King’s day Celebration in Amsterdam


King's day 2017 - friendly stranger 1King’s day 2017 – friendly stranger 1

King's day 2017 - friendly stranger 2

King’s day 2017 – friendly stranger 2

King's day 2017 - Some inspiration on King's Day as well

King’s day 2017 – Some inspiration on King’s Day as well

King's day 2017 - selfie!

King’s day 2017 – selfie!

King's day 2017 - only orange that I had

King’s day 2017 – only orange that I had

King's day 2017 - drunk orange group 😀

King’s day 2017 – drunk orange group 😀

King's day 2017 - friendly stranger 3

King’s day 2017 – friendly stranger 3

A ride to remember!


It was a Saturday. My hubby and I were just hanging around at the Centraal station. We didn’t know how people celebrate Easter here, but it was a bit more crowded than usual. And before we could say anything, we saw big cart wheel at a distance!

We had already been to beach in the afternoon, so we were little hungry but we thought let us first check out what it is. But when we went there, one thing led to other and we were standing in the line with the tickets for one of the swings called ‘Around the world’.

As per my past experiences, I know that I am always afraid at first but later I don’t really feel the fear that much. So I just said my husband that it might not be that scary after all. But one hell, I was wrong! It was 60 m high from the ground and I didn’t know what it felt to swing that high.

The worst thing was we didn’t feel it was that safe, and it was only after it began to swing. There was only one rod near the waist that held us. And both of us are quite tall. So we thought that even if we move a little we might fall!! We had thought that we will take picture after we reach the top spot. But as I said, we didn’t even move! We didn’t even look at each other. And after reaching the top, it rotated there was some time. Maybe 2 minutes. We couldn’t wait for those 2 minutes to get over. When we reached there, my husband immediately said that we aren’t going to try anything like this again!! I was so relieved! I wasn’t alone who scared! LOL! And he started to recite any random song without any rhythm :D. I too would have cried if we would have stayed there any longer!!

The moment we got down from those chairs, we left a sigh of relief and as we talked about it we couldn’t control our laughter!! We still laugh about it every time we think of it!! It was one gem of a experience! Later, when we were having snacks, sitting next to the fare, watching the ride, we kept on wondering – how did we do it!! But I am glad we did it 🙂

The best thing about this experience was, that we both felt the same way!! The way laugh we about it and talk about it now… he is not just my husband, he has become my best friend!!

Elections in Netherlands


“You can ask Dutch people anything, except their salary and politics”

That was a friendly advice my colleague gave me when we were discussing Dutch people.

Just 2 days ago, there were national elections in Netherlands. And the day seemed to be as normal as any other day. Nobody discussing anything, nobody coming late or leaving early for voting, nobody busy in their mobiles or checking news.

Having witnessed 2014 elections in India, this was totally unexpected for me. I wouldn’t have known there are elections unless one of the colleagues would have told me so. I was little apprehensive to inquire more because of that friendly advice I had received. So I started with some general questions.

The Dutch go for election after every 4 years. They don’t have a leave or a half day leave for voting. This is because the voting is open for long time, from 8 in the morning to 9 in the evening! And there are many places where they can vote. Considering the very small population they have, I think it should be very comforting.

They still use paper ballot. While they are so technically advanced in every other thing, they don’t seem to trust technology when it comes to EVMs. In last election they did try to bring the machines but immediately gave up for the next one.

Most of the campaigning happens online. See, they don’t think that they won’t make an impact unless they make a public appearance. However, they participate in debates on TV channels. They also circulate pamphlets, but only in the crowded places. I didn’t get a single of those.

jesseklever

If I had chance, I would have voted this guy! He is not just cute but he also got elected in Amsterdam!

The counting begins immediately after 9 pm and the first result is declared in 5 minutes! That too without machines!! By the time I was in office next day, the results were already out! Ha! And still nobody discussed anything about it!

It is kind of exactly opposite of what happens in India.

We have heated discussions about politics and some may even choose to stay away from their close friends who disagree with them. And after 3 years of election, we still continue to have same arguments. When my friends’ party (it means the party that he supported) won in national elections, they had small celebration and they sent me photos to tease. In the next state election, when my party (obviously, the party that I supported) won, I too celebrated by cutting a cake!

Campaigning happens both online and in public. But we need both types to appeal different genre of people. There are rallies held in open public areas,(but never a debate in public) prime minister candidates never face each other in public. The public attendance in these rallies is used as a major to guess the leader’s popularity.

We use EVMs. We trust machines more than people 😛 In spite of using machines, there are ways in which we can cheat. So many names go missing from the voters list every time. So many names appear. I don’t know details, but I think Dutch elections are more fare than Indian elections. And considering our population, it is not feasible that we don’t go for paper and pen elections. But it still take some time to count the votes.

I will do like to mention here that, although many things here support the advice I got, one of my another colleagues actually revealed me who he was going to vote for! And he is also source of most of the information that he shared. In India, on the contrary, we might be shouting from the rooftops who we support, yet, when someone asks us on the voting day “Who did you vote for?” we will always reply, “Sorry, we shouldn’t reveal that.”

Marathon Survivors!! – Part 2


16th October 2016 – Marathon Day
The alarm rings at 6 am. My husband wakes up and wakes me up too. Which is totally opposite of what happens on every other day.
Hubby : Come on, we have to go. We need to get up or we will be late.
Me : Ya, right. (But stays in bed.)

Finally @ 7, we are out of bed.

