Day 2 has brought some insights.
One, Jay's host father, Jimmy speaks loudly to Jay's parents. Normally, this would be a little funny as that using a loud does not equate to a better understanding of English when spoken. However, Jay's father is slightly hard of hearing, so well, it works. Sometimes, though it does seem like he is yelling.
I have forgotten what this country looks like to "outsiders." So, I am not truly Dutch, but after 10 or so trips here and a year spent living here, I think I am not such a newbie. I don't see the architecture as so ancient, the cars so small, the bikes everywhere, the ways of the Dutch so different. Having Jay's host parents here bring the uniqueness of this country to the light again. It is fun having them with us.
Day 2 has also brought a lot of eating. I tend to stock up on all of my favorite foods while I am here...en masse. Today we ate lunch at a "snack bar" where I ate fries met mayonaise (not really mayo, but a derviative of the sauce) and a kaas souffle (cheese souffle). I ate some appel taart. That is an apple pie, but make no mistake, it is not your grandmother's goopy sugar concoction. Jimmy and Nancy were great sports at trying new things. I think Jimmy was even fond of a kroqueten which even I don't like - think fried potted meat. Who knew?
We toured a very old fishing village - Heusden. There were two windmills there so there were lots of photo opportunities. Then we went to Den Bosch where we took a canal boat tour. It was a bit long, but the weather could not have been better. We topped off our visit in Den Bosch with bossen bollen which is a softball-sized puff pastry filled with light whipped cream covered in dark chocolate. Yes, it is every bit as good as it sounds.
We left Den Bosch to rendezvous with the kids and Jay's parents at the Efteling, a large Dutch amusement park along the lines of Carowinds, but much better in its execution. I would say it is like Disney, but of course it is not on such a grand scale. The trip was given for Ethan's 10th birthday. It was a wonderful way for Jay's parents to spend time alone with the kids. When we arrived to picked them up, the kids shouted, ""It was awesome!" Jay's mom said to me, Ït was a dream day for me. The best day of my life." That brought tears to my eyes. How blessed I am to have such wonderful in-laws who feel such love for my children. Lily's favorite ride was the teapot ride. Ethan's was the and Sadie's was the Cobra, a heavy duty roller coaster.
We headed back to Tilburg for dinner which was Dutch Chinese take-out. Yum! Yum! Then we celebrated Ethan's 10th brithday and Marique's 35th birthday with Appel Taart and drinks. Ethan was here for his 1st birthday so I made sure to get his picture in the same spot in the garden where he celebrated it.