We had a perfect plan. We'd take a nap the morning after we arrive, go to bed after New Year's celebrations, and we'd have minimal jet lag. It seemed to have worked, until I woke up an hour ago at midnight. When I had gone to bed at 9pm I was exhausted. I was sure I would sleep in without problems, and in fact had set my alarm, because I didn't want to sleep through church. I lay there for an hour trying to go back to sleep, but Ginger had joined us, also not being able to sleep, and each of her tiny little noises was keeping me awake. Time crawl when you can't sleep!
2 full days have gone by since we arrived at Schiphol airport. Before we could all get to our nap, it was already 11am, and I woke up just a few hours later. My sister Emma joined me to the grocery store and the other shops downtown. We bought a few essentials, and when we got back by 5pm, Joe and the kids were still zonked out. Our house is very close to my cousin's house. Talita is my father's older brother's daughter, and is a few years older than me. In my youth she was always just a little too old for me to play with, but after I went to BYU we became closer. She was on her mission at Temple Square my freshman year, and I visited her there. Our past few visits to Holland, we have stayed at her house, and become good friends. Her husband Cam is a hoot, and Joe has the greatest smile whenever he's around him.
The house is great! My dad has worked so hard the last month or so to pull it all together for us. I can't even imagine how long it took him to get the couches and bed up the steep flight of stairs. My mother and sister have also helped by cleaning the house, and it's just wonderful to move into a clean house rather than having to clean up other people's hairs, grime, and crumbs!
Today we spent practically the whole day unpacking an organizing. We had received many household items from family and friends, so especially the kitchen needed unpacking, sorting, and organizing. With all the donations, I now only have a short list of needed items. Very basis things like waste baskets, step stools, and extension cords. I have a feeling that we'll see a lot of my dad. He came over to take the kids for a walk, and then took them to see the temple and drink hot chocolate at his house, that was great. My mom lives a little further away, but we'll be able to spend a good amount of time with her as well.
"Everything is smaller in Holland" should be this country's motto. Coming from Texas, where "everything is bigger in Texas" this is especially noticeable. Everything from roads and cars, to everyday items such as glasses and fridges are just a bit smaller. However, those are just items. What's not smaller, and probably much bigger than the US, is the people's hospitality and friendliness. People on the street say hi, the neighbors invite you in when you go to introduce yourself, and immediately offer you something to drink. On New Year's eve complete strangers came up to me to wish me a happy new year.
Speaking of New Years; the Dutch know how to party! Now I realize why New Years always was a bit of a letdown in America, even when I threw my own parties. The parties were just as good as the parties here, but when it comes to midnight, no one can live up to the Dutch! Fireworks are going off all around us, some sound as small as bombs. Fireworks that the average person sets off, can easily compete with a city's firework show at Independence day. Even Joe was blown away!