So, tell me...during the weekends, the Dutch also eat broodjes?

This is the weirdest thing I've found in this country (besides the way the traffic lights work). They eat sandwiches for lunch!!!!!!!!

For us, portuguese, lunch (and dinner), and all the food we eat, mostly, is, not only a way to feed our bodys, but also to feed our souls and in a social way, to feed our relationships.

For us, when we want to be with people, we arrange a lunch, a dinner, an afternoon meal (for us is the lanche - like the afternoon tea), or even a "cafezinho com pastel de nata".

And if possible, in the weekend we have the family lunch, that will probably last for hours, because first there are some entrees: olives, cheese, bread, then main dish, then dessert (of course), and then expressos, and a liquor or any other digestive drink, and people talk for hours....

When I came to the Netherlands, I realized that everyday lunch was sandwiches...I understand that's a way to feed the body, but still I find it weird...I'm sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone.

But the weirdest thing was when my daughter came, and started day care. They told me they gave the food, so I was tranquil.

First day: What did you eat J? Broodje met humus (bread with humus)

Second day: What did you eat J? Bread with humus.

Third day: What did you eat today J? Bread with humus...

So it's cultural, but of course, that means that she arrived home really, really hungry. And kept asking for food, throughout the afternoon.

Back in Portugal, for lunch, everyday, they had soup, main dish, and fruit, and they had to give her more food for the main dish... And she would still be hungry.

This year, I asked her if she wanted to have chicken and rice in the lunch box, and she told me: No, I want bread and humus!!!!

So she's turning really dutchie...


​Of course, this is (not) a real meal: ravioli, with fried egg, and something we can't define...made with playdoh :D

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My daughter arrived in Amsterdam exactly one year ago.

We were a little bit worried about her integration, if she would learn the language, and of course, if she would make friends.

I enrolled her in a day care near our house, with a Montessori way of teaching (which means in good Portuguese: desemerda-te), to start in February. During the month of January she was home with my mother in law, watching dutch cartoons (they are the same everywhere: paw patrol, dora the explorer, shimmer and shine…)

The first of February I went with her to the day care, told the teacher some words in Portuguese, she might use (xixi=pee, cocó=poop, leite=milk, quequé = fluffy doll, água=water…) and because they have several toys, and a play kitchen, she didn’t even look back, and started playing immediately.

I told them that if something happened, or if she started crying a lot, I could come and pick her up.

Around 10:00 am they called me. My heart was beating really fast, because in my mind,she was crying really loud, no one was able to understand her, and I was ready to go pick her up immediately.

Turned out that she only wanted to know if J. had any allergies, because of the lunch they were about to give. J. was really fine, playing all morning with another kid in the kitchen, “making soup”, and then the teacher told me “oh and by the way, she understands more dutch than you think!!”

Nowadays, she’s already in basis school groep 1, and since she started she developed the spoken Dutch a lot.

She can make herself understood, and has more vocabulary by the day. I can’t keep up with her, so I really have to learn dutch.

But most importantly she has several friends, she already had two playdates and was invited for a birthday party (her social life is more active than ours)...

So she's ok :D

Checking the I amsterdam sign :D

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So...I'm on holidays in Portugal...Spending Christmas with family... And taking the change to eat and drink what I can't eat and drink in Amsterdam... "Alheira", "grelos" (I can't find these in the Netherlands), "pastel de nata" (OF COURSE!!!!), and Licor Beirão (ahhhhhhh!!!!!!! - this one we can find, but is really expensive).

I'm also enjoying the nice (really nice) weather - 14ºC and really sunny - and the "boring" blue sky.

But when you are an "emigra" (slang for emigrant) these are the things that you really miss, aside from family and friends, the weather and the food.

What you really don't miss is the traffic, and going to public services and having dumb people on the reception...but I finally picked up my diploma

This is "alheira com ovo estrelado" :)

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So here I told about my relationship (or lack of) with snow. But after the last post, on Monday there was this huge snow storm...code red in the whole country.

I was having fun, watching the snow fall, while I was working, and was not worried.

My colleagues who had to take the train to go home were more worried, because NS (Dutch Railway Services - I don't know the name in dutch) was already having some problems with the trains, and several trains were cancelled, and most were delayed at least half an hour.

But in my case (I take two buses to go home) I wasn't worried, because GVB (Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf - van Amsterdam, wich translates into Municipal Transport Company - the things Ilearn while writing this blog) had a window popping up in their site, stating that they had taken precautions the day before, so they were ready for the storm, and all the buses and trams were riding as usual.

We had a long day, and my colleague and I left after 5pm. We went to the bus stop, it was snowing, and I was having fun just stepping in the snow, with my tennis shoes (yes, despite knowing that it was going to snow I decided that wearing tennis shoes was the most appropriate...newbie....).

We couldn't say where the road ended and the sidewalk started...

And then waiting for the bus, one girl said the words..."No more buses riding"

Whaaaaaattttttt??????????

