The 11th of November is Sint-Maarten here in the Netherlands. Okay, also in France and parts of Germany and Belgium. Everyone celebrates it a little differently. Here in Amsterdam, the school children make lanterns and learn songs. In the evening, they go door to door and show their lanterns and sing a song. In return they get some candy, an orange, what have you. I don’t remember celebrating this as a child so it would have completely skipped my awareness had Joanne not advised me of this very Dutch holiday. I had offered her the dogs and she insisted that they should remain here until after Sint Maarten. I have some experience in how the dogs are when people come to the door so I took them for a walk, fed them an early dinner and then closed them into the bedroom/office/mission control. Earlier today, before going to the office, I stopped by AH and bought five bags of candy. Now these were Dutch bags of candy so they had 14 pieces in them each instead of the giant Halloween bags. I thought I would be okay and I purposefully bought candy that I would have zero interest in eating. With my highly elegant IKEA dish box, err candy bowl, I sat on my front stoop and waited for the kids to come by. They did. The deal is no candy before the song. I ran out of candy so I went tearing through the cupboards looking for anything at all. Well, I can’t really pass out packets of Starbucks VIA to little children or Nespresso capsules. I had a package of speculaas and a mandarin. It was completely okay for the kids to each take a cookie from an open pack and eat it right then and there. None of their parents freaked and no one was worried about what might be in them except one little boy who had a nut allergy – he was thrilled with the mandarin. It was such a nice experience, that you could give something out of your cupboards without anyone being worried that there was something dangerous underneath. I really enjoyed it and the songs were great. I know for next year to have even more on hand. And the boys did pretty well, they only barked a few times.

After I ran out of speculaas, we went for a long walk because the theory is that a tired dog is a happy dog. I am not really sure Henry agrees with that and I think George could just keep walking forever. Every time a tram passes us by, George stops and looks at it as if to say “Shouldn’t we be getting on that one?” I bet that one day I will find George with an OV chipkaart of his own, so he can travel wherever he pleases.

The weather has really taken a turn for the chilly. I am already regretting the fact that I sent all my winter coats in the shipping container. Today when I was going to the office, the wind was really sharp at Schiphol and it ripped right through my fleece. When Mom and I used to fly into Amsterdam, I always wanted to work on the ramp for KLM. They had these bomb turquoise jumpsuits and foul weather gear and they had every kind of airplane, including the 747s that went around the world. I used to think that if I could be KLM ramp rat, I would have it made. And I loved Schiphol. There were trips to the Netherlands that Mom and I lived almost entirely in Schiphol – it is a city unto itself. We would take day trips out of Schiphol but that’s where we would keep coming back to at night. And here I am now. If I go into the office, the building is on Schiphol grounds and I can watch the planes take off and land from anywhere in the building. Different industry and very different skills but still at Schiphol. I walked past a KLM ramp rat today and wondered if I could get one of those parkas secondhand? They strike me as incredibly useful for on the bike and when the rain comes down here, like the day I got so soaked, my laptop shorted.

The cats got more of the tuna and shrimp tonight. Which they then promptly threw up. And George got into the cat food bag yesterday, including the bag itself so he’s had some violent digestive fury. And I am not sure what Henry ate but he’s pretty questionable at the moment as well. So, all the way around, I should probably dose them with Petpo-Bismal. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better otherwise I might open a side business as a biohazard specialist.

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