Our wedding Preparation

Besides going gaga about my pregnancy. We were also really overwhelmed by our up-coming wedding party! I was hoping to push the wedding party to a later date but I reckon it wouldn’t mean the same if we push it to a later date. The decision was either to have a wedding party or not to have a wedding party, no later.

At this point, we have already decide to have the wedding party! And at this same point, I’m stressing over the wedding dress that I’ve paid for since January! Which also means I have to work with the same dress despite how big I’m gonna get by June. Luckily, the designer of my dress thinks it could be easily fix and I would still look nice. Not sure if he is being honest or just being nice. I suppose he don’t really have a choice too.

Now, the main purpose of this post was the wedding venue we have decided upon. I’ve never imagine I would be wed in a venue like this one. In singapore, it’s common to have the wedding in a nice restaurant or a 4-5 star hotel. Well, the more glamour the better!

Although I’m not really into glamour, I’m also quite curious how our wedding would turn out! Since the place we have chosen is gonna be an old barn – refurbished! I can imagine it to be quite romantic but still, because it’s a city girl wedding party, it feels a little surreal.

Yesterday, we went to the wedding venue with Jos’ sister who has kindly offer to help with the wedding decorations. She has come up so many beautiful ideas that I’m quite sure I’m gonna love it. The end result shall be shared after the wedding but here are some pictures of the venue at its bare form.

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This is the garden right outside the barn. I love it that it’s facing a river.

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More pictures of the garden.

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The entrance to the barn. We don’t have a big party so the size is quite perfect!

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The last picture is the inside of the barn. What do you think? Now, let your imagination runs. I’m sure wedding in a barn is quite common in USA and Europe, it’s just not in Singapore. So this will be a different experience for my Singaporean guest. They might not get use to this like I was. But now, I’m totally game for this. I think it is gonna be so romantic and beautiful .

Watch this space for the final look of our wedding venue!

Exploring Dutch Nature – De Hoge Veluwe

As with most Sundays, we like to take long walks in the Nature. Almost every Sunday morning, Jos would browse through the wander book we have. This book compile all the possible walks within the Netherlands, it entails the routes and also what we expect to see during the walk.

Last Sunday, we had an unusual one. The weather was unusually good, with sunshine most of the time at 16 degree Celsius, just perfect! I had so much fun I must blog about it. Google this : De Hoge Veluwe! Unlike most of these nature walk, this one has an entrance fee but it is well worth it. For EUR8.40 per adult, you get to grab a white bike near the entrance for free and go on exploring the beautiful dutch nature on that bike for the whole day!! How cool is that.? Hearing it is enough to entice you right?

There are two cycling path, 10km & 26km. Jos being Jos, he choose the 26km and cut it by 6km by looking at the map he purchased at the entrance for EUR2.50. So yes, we travelled 20km on the bike which burns my thighs, ass and legs altogether! Still it is all worth it! I can do this over and over again. I cannot express in words how I love living withing these beautiful nature! We don’t have such space in Singapore, so you can imagine why I feel this way.

Being Autumn, it is also the time of the year where beautiful mushrooms grows in the nature. I’ve never come so close to a fairy tale mushroom. Althoug, I’ve blogged about it last Autumn, read it here, Today, seeing it again, I am still enchanted by its beauty. Not just the red ones, also the other colors, brown, white, grey, orange.

This year, there are more mushrooms which we can easily spot even though we are riding on the bike. And the fairytale mushroom looks more radiant and so very cute.

Now the grey ones, they are also beautiful.

Besides the mushroom, the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves continues to amaze me. Although we know the tree will lose all its leaves at the end of fall, but I have to say they die in grace ! 🙂 During the ride, I’ve wanted to stop many times to snap pictures of the colors of Autumn. I managed a few pictures but didn’t think my picture skills gives justice to the actual beauty!

The above picture is the cycling path we ride on. It is hilly at some point and flat at other. Perfect ground for cycling.

After a few times of stopping to snap pictures, I turn into a dare devil, I managed to cycle and take a picture of my man in cycling in front of me! 🙂

Yes I am quite far behind, but i really slowed down so I can hold my iphone steady!

