Celebrating life

It has been a while since my last update, so I got a lot to share with you!

First some exciting news, my temporary contract got replaced with a year contract per the 1st of October, so that means at least another year of job security, YES!

That also meant all of my saved up leave was going to be paid out at the end of my contract, so we decided to take leave instead of having it paid out. So in the last week of September we rented a lovely place in Friesland, a part of the Netherlands with lots and lots of nice lakes. We brought our small dinghies there and had a super nice week of no people around us, no computers, no work, just us and some sailing. I really recommend you staying there! The weekend we got back, we also visited a place that had just opened, like, that day, and as they are also an official wedding venue, we asked for a quote. This is the Lake House Rotterdam.

Despite a reminder after 2 weeks, I still haven’t received a quote (we are talking about a month lead time as I’m writing this).

Only a week after we returned to work, we had a meeting with another wedding venue on Sunday but that morning I felt horrible, my skin was aching, and I had a bit of a temperature. Within 3 hours, my temperature rose to 40.7 degrees C, at which point we called the venue to cancel our appointment. Luckily within 2 hours my temperature came back to normal, but I still felt horrible. It turned out I had a stomach flu. I had to call in sick from work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday, I felt slightly better, so I returned to work but on Friday I was out again. I was so relieved when it finally finished on Saturday! Having lost multiple kilograms in one week means I now need to gain weight to still fit in my wedding dress! The struggle…

During the week I was so ill, M. had his birthday, he turned 32. We did go out for dinner that night but let’s put it like this: I was glad it only took a 10-minute car ride to get home, I wouldn’t have made it otherwise 😉.

While I was upstairs in the bathroom being super happy to be home again, the doorbell rang… M.’s parents! OH NO! What a timing from their side. They had not let us know they wanted to come and visit that evening. Luckily after only an hour they left again, as this was the first time we saw each other after we announced our engagement in July (which they didn’t like too much, to say the least).

As our birthdays are only 13 days apart we wanted to celebrate them together, to keep it simple for the family and to keep the number of cakes to a minimum. We had decided on the 20th of October, one of the Saturdays between our birthdays. But as his parents already came on his birthday, we saw the friends on the 14th and my grandma also couldn’t make it the 20th, we only had a birthday with my parents, brother and his girlfriend. It was nice though, you at least get the chance to talk to everyone.

For dinner we served a very nice taco with salmon, not our own recipe but I’ll link it here. It is super nice and easy, also great for summer. We only replace the sour cream with mayonaise.

On Sunday we retried to meet with the venue we had to cancel some weeks ago and it was a very nice place. It is called Wet ‘n Wild, because it is next to a small lake with a water skiing system in it. Only 3 hours after we got home we already got the offer for our wedding, that was the fastest so far, by far! (and it also was a good offer).

Yesterday we met with the caterer from our first venue, to see if we could do anything about the price as this is still our preferred location (Wet ‘n Wild is in 2nd place). We managed to decrease the cost by 2000 euros just by choosing some simpler options and the vendor will check some more things like what it will cost to serve our own wine and stuff like that. We are hoping the new offer will come in just under 9000 euros, still a ridiculous amount of money I think but that would mean we decreased the price by 25%. Also, we noticed the vendor was willing to work the prices a bit because we come from the same town (his in-laws are our neighbors). So, fingers crossed!

Something else:

I am never allowed to guess what my gift(s) will be because I usually get it right, M. hates that! This year, I didn’t ask for hints or anything but I still guessed it. He was furious… It was so funny!

Let me tell you a bit about the background of this gift:

We recently (1,5 week ago) cleaned up our garage, which still had an old kitchen in it. We took it out, end capped the water pipes, put some wheels under an old cabinet and screwed an OSB plate onto the cabinet. When we were finished, we had a work bench at our height (we are tall) and lots of storage space underneath. On the side there was room for a vise, which we didn’t have at the time. 3 nights ago, just before we went to bed, I was thinking about this vise, and found a nice one online so I showed Maarten. He was like: No I don’t want that one…

But I didn’t get it because it really was a great deal, it was super cheap and of good quality so I continued: why don’t you want this one? What is wrong with it? You won’t find a better deal soon!

After a long time, he finally whispered: because I already have one….

I waited for a few seconds before I burst out into laughter: IS THAT MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT!?!? A VISE??? HAHAHA

So, I again found out what my present was before my birthday… LOL!

I got to open it this morning as today, the 23rd, is my birthday. I turned 28, which oddly feels very different from 27. Maybe because 27 is closer to 25 than 30…

M. was so kind to already install the vise today, as he was working from home today so I got to admire it this evening. M. seems extremly happy with my birthday gift 🙂

I really enjoyed the past month, despite being so ill. Having our birthdays made me realize once again how fast time is passing and that we should appreciate it more. It is time to spend some more time with my friends. I haven’t seen them in ages.

On Sunday, M. will have his first trail run, of 10km and it is super close to my best friend so we will definitly be visiting her (and I need to bring cake so that will be my main task for Saturday).

Stay positive and celebrate life!

Love, Laura

My first blog – New York (& Proposal)

Hi!

Starting a blog is hard! I have so many things I’d like to write about, I’m having a hard time picking one for now.

As I already mentioned in the About me part, I’m engaged!!! M. proposed to me when we went to New York recently so I thought that might be a nice start of my blogging adventure.

