Friday, November 30, 2012

Amsterdam, November 18, 2002

 Sinterklaas arriving in Amsterdam with Zwarte Piets

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails/phone calls? Read this.)

From: Amber
To: My prayer list in the US
Sent: Monday, November 18, 2002

Dear Friends and Family, 

Hello from Amsterdam! I'm very sorry for my tardy letter; I've been letting time get away from me! All is well in the Netherlands - it is a beautiful 53 degrees and today is the day Sinterklaas arrives in Amsterdam. He arrives in Amsterdam on this day every year and leaves gifts in children's shoes every night for the next week. It's fun to be here during Christmas time with all the festivities and lights!

The Amsterdam team is getting bigger all the time with new arrivals from the States. I lose count, but I think there are almost 30 of us here now. Several team members, including Diane, Ned, Shaun and Ryan, are looking for employment. Please pray that they would be able to quickly find jobs and be able to secure work permits! Our music minister and his family, the Smiths, recently arrived and it has been great to have them here and to have someone to lead our worship times. 

Many of the team members have also been rapidly advancing in Dutch (myself not included!). Daryl, Ned and Stephanie are becoming so fluent, it gives hope to the rest of us! Many team members take weekly language courses. Each of us have realized how important it is to be able to speak Dutch in integrating into Dutch culture. Please pray that the team would continue to advance in Dutch!

Besides the American team members who have arrived, we have been encouraged with the number of Dutch who have been interested in joining the team. There are at least seven Dutch who are a part of the team and many more considering joining. With the thirty of us Americans, it's still rather unbalanced! We're going to have another party like we had before on November 29th to tell Dutch people who are interested more about the project and help them to get to know us better. Please pray that God would bring Dutch people who are interested to the party. 

Much of the team's time right now is spent renovating our building, de Krakeling. We have work days every Saturday and there's a lot to do - painting, cleaning, putting down floors, installing kitchens, etc. It's a good time of team bonding. We've been meeting every Sunday night for dinner. We usually eat, have a time of worship, pray and discuss or Steve will share a message with us. Right now, we're in the process of brainstorming ideas for the church, what we want it to look like, how we think it can be effective, etc. Please pray that God's Spirit would be our guide in all of the decisions we make. 

a party with our Dutch neighbors

My roommates and I have been very blessed to make friends with the household across the street. Eight students live in the apartment across the street and we have gotten to know six of them. They have been very hospitable in inviting us to do things with them. They recently invited us over to have a meal of traditional Dutch pancakes. In return, we had them over for traditional American pancakes last week. It has been very fun getting to know them as they are all great girls. Praise God for blessing us with great Dutch friends and pray that our friendships can continue!

I have been busy with schoolwork - I knew I should have read more during the summer! It's crazy to think I'll be done with classes in less than a month. I'll be keeping busy reading yet more books and writing research papers. I am coming home for Christmas on the 13th of December and staying until January 2nd. I am very excited! Once again, thank you for all your love, prayers and support!

all my love,
Amber       

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Baby Chase

Yesterday, we had a sleepover with Allie's friend Hadassah, while her parents went to the hospital to have a baby. They had a good time chasing each other and whiling away the hours before Hadassah got to meet Emmanuel.

Amsterdam, November 7, 2002

 Den Haag, the Netherlands

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails/phone calls? Read this.)

From: Amber
To: My parents
Sent: Thursday, November 7, 2002

Hi guys!

How are you doing? Sorry I haven't emailed much lately. Usually I don't have much new to say. But this past week, Erica [a high school friend] has been here, which made life a bit hectic! She got in last Saturday and I just took her back to the airport today. So, we had five days of action packed touring! And now, I'm exhausted! I'm ready to get back to just doing homework and everyday life

Erica in Madurodam in Den Haag, a miniature city

While Erica was here, we went into Amsterdam several times. I showed her all the sights and we went to several museums. We took a day trip to Leiden and Den Haag. We spent a day walking around in the Bos (for five hours!) We went dancing one night. Last night we went to the Lifehouse concert. It was a lot of fun. But I'm all through with that lifestyle and ready to lie on my bed!

 Me on our five-hour trek through the Bos

Today I have my appointment with Town Hall to register with them. 

