Headed to the Big Windy

Tomorrow I am off to Chicago. One of our few cousins on the paternal side is getting married on Saturday. We’re of course making the most of our thrifty sides and also using at as a reason for the siblings to get together. What I am trying to keep top of mind is by birth order I am the oldest. And now that we are all adults, I don’t need to manage the rodeo or make sure that everyone gets along or stays out of trouble. I think this will definitely require a conscious effort on my part. I remember Rupert saying to me last summer that he didn’t need me to be his big sister anymore, he was full grown. This really stopped me in my tracks. It was one of those moments where your self defined identity gets a shock. I don’t know that I can quit being the Big Sister. It reminds me of something my mom used to tell me, that no matter how old I got, she would always be my mother. And being mom, I believe she followed that up with the words that I would just have to accept it. We’re also going to be seeing my dad. This will be the first time that all four of us siblings and my dad will be in the same orbit since high school. Again, not my role to make sure everyone gets along. If I just keep repeating it to myself, maybe I will remember!

George totally knows that something is up. He refuses to fall asleep, just keeps watching me with his pop eyes. I haven’t even packed my suitcases in front of them but he still knows. Right now, Henry is wedged against my leg and George is lying on top of him, stuck to my leg even closer. Moortje is staring at me from the arm of the sofa and Lientje is running around chasing things that only she can see. They will be in good hands. Renee is coming to stay with them and they all like her very much.

I would have missed my flight if I hadn’t checked the times today. I had the arrival time in Chicago as the departure time at Schiphol. Whoops! All straightened out now. I am flying on a 747 combi, which means that they board 90 minutes before departure time. I haven’t flown on a 747 in a long time so I am kind of excited.

I debated with Meredith via text today if I should eat refried beans for breakfast in order to create my own inflight entertainment. These are the things that go through my head before I travel. I also thought about bringing my banjo so I could practice and offer others inflight entertainment. I had a really great banjo lesson today and I am going to be sorry not to have it for a week. However, I have already scoped out the Chicago music stores that carry banjos so I plan to visit them and practice under the guise of shopping for a banjo. Today I really had to pick up the pace of the picking and my hand is a little sore. I have to increase the speed so I can get to that classic sound. And I really have to memorize my rolls because I have one down, but there are four total and when I switch to the other three I start thinking about which strings I am picking and then it all falls apart. My banjo teacher has learned that he has to not tell me when I am doing something right because then I immediately fall out of the music flow. Just like with yoga, I could be holding a really painful pose and if the instructor said my name and commented, I would fall right out.

The power went out in our neighborhood today so I had to go and sit on a terrace. I know, but somebody had to do it 😉 I had a nice glass of wine because they couldn’t serve coffee. And when the power came back on, I headed back home.

I have cheese for my brothers, stroopwafels for Meredith and a collection of homemade mustards for Rupert. And for me, I am bringing a loaf of Dutch bread because I know I am headed to a bread desert of sorts. Not a carb desert, because of all of the pizza but definitely a bread desert. Although I will look forward to having a bagel. Pizza, of course.

Tomorrow also marks six months in Amsterdam. It means the diplomatic clause in my lease is now up and the owner can’t move back in before the end of the lease.

Beatrix was super useful today. I had my bike bags full of cheese, the basket full of dog food and cat litter. It is amazing how much you can cram into a bike. My next goal is to get some straps so I can strap my suitcase to the rear and ride to the train station. That won’t work this time so I will take the bus. But I know where we are headed 🙂 I see people carrying their suitcase in their hand while riding their bike but that makes me a bit nervous so I will get some straps.

I had a little bike accident in the woods on the way to work on Monday. I mistakenly thought I could just hop the curb with Beatrix but failed to angle the front wheel so we took a big slide followed by a crash. I skinned my shin and knee but Beatrix is okay. And I learned an important lesson about riding a bike and getting up over a curb. We also made most of the commute in 4th gear. Which feels much more effective than 3rd gear but is a lot harder work.

I wonder what it will feel like to be back in the US? And to hear English all over the place? Right now, I am always listening because there’s so much Dutch and English. If I was surrounded by people speaking Chinese, I would be able to give my brain a rest because I would have no idea what they were talking about.

Yesterday I had a fantastic orange and lemon sorbet from the ice cream maker on the corner. It was amazing! Next time I am going back for the red grapefruit! I had been wanting to stop there for some time but there’s always a line out the door and I am not that patient. I was walking back from the garage yesterday and there was no line so I made the most of it! He makes ice cream too but I was all about the vegan sorbet!

I think we’re going to sleep now since George and I will probably be up 10 times in the night out of nerves. Always good to have a companion in your anxiety.

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