I always love the view of woods like this one, although just brown but I love it. Beautiful isn’t it?

That’s me cycling! Told you I can cycle! 🙂 Oh and by the way, all bicycles comes with a child seat! So if you are bringing along your child, you have no worries! They also provide bikes for smaller children of which I am proud I don’t have to use them. Since I’m short, I was worried I have to use their kid bikes! But I’m good with the adult ones, so proud of myself 🙂

This picture below is another cycling path in the open, also hilly at some point.

Finally, I could not withstand it anymore. I had to add myself in the scenery and have my man take a picture of me, because I love it so much! So here it is:

If you lives in the Netherlands and are wondering where to go in the weekend.. try De Hoge Veluwe! I am very sure you will not regret visiting!

Ciao!

Mustard at its best! Indeed!

Does anyone of you loves Mustard? Well I don’t. I remember finding it disgusting when someone put this brownish almost green paste on their sausages. And when they offer them to me, I would always reject. Because, in my opinion, Mustard just taste weird. I don’t like mustard on anything I eat as a condiment.

I would never have think differently about Mustard if I’ve never been living in the Netherlands. Once when we were having lunch with Nelly & Jan, everyone ordered Mustard Soup but I went for the Mushroom soup. Well, just to be safe, since Mustard doesn’t sound or taste good to me. Okay, I can be boring with food like that. Anyway, in another occasion, when Jos had Mustard Soup & I had Mushroom soup yet again, I decided to take the challenge and sip a spoonful of that yucky green-paste condiment that I dislike. And to my surprise, it was nothing but YUM! I love it so so much that everywhere I go from now, I would be looking out for Mustard Soup (In Dutch: Mosterd Soep)

Today, I was bored. As usual. I decide maybe I should check out the recipe for Mustard Soup, maybe I can surprise Jos when he comes home to a home-cook mustard soup? Maybe, maybe… only maybe. Anyway, I type Mustard Soup Recipe on Google and I must say there are just so many recipes online and they all varies. Some are much more complicated while others are easy and straight forward.

Anyway, I decide I am going to try this one :

Mosterdsoep

3 tablespoons butter
6 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 cups (1 liter) stock (chicken or vegetable)
2 tablespoons of mustard (zaanse mosterd)
1/2 cup Cream
1 Leek

Optional: Bacon & white wine & chervil

Simply because this have less than 10 items to purchase and the process seems really easy. For the record, I am a super lousy cook. If you like the same recipe.. Here is the link.

The good news is… I realise we have Zaanse Mosterd in the cupboard!!! I wouldn’t even take a second look on this bottle. Looks muddy and strange. It must have lying there for months? Look!!

It must be a sign right? That I have to try making mustard soup all on my own!! But wait…

The bad news is….. I think this bottle of Mustard is expired… look:

Do you also think it’s expired? I think it must have been lying there for years!?

So, I have expired mustard in my cupboard, that means I have to go buy a new bottle. But I want the same mustard from Zaanse since it is suppose to be popularly good.

I have heard a lot about how tasty the Italian Cuisine, French Cuisine even Thai Cuisine or Chinese Cuisine are, but Dutch Cuisine…. not so much. It is kind of sad because I think there are some really nice dishes that these dutchies make. Once I was really addicted to their Pea Soup. It was so good until we start making Pea Soup ourselves. Not that the result was bad, it was still tasty. But the ingredient used to make pea soup is super rich with so much bacon. I feel sick eating so much bacon. because I don’t like to imagine the amount of oily fats I’ve intake in one bowl of soup. As such, from then on… I moved on from Pea Soup (In Dutch : Erwtensoep). But still, everyone should try the Pea Soup, one of the best from the Dutchie Land.

So much for soup today, I shall run to AH now and see if they sell the same Mustard I’m looking for. And if I do find them,, I might make some soup tonight, only maybe… 🙂

Ciao!

Deadly Kisses

One kiss can be so deadly. Okay, maybe not deadly deadly, but yes Kisses can pass contagious illness.