Now what? Do I have to walk home? Train and then tram? I will take forever....I think I will call a car of that company that's illegal in many countries, but fortunatelly here it still works :)

So I did it, and in half an hour I was home, but my colleague was really annoyed (she's Polish, so to her, that was nothing...)

This is to say that despite the fact that from time to time it snows in this country, they really are NOT prepared for the snow...it's chaos everywhere...

Next level will be going home walking in the snow (with tennis shoes...AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH)

Ok, actually the road and the sidewalk are distinguishable...

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So, as you might imagine (or not), in 39 years of life I haven't seen that much snow.

In fact, in my hometown, it snowed in 1983. I was 4, still in kindergarden, and in the morning everything was white. My mom told me to stay in the doorframe, while my dad was going to get the car. She told me: "Don't move, don't touch this, it's very slippery" So I stayed there, just looking at the white snow, feeling like stepping on it, but not doing so. By lunch time, I saw the rain wash away the snow in the windowsills of the canteen. And of course, they didn't let us play outside (more on that in another post).

The second time I saw snow, my parents and I were coming home from Covilhã through Serra da Estrela (the highest point in Continental Portugal) and my mom told me: "Look Patricia, snow!" "Where?" "Up there!!!!" When I looked up the mountain, it was some whitish patches, that looked like shredded cotton... So for me this doesn't count.

The third time I was coming from Cambridge to London, in a field trip from my English school, when I was 16, and the teacher had told us that it might snow that day. On the bus I saw some flaky, whitish things, but it lasted for 1 minute... so, also doesn't count.

The fourth time I went to Serra da Estrela with my sister (she lives in Castelo Branco) to see the snow. So, it had already fell, and was already turned hard, and slippery. And of course, I slipped and fell. But I didn't see it fall, nor played with it. No snow man, no snow ball fight...

But...last year, as you may noticed from this blog, I moved to the Netherlands. Even though the Netherlands is not famous for the snow (like I said here ) from time to time, I've learned, it snows.

Right now, as I'm writing this post, there's a snow storm outside my window :)

So In February, my other half woke me up one night to tell me it was snowing. I was so happy to see it fall. I looked like a child.

The next morning, we went to throw some snow balls, and tried to make a snow man.

But again, I didn't walk on the street while it was snowing.

So last Sunday it started to snow in Amsterdam, and I went to see a Christmas movie with J. It was snowing and it was so nice. It was the first time I've walked in the snow :). J. spent the whole time on the way to the tram trying to catch a snow flake in her tongue :) So cute.



Nice weather outside :)

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So, one thing I've realized is that in this city (because I don't know other cities in the Netherlands - shame on me!!!!) there are not so many roundabouts. In fact I think in one year, I've only seen one. In Portugal it's something that abounds (sometimes too much), and in fact sometimes it eases the traffic.

Other thing that does not exist is bridges as crosswalks, in roads with lots of traffic. It means that the traffic will flow more easily, and the pedestrians will have to climb some stairs, and cross a bridge over the road, to get to the other side...wich, would mean some more exercise :)

But here, there's no such thing. Which would be fine if I didn't keep missing buses, because the signal is red to pedestrians and I'm stopped on the other side of the street, without being able to cross...

I've lost the count to how many buses ands trams I've missed...probably that's another reason for people to bike...

As you can see, the light is always red for pedestrians...tsc, tsc, tsc no wonder I keep missing buses and trams ;)

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Ok, so, if you arrive in the Netherlands in November, you'll be able to whitness the arrival of Sinterklaas, from Spain, in his boat, with his helper (Zwarte) Piet. You'll see boats in the canals with guys disguised as the Sinterklaas (a mix between a cardenal of orthodox church and Santa Claus - I hope not to offend anyone, but for a foreigner it's this), throwing pepernoten (small biscuits of spice mixes) at children. Also, children will leave the shoe by the chimney (or by the door, if the only chimney you have is the extractor above the stove...I think no one likes to cook with a dirty-soled shoe on the kitchen counter) with a poem/or a drawing for Sint, and of course some carrots and cubes of suger for Sint's horse). On the night of 5th December Sint will come and leave the presents, or more pepernoten and gummys, and all kinds of sugar treats, and, of course, the horse will have eaten the treats, and on the 6th of December we will go back to Spain....

As you may have noticed, this has a uncanny similarity with our more Western (yes, Portugal is more west than the Netherlands) Traditions of Santa Claus (or Pai Natal, in Portugal), that give the presents, during the night, but Santa Claus comes with reindeers, and of course, he comes on the 25th December. There's no arrival with, as we say in Portuguese "pompa e circunstância" (with the fanfarre, and everyone greeting him, and a huge party...).

It seems that my daughter will have the best of both worlds, because, of course, by now she knows everything (or almost) about Sint, so I think she'll be expecting something...and of course, we already have a Christmas Tree, and she'll receive presents during Christmas, in Portugal.

I don't know if you noticed the (Zwarte = Black) Piet, so he's Sinterklaas helper, and his face is black, because he goes down the chimney...but because now everything has to be politically correct, his face was related with black people being slaves...so now he is just Piet, for your information.

The funny thing is that the Dutch didn't let their tradition die. When I was a kid there was no "Pai Natal". It was "Menino Jesus" (Baby Jesus) that gave the presents, if we had behaved...but now in my family my sister will dress up as Santa for my daughter to receive presents.

Which reminds me that probably she will ask questions about the existence of TWO old men giving presents...I will have to think of somethink...wish me luck :)


Well I don't have a photo of Sint, because I wasn't there when he arrived, but here is a photo of a Christmas Tree. I hope you like it 🙂

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So, what are the Netherlands famous for? Bikes, windmills, tulips and wooden shoes...

From these, what I find more ubiquitous are definitely the bikes. Bikes are everywhere. You really have to be carefull when crossing the road, otherwise you'll be run over by one, or two or one thousand....really.

These people use the bike to go everywhere. I've seen people carry one travel suitcase attached to the bike. I've seen people carrying really big, cumbersome things, on the bike.

There are several types of bikes: omafiets, moederfiets, stadsfiets, bakfiets, and if you translate the names they are grandmas' bikes (the dutch typical bikes), mothers' bikes (which usually have little chairs to transport the kids), city bikes and cargo bikes (these have a huge box in the front, where the children will go sitting).

And also it seems that these people are born knowing how to bike. First comes the bike, and then the baby....

I've seen one mother riding the bike, holding the head of the 4 month old baby, because he had fallen asleep...it is master level....

In order to become more dutch, of course, one has to have a bike. So I bought one, really cheap, and was really happy with it, when I found out that it was too small for me (you can check that story here - use google translator). So now I'm on the look for a more size suitable one. It shouldn't be that difficult.

But besides all the bikes passing by, I realized that in the Netherlands bikes are really important, when, after the first snow falling this February, the sidewalk was full of snow, the road was full of snow, but the bike path was clean...

So now you know: Netherlands=Bikes :)


Everywhere there are this parking spaces for bikes :)

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Well, second post in this space (huuuu, I'm doing well Ahahahahahah!!!!).

So yesterday it was a night out with co-workers. We went to Piadina bar , where the waiter was really nice (in every way, including the looks ;) ). So we had some drinks (I really liked the Chocolate Martini) and a cheese and ham board, and of course two piadinas. It was really nice. Afterwards we went to this bar in De Pijp (I don't know the name) where we danced a little more, and drank a little more, and after that we went to Rembrandt Plein, to this discotheque/disco bar/whatever, and wait for it...we drank still a little bit more, and danced more.... And there I realised that going out is the same everywhere, whether in Faro (where I studied), in Lisbon (where I worked), in Loret de Mar (the final year of highschool trip), or here in Amsterdam. Well, looking at this list I also realised that I didn't travel that much, ahahahah.

So what happens is first, you have something to eat, and at the same time, you start drinking. Then you go to a bar where you drink more, dance, and the music is loud, and you have to scream to get a drink, and you have to scream to talk to anybody, and if you're in the mood for flirting....well you also have to scream...AHAHAHAHAHAH. And then you move on to a discotheque. You have the bouncers at the entrance, that always look like they want to beat you up (I know it's a tough job, and probably they do it on purpose, still It's always unconfortable...), and then more loud music, drinking and dancing. But then, can you really call that dancing? Usually is doing the same moves, trying to not get run over by the passers-by, because there is always someone trying to get to the bar, or get to the bathroom, or get to the friends that are on the other side of the bar....

And finally, you danced a lot, you drank a lot, and it's time to go home. In the old days in Faro, you still had to go to the Padaria Lisbonense, and get a "pão com chouriço" and a cinammon roll, and then get a taxi to go home. Here, I don't know, you just run to the tram, or you get an Uber...

The big difference? Here things happen quite early, so it means that at 11 pm you'll be in a bar crammed with people, and in Portugal, at 11 you're still at home getting ready for the night :)


This is Spui at night, nothing to do with Rembrandt Plein, but I don't have any more photos :)

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Well...


I seem to have a problem...I start stuff and then...don´t keep up with them. Am I the only one? So this is the 5th blog I'm starting. What happened to the ones before? Well, the first one is this: blog da maionese . It's still on and kind of alive. It talks about random stuff that I remember. Sometimes I have this weird ideas, and it's a good place to have them collected. It's in portuguese, but I thought of translating most of the interesting posts to english, let's see...

The second one is this: noisette - cosmética natural , it's about one of my passions (diy skin care products). Since I moved I haven't been able to do much. In fact I've only made one bodybutter...

The other 2: organizing freak and Um friozinho na barriga have only 3 or 4 posts. One is about my so-called decluttering (well...it didn't happen like I wanted to...) the other is about...moving to Amsterdam...but I found this provider, so I'm testing it :) What propably will happen is I will post my adventures in Amsterdam, written in English here, and written in Portuguese there... Do you think I can keep up? AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!! We'll see.

So for now this is the (re)beginning ... Hope you like reading me

Behind the Red Light District

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