Monday, May 7, 2012

Mom and Char Visit the Netherlands :)

Well, they have come and gone and I've finally found the time to write about it. April was a crazy month! I wrapped up the Fitter Together Program, my step father in law was here for a week and my mom and sister were here for 10-days and 3-days ago I got sick. This flu is really kicking my butt! I didn't even get out of bed yesterday and those who know me know how difficult it is for me to sit for very long :( I'm hoping that tomorrow I am up and around again.
The Fitter Together program went really well. It was an employee health and fitness promotion program that I developed for Maastricht University. It was the first time this program has ever run and we had over 130-employees participate in the 1-month program. I had great support from my colleague at UM Sport, Netty. She was awesome and really helped my vision to become a reality.
Harold, Nick's step dad, visited us for a week and we showed him the sites. We visited Amsterdam, Valkenburg and Maastricht. He was a walking machine. I think he really enjoyed his visit and he was a wonderful guest.  The day that it was just Harold and I, we went on a boat cruise of the Meuse River and a walking tour of the St Pietersberg caves. The boat cruise was relaxing, except for all the smoking teens, and the caves were amazing. We carried a lantern, heard the history, and saw the art that depicted that time in history. Very cool!!!!
On April 25th my mom and sister came to visit for 10-days. I was so excited I was pacing around our apartment all morning. This is the longest/ furthest flight that they have ever taken and my mom has COPD so I was nervous about how it would go. They arrived safe and sound and it was wonderful to see them. My mom had a really difficult time with all the walking. The walking in the airport, the walk up the stairs to our apartment (4 flights), the walk to get anywhere we need to go. Here we use three modes of transport; walking, biking or taking the train. It was hard for me to see how much she struggled with this. I think it really showed my mom what she is capable of and what she needs to do. In North America it is really easy to avoid physical activity and active living really is a choice. We definitely saw improvements in mom's walking over the 10-days and I think it has inspired her to get more active which is all I can hope for. I showed them Maastricht; the bakery, the market square, the Vijhof square, a boat tour of the Meuse, they tried stroop waffles, vlaai and a waffle from Pinky's in the city centre. We celebrated the Queens Birthday and checked out the city wide flea market. Char and I took a day and went to Paris. We got up bright and early and took the train, first class - oops! We were there for 10-hours and it was a crazy 10-hours. We saw everything. Char really enjoyed Paris and I think she will try to get there again at some point. The next day we went to Amsterdam and did the boat tour of the Canals, what a great way to see the city. We stayed at a really funky boutique hotel and then took the train to Alkmaar to visit my 87-year old, great Aunt Teny. It was wonderful to spend the afternoon with her. She showed us pictures and told us stories about the family and the war. Nick and I will definitely try to get back to visit her. The 10-days flew by, there were tears shed on their arrival and tears on their last day. It is so hard to be so far from family. I don't know what I would do without email and skype. My Auntie Lana is right when she says "All guests start to get old after 3-days". I think my mom and Char were thinking the same thing about the hostess ;) It was difficult because we have such a small space which allows for zero privacy but we got through it and overall we had a wonderful visit.
I think May will be a busy month as well. We have three visitors coming. Nick's friend Andy, our friend Pettit and my older sister Leigh at the end of the month. We are so blessed to have people who are willing to fly across the world to see us :)

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