Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Paris, France

So I'm a little frustrated. It takes a LOT for me to get frustrated, I am fairly easy going. But, if you put me in a car, crazy traffic, no map, in a strange city, this could be a bad recipe. My mom and I decided on a whim to leave Antwerp, Belgium today and head for Paris, France. It was SUPPOSED to be a 3 hour drive and pretty easy. The problem started when we realized our gps didn't have the France map loaded. This was a small problem, I thought, at the time. Once we got into Paris, I realized how bad I needed that GPS. There are no really good road signs, they are mostly on the sides of buildings and NOT easily seen. Man I have never been so frustrated in my life. After two hours of being lost and speaking to people who knew NO english and I of course, know, NO FRENCH, we flagged down a taxi and paid him to guide us the Hilton.

We finally made it to the Hilton, super nice, but of course I booked the wrong one. I booked the wrong one because I was booking it while parked on the side of the road on a slow internet connection with my blinkers on. This was right before I took a wrong turn and went on the tram line, which is basically like driving on the wrong side of the road in England.

All and all, I'll stop complaining and be glad I am blessed with some travel time. I am staying at the Paris Hilton, no pun intended :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The King of Hilton,


This is everyone woman's Christmas present. Okay, maybe not, but the robe felt good :) Paris would have been here, but she couldn't make it.
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Antwerp, Belgium





So my mom and I left Amsterdam today for Antwerp, Belgium. It was a short 1.5 hour drive south. We arrived and immediately parked the car and headed for the hotel. Since I stay in Hilton family hotels with my job, I had plenty of points to stay here in Antwerp. During the check-in process, the kind man, Steven, at the desk informed me that I had been upgraded to the Business Executive Suite. Sweet! This has a view of the church you see in the pictures, Cathedral of Our Lady. It is gorgeous. We had dinner at a nice place just in the square below our hotel.

Tomorrow we will tour around Antwerp (the world capital of diamonds.) Well, then we will head back to Amsterdam for Christmas with friends there.
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Monday, December 24, 2007

Luca Jacobus Blommestein

My new nephew with me, then with his grandma :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A new nephew

So my sister had a baby! After about 3 days in labor, she finally had a C section, which in Dutch is a funny word.

His name is Luca Jacobus Blommestein and he was just over 8lbs. So we have had a busy past few days at the hospital, but my sister and Luca are doing well. She is very happy.

I really have enjoyed the culture here. It's so neat all the different traditions the Dutch have. We ate cookies with sprinkles when Luca was born, and I explained to them our tradition of the father giving cigars to all the men who come visit. So we smoke some FAT cigars the other night, man.

The culture here is very personal, everyone enjoys talking to each other a lot and kissing a lot, which is quite funny still to me. I am daily getting used to it.

I am going to make a habit of traveling more from now on, I would rather travel somewhere cool than spend money on stupid stuff any day. My mom and I thought it would be neat to not do Christmas presents and just start traveling every Christmas, we'll see.

I will hopefully upload baby pictures soon. He's cute.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I really like the Dutch

It's pretty neat being here in Amsterdam and being apart of the culture. Since my sister "lives" here, she has a whole network of friends that have come over. They take me out and show me the places to go and not go, it's pretty neat that most of them are so genuine and caring. My sister has a friend that rubs her feet and really cares for her. I think that is one of the best qualities anyone could have, just being a servant and being empathetic for people and always naturally looking to the needs of others. When I see people that are not believers doing these things, I sometimes hesitate (many times don't) to explain to them that this is gift from God. My grandma was the same type of person, always looking around for the needs of others and desiring to serve you in some way, I think it has become the number one on the list I want in a wife. Well, at least it better be in there somewhere!

Today my sister did not want me to spend my time at the hospital, so she sent a friend, Bart, over to take me out around the town to show me sights, etc. It was really fun to just walk around and freeze my arse off. After a day of sightseeing, I went to the hospital to visit my sister Tina, then some friends brought some Indonesian food in. It was the hottest food I have eaten yet, but pretty good!

