From my point of view as a first time voter, three major differences between federal elections in the Netherlands and Canada are immediately apparent. First, there are a lot more parties to choose from - somewhere between a dizzying 28 and 31.
It happens that I can vote in the Dutch federal election this Wednesday. Though it scares me a bit to vote in a Dutch election for the first time, I feel strongly about adding my voice in what is the latest in a series of “critical” elections around the world.
You might have noticed it's been pretty quiet over here. We've tried to keep our social channels updated with candid snippets, but otherwise have been on a little blog break. As our wallets have been tight, we've been less "travelling Shus" and "storytelling Shus" and more "living life Shus."
I walked around in silence between 11:00 until 11:11 in the morning, then it felt appropriate to sing O'Canada. I sang in a few different places around the cemetery for those that rest here. I was inspired to participate in an act of remembrance, as I am each time I visit one of these cemeteries on Canadian soil in the Netherlands. Being present, wearing a poppy and singing our national anthem is my gift of thanks.
The ride to the North Sea beach at Bloemendaal aan Zee takes 30 minutes or less, depending on your mood and how much air is in your tires (ha!). Believe it or not, this is a quiet summer day riding out to the sea.
We travelled to Prague for our wedding anniversary this year, Prague is the capital of what was once Bohemia, then the Czechoslovakia, then the Czech Republic and actually now technically Czechia. It's a busy city, bustling with tourists and really regular locals going about their life around the hordes of gawkers.
One and a half years in the Netherlands! It’s a new normal over here, with Brian's residence application approved (just today!) and Erica getting into the swing of things at work. We have a life here now, and it feels really good that things are no longer up in the air.
In July of this year, I had the opportunity to meet up with a Canadian friend and his family in Hungary for a tour around Budapest before they proceeded to a family reunion the following week. I booked the cheapest travel possible, which worked out to be a 21-hour bus ride from Amsterdam arriving a couple days before my friend. That was ok! I had Budapest to explore, and my camera in hand.
It's rumoured that J. K. Rowling found inspiration for Harry Potter in Porto, Portugal. She certainly did teach English in Porto during part of the seven years that she worked on the first book, but what a different experience it must have been.