Women Leaders

Its been a couple days since we shared another blog… today is my turn again.

We are a day away from going on a new adventure… it’s the long holiday weekend (celebrating kicking out the Brits…. feels a little odd.. huray!! Free days!!) and Melody and I have decided to try out ‘going up north’. Camping…. bears.. do we say more?

We will faithfully report back IF we return..

Back to women leaders, the title… having travelled extensively over the last years, I have had the privilege of coming across many different leaders. Leaders who inspire, leaders who motivate you to do better, leaders who should not be leaders.. Being now stationed in the US a little longer, I have more opportunity to interact with the women leaders in our own team. Women I look up to, women inspiring me to do better, to be better… Kim, Liliana, Karen, Wendy (our awesome boss) to name just a few.. I guess this is a shout out for women..

So, Mel and I will join women leaders this weekend away… I certainly hope our tent will listen to us and the bears will be scared of us!! See you at the other side!!

Man shall not live by bread alone….

 

Right….it’s all unpacked and either on the shelf or in the fridge… Time for a quick update on this side of the pond…

About three weeks ago I ‘mounted’ my flight back to the UK, leaving wife and daughter behind….and with that their love and skill for cooking and baking. For little over a week I enjoyed the fresh oven baked cinnamon roles, pancakes, rice with beans and mince, meals out and meals in. One last meal would now appear without any effort from this man….the plane meal…. For sure it would not feed him indefinitely for this coming year…

The lady of the house, in her wisdom and because of her love, had made sure that the polar area of the UK house would provide…the freezer! If no one ever erected a statue to celebrate the life and genius of the mind that invented the freezer, now would be a good time! Various surprising meals so far have pleased the taste buds of this man! But nothing could beat a fresh meal of course….one that was created from (almost) scratch and needs pots and pans on a stove to see the light! So, three weeks into this mutually decided ‘solitary’ life, it was time to hit the road armed with several shopping bags. No longer could fridge and freezer please this poor soul…

It felt like a man on a mission….as almost always it used to be the lady instructing this man to come along or buy the listed products. Now having to decide my own menu it almost felt like walking inside this shop was like going to battle with a plan! The easy way would be to go for ready made meals, supported by sweets and crisps, and topped with HD (Häagen Dazs) ice cream … But he was strong (this time…)….and the trolley soon was filled with the multitude of colours of apples, peaches, iceberg salad, peppers, mushrooms, fresh bread, Dutch beschuit, yoghurt, noodles, spaghetti sauce…and for emergencies beans in tomato sauce (baked beans) :-). The wife would have been proud, and what’s more, would have even more loved the flowers that later adorned the living room table…

So, the stomach is calling, and the hour is right….time to cook my noodles in Chinese sauce 🙂 Will try leaving some pics later to colour in the imagination…

DaddyGeert for now signs off!

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USA vs UK

Here we are 3 weeks since we moved from the UK to the USA for a year. It was a big move, but one that I was ready to make! The first couple days were hard, adjusting to the time zone, the heat (more than 30 degrees every day), the humidity (50+%) and of course the food!

Moving in to the apartment was a nerve-wracking one for me, as all I had been told was that it was big, over looking the Mississippi river and that my bedroom is usually the dining area. However, stepping inside I instantly fell in love with my (not so) ‘little’ nook. The first week was pretty much spent buying things to make our apartment feel more like home, including pillows, bedding, some furniture and photo frames, plus getting a feel for the area. My highlight for the week was definitely the Joyful Noise family festival (which has been mentioned in our previous blogs and in the vlog, go check them out if you haven’t!!!). Worshipping with 18,000 people whilst listening to some of my favourite christian artists was an experience!!

However, it suddenly came time for dad to leave us and go back to his job and to the cats! Suddenly I was on my own, no taxi to drive me around. No one to pay for my food. No company, whilst mum is at work. It definitely had its benefits too though, I managed to make a nice dent into my masters project (message me or leave a comment if you want to hear more!) and was finally able to watch what I wanted to on the tv!!!

