a nOT sO cHRISTMAS mORNING.
This morning we decided we were going to cook up a nice and hearty breakfast the way Canadians do... Eggs in tact and Bacon a plenty. There was also some French toast in the mix (which they call 'flipped b****' out here... how it got that title I shall never know) and some fruit on the side, but the bacon and eggs were the inspiration for this feast. However, before we started cooking this feast, I realized that we were out of milk and did not possess a suitable flipper... So off to the kitchen I went. While over there I ran into some of the housekeeping ladies, and much to my surprise they had gifts for us. Apparently they had something to do with Sinterklaas as they ordered us to open them before the following Saturday when Sinterklass arrived in the country. So I was now making my way back to the Brem with a spatula, a carton of milk, and two presents wrapped in paper that said "december 5th" all over it with the order to open it before November 13th rolled around. When I got back to the house I noticed that Taliah had still yet to wake from her slumber so I thought waking up to gifts under a pseudo-Christmas tree would be quite the pleasant surprise. With an idea in mind, I grabbed the sharpest kitchen knife I could find and the dead plant currently decaying on our windowsill and found the piniest tree I could find and began hacking branches off of it and placing them into this rock filled pot to make something reminiscent of Christmas out of it. When I got back to the Brem I saw Taliah walking around the kitchen/living area and thought I had been caught in the act... But being the sneaky fellow that I am, I managed to keep my composure and set out the tree and presents (which were in my bedroom at that point in time) all while we were in the same room no bigger than your average living room. Our eyes even met on several occasions while I was setting all this up and somehow she was none-the-wiser (perhaps the holding things behind the back tactic is much more effective than I had ever previously thought). So we began cooking, and we misjudged everything. The eggs were done first followed by the bacon and only about 10 minutes after those two items had hit the table was the french toast finally completed. So we had to do a bit of micro-radiation to get everything back to an acceptable temperature, and if it did change the flavour we really couldn't tell because it had been so long since we had had a decent breakfast that consisted of more than bread, cheese and yogurt. About half-way through breakfast Taliah finally noticed the 'Christmas tree' and gifts sitting behind me and enquired when I did that (and appeared somewhat embarrassed when I told her that she was in the room through-out the entire set-up process and actually starred me down as I entered the Brem, tree in hand). So once we finished breakfast we decided now was about as good a time as any to unwrap those suckers. So I (in my boyish fashion) tore apart the paper to get at the gift within, while Taliah (in a much less boyish fashion) carefully opened the wrapping paper in such a way that whatever was inside could be placed back into the wrapping paper for safe keeping. The gift was essentially a two sided yard of cardboard that unfolded into a story and folded back up into something reminiscent of a book. On one side is the story of Sinterklaas and on the other is the story of Santa Clause (I guess so you can compare the two). Apparently the housekeeping lady who gave them to us was kind of disappointed that Santa was also in the book... I don't know if she thought adding Santa Clause in the equation would confuse us or why that was such a disappointment, but I think it will be good to be able to figure out the differences between the two (because from what I gather, there are some pretty sizable differences).
So our morning was starting to have this Christmas feel to it by this point, and we were both enjoying the atmosphere we had created by opening gifts and making a Christmas tree of sorts... so we decided to keep that Christmas feeling going by watching the only Christmas movie I had on my computer at the time, 'Animaniacs: Wakko's Wish'. Now at somewhere around 45 minutes in, we began to notice a surprising lack of Santa/Jesus/Gift related themes for a Christmas movie. By the end we had come to the decision that this was clearly just a special meant for the holiday season and not necessarily tied to any specific aspect of Christmas besides the emotions and weather of the season. It was a good movie, but I'd be hesitant to call it a Christmas movie (which was kind of suiting as this wasn't actually Christmas). Right around the time the movie ended we couldn't help but notice the sun was coming out (and since they get about a sum total of 24-48 hours of sunlight per month during this season we decided we'd better take advantage of this while it's there). The thought had crossed our mind earlier that morning to bike to Nunspeet, but by the time we were ready to enjoy the day we had forgotten why... So we began walking through the woods in an attempt to follow the patch of sun while trying to think of what else we could do. During our exploration we managed to navigate from sun shiny weather into rain stormy weather in a matter of about 2 minutes... I think that the weather is one the my least favourite things about the Netherlands. So we quickly made our way out of the woods only to find the patch of sun had made it's way over Mennorode. It was at about this time that we decided to swipe some ping pong paddles from the basement and hit that little plastic ball around for a while (with the hope that maybe if we stay in one spot the sun will come find us... and it did). The dutch must have thought we were crazy because we were out in, what they must have thought was by no means, a nice autumn day without any coats or long sleeved clothing of any sort. Half way through our no-rules rally a kid showed up and just watched us for a while until his mother made him come with her. And it's not like we could talk to him because he probably doesn't know English yet, so Taliah decided to make it painfully obvious that we only really spoke English by having a conversation with me about whatever she could come up with. So all the while I'm trying to concentrate on what she is saying (as it wasn't terribly unimportant) while trying desperately not to peg this kid in the face with the ping pong ball... or worse yet, my paddle. But he left with both eyes in tact and we finished our game and took a nap before a somewhat uneventful evening... but the day up until then more than made up for a less than exciting evening in the Brem (and sometimes relaxing is OK too).