Not too much else to report here. This past week, they put up all the Christmas decorations (which seems so early, but I guess they don't have to wait for Thanksgiving here), but it makes it very pretty. 

I hope you have a good day!
Amber      

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wolfgang and Qavah

Here's a post I wrote for Compassion about Wolfgang Riedner. Wolf is from Germany and has one of the best accents on the planet. He's also a beauty school dropout. True story.

Here's my favorite line from his interview:
The pastor asked, “Are we poor?” And the church all shouted, “We are rich, we are rich, we are rich!”
The pastor asked, “Are we poor?” And the church all shouted, “We are rich, we are rich, we are rich!”

Courtesy of Compassion International: http://blog.compassion.com/ministry-insider-wolfgang-riedner-and-qavah/#ixzz2DMYjUr9R
The pastor asked, “Are we poor?” And the church all shouted, “We are rich, we are rich, we are rich!”

Courtesy of Compassion International: http://blog.compassion.com/ministry-insider-wolfgang-riedner-and-qavah/#ixzz2DMYjUr9R

Allie MacDermott

Is it just me, or is Allie's mop of hair...


...starting to look a bit like my favorite contestant on The Voice, Terry MacDermott?


Also, it's officially Christmas at the Van House. I wonder how many times I'll be saying, "No touch!" this season...


Monday, November 26, 2012

Amsterdam, October 31, 2002

 fall in Amsterdam

I've gone back and forth on whether or not to publish this email - broaching the topic of moving home from Amsterdam early. (I had originally intended to stay in Amsterdam indefinitely, but then I met Mike and decided to come home once I finished my Masters program.) I was embarrassed and ashamed at the time. I intensely feared being judged by others. (At the time, one person did ask me, "Don't you worry that everyone is going to judge you?") But looking back over the past 10 years, I don't regret my decision to move home. In the months after I left, our pastor left the church and things were in a bit of upheaval for a time, making my early departure a moot point in hindsight. God has blessed my life with Mike in America in so many ways, and I treasure every bit of it.

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails/phone calls? Read this.)

From: Amber
To: My parents
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002

Hello!

It's Thursday and I'm at school emailing before class. It's Halloween, but you wouldn't really know that here.

Well, here's a topic I've been thinking about, kind of a big one. I've been thinking about not finishing my year here in Amsterdam and moving back to Colorado after this semester is over. I have many reasons. The main one, of course, being Mike. It's just so hard and I really don't want to be here at all most of the time. Yes, I'm enjoying myself, but it's kind of like a slow torture. My heart really isn't here with the church plant. And I'm not sure that my presence ultimately does anymore good here than it would in Colorado. (I'm not trying to be pessimistic about that, I just think it's true.) The Dutch are slow to build friendships. To be effective, you really have to be here long-term. 

Another thing is this degree I'm getting at Leiden. I'm fairly disappointed in the courses here and I think I'm not getting nearly the education I would be in America. I have little faith that the program will get me into a PhD program. I'd need more grad work and the thesis I'd write isn't on par with US masters programs - only 50 pages. 

So there are many things to consider. Leaving would be, in effect, wasting $9000, except that I will come out 18 graduate credits ahead. I was thinking I could apply to CSU again to see if I could get offered a teaching position again and finish my degree without having to spend more money in the process. 

Financially, I could maybe even bail myself out a bit. If I can find someone to take over my rent then maybe I could live with you guys - if you'd have me - and start working so that I'm not living on loans anymore and perhaps I can return some of the loan money. 

I know it would seem like I'm giving up, maybe failing, but I guess I just don't know that my being here is worth it. It's making me (and Mike) miserable and I'm not making a huge difference in the church because I'm only here for one year. 

I guess this would have all been very helpful to have thought of six months ago, but hindsight is 20/20 and I can't live in regrets, but I can reevaluate my situation to see if it's really the one that makes the most sense. I don't know that my situation now does make the most sense. Perhaps it's noble to "stick it out" and it would be fairly humiliating to come home with my tail between my legs, but other than it being noble to persevere, I don't know that this is the most logical or best place for me to be. 

I don't really know what to do. Sorry this is such a long email. What do you think? 

Amber     

Sunday, November 25, 2012

She Walks!

Look what our Little Bit did.


Don't worry, no babies were injured in the making of this film.