The day I’m back in the lowlands, it is with no doubts, Jos and I exchange kisses when we met. I mean that’s what couple do right? Not forgetting we haven’t seen each other in more than a month! But wait, he is just recovering from a flu a few days ago. So, we were clearly testing our limits. Or I should say, I’m testing my immune systems! Yay! And I was wrong, I’m not so immune to this kind of illness after all. So that deadly kiss quickly elevated to a flu for me. And because I have history of being asthmatic, this evil flu has to make it worst than what Jos had…. I have a very bad asthma attack.

After suffering from somewhat flu-like systems for a few days, which was bearable. Just when I thought it will be over soon, one morning I woke up breathless. Thinking I would be fine just using my regular Ventolin inhaler, I went to work. By noon, I was gasping for oxygen. It was clear, I am all blocked up. I am having an asthma attack and I need to be treated with a stronger medication because that Ventolin Inhaler isn’t helping anymore.

I went home… feel like I’m dying, still gasping for air. You see, In Holland, people don’t go to the clinic for flu and cough. They believe in eating lots of fruits and eating healthy and the body would recover on it’s own. Well, technically that is not wrong. Maybe even a very good approach to not consuming too much medication. But what if, I’m dying to have some oxygen?!

I sent a text to Jos “I can’t breath and I’m having a fever now.”

Quickly Jos called me back, he said he have called the clinic and the first available appointment is tomorrow!

Seriously? My answer was clear “I might be dead by then”

Next thing, Jos called the clinic again. This time, the clinic said,”I would need to speak to the patient herself to determine if she is really so sick that she have to see a doctor.” (wtf? I don’t even speak proper dutch yet!)

Jos said, I’m gonna call them now and put the phone to you, so please speak really sickly so that they will grant an appointment now. I mean…. I don’t have to act! I am really sick! wtf?!

Anyway, the call went through and this time, another lady picked up and said was okay for me to drop by the clinic now! Great! Well, Thank you Ms nurse!

Imagine this – You are out of oxygen, you have to walk to the car, and then when you arrive at the carpark, you have to walk to the clinic about 2 meter away and then at the clinic, you have to speak to the nurse at the counter who will then assess you before allowing assess into the doctor’s clinic. The door to the doctor’s clinic is securely locked.

When I finally struggled with the help of Jos to reach the reception. Jos had to tell the nurse “Look at her!” At that point I was guessing, I think she is asking if I have an appointment and if it is necessary? Anyway… we got through. Within 10 minutes, my name was called and again I walked to the doctor’s room gasping for oxygen.

The kind looking doctor first introduced himself. Not wanting to be rude, I wasn’t listening to his introduction and I don’t freaking remember his name anymore, all i wanted was OXYGEN! Anyway, he listens to my lungs, asked a few question – are you coughing? Yes – Duh! The point I wanna make was, I cannot even talk the normal way I did. I stammer, I cried at some point because I have no oxygen, I need air!

Long story short, I was sent away with some medication and a stronger inhaler (purple in color). Even though I’ve asked if he would give me Nebulizer which is what I would be given when I have an asthma attack back in Singapore. I was told what he gave me will be good enough.

I went home, my dear fiance still supporting me. He put me in bed after I took my medication. I woke up 2 hours later feeling a lot better. I suppose the medication did helped anyway. I woke up 2 hours later, Jos had dinner prepare for me, power soup meal with a delicious slash of beef. I felt well instantly after the power meal. I cannot thank God enough for having Jos. How can one person be so many things? Jos can. He is the love of my life, my best-friend, my maid, my cook, my keeper, my helper, my confidant, my sand-bag (to punch at), my nurse, my interpreter, my everything! Love you muchie!!

So Thank you for reading… I know this post is crap, please forgive me, a sick person trying to express her agony and I am still unwell (I choose to be unwell because I get better treatment :))

Rainbows Season

It is official! I’ve brought with me the rain. While I was still in Singapore, there was crazy thunder storm almost every day. The thunder was ferocious, loud and fierce, I had to hide under my blanket for a good hour. Yes I admit, I’m very very afraid of the thunder. The rain pour was flooding some western part of Singapore, at some point creating water falls within the train stations. But no, there was no Rainbows. Just thunder and lots of rain.

