Guess what? Astrid is free! I picked her up yesterday and she is now safely tucked away in the convention center garage in the neighborhood. She’s got Dutch plates and a Dutch registration and now we go on a 16 month waiting list for a street parking permit! And I just finished sending the payment to the garage. Between the shipping from Seattle to Amsterdam and then the three month jail sentence to get her through the Dutch import process, my beloved 1989 Saab cost 4500 euros. That’s about 6000 USD. Heh. For a car that blue books for about 750 USD. But here’s the logic behind my seemingly bizarre choice – Astrid is free and clear and more importantly, I have so many great memories of my mom and I sharing that car during the days I was working three jobs and she was my shuttle and coffee service. In one year, I think we put close to 70K miles on her. Right now, Astrid has 270K. So, yeah, there’s no way I would have left her behind. We’ll be driving to Sweden this summer. I want to show Astrid the factory line where she was “born”or should I say “Bjorn”since we are going to Sweden? Couldn’t resist the pun!

While I was driving to our neighborhood, I was on the A10 freeway – the ring around Amsterdam. It was such fun to think that here I am zooming down the highway in my super car! We’ll be taking a ride this weekend, the boys and I. George loves being in the car. Henry would prefer to hang out on the couch but maybe we’ll go out to the country side so they can run free and roll in cow and sheep poop. It is a good thing it is a small country because gas is expensive! I think it works out to about 8 euros per gallon.

Today I had one of those epic technology failure days in front of a customer. It was so frustrating. Fortunately, my coworker was nearby and so I could borrow his machine and improvise. And of course, I was kicking my own ass for it going awry. My coworker reminded me to just take a deep breath and that these things happen, no big deal. It took me a while to walk down the street to stop kicking myself but I got there eventually. One of the things I am trying to learn here is to get out of my head faster when something is less than 100% flawless, especially when it comes to work.

Starting a new batch of Kombucha tonight. This time I am using rooiboos tea. Did you know that you can make artificial leather from dried out kombucha cultures? Good to know if it ever gets to a point that I have more Scobies than I can give away. I didn’t pay proper attention to my last batch, between the travel schedule and all, and let’s just say it wasn’t something I wanted to bottle. It was, however, sporting a very vivid shade of moss green. That’s when fermentation has gone too far!

The temperature has dropped to freezing. I am hoping that soon we will be able to walk on the ice on the canals. I’d like to skate too, that would be fun! I bet I could teach George to skate and we could take turns pulling Henry around the ice.

You would think that with the colder weather, less people would be on their bikes. No. I feel a little wimpy as I walk to public transportation. And I remember my mom telling me that she was on the bike in all weather, good or bad. I can’t help but look for her in the faces of all the cyclists going past me.

PS… this marks my 90th day in the Netherlands and my 40th blog post! Thanks for accompanying me on the journey!

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