Thanksgiving Gangnam Style

I regret to inform you that something desperately sad has happened.

Upon arriving home from the Thanksgiving holiday, I found that I had left our video camera at my parents house.

Now the world won't get to see the video of Jett and Alexandra dancing Gangnam Style.

It's a black day.

All I can offer as solace is this picture of the two playing in the yard.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Amsterdam, October 21, 2002

 Dover, England

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails/phone calls? Read this.) 

From: Amber
To: My Parents 
Sent: Monday, October 21, 2002

Hi guys!

Well, this is my reading week, so I've been relaxing this Monday morning. Ned came over and had breakfast with us. I am getting excited for England. We're staying in a hostel in London for three nights and then a "guest house" in Oxford for two nights. Rachel, Sherry, Naomi and I are going. We'll spend about two days in London, one in Canterbury and Dover, one in Oxford, and one either in Stratford upon Avon or at Stonehenge and Bath. We're just going to go with the flow and see what we feel like. 

I'm still not sure about my thesis. I'm thinking of something about the concept of story - how traditional story was taken out of modernist literature and how now there is a return to it. 

I'm glad you liked Mike's letter. I don't know what it said, but I think he was worried that you guys would think he was a dumb freak. But it seems to all have worked out fine. 

Well, I hope you have a good day!

Amber

From: Amber
To: My Parents
Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2002

hi guys!

i'm in oxford right now. sorry i haven't emailed yet. it's been so busy! i've really really loved england. tonight is our last night. we'll fly out tomorrow morning. 

Hanging out in a phone booth near the Houses of Parliament

we spent three days in london. it's sooooo beautiful. i really enjoyed it. dover and dover castle were spectacular. oxford has also been beautiful. there's too much to tell, so i'll have to tell you on the phone sometime. 

Sherry, Naomi and Rachel near Cleopatra's obelisk in London

i love you and i hope you had a good week!

love, amber       

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Alexandra Video

In which Alexandra does nothing in particular but stand about looking cute.



Several times she says "Arrrgh" to the pirates on the movie.

Amsterdam, October 18, 2002

 Floriade, a horticultural exhibit that takes place every 10 years

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails/phone calls? Read this.) 

From: Amber
To: My Parents
Sent: Friday, October 18, 2002

Hi guys!

I've been busy lately. Going to England will set me a bit back in time, so I've been studying hard to get ahead. I've also spent a lot of time researching my thesis. I had an appt with my american lit professor to discuss my thesis topic. she thought my ideas were really good and gave me several ideas of authors to look up, so that's what i've been doing. 

thank you for your encouragement in your email. i went to the floriade on wednesday - the flower show. i went with diane and a couple of her friends she met here last time. it was very neat. it cost 12.75, but was still fun. i took a lot of pictures - it was very big. 

at Floriade

that night, our neighbors had us over for dutch pancakes and a birthday party. there was six of them there and it was very fun to hand out with them and speak dutch a little. 

some of our Dutch neighbors

today i'll just be reading, trying to get work done. 

what's new with you guys? love you!

amber     

Monday, November 19, 2012

Amsterdam, October 10, 2002

 The Amsterdamse Bos, where I spent many hours wandering around trying to decide if I should move home to marry Mike

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails/phone calls? Read this.) 

From: Amber
To: My Parents
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2002

hi guys!

not much time to write. Classes are good. it's cold today. diane arrives from the airport today and will stay with us for one week. after that she's moving in with the Smiths. 

Naomi and I wanted to decorate for fall here, but of course, they don't have fall decorations here!

On Sunday, mike and I had a big talk about marriage and stuff. we basically explicitly stated our intentions and talked a little about timing. You'll have to call me to talk about it sometime. 

love you!
amber


From: Michael
To: My Parents
Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2002

Hello to you. How are things in Aurora? It's pretty cold tonight, so I'm staying indoors and doing some homework and writing some messages. 

Just so you know, I just sent you a little letter. Its content is a bit on the heavy side, maybe. But then it's been an interesting week, to say the least. Amber and I have been burning through the phone cards, as I'm sure you've heard. It's been good. I didn't used to be much of a phone person, used to think it was an inferior way of communication, but I've changed my mind. There's a lot you can say and do on the phone. And we're pushing the medium to its extremes. 