My sister is still in lots of pain and no baby yet, the due date is the 20th I do believe and they will give her a day or so to see what happens. I left the hospital to pick to drive again in Amsterdam, it is much easier to drive at night, much easier.

Came back to the hospital, picked up my mom, Wouter, and his sister Laura. Dropped my mom off, then went to a local bar with Wouter and Laura. This was the smallest bar I have ever seen, they call it a Cafe. It was so nice, and Carrie Turner, if you are reading this, I had them jamming some Josh Turner on the big screen, I took a video, it was so funny to see the Dutch enjoying Josh. The bartender said that he really liked him. I will have to post the video soon.

Tomorrow we shall wait on the baby!

And the whole culture of kissing when you meet and say goodbye, I'm bringing that back to the US. I like this whole kissing thing.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wow, talk about an interesting day

Me, my mom, and my sister Tina, along with her two friends Eric and Tahnee toured the city today.  It was so fun to eat and shop in local culture, we took a boat cruise through the canals and it was so romantic, well, if i would have had a honey with me, but it was still fun.  We actually boated by the house we are staying in because it is in the nicest part of town.  So cool.

We had some good food all day long, and had some EXCELLENT chinese food tonight.  We led into our dinner by visiting the Red Light District.  Wow, I can't even describe what type of place this is.  I wanted to visit to see hot chicks, jk, I really wanted to experience the entire culture and this was a part of it.  It was sad walking through there, literally girls in windows almost naked just like caged animals.  Guys walk by and pick the one they want, pay, then go in and play checkers.  We walked through the "Mall" which was like a shopping mall except it was all women just standing out in the open, waiting for you to come in.  There is a verse in Proverbs that talks about men being devoured by these women, but I was with my mom and pregnant sister, no worries :)  But all and all, it was an experience and quite a little crazy.

We ended the night eating the chinese also located in the Red Light District. 

We spent the rest of the night with some wine and cheese :) I learned a lot abou the history of the city and we talked a lot about the differences in our cultures, I just luv it. 

Friday, December 14, 2007

Interesting Days in Amsterdam

So I have learned that Amsterdam has many more bikes than I thought. EVERYONE rides a bike, it doesn't matter who you are, how much money, you ride a bike over here at some point.

The funny thing is, all of the bikes are OLD SCHOOL. If you have a mountain bike, they say it will get stolen, I might have said that already, but I still think it's cool.

We went to an open market today and bought some food. I had a piece of raw herring, so good. It was a bit different to just eat a raw fish, but it was really good. We walked on the beach for a little while and yes, it is FREEZING here.

I am staying at a friend of my sister's tonight. She was super nice and let us live at her apartment while she is in Thailand. It is right on the canals in Amsterdam, so out my window I have boats etc, so cool.

Another cool thing is how cheap wine is over here. You can get a really good bottle of wine for about 3 Euros. We had some of the best cheese today too, mmmmmmm, I might get fatter.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Day 1 Amsterdam

So we left GSP around 10:35AM on 12-11, flew to Newark, NJ, waited a few hours, then flew across the Atlantic to a nice city called Amsterdam. I was quite surprised there weren't 4 hookers waiting on me at the airport. I've come to learn that Dutch don't like the cliche thing that people come here to , well you know, and smoke weed. Apparently there are lots more things to do.

We had a great time our first day, my sister forced me and my mom to stay awake all day so we could start the trip and fight the jet lag. I did fall asleep in the car a few times just driving around the city, but nothing major. The driving here is hilarious. First, the actually drive on the correct side of the road, which is nice. 2nd, there are more bikes than you could possibly imagine. If you have anything other than a beach cruiser, it will get stolen. So don't buy a nice mountain bike unless you want to get your bike stolen. I drove last night for the first time in Amsterdam, this was very interesting and it made it even more interesting because I didn't have my glasses on. My sister's place is pretty pimp, it is very small but an awesome layout and very modern. She has a pimp tv and a computer hooked up with lots of movies :) It's fun to watch tv in English with Dutch subtitles. People also give me an interesting look when I open my mouth to speak, I'm not sure if they are wondering about my voice, my english, or my accent. Maybe it's a combo. My mom seemed to notice it as well.

