Monday, May 6, 2013

By-The-Ways, like Norway and Runways

In the past month, I've become about 200% more busy.  While I may not be earning money at a steady rate, I am still tutoring and babysitting weekly, which totals to about 5 hours per week.  The tutoring pays well, about 15 euro an hour; the babysitting not-so-well, given the "friend/neighbor discount" that I would feel guilty withdrawing. 5 euro an hour or 10, it's not going to be my livelihood in either case.

I am now a professional volunteer.  Phanos is organizing a massive one-day track meet that is really two-track-meets-in-one, and I'm helping (or hindering, given my oft-shaky grasp of the Dutch language) with organization, website updates, and responding to emails from international athletes/coaches/managers.  That, currently, is about another 5 hours per week, and should increase gradually between now and August, at which point it should reach near-full-time status.

By February, I still had not succeeded in involving myself with a healthcare (preferably community healthcare) organization here in the NL.  Via an American community/public health nurse educator (ACHNE, specifically) listserve, I learned about an innovative and well-respected home nursing organization here called Buurtzorg.  I emailed the office in my neighborhood and set up an interview with their nurse team leader, who told me about another very popular home healthcare organization called "emile," and I'm sure you will hear more about them from me in due time.  I'm now helping emile with a pilot training program for their employees, which, when completed, will form part of a portfolio, applicable to receiving a diploma in what is here called wijkverpleeghulp, or "district nurse aide."  In the last couple of weeks, I've spent 6-8 hours per week working on stuff for emile.

That's almost part-time!  Roll your eyes, but after six months of working spotty 2-hour tutoring gigs and babysitting, it seems like 40-hour-a-week "proper employment."  And may explain why spending additional time on the computer to update this blog has not at all appealed to me in recent weeks.  That, and the weather, which is finally starting to look like this:

Ahhh... spring.

Before I get into that, here are some backlogged pictures from our early April trip to Oslo.  We can't say enough good things about our host, or the view from our balcony, or how impeccably clean and shiny the floors in his house were, or how much we enjoyed sitting for over an hour with him over breakfast each morning we spent there.

The Oslofjord.
Gleaming, honey-colored... if I dropped food on this floor, I think it would taste better.

Our host knows cozy.

Roof of the Oslo Opera House.

 More funky architecture going up just east of the opera house.

Looking NW up Karl Johans Gate toward Slottsparken and the Royal Palace.

The Olso ski jump.  We also went to Lillihammer, but their ski jump was not as impressive...

And that was Norway!  We hiked around in the snowy woods and dodged Nordic skiers.  It was sunny but cold.  Which is why I am very happy, again, that we are seeing more weather like this:

Enjoying dandelions and the Schiphol "Outer Limits" Runway during yesterday's Clasico Boretti.

Our friends Mark and Suz, with 17km to go.

Enjoying a saddle-free sit after the ride.

Suz did the entire ride on a single-speed with a beautiful leather seat.

In other news... Ed and I biked over 100 miles in the past 7 days, not including commuter cycling around Amsterdam.  In addition to the 65km yesterday, we also did 70km to Bloemendaal aan Zee and Haarlem last weekend, and biked to the gorgeous Keukenhof gardens from Hoofddorp and back.

Oh shoot!  And we ran in the Batavieran Race, which is a relay near the border with Germany in which around 8,500 people, in teams of 25, run a 175km relay from Nijmegen to Enschede.  In this case, into the wind, passing a ridiculously floppy dragchute of a vest from person-to-person, resulting, as one teammate put it, in multiple Balotelli moments.  I wadded the flapping beast up and stuffed down the front of my shirt about 2km into my 7.1km stage, which featured running about 300m through a muddy field and wind in the face the entire way (most everyone battled wind at some point).  Ed and I both met or exceeded our teams' expectations, and my team placed 2nd overall.

I got to finish in Enschede center!  So cool!
I think that fairly summarizes the last month.  We had a couple of visitors from the Midwest.  We are about to host four more people in the week ahead.  I had two track meets last month.  I have another track meet on Wednesday.  We had a "May the Fourth be With You/Cinco de Mayo" party this weekend and our friends Maaike and Lennart demonstrated admirable aptitude for crafting margaritas.  I demonstrated my aptitude for drinking them.  We have been eating fajitas for three days now, which is probably comparable to how you feel after reading this blog entry.  Ed's birthday is coming up.  I get to run in Slovakia on May 25.  I need to plant some lettuces and herbs, but first I need some planters to hang out our windows.  The End.

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