Well, I've got to go do some reading. I hope you have a good weekend. So long. 

Mike


Saturday, October 12, notes my mom took during a phone call with me. 

Walked in the Bos today. Had coffee with Naomi and Diane. 

Read the Scarlet Letter, finished Walden, Great Gatsby, In Our Time by Hemingway. Class disappointing. Historical background, not much discussion. 

Worked at de Krakeling. Painted, washed walls, removed wallpaper. 

Mike's parents went to Ft. Collins for a 3-4 hour talk. Asked if Mike was willing to forsake all others for eternity. Mike said yes, so they said that pretty much settles it. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

14 Months and Counting



Here's Alexandra saying, "Tada!" Since she's started standing, she's realized that if she throws her hands in the air, we clap and cheer for her. So now she does it at all times (even when not standing).


When she sees this picture of herself, she throws her hands in the air and says, "Yaayyy!" And by the way, if you (mom), want to view all the prior month-by-month photos, just click on "months and counting" link at the end of this post.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Duality of Alexandra

One minute she's kissing you. The next she's biting your face off.

Amsterdam, September 29, 2002

Pannekoeken

 (Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails/phone calls? Read this.) 

From: Amber
To: My parents
Date: Sunday, September 29, 2002

Hello!

It's been a good weekend so far. Yesterday, we had all the women over to our house for a brunch. We had Dutch pancakes and fruit salad and devilled eggs and other stuff. There were about 17 of us in all. We ate and then sang and prayed. 

Naomi and I decided to try to go to England October 21-25. (We have a "study week" for school.) So we spent last night trying to figure out how much it was, etc.

One of the first church meetings, in the attic of the Krakeling

Today we had a team meeting for all of the team. Some Dutch guys came and I got to talk to them for awhile. They were very nice. 

Doing work on the Krakeling

Tomorrow I go to Leiden for a library tour. I have Thursday and Friday off because it's a holiday in Leiden so I might spend some time helping to work on the Krakeling - painting, etc. Well, I hope you have a nice weekend. Give me a call sometime!

amber      

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Surprised Alexandra

Alex really loves it when her dad scares her (notice how she reaches up each time to say, "do it again!")


Amsterdam, September 25, 2002

Leidseplein, Amsterdam

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails/phone calls? Read this.) 

From: Amber
To: My prayer list in the US
Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Dear Friends and Family,

Dag from Amsterdam! I have now been living in the sunny Netherlands for over five weeks and have many stories to tell.

The first week here was "challenging." My roommates and I got very used to doing most things wrong, getting lost, getting scolded, and wasting huge amounts of time and money on mistakes. My resilient roommates weren't as phased as I was, but I just wanted to run home to my mom! Now that I'm settled in and have learned how to perform basic life functions, such as grocery shopping and flushing toilets, life is good.

Life is already progressing as normal here. I have three classes in Leiden a week. It takes about one hour and fifteen minutes from my house taking two different buses, a train, and walking. I have been able to meet some friends in my program at school. This last weekend, my roommate Naomi and I went out with a girl from Argentina, her Dutch boyfriend and three of her French friends. It is great getting to know people who live here better and we hope to continue a friendship with them.

So far there are twenty of us on the Amsterdam team here and more arriving soon. The church staff members applied for work permits in the Netherlands, which are sometimes nearly impossible to secure. However, all of the staff members were given three-year work permits! Usually the country gives out one-year work permits and one has to go through the difficult reapplication process for three years. With these permits, however, all the staff members are secured a place in the country for at least three years! Other missionary friends of our who have been through this process multiple times call it a miracle!

Our Dutch friends the de Groets have made our first weeks here so encouraging by inviting us out on their boat and having us to their house for parties. The de Groets have three children, all in their early twenties. They are all excited about being a part of starting a church here.

There are so many things I could share, but I'll just share one more extremely exciting development. We've signed a lease for a place that's so ideal it's incredible. De Krakeling is a famous old building in a very popular part of town, the Leidseplein. The middle of the building is a youth theater and any Dutch person under thirty has visited it multiple times growing up. It's the kind of building that is marked in red on a map. We are renting the backside, which faces a canal. It is composed of ten apartments. One of these will be used for offices for the church and also for offices of team members who are trying to start a business here. The other apartments can be rented to team members who need a place to stay. This will cover the cost of the building so that one floor can be open for a ministry center. Praise God for the provision of this building!

