Saturday, April 21, 2012

Getting Hitched Dutch Style

On Friday I attended my first Dutch wedding. My wonderful friends Sandra and Stefan invited me to share their special day and I was truly excited to share it with them. The weather was perfect, which was a miracle, given all the rain and cool temperatures we've had. I thought the spring in the Netherlands was supposed to be beautiful. I'm still waiting for the sun.
I was really excited for Sandra and Stefan and was really looking forward to experiencing a traditional Dutch wedding. In the Netherlands, people must get married at the city. Church ceremonies are only ceremonial and are not recognized by the government. They did have the Church ceremony at 12pm and I was invited to attend. The little chapel was beautiful and was built in 1530. Crazy!!!!!! They didn't have bridal parties like we do in Canada. Just a flower girl and ring bearer. The dress was far less formal and relaxed. Sandra was an absolutely beautiful bride. She glowed with happiness. Her dress complimented her perfectly and had a Spanish flair with a slit up the front and layers of tule. Stefan was rocking his euro suit complete with blue laces and tie. The ceremony was conducted entirely in Dutch so I can't say much about that but the music and singing was wonderful. I cried even though I couldn't understand. After the ceremony the bride and groom enjoy an afternoon with their families and closest friends and then at night, they party!!! What an awesome party! They did a choreographed dance routine that was worthy of dancing with the stars....not the ones who get cut early, I'm talking finalists here :)
There were a few firsts for me. I heard Dutch rave music and local style Maastricht music as well as the classic wedding music I am familiar with. Bruce Springsteen and the likes. A colleague from work, Netty and her husband, invited me to attend with them as Nick left for California that morning. They were very kind to include me and it meant a lot to me to be invited. We danced and enjoyed food and drink into the wee hours of the morning. So, although some of the formalities are different the foundation of love is universal. It made me think about Nick and my special day. I can't believe that it has almost been a year. Time sure does fly.

Did I mention they are dance machines?? Check it out!!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Busy, Busy, Bunny!

I have been really busy the last few weeks. It reminds me a little of the old days :)
Just after Christmas I presented a proposal for Maastricht University to offer a health and fitness promotion program for employees. They had never offered anything like this before but were very enthusiastic about my idea. After much deliberation it was approved in March and I have been running around ever since to get everything in order to run the program for the month of April. The theme of the program is Fitter Together and we are encouraging employees to; ride their bikes or walk to work, walk on their lunch hour, take the stairs or attend free health and fitness events and classes. They receive points for participating that get added to their faculty or service areas total to announce at the end of the program who has the fittest faculty or sportiest service centre. I was really excited that they were able to provide us with technical support so we have a website and an interactive system for participants to log their points. Energizer breaks on video are available for viewing so that people who can't leave their desks can still be active. Employees have the opportunity to earn fit points for participating and bonus points when they participate with their colleagues. So far we have over 100 employees registered in the program. I am very excited about the opportunity and hope that it is something they will continue to offer on an annual basis. I am experiencing my first taste of celebrity as well. I demonstrate the energizer breaks in the videos and people have recognized me on campus. I almost feel like a Kardashian ;) Check it out!!! and click on take 5 and feel alive.
With all this running around, March came and went and now it's Easter. The time is flying! Gelukkig Paasfest or Happy Easter to everyone! We are expecting our first visitor from home today. Nick's step dad Harold is coming all the way from Ohio and will be staying with us for a week. We are really looking forward to seeing him and showing him around :) He has never been to Europe before so this is going to be a great experience for him. Nick has a day trip planned to Amsterdam tomorrow and I am taking Harold on a boat cruise of the Maas river and maybe a walking tour of the St Pieter's caves. You really could spend a whole week in Maastricht but we will try to take a few day trips as well depending what he feels up to with the jet lag.