Happy Spring! The earth laughs in flowers!

Since it’s the first day of spring today, I thought it’d be the perfect occasion to have a blog post with tons of flower photos.  Last Easter my mum came to visit me in The Netherlands and Keukenhof was on the top of the places-to-visit list.

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Keukenhof basically translates to kitchen (keuken) and “garden” (hof), and in 15C it used to be countess Jacoba van Beiren’s garden for growing herbs, while her nearby castle was used as a hunt lodge.  Today Keukenhof is a grand flower exhibition full of tulips, hyacinths and narcissi, etc.  Just imagine flower galore.

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You might be thinking that it’s bit touristy to visit a tulip garden in Holland, but being there twice myself I must say I really enjoyed it both times.  The first time I was there I visited as a tourist and I was just so blown away – Picture-perfect Holland with windmills overlooking stretches of colourful flower fields in full bloom.  Indeed, I loved it as a tourist.  The second time I was there I was more of a local expat, still loved it.  But this time besides enjoying the sheer beauty of the flowers, what I enjoyed even more was the variety.  Young tourist-me just found all the flowers beautiful, but “seasoned” local expat me realized that some of the tulips were “artisan” tulips that were quite rare and were not everyday tulips that you’d come across at the local supermarket or Saturday flower market.

More photos below the cut.

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Dreaming of warmer days in Nicosia, Cyprus

Wind, rain, cold, repeat… This is November sweater weather.  Winter is not even here yet but I can only dream of warmer and sunny days.

I took this photo in Nicosia, Cyprus in September.  Nicosia being the capital city of Cyprus, is also the last “divided capital”.  The southern part is of the Republic of Cyprus and the northern part is Turkish.  There is a checkpoint for border crossing where visitors have to show their passports.  This photo was taken on the northern side of Nicosia.  I miss the colours and the sun!  Wish I could just jump into the picture and have a drink on the terrace.

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Confessions #1a of an Expat

A few nights ago I was catching up with an old childhood friend.  Facebook has kept us somewhat in the loop about each other’s lives but we really have not had a proper chat since 2006 (that’s 9 years ago!).  My friend Crystal told me about expat life as an accountant in the US, and I told her about my expat life working as an academic the Netherlands.  And while sharing stories with Crystal, I realized that it has definitely been a journey with ups-and-downs since moving abroad 5 years ago.  So today I share a few personal confessions about the things I found, and to some degree still find challenging, about being an expat in the Netherlands.

The beautiful city of Utrecht, where I have been living for the last 3 years.

The beautiful city of Utrecht, where I have been living for the last 3 years.

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