Best wishes for 2023!

This last day of 2022 is very grey and dreary here. This should probably be a day for reflecting over what 2022 brought and making resolutions for 2023 but I don’t wanna! We just want to hang and that’s what we pretty much are doing before we go to a friend’s house this evening to ring in the new year. After dinner, junior will go to celebrate the new year with friends of his, mini me will come with Mr E and me to our friend for the evening and later, after midnight, will meet up with friends of her own.

Earlier in the afternoon mini me and I had a little bit of fun-shopping to do and then stopped at a café for a hot chocolate and piece of cake while looking out over a grey lake near our house on this dreary day…

Mr E has been chilling out on the couch and has selected some whiskeys to buy from vouchers he has. Junior is at work but even he is chilling out at his workplace because it’s very quiet there today as well (as he has let us know per text). The cat is a little nervous over the fireworks we hear go off around our house now and again. We tried distracting her with a mouse toy, but she is only midly interested…

The traditional oliebollen that are widely eaten here for New Year’s Eve are sitting on our table, ready to be consumed before we all head our separate ways later this evening…

This just leaves me to say that no matter where you are in the world, I wish all of you the very best for 2023! May we all yet again attempt to make the world a little better, starting in our own little corners of the world. All my love!

Best wishes for 2022!

It’s the last day of 2021 and instead of getting nostalgic (or depressed) over what has or hasn’t been this past year, Mr Esther, mini me and I went out for the afternoon (Junior is working till 7.30 pm). Still in lockdown in this country so other than essential shops, everything else is closed. Not much we could do but we did go to the beach for a nice beach walk. This time we went to Hoek van Holland, which is just north of Rotterdam. Sun sets here at around 4.30 pm, so we were soon walking during the ‘golden hour’. It was also quite windy and fascinating to see the wind blowing sand over the sand…

We walked in the dunes and as we got back to the car we even saw the ferry from England arrive…

So, here we are, the last few hours of 2021 have come and we have just finished our sushi dinner (yumm!). Mini me is going to a friend’s house to celebrate the New Year and her friend’s 18th birthday there. Junior will have a quick bite to eat when he comes home and will celebrate the New Year with a friend as well, at his friend’s home. Due to Covid restrictions no big parties or anything possible, so it’s just Mr Esther and I here at home tonight. We are already prepared with the traditional Dutch New Years’ Eve food: oliebollen and appelflappen…

In some parts of the world 2022 has already begun, for us it will be happening in about four hours. No matter where you are in the world, I wish all of you the very best for 2022!

Also, let me use this spot to thank you all for reading here, whether you do so actively or just through lurking. I appreciate each and every one of you. All my love for the new year!

Happy 2021!

A mixed start to 2021 here. Yesterday, on New Year’s Day, I woke up with an awful headache and felt bad (and slept) for most of the day. Not a good start to the new year.

Today was a different story. I was feeling fine again, did a few small chores. The kids were doing their own thing, so Mr. Esther and I went for a nice lengthy walk on our own in our town. We’re back at home now, with some Glühwein (warm mulled wine), a fire on in the fireplace and classical radio playing in the background. I’m curled up in our big armchair, underneath a cosy red blanket, my cat is lying on me and I’m reading (shortly interrupted by writing this post).

The beginning of this new year is not so bad after all… Here’s hoping that 2021 will be a good year! Happy new year, everyone. 😊

Happy 5781!

This evening the two day festival of Rosh Hashanah starts, which sees in the Jewish year of 5781. The song I’m sharing here is called “BaShana Haba’a” (“Next Year”) and is a popular, secular, new year’s song, a joyful song filled with hope for the upcoming year.

Every time I hear it (which is not often) my heart swells up with cherished memories of my childhood with my parents and siblings in and around Jerusalem. This family photo was taken in a field right behind our house in the village we lived in just outside Jerusalem, a few months before we moved to Germany when I was 10…

My father’s life’s work as a Dutch Protestant theologian was devoted to dialogue between the three large monotheistic religions. He taught us to be anti-missionary and pro understanding of the other in their faith, specializing in Jewish-Christian dialogue. Our own family technically was a multi-Christian-faith family (not that we ever paid attention to that ourselves). My parents were Dutch Protestant, my older siblings were also baptized Dutch Protestant, my younger brother and sister were born as Arab Christians in Nazareth and, like me (born in Jerusalem), were baptized in the Anglican church. My Ethiopian brother and sister entered the family as Catholics.