So, to start this off: last March we were together for 5 years and he gave me a trip to New York as we both wanted to visit that city at least once in our lives. In June we went to the big apple for a week and we did it all:

On the first day we rented the blue Citibikes (duhh, we’re Dutch, we cycle), rode over 30km, walked 20.000 steps as well and got trapped in a mile long parade of Porto Rican people (how do you say that in English?). We ate our first Hotdog near Central Park and just enjoyed all the things we saw. We walked the Highline (does anyone know what those huge flowers are? Also got our first pictures of Lady Liberty of course.

As it wasn’t the best weather, we had to take cover from the rain once every while so we got to hide in Central Terminal and enjoyed the great architecture. After that, we walked to Times Square and HAD to visit the M&M store.

We got a very nice dinner at a small Thai place on 56th street, New Topaz Thai. After that we (fully jetlegged) got on our bikes back to the hotel where we went into some kind of a coma.

Day 2. We started early so we could get on Top of the Rock before lunch. After enjoying that wonderful view on Central Park and the Empire State building and Manhattan in general, we went to the Library. We had to fight our training as the slow swoop evacuation signal just kept on going and we both are trained to leave when the alarm goes off, really annoying ! They were just testing the system (we asked, to make sure).

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Next we cycled all the way down to Ground Zero. That place really made an impact. Goosebumps all over. 

We walked to Wall st. as M. really wanted to see that. Loved the atmosphere there by the way. Felt very much like towns near the Mediterranean sea. Very odd, but nice!

To be the ultimate tourists, we also had to take the ferry to Staten Island and back, so we did. 

Next we felt we were up for a burger, cause you can’t go to the US and not eat a burger, right? So we went to Bareburger, on the corner of Ann st. & William st.

Again, we were fast asleep that night.

On our third day we were tired of visiting so many things so we decided to have a lazy day in Central Park. With some books, an e-reader, magazines and lots of water we headed into the park. After having laid down for a while we went to explore the park a bit more, going towards the lake. I have to say, it was a really hot day, like really really hot, so it was nice under the trees. M. saw all these small rowing boats on the lake and said: Ow let’s go rent one and get up on the lake.

And I, miss not-romantic herself, said: WHAT!?! NO!!! We’ll burn alive on the water!

When I looked at Maarten I noticed I screwed up a plan of his and that is when I got suspicious, like, why do you need a plan for anything?

So we walked around the lake a bit more, and M. got really touchy and kept hugging me all the time. After a while we got to a really pretty bridge above the lake with a violinist next to it (for real, like it was planned). After staring for a while at all those romantic couples (burning alive) on the lake, M. took my backpack and took something from it. And I was like: OOOOWWW, that is what I just screwed up!

This poor guy had to improvise and find a new spot for his proposal, aaaah so sweet!

So on that bridge, M. asked me to marry him, and I (still very clear in my head and not screaming YES!!!!) said: don’t you think you should ask me that on one knee? And so he did!!! And of course I said yes. Aaah it was so sweet! So you get it, we didn’t take too many photos that day besides this one:

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On THE bridge in Central Park

We had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant  (Osteria Cotta, Columbus Av. & 84th St.) and called it quits quite early that night 😉

The fourth day we started with a breakfast at the Brooklyn Bagel & coffee Company (recommendation! Best bagels we ever had!) and we went to the Met museum followed by a long bike ride along the Hudson river down to Soho for some sightseeing. As we had some time to spare until our Broadway show we decided to WALK all the way from SOHO to 44th street. I can you: I needed new shoes after this trip. So after dinner at Virgils Real BBQ at Times Square (mega portions, just order a mini portions, don’t get pursuaded to take 5 ribs instead of 3. Two was more than enough for me.) we went to see Escape to Margarita Ville, so much fun, laughed soooo much. I don’t have many pictures of this day because we were kind of tired of our cameras.

Our 5th day involved visiting Coney Island, as it was again a super hot day and we figured the beach would help us cool down a bit. Big mistake! It was super windy, but the wind was hot so you got covered in sand within seconds and melted away due to the heat. So we got some hotdogs at Nathans (. stood in line for 30 minutes! WHY!?!?).

After taking the train back to Manhattan we decided Central Park would be the best option to avoid melting any further, so we spent the rest of the afternoon at a lovely quiet part of the park with lots of shade. Dinner was at Joe’s Shanghai on 56th St. Very nice Chinese restaurant!DSC_0046

Day 6 was our last full day so we decided to go see what we wanted to see again. So we went back to our favorite coffee bar Irving farm coffee roasters,  China town, Little Italy and SOHO. Here we finally did some shopping, and we tried to go for dinner at Chelsea Market but we found it kind of a tourist trap. Very crouded and not very good food (sorry, not the best experience during our trip).

For our final evening, we had booked a sunset sail on an old sailing boat. That, besides the proposal, was the best part of our trip. It was so nice, the weather was perfect, the sunset was gorgeous, the boat was nice and big and a super good remake of the original America boat that won the first America’s cup (sailing competition). Can’t describe it with words, it was just super relaxing and wonderful.

On our last morning we packed up our bags and went to Central Park until it was time to catch the train to JFK and head home…

We loved NYC, but as we don’t usually spend much time in a big city like that, we were pretty worn out by the time we got home. So many things we have seen and experienced.

Maybe one day we’ll be back, any suggestions for us what to see & do?

Love, Laura