I love and miss all of you and I hope you are enjoying the fall! Thank you for your love and support!

Amber

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An Allie Fix

For all the grandmas out there. These pictures remind us of her aunt Krista and cousin Haylie.




Amsterdam, September 22, 2002

 Zandvoort aan Zee

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails? Read this.)

From: Amber
To: My Parents
Date: Sunday, September 22, 2002

hi guys!

Katy and I on the beach in Zandvoort

well today is sunday and i had a really nice time yesterday at Zandvoort. we went to the sea and i picked up seashells. we built sandcastles and played in the waves and had lunch on the beach. it was a very fun day. 

 Daryl and Jonas building a dam on the beach

at night, naomi and i went out with a girl we met at our orientation in leiden. she's from argentina but has been here one year. her boyfriend came and three of her french friends came too. we went to a couple of bars and one dutch karaoke bar. it was really fun and we got to know nuria a lot better. 

well, i hope you have a good day! love ya, amber

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Amsterdam, September 18, 2002

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails/phone calls? Read this.)

Notes my mom jotted down during a phone conversation with me September 18th

Master's program: Professor of T.S. Eliot class is head of MA program. She's British and very good. MA meeting today. Thesis is 50-60 pages, shorter than she thought it would be. Is required to leave the country after she graduates. 

Reception for MA program: 16 in program - 2 Americans, 1 Canadian, Irish lady now living in Netherlands, Indonesian, France, 2-3 Chinese, Asians, Spanish

Bos: Has lots of cranes and herons in the park. Went on a walk in the Bos with Katy. Cranes let you get close - 10 feet away. On Sunday, Amber met Ali and they went shopping together. 

 De Krakeling Building, which our church rented

The church is going to rent the Krakeling Building in popular part of town. Houses the children's theatre. Everyone in Amsterdam knows about the building. It's about five stories high. They'll have the back which faces onto the canal, so beautiful. Their part will have about 9-10 apartments. Theo's company will move there, Bryan's graphic design company too. They hope to renovate several of the apartments and rent them to businessmen. 

Thinks Jonas was the guy who was offered crack, but doesn't know the story. Thinks it may have been a joke since you are supposed to smoke it and not eat it. 

 The Melkweg in Amsterdam, where we went to see Jack Johnson

Concert: Went with Naomi last night. They went for ice cream too. CD will be out in spring. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Amsterdam, September 18, 2002

 Sailing in Amsterdam harbor on Theo's boat

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous to publish my own emails? Read this.)

From: Amber
To: My Parents
Sent: Wednesday, September 18, 2002 4:54 a.m.

Hi guys!

Following is a message steve sent. I thought you might find it interesting. And just so you know (because I know you'll ask), the girl robbed was Steph. She was in a bad part of town (she didn't know it was a bad part of town) late at night and she and her friends were robbed - they just took cell phones and stuff like that.

I love you! Amber

From: Steve [the pastor of our church plant, published with his permission]
To: Supporters
Sent: Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Friends,

We have resurfaced.

Since May 1, we've lived out of suitcases, staying with friends and family, saying goodbyes and raising financial support. Now we're living in the center of Amsterdam. We've been living temporarily on a boat behind Central Station. And we're definitely "not in Kansas anymore."

In four weeks, we've repaired twelve flat bicycle tires.

Alex's bicycle was stolen last week.

Ali's bike was stolen the day before yesterday.

Our dog Keesha fell off the boat into the water and almost drowned.

Although classes started a month ago, two of our girls are still not in school.

I've had some good conversations with my kids about why some men dress like women.

A woman on our team was robbed at knife point Saturday night.

A man on our team was offered "candy" by a friend. When he put it in his mouth another friend warned him it was crack.

We moved into an apartment 5 days ago and we still don't have any hot water.

The apartment is unfurnished and I'm sitting on the floor right now as I write this.

For this brief moment in time, this is what it means for our family to obey God. Is this what Jesus meant by denying ourselves, taking our cross and following Him? Is this what Paul meant when he talked about being "crucified with Christ"?

Not even close.

We've met so many friends since coming here. So many Dutch friends have helped us and encouraged us and protected us. Friends like Theo and Wilmy and their family, Otto and Daisy, Lotja and the guy at the bicycle shop who cut me a break.

