Friday, October 23, 2015

TTWIBRAT: 5 Favorite Reading Spots in Amsterdam

Happy Friday y'all! I'm writing a quick post from my hubby's laptop because we are in Milan this weekend celebrating his birthday, he is here for work-Milan Games Week-so the teenager and I came with him to celebrate! We've been having a great time and are about to race out to see The Last Supper and grab a traditionally late Italian dinner. 

Today, I am over at Savvy Working Gal blogging about my five favorite reading spots in Amsterdam! 

This post is a guest post as part of the Travel the World in Books Read-a-thon with Mom's Small Victories and several other great bloggers. I really love these read a thons and now that our fall break is over I can get started on mine!

I've included such places at the cafe at the Oude Kerk, which is where Rembrandt met his wife, it also has an enchanting garden, much like you'd find in one of my favorite books, The Forgotten Garden, which I have a review of scheduled up for next week. Another is 't Hooischip, which has some of the best Gluhwein you'll find in Amsterdam!

So, make sure you click on over to Savvy's blog and check out my 5 favorite reading spots in Amsterdam, they are all must visit places when you come to Amsterdam, or must visit if you currently live here!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

PSAT Info for Expats and What I ate in Leiden

Being an expat isn't easy all the time, not only are you consumed by your everyday living in a foreign country, but you know this is not your final landing spot so you also have to remember to keep up on what is happening in your home country. One of these things we have to keep up with since we have an almost 16 year old is college prep.

It gets a bit difficult here because her school, even though it is an international school, is really more of a Dutch school and they have no idea why I am concerned about getting my kid ready to go to college. In fact, I recall during one conference last year when she was a freshman I made mention of college and they acted like I was a complete dolt because well, everyone goes to college. I quickly remembered I needed to switch things to University and they became a little more understanding, but you could tell they still thought I was a bit of a crackpot. But, luckily it has just been 10 years since I graduated uni myself so I sort of remember the process. I know next year she needs to get in for the SAT or ACT, so I wanted her to sit in on the PSAT this year; lucky for us, there is an American school nearby. 

Somewhere between Leiden and The Hague there is a little town called Wassenaar and it hosts the American School of The Hague. Let me tell you, my daughter was in love. This place was very American and all the people in it were just about all Americans. Too bad it costs an arm and a leg and possibly your first grandchild to have your kid attend-otherwise I'd have my kid there in a heartbeat. Anyway, they give all the testing you'd normally find in the U.S. at the same time as you'd find it in the U.S. The woman who handles it all was a dream-she even suggested hotels we could stay at (it is about an hour to get from Amsterdam to the School and in the early morning, as you had to arrive at 8am it would take nearly 2 hours so that means we would have had to leave our house ready to go by 5:45 am...that wasn't happening). So, we stayed at a hotel nearby in Leiden called Hotel Van der Valk. I have only felt stranded with out a car two times in my life and this was one of the two times. There was nothing nearby, as we got the feel it was mostly for business use. Luckily the hotel had a restaurant that wasn't horribly over priced. 

So, after a nice relaxing evening checked into our hotel with the worlds best bathtub and a good nights sleep I took her to the school and she completed the PSAT. I have no idea how she did nor do we really care, this was just a chance for her to see what the who testing experience was like and get a feel for it. Now the real prep begins.

So, since we weren't in Amsterdam of course I took the opportunity to take lots of photos of everything I without further ado, I present...

What I Ate Wednesday
Linking up with Jenn over at Peas and Crayons, come join the rest of the par-tay!

We left Amsterdam later than I wanted to, but the kiddo had had a long day and we just could not get moving, so when we sat down at the restaurant in the hotel we just wanted something light and easy because we knew we'd be going to bed soon, so we settled on french onion soup and bread.

'Twas delicious!

For dessert I had an Irish Coffee, the brought the cutest little tray of cookies with it (one of the reasons I freaking love Europe) and I had a tasty Speculaas cookie-I think that is what it was, it is kind of like a gingerbread cookie, it is nice and spicy.

The next morning we got up for breakfast, they had a very nice buffet set out and everything was nice and warm.

I had a waffle, my only complaint is the syrup. It reminds me more of molasses than syrup. But, it is still pretty good. I had that along with some eggs and a little bacon and some obviously canned peaches, but that is okay, I love canned peaches. Remind me of childhood and my favorite song by Presidents of the United State of America.

...and incase you've never heard the song, it is awesome so here it is...

After a long walk, nearly an hour, in the cold trying to find anything to do around our hotel I was too cold and gave up so I went back and had a coffee with more speculaas.

Then, it was finally time for me to pick the kiddo up from her test, we rode the bus to The Hauge Central Station instead of Leiden so we could see somewhere new...we got Julia's pasta to go on the train. I love that you can get pasta to go, it is simply amazing.

So, that sums up our trip to Leiden. It was fun and we have a much more confident teenager about studying for and taking the SAT next school year. Anyone have any tips for studying? If so, drop 'em in the comments, we'd love to hear 'em!