Now you must be wondering what the blog title means. Well, there have been things that I truly miss about the UK and things that I will definitely miss about the USA when I leave. These are the following:

  • Walking here in St. Paul, Minnesota is a lot nicer than where I leave in the UK. Its not every day that you can just take a walk or a cycle along the mighty Mississippi river and watch turkey vultures and bald eagles flying over your head, or watching herons wading in the water to catch their next meal.
  • It is definitely more expensive to live here than in the UK. The average that we spent on groceries in the UK was a lot less than here.
  • Chocolate here definitely does not taste the same! However, Reese’s peanut butter cups are amazing!!
  • HGTV is the best channel ever!
  • The cars and the roads are a LOT bigger! Making me feel even shorter than before! There are plenty of cars here that I would need a ladder to climb in to!
  • The shops are HUGE! I’m easily able to walk my target number of steps set out by my Garmin, whilst enjoying seeing what the country has to offer!
  • AIRCO! The best invention ever when it is close to 40 degrees celsius and 90% humidity!
  • The storms here are not taken lightly, whenever there is a thunderstorm forecasted, I straight away get a weather warning on my phone (damaging winds, large hail and tornados are all possible).
  • Trenta Cool Lime refreshers!!!!! The best thing when it is hot outside!!
  • What I can’t get my head around though is going into a store and seeing a sign saying ‘no guns allowed’. It still feels so foreign to me, and it will the whole time I’m here! Also going into any outdoor store and there along with camping stuff they also stock guns and crossbows along with fake deer and turkeys for practice! Or having displays of real stuffed animals that have been shot!
  • What the UK offers that I truly do miss though are my cats, my friends (its difficult to connect when you are 6+ hours behind them!) and church (we have yet to find one where we connect!). And I miss tea! Afternoon teas and just drinking a tea is so not normal here. When you order a tea you have to specify that it is a hot tea, otherwise you get cold, strong, unsweetened black tea!
  • And lastly I miss being able to talk and not pulling attention because of my accent. In the UK I have a pretty standard southern english accent as I was brought up in the area near Windsor. Here however, I just open my mouth and suddenly I have 20 people surrounding me wanting me to just keep talking so that they can hear more. It is pretty terrifying being the centre of attention like that!

I’m sure there are plenty more but for now this is my list! On to a new week of new experiences and adventures!

Mystery Call

It happened! Our first phone call!!!

Full excitement we picked up… as we don’t actually know our own home phone number, we were a little cautious though…. “Hello?” “This call may be recorded…. are you ok with that miss?” UHHHHHMMMMMM… The first cold call???

Not every first is always so exciting. In a new place, the first phone call, the first mail, the first meal, the first night in a strange bed. Life is full of adjustments! With all that comes the good and exciting and the not so good and exciting. We keep on smiling and take each day as it comes.

We are blessed with beautiful weather, so we have managed to leave lots of footsteps along the Mississippi river. We have sampled the little restaurant a stone throw from the apartment. We have cycled to the farmers market, grocery shop, rented a “redbox” dvd and are looking forward to our first camping trip. Those are certainly the exciting things!

So… in case anyone wants to call us… or send us a letter in the email… send us a message and we will give you our details.. For now… we will be a little careful picking up the phone 🙂

Also if you want to see more of our adventures from these first couple weeks then check out our first vlog on youtube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8U3nW53RLw). Subscribe if you want to be notified of our upcoming posts and leave us comments!! We love hearing from you!!!

 

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Friday thoughts…

‘If I can’t have fun, I might as well dig a hole and cover myself up’ we heard someone say…

How true is it, they we should appreciate all the little things that come our way… tomorrow is not guaranteed… this week, 2 of my colleagues lost their dads and suddenly life is put in perspective.

We can cry with them, pray for them, be there for them… and through it all we can count our blessings.

so… here are my blessings for this week: I have a husband, whom I love and he loves me. We are apart in physical distance, but not in thought and prayer.

I have my beautiful daughter with me here in the US, which reminds me that I am not alone, even if I feel lonely sometimes.

I have beautiful friends… sometimes like stars, far away and yet close in my heart….

I have a God who loves me….

What more can I want…I won’t dig a hole just yet… instead, I will go and have a little US fun.

 

 

Another chapter in…

And so it has begun…..a new chapter in our never-resting lives 🙂 Always something new, somewhere else, somehow different….never boring that’s for sure! For several years it had been mentioned, always lurking in the distance..something that could and most likely would happen eventually…

The lady of the house travelling back and forth, year after year, month by month, weeks at a time…from London to the US, Singapore, Costa Rica, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Panama..and the list goes on. Yes, it gave exciting air miles, hotel points and free car rental days, which in turn provided amazing holidays in the US and elsewhere. But jet legs and suitcase life were taxing at the same time.