We have several more new Dutch friends join the Amsterdam team and we expect more to come. We've sailed together with Theo's family on the Ijselmeer and swam in the cool water. We've sat and watched hundreds of boats and ships pass by the harbor in Amsterdam.

We've enjoyed some of the best cheese, wine, flowers and chocolate we've ever had.

We've rented space for the ministry and for our families in a building that was build in 1886. It's a national monument and one of the most famous buildings in all the Netherlands.

We've had numerous spiritual conversations with some of our new friends. More and more people are showing genuine interest in what we're beginning here.

A local group of church leaders in Amsterdam has welcome us and invited us into their prayer group.

Thirteen Americans from our team have already joined us in Amsterdam and two more arrived just this morning.

This year has become one of the most difficult years in our lives. At the same time, we've never felt so free and so clearly in the center of God's will then we feel right now. This is very hard...very, very hard. No one should ever do something like this unless God clearly leads them to do it.

And therein is my sermon for this year...

You see, in my "normal" life, the one we left in the U.S., we could live about 97% of our day to existence without God's help at all. I mean, we didn't really need God's help to do anything. But of course, you really need God's help if you're going to do anything really "big" or "significant" for God.

Here, that's all different. Here, we need God's help every day just to do daily life, just to have a good attitude at all. We've moved past needing God for the big stuff. We really, really need God for all the little stuff.

And that's the way life and faith is really supposed to be, isn't it?

Being in Amsterdam is much less about what we have to offer this city or what we have all figured out. It's a lot more about what we have to learn and how we have to grow. And maybe, out of those lessons of faith, there will be something in our lives this city finds attractive.

Thank you so much for remembering us. Thank you for praying for us and for your generous support for this project. If it weren't for you, this new ministry would not be possible at all. Thank you for being patient with our lack of communication. it has been very difficult just to stay in communication. Even right now, I'm sending this e-mail wirelessly with my laptop and my cellphone. But, we're getting settled in now and it will be much easier to stay in touch.

Tot ziens,

Steve

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Amsterdam, September 7, 2002

 Soest, the Netherlands

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails? Read this.)

From: Amber
To: My Parents
Sent: Saturday, September 7, 2002 7:58 a.m.

Hi guys!

I just got back from teh party in Soest - we stayed the night there because the party went until 2. Steve and Marleuse and Jurren (Theo's kids) talked a little bit to the whole party about the idea of starting a church. (They had invited their Dutch Christian friends who were interested in the idea.) then there was a question and answer period. I'm not sure what they're thinking, but I think it went well. You could pray that God would move them to be involved in being a part of this, it's really key for us to have Dutch people heading it up!

Leiden was beautiful. The boat tour went in all the surrounding areas, and there are tons of windmills around Leiden.

by the way, i think i would definitely like to come home over my christmas break. it might have to be in january because of my exams.

Well, I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

love ya,

Amber

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Amsterdam, September 6, 2002

 One of Leiden's many windmills

(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails? Read this.)

From: My mom
To: My family
Sent: Friday, September 6, 2002, 10:59 p.m.

Hi girls!

Amber called this afternoon and asked me if I would tell you all, "Hi!" 

She asked me to share what she has been up to so here goes. I talked to her while she was traveling on the train from Leiden after her orientation. She and Naomi were on the way to Soest. She was going to a party at Theo's house with the Americans, Theo's family and some of their Dutch friends.

She went to orientation and met a lot of international students and socialized. She met a very nice Argentinian girl who lives their now. She has a Dutch boyfriend. She offered to show them the night spots sometime. The university took them on a boat tour - they saw windmills and canals, and then two museums. One of them was mostly science stuff. Had the first navigational cross pendulum and the pen Einstein used to write E=MC2. He studied at Leiden University. [We went to the Museum Boerhaave, a very interesting museum where I got to see the spit of Pavlov's dogs. Still brag about that.] The pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower lived in Leiden before coming over. They visited one of their houses.

One of the homes the pilgrims lived in while waiting to sail to America in the early 1600s

Went to her first class yesterday. Her professor is very nice and knowledgeable...and her time ran out! So consider yourselves updated!

Hope all of you have a great day!
Mom