet wet...

It was a vacation, within our vacation.
During the four weeks we visited Jack, he had to work most of the time. Not something that we had planned, but since he had just started in the new office it had to be that way. Even for the week in Cape May, he brought his laptop and called in every day.
And than he found that his laptop wasn't working.
Best thing that could have happened. Now he was forced to relax.

For my son and me, it was our first beach vacation and for me it turned out to be one of my best vacations ever.
The house Jack rents every year is great, the dogs can come, have a yard to run in. It has a large deck that has enough shade most of the day. And in the garage you can find all you need for a nice day on the beach.

Cape May in it self is a beautiful place.
Filled with Victorian houses it has a really cozy atmosphere and Jack and I spent hours just walking around, looking at the beautiful houses and their gardens.
And after the hottest part of the day passed, the beach it was.
Bringing books to read and games to play.
Than back to the house for a nice meal, some drinks and than back to the beach with the dogs for a walk while enjoying a gorgeous sunset.

Does it sound like I loved it?
Yup, you're right. Had the time of my life.I mean, I got to see dolphins play so close, it felt I could touch them.

Bet Jack can say one or two things about it also.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


For some reason the planes leaving for the US always seem to have a departure time between 11AM and noon.
In itself that is great, means we arrive around 3PM local time.
With usually 2 hours driving time to get home, we have little problems with traffic around the cities where we arrive.
The difficulties are at this side of the pond.
Having to be at the airport 3 hours earlier, it means that it is always a gamble if we can catch the first train from Groningen to A'dam.
Getting at the train station by bus is impossible that early, first train leaves at 5 AM. So this time we ordered a cab to pick us up to bring us to the train. Hoping the train would be on time, since we had only 10 minutes after arrival before we had to check in.
The cab was on time, actually, it was 15 minutes early. Turned out he had picked up another couple for the station and we could share costs.
But than it turned out to be a nerve wrecking train ride.
Something I fear for every time happened. The train had a small problem in Zwolle, so we got stuck there for several minutes. Not too bad, but it meant that the rest of the trip we were stuck behind a train that stopped at every station instead of being able to do only a few as planned.
We were more than 30 minutes late at the airport.

At that moment I learned a good lesson.
It is great if you can be there 3 hours early, but if not, don't panic.
This time we already knew our seats before, so that wasn't a problem either.
We got in line, checked in, got in line again for customs and than could almost straight go to our gate and hardly had to wait.

The flight was fast and easy. Flying into Philadelphia means you get to see a beautiful part of New Jersey and we could already see the beaches that we would visit a few days later
This time Immigration had no difficult questions besides the standard look of disbelief when I say that the tall boy next to me is my son.
And thanks to our former experience we knew to look for our bags next to the belt instead of on the belt.

What surprises me almost every time when arriving in the US, the airports don't seem busy. No long lines and I always wonder where all those people go that get off the plane.
It also meant that walking out we had absolutely no trouble locating Jack who was waiting for us.
But maybe that was also to blame on the orange cap he was wearing.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Time to start talking

If you would ask me right now what I miss the most now that I am back in Europe, it would be the climate and everything that comes with it.
And before you ask, that comes after Jack off course!!! No question about that.

From what we have experienced these two visits, I love it. From what Jack tells me, we have been there in the two most extreme months, temperature wise. And both I could handle fine. Temperatures far above 30 degrees Celsius weren't a huge problem because of the air conditioning in the house and outside it maybe humid some days, but not half as bad as we get here usually.
And yes, it does rain there. But not like here, it rains and the sun returns, it gets nice and warm again and it is like someone up there just decided to water the plants.

We're back here for 1,5 weeks now and I miss the warmth of the sun. From the moment we came from the plane we had rain every day. My backyard looks like a swimming pool and the snails are having a ball with the few flowers that didn't drown yet.
The birch in the back is heavy because of all the water on the leafs.

Have to be honest though, it isn't always like this, we do have nice after summers and sometimes we get a real nice summer also. But our climate is a lot wetter and the chance on a spoiled summer is eminent in our little country.

So yes, I miss the climate, the fact that the weather is much more stable, summer is summer, it is warm or hot, you have thunderstorms and after the rain, it dries up again.

Sigh, that is how I like it.
Wearing shorts and flip flops for months.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our Little Friend Says Hello Petra.

One way that it felt so comfortable and like home was that almost every evening we sat outside either on the front porch or the back deck. We would talk or sit and read, have a drink, and stay there sometimes until well past nightfall. It was so relaxing.

Our neighbor gave Petra a Hummingbird feeder that we put up on the front porch and it wasn't long before we had visitors. Our little friends miss you Petra.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Is it possible?

To come 'home' to a place that is thousands of miles away from the place you are born?
Because if that is so, than that would explain my feeling of being homesick. I can't describe it any other way. That knot in my stomach isn't because of a jetlag, which by the way is very much there also.

I guess what I want to say is that I felt so very much at home those 4 weeks with Jack.
Never an awkward moment with Jack, not that I am surprised about that. I don't think we had them ever again after the first time we met.
But this time I got a better feel on how life in the US is, got a bit of a taste and I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised. Of course there are differences and things to get used to being an European. But different doesn't always mean bad.

What surprised me the most was how easy it was to get used to the heat, because 'HOT' it was. I don't think we got more than 4 days under 30 degrees Celsius. But after taking it slow for the first few days it wasn't really a problem. And as Jack mentioned, even the beach agreed with me. Even better, I never expected too love it this much. We did have to keep an eye on my son, who did get a sunburn even though we covered him in sun lotion. But after avoiding the hottest times, he was doing fine also.

Now we are back here and I miss being there.
Guess what, it rained when the plane hit the runway in Amsterdam and it is about 10 degrees colder here.
I did bring a lot of memories back with me, hope they will be enough to keep us and you busy until the next meeting.

For now I just wanted to explain why I didn't write anything yet, because I didn't want it to be over.

Yes, I am homesick alright!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What A Month!

Our month together has ended and all I can say is that it was probably the best month of my life. I will let Petra post about her impressions of being here. I think I speak for both of us though when I say that we felt like it was so natural and right to be together. We did a lot of things but most importantly we were just being together as partners and it was great.

The one thing I must say though is that up until the time Petra arrived she was telling me how white her skin was and the trip to the beach at Cape May would probably turn her into a red beet but if we would have stayed just a few days longer at the shore, she would have looked like she lived there all of her life. I can tell that the beach agrees with her and the tan she got in just one week would make many jealous. LOL

I think we will have many trips to the beach in the future.

It's only been one day but I miss you so very much Petra.