Hubby : The race starts at 10:10. So we will have to leave at 8:30 at least as we will be riding on bicycle. So we will have some buffer time after reaching there.
Me : Yes, 8:30 without fail.

@ 7:45 – 8
I come out of bathroom

Hubby : I had called my friend XYZ (who stays nearby). He said he will be leaving at 9.
Me : OK. So what about us?
Hubby : We are still with our schedule. We will leave house at 8:30 sharp.

@ 8:15
We were filling the details in a form that was behind the number. In the form, they have asked about medical history. My husband has a bit high sugar and he is taking medication. I told him you have to mention it. He wasn’t willing to.
Hubby : What if they don’t let me to run?
Me : So what? I will also not run.
Hubby : But I want to run.
Me : They will let you run. It is just diabetes. Nothing severe.
Hubby : (Didn’t say anything.)
@ 8:50 we are done and wearing shoes.
Me : Good that we decided time as 8:30 or we would still be late. 🙂

We rode cycle in the cold weather. Luckily it wasn’t that cold. And it didn’t even rain!! We reached the destination at 9:30. There were lots of people coming from everywhere for marathon. I have never seen so much of a crowd in Amsterdam. Although back in India I am used to it, but not here. And they were all so excited and cheery, it just set the mood. And not for a moment did the thought cross our mind that we don’t want to run the marathon. We just swam with the crowd and without knowing anything we were already in the lane where the race was going to take place.There were so many other people who weren’t running but were just there to cheer us. It was amazing feeling, like they were pushing us to reach the finish line.

IMG_20161016_100625894.jpg

NOTE : Both of us (probably only both of us) were wearing jeans for the marathon. Because I thought it is going to be very cold and it will be difficult to run. My husband had brought shorts to change but he didn’t go for it. We ran the entire race in jeans while every one else was in sportswear.

@10 am
Hubby : We are wearing jeans
Me : It’s OK. It is our first marathon.
Hubby : Ya but still.
Me : Next time we will come prepared. (I was already in the achievement mood. So nothing was going bring me down. Not even any kind of humiliation)

@10:10
We began to run(read as walk). We learnt that although the pistol trigger was pulled at 10:10, it took us almost 5-10 more minutes to cross the actual starting point.
Hubby : I might go ahead as I run.
Me : That’s OK. I will come. (Pff… I am independent woman!)

I really couldn’t keep pace with my husband. I kept on going with the hope that I will find him. Craning my neck to get his glimpse in that crowd.
He used to wait for me (I told him don’t but he still did) then I would catch up with him and then again he would disappear. We had done 4 km. After 3rd time he decided to stay with me rather than going ahead.
After 5 km, they had stalls of water, juice some energy bars and sponges to wipe our sweat. Energy bars were over till we reach there and we weren’t sweaty at all for sponges, so we drank some juice and went on.
In no time we had finished 7 km.But the last km was the toughest!
750 m
500 m
200 m
and finally 100 m
And we could see the end point! And we did it!

img_20161016_112706499

It felt like and achievement then. First marathon and finished in time. It was cool. We weren’t even prepared to run the marathon and here we are finishing in time. 🙂

It feels good, to have done something new. To do something you never thought you would do. I always felt like I lacked in extra curricular activitis. So it’s kind of an opportunity that I got and I grabbed it!

I think it was not our will that helped us to finish. Our will only took us to the marathon, but it was the environment there that galvanized us to finish it! I am thankful for everyone present there for this. And I am thankful to my husband as well, it is for him that I ever thought of running this marathon at first place!! :*

The organisers had arranged good snacks. We met other friends there. And we had fun 🙂

An experience worth cherishing!

What about you? Have you ran a marathon? What was your experience? Or are you planning to?  Do share!!

 

Marathon Survivors!! – Part 1


Sometime in July 2016
My hubby : Hey we have marathon in October. I have enrolled both our names.
Me : That’s great! We are going to run marathon for first time!! How long is it?
Hubby : 8 km. It will be on 16th October.
Me : Oh nice. Lot of time for practice.

1st September 2016
Me: I need to practice for this marathon or I wont be able to complete it.
Hubby : So you are going to run daily?
Me : Yeah I will have to. It’s one of my things from the list you know?- to run a marathon.
Hubby : Take it easy girl or your legs will pain.

Me : (Searches on internet – ‘How to prepare for marathon.’ And finds 1 month plan for getting trained to run a marathon)

marathon1month

2nd September 2016
Me : (Follows day 1 plan from the training. And tells husband after he is back from office)  I went for running today. I am feeling good, I am feeling fresh.
Hubby : (Bit surprised) How far did you run? Your legs aren’t paining, right?
Me: No, not at all. I went 2 miles (I learnt that 1.6 km=1 mile). But not all of it is running. Partly walking partly running.  So chill 🙂 (Dreams of running and completing marathon in time)

Continue reading

Dreams come with price tags!


Finally I am glad to be in Netherlands, to be with my husband!! After a long distance of so many miles for around 5 months, it’s good to see him in person (unlike on video chats and in photos)

 

I amsterdam

I amsterdam

Plus Amsterdam is indeed a very beautiful place. And weather her is so pleasant. Being from Mumbai, I am not used to so calm and cool environment. Also, there is very little traffic on the roads and people very properly follow the rules. There is a separate lane for cycles. While walking, people make use of footpaths which is very rarely in seen in India. And even if some one is stranger, they will greet you with a smile, it is a really good practice. Overall, it generates a feel good factor.

Continue reading