We had an awesome day of eating yesterday, a tuna-melt bagel, a shot of coffee, and a nice apple juice. My dinner was some really good Indonesian food. The cool thing about Amsterdam is that there is a crazy amount of immigrants here and SO much food, basically anything you want.

It has been two days and I have not showered, so this is something I am about to take care of after I run and get some food. I will like to point out fellas, the women here are gorgeous.

We plan to tour around the city today, and take lots of pictures.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Amsterdam Hotel

So I was talking to my mom about booking a night or two in the Hilton right downtown Amsterdam.  She says, "will your points pay for the hotel?" I say, "Oh yeah, I was saving them for a honeymoon one day."

She says,

"Use them, they might take them away from you."

My mother has the utmost confidence that I will get married one day. ha.


So it hasn't really set in that I leave for Amsterdam in just a few hours. I just finished packing tonight, and actually still haven't finished. My mom drove up today and saw my house for the first time, yes I forgave her. I've lived her for a few years and she is just now seeing it!

I think she has packed my lil sister into one of her bags, talk about heavy. We head out tomorrow to visit Amsterdam and to meet up with my sister who lives there and works for the UN at the Hague. This is the place where they put to trial all of the war criminals. Interesting job she has.

She is about to have a baby so we are going over there to visit with her and the baby. Our plans could change any minute because we don't really know when the baby will be here. So we plan to tour around Europe until we get the phone call :) I have never taken a super long vacation, usually only a few days here and there, so spending 3 weeks in Europe is going to be crazy. It's funny how quick you get used to always working, it was really tough to just leave for today and really leave it. I was thinking of ways I could check my email and do work, I'm going to try not to. It's tough to go from full speed working to just go and chill.

She has a friend that is going to let us crash at her apartment. She is out of the country and lives right in the city center and right on the canal, which should be super cool, talk about a blessing.

I am excited for my mom to be able to go. She is the kind of person who never will spend money on herself and always insists that everyone be taken care of before her needs, I think there is something in the Bible about that. So it's good for my mom to be taking this time and relaxing. We plan on taking lots of pictures. I do want to see the Red Light district. No, Sandy, I'm not going to get a prostitute, but I've always heard about it and want to see what it looks like. And no, I'm not going to smoke weed, well unless it's 2nd hand and I get stuck somewhere and have to breathe it in, jk.

I will post pictures soon! I hope to visit a really good church while I'm there also, we'll see how that goes.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Palm Tree

I have wanted a Palm Tree forever. I know that is the most random thing, but I really do like them. My best bud Ed found one on the internet, FOR FREE :)

I got a truck and ripped it out the ground from some really nice people down the road, threw it on the back of the truck, then planted in my yard :) With their permission of course :)

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A little Update

I have actually not been on a plane in two weeks, this is a breakthrough. It seems a little odd to be honest. So it will change tomorrow, I fly out to the wonder-less state of New Jersey. Good news is, I will only be there for 1 day and a half. Bad new is, I have to wear a suit. I have worked at the same place for almost 8 years and never wore a suit, so I'm wearing a suit.

I was in Charleston this past weekend and visited East Cooper Baptist Church. Pretty awesome sermon. I also saw a ton of people that I haven't seen in a long time, well didn't get to talk to many of them, but I did get to see them in the room :)

And I leave for Amsterdam a few days after I get back from Jersey, I'm excited. Me and my moms are going to spend about 3 weeks cruising around Europe and hanging out with my sister, (who lives there). Fun times ahead.