I returned to the Netherlands last week. The flight journey was perfect, there was no turbulence felt literally and I was blessed with having two seats all to myself! So this means I could lie flat on both seats and sleep throughout. I really did. Well, yes, I’m a sleeper, I can sleep anywhere as long as it is time to sleep.

Also watched the Great Gatsby in flight…. super love it! Love the story line, love Leonardo’s acting, he is so good… so good. 🙂

While on our way home from the airport, I was really happy to be greeted with not one but two beautiful dashes of Rainbows. So naturally I asked, has it been raining? We all know, there is no rainbow without the rain, that’s clearly why it’s called Rainbows, duh. The answer was clear, “yes it has been raining, looks like it is the start of the autumn.”

Noooo…. I’m not really done with Summer yet! But oh well, we live with it. Every seasons has it’s beauty right? And this happen to be the Rainbow Seasons… in my opinion at least.

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This morning, yet another rainbow… this time a full rainbow right in front of our balcony… 🙂

Could't zoom out to take the full rainbow, so I took the brighter side :)

Could’t zoom out to take the full rainbow, so I took the brighter side 🙂

Maybe I will see another rainbow tomorrow, I do hope. Since we have to live with the rain, we might as well wish for the rainbow right?

 

Noah’s Ark comes alive in Dordrecht

Have you heard about Noah’s Ark? As a child, I’ve learn about Noah and his ark from the church I went every Sunday. I read the story in the bible, I was reminded frequently when the pastor gives his weekly ministry and when I grew into my teens, I was even made to tell this story to the children attending Sunday school. (Yes, I used to be a Sunday School teacher.) Although I don’t attend churches anymore, this christian story has left a very deep impression in me.

After those childhood years, I was reminded once again when EVAN ALMIGHTY was aired. That was like Noah’s Ark in the 20th century. Funny and quite amazing too.   I enjoyed the movie very much. Have you watch it? Anyway, at that point, I thought, the story about Noah’s Ark just elevated from being a bible story into a movie. Cool!

Evans Almight – Noah’s Ark alike story line.

Even though I’ve not forgotten about, I leave the story of Noah’s Ark as that. And then in Feb year 2012, I moved to the Netherlands for the love of my life. To be honest, until today, I’m still in disbelief that I’ve moved to the Netherlands, Netherlands was never in my mind. Not a place I want to visit before but I made my way here anyway. It still feels so surreal, i can only smile in disbelief.

Anyway, long story short, the point I wanna make is …. I’ve not just moved to Netherlands for the love of my life, I’ve also moved next to my childhood memory that came alive – A Solid Massive, life-sized Noah’s Ark; a story, standing right in front of my eyes. I’ve not stopped being fascinated by it each time our car drove past it.

Noah’s ark (Ark van Noach) in Dordrecht officially open in Dec 2012 (The year I Arrived!). This massive full-scale and functioning Ark was built by a Dutchman (obviously), Mr John Huibers, who apparently claimed to have a vision from God that his country would flood. Many think he is crazy but I think it is quite understandable to be paranoid since the dutch are living in a lowlands with most part of the country lying below sea level. Although the dutch are protected from flood by dams, dikes and natural sand dunes, there is still possibility of flood. And for the record, I’m in high danger because I don’t swim; I sink!

The animals in the Ark – in pairs

A cafe in the Ark.

Oh did I mentioned this ark is fully functioning? Yes, this Dutchman is not building a toy boat, he is in this for real. The size has to be on scale 1:1 and it has to be able to move around like any other boats. How amazing is that? I think this guy is brilliant and awesome. But just recently, there was also news that he has the intention to bring his Ark on a world tour! So does that means no more Noah’s Ark in Dordrecht? Maybe it’s only for a world tour and the Ark will be back to home ground? Apparently, not! John Huibers thinks the people has enough of the ark and it should leave and never return! Aww.. that’s so sad! So having said that, what are you waiting for? Hurry rush down to Dordrecht, the beautiful little town in the Netherlands ! 🙂

I shall end this post with a video about the Ark. Check it out ! You should really visit before it leaves forever!

 

My Green Finger Project

Sometime last year in June, I remembered vividly how enchanted I was each time I step into Corrie’s Garden (Jos’ Stepmother). From Spring Time onwards, Corrie’s garden will be blooming with lots of different kind of lowers, Rose, Lilies and some others I don’t know the names to it. But they all look so beautiful, I can sit in the garden for hours!

Because I kept singing praises about how beautiful those flowers looks, Corrie had kindly offered to teach me the art of gardening. She start by asking me, “what do you like in your garden?” In our case a balcony. Without much thoughts, because I already know what I like all this time, I answered, “I want lots of Tulips and many sunflowers!” At this point, I didn’t know there is a season to every kind of flowers. Tulips never survive till summer and Sunflowers never blossom in Spring! I also didn’t realize, these seeds takes so much time, so much effort for them to grow to finally blossom.

I’d planted some sunflower seeds (bought in Holland) back in Singapore and it grew within two weeks but didn’t grow so big. A picture of the sunflower below and that is the biggest it went and then it slowly withered away. But then in Singapore, we have no seasons. It is summer every day!

That was the max it went.

At that time, Corrie had draw up a plan (really sweet of her). She decided that we should first start with the Tulips in October and then start with the Sunflower sometime in March. So we did. We went to the shop in Dordrecht that sells all kinds of seeds. According to Corrie, this shop has high quality seeds so chances of success is higher.

Today, I share with you my pride. Although most of the work is done by Corrie, I’m still proud of our achievement. 🙂

Here are the photos of the tulips that blossom during spring time. The seeds was put in the soil since October. According to Corrie, these tulips bulbs must be froze for a period of time before they come out in Spring time. And I’m suppose to get more Tulips every year if these bulbs are good.

Tulips Buds

Coming up really nicely. See those little pink too?

Pretty Tulips lining up

And then after spring, the petals of these tulips dropped off one after another. Very sad to see! Until there is no more left! In the end they are left with a green stalk and no flowers. At this point, we wait for the next seasons.

In February, Corrie & Piet give me a little green house for my birthday! That was the 2nd part of my green finger project where we start with the sunflowers. I was beaming with joy! At the same time, I’m still skeptical of the greenness of my fingers. Oh well, I would just go for it.

So with this little green house, I’m suppose to control the temperature so as to make sure the sunflower grows healthily. Not too much water, not too much heat.

See the Water vapors? This little green house is heated.

And it grew and grew so fast until I have lost control of it.

Because I was not good with the controlling of the temperature and the water levels, these sunflower just grew too fast for me to handle. They were all over the place and hanging downwards as if they were dying. Of course I panic ! It’s like a mother watching the children drowning.

In the end, the whole little green house was transported back to the MASTER (Corrie) to take care of it. See, here, Corrie is like the doctor, I’m a lost mother trying to take care of a weak child (in this case – Children, because there is so many of them sprouting !).

The professional did not fail to uphold her professionalism. Every time I visit the plant, they just grew stronger. They always look better each time. The stems are thicker, the leaves are greener, they just look healthier. After that I leave for our summer holiday. And when we return, this is what we saw:

This is just one of them.

And another… .

There are alot of them standing tall in Corrie’s Garden. really beautiful. Before my summer holiday, Corrie already potted some for me to bring home so I can enjoy them as well. However, those in our balcony didn’t work out so well.

Here are the pictures of those in our balcony:

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Did you notice some of the buds aren’t blossoming? I’ve given water everyday and wait everyday for it to blossom. It seems to me that’s how far it will grow. It will never blossom…

Call me emotional, but I feel kinda sad to see that some seeds just don’t survive the growth process. It happens to all living thing. Even as human, some fetus just don’t come through as human. They lost it half way. That’s sad. But I guess, that’s just life.

Last Sunday, I harvest some roses from Nelly’s Garden (Jos’ mum) for our home, look! they are beautiful

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Till next year.. see you again beautiful blossoms!