No more…for a year at least 🙂 The second ‘home’ is now located in St. Paul, MN. A beautiful apartment, especially from the point of view as compared with our ‘Hobbit’ place in the UK. Situated right outside the first 1/2 of the Twin Cities, cocooned in between the hills surrounding St. Paul, nestled right beside the mighty Mississippi River, with a cooking island (!!!), aircon (with 95+ Fahrenheit really a must!), indoors parking (useful for Minnesotan winters…. -20 to -40C not unusual…), and inviting green parks surrounding this all…

For a week and a bit this ‘daddy’ was able to come along to the US and lend a hand in setting up the new place. Furniture was moved around, Ikea flat packs moved in, picture frames and arts received their specific places, and boxes were unpacked. All in all a place one really could now call ‘home-from-home’ 🙂

It will be quiet in Wooburn Green, even though the cats will demand their attention nonetheless, and my choice of music can now be played none stop for the time being… But ‘only’ 8-9 hours there is a second home I will love to come ‘home’ to, and for sure this ‘daddy’ will count the days….and in the meantime keep you updated on the happenings in ‘hobbit’ town…

DaddyGeert

Week 1, back to reality

Monday came around way too quickly, and the first day of a “Minnesotan” at work started. It feels strange knowing that this is now it for a year… No more balancing of suitcases with all the treasures always found (why does America always have such nice things… I just want to fill my house with all of it…. and why do I live in a Hobbit house in England!) ….. no more deciding what to leave in my locker at work (as who needs to bring back shoes when you can bring back French Vanilla Coffee creamer!). Instead, my locker is now empty… it actually has space for my coat and handbag.. I guess that is what they intended it to be used for!

In the mean time, Melody and Geert went around exploring…. cycling, sight seeing, studying in Starbucks, Christian book store and Mall of America all received a visit. They have been busy! Melody’s little space is now her own, cosy, with the shells we bought in the Netherlands.

And before we knew it, Friday came around…. A final week day to spend together before Geert goes back to church life in England. So, what better way to spend this, than to do some more sightseeing… We had seen the documentary of Prince, and were eager to see what Paisley Park looks like in real life… Not quite what we had expected. It’s on a busy through road and looks like a factory. I guess you can best describe his house as “an eccentric place for an eccentric person”. Unique and wonderful and weird all at the same time. and also way too expensive to just pop in for a quick visit!

Time to fill our own minds with music…. as we had tickets to Joyful Noise 2017, a festival of Christian music. Jordan Feliz, Big Daddy Weave and For King & Country were singing. What an experience to see 18000 people together joining in with singing. Particularly sobering to hear a 6 year old sing all the lyrics to the songs we could only hum (and the lyrics on the screen were really quite small). One of the wonderful things in America. People are not ashamed to let anyone know they are christian!

Below some pictures of this last week. Let the weekend begin!

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And so the Adventure Starts…

After a very busy weekend with the wedding of Felicity and Tim, the day has

finally arrived.. The little cat is brought to the cattery and our neighbour Jo has been asked to take care of the other one.. The taxi arrives and our 5 suitcases are loaded into the car… All our other possessions have moved already 2 weeks ago.. the 5 suitcases are the result of the left over items to pack and those food items we might otherwise miss so much while in the US.

We checked in and spoilt ourselves in the Sky lounge, before the actual plane took off….. Destination Twin Cities in Minnesota. Customs is a blur and before we know it we are in the hotel for the night before we get the key to our new apartment. A quick bite to eat and a restful short night later and the actual day has started.. today is the day!!!!

The guide takes Miranda to her car for a year, and after some instructions, the keys to the apartment are handed over. Spring Street, St Paul.. here we come…..

Everything is taken care of… from a laundry basket to groceries to a crockpot…. its all there, all we need to do is move in… Unfortunately the style is a little 70s, so activity number 1 is to remove the paintings from the wall and put these in storage. A quick declutter of Melody’s room and we are off.. buying cushions, flowers, cupboards, coffee table etc. After a day or 3, the apartment starts to feel like home .. If only we could figure out how to use the garbage disposal!

Then our real experience begins… on Sunday Melody and Miranda walk to the farmers market in St Paul and buy the first veggies of the season: rhubarb and bean sprouts. We feel very accomplished and American!

Let the work week begin!

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