Because of my father’s work, we had Jewish friends and were often invited to celebrate Jewish holidays with them. I loved Jewish holiday celebrations at the homes of those friends and sometimes even hosted in our own home, with Hebrew prayers and good food and a lot of singing. Almost all of us became non-religious as we grew up but I always think that if I ever were to choose a religion for myself to follow, it would be (liberal) Judaism. There is something about Judaism and hearing Hebrew and the Hebrew songs (even though I barely speak Hebrew myself) that make me feel completely at home.

I have two siblings who did convert to Judaism (my older sister on the left next to my mother in the picture above and my older brother with the black and white dog) and so, because of them, I am always quite aware of when the Jewish holidays come around. So, to them and to anyone who is Jewish and reading this I want to say: Shanah Tovah! I hope the coming year will be better than the last….

Happy 2020 from Frankfurt!

Yesterday, on New Year’s Eve, Mr Esther, my mini-not-me daughter and I spent strolling through the center of Frankfurt. Mini-not-me is tired of Mr Esther’s and my preference for older looking towns, she wants to see modern skylines and buildings and such, so we stuck to the newer part of town. We all especially liked the Zeil shopping mall.

One store called Saturn stocked an amazing collection of cd’s and dvd’s, the likes you rarely see in The Netherlands anymore, where streaming online and digital copies are I think overtaking the cd and dvd collections. Mini-not-me found a collector’s item BTS cd + booklet she really wanted and I was amazed at how many classics were to be found on dvd. I took a trip down memory lane from when I lived in Germany in my teens, when we used to watch these shows on TV as a family (and bought myself an old Rock Hudson & Sidney Poitier movie I’ve never seen before)…

We strolled some more, then mini-not-me and I returned to the hotel for a rest as mini-not-me has been battling a flu, while Mr Esther went to the historical museum.

Our experience last year in Hamburg had taught us that it would be good if we reserved a restaurant for New Year’s Eve dinner. A few weeks ago we had called a few restaurants and finally found a spot at an Italian one that we thought would be nice. On the phone at the time they told us they only served a special standard New Year’s Eve menu and we said fine and didn’t think anything of it. When we arrived at the restaurant at 7 pm we felt slightly under dressed as it all looked fancy. We were welcomed with champagne…


…  they only served wine per bottle (not per glass) and the courses started coming. There were six (!) courses in all! Halfway through the evening we figured out the actual standard menu price per person (hadn’t thought to ask beforehand) and as the fancy courses started coming we figured it would probably cost a pretty penny. We were right, it did cost a pretty penny, probably close to what our hotel stay was costing us. Oops! Honestly, though, we just laughed it off. Our own fault for not asking more details in advance and the dinner and all the courses (mostly marine-themed) were absolutely delicious! We figured, what the heck, we’d just enjoy it and that we did. It was long, though, we sat there for close to 4 hours!

We then walked down to the river and crossed one of the bridges to the other side of town (just outside the main party area, an area that was too busy for us to want to brave). A lot of fireworks were already going off but we found a nice spot at the end of the bridge, near police and security, where we felt safe enough to stand and enjoy the fireworks that were already lighing up some of the Frankfurt skyline.

Then at midnight all hell broke loose with people setting off their fireworks. Seriously, I think I have rarely stood in the middle of such a mighty fireworks explosion before.

I made some gifs from the small video I made, you’ll just have to imagine the deafening noise along with it!

It was a little scary but also exhilirating and beautiful at the same time, despite the air polution and the garbage. The atmosphere was festive and not grim, which was also cool. Things calmed down relatively quickly, I found, and we were back in our hotel rooms by one am.

This morning we slept in a bit, took it easy at the hotel after breakfast and then in the afternoon, in glorious albeit cold weather, we walked down to the beautifully reconstructed Alte Römer area. We first went to the river hoping to secure tickets for a Main river cruise at the end of the afternoon (the website had said the cruise was also available on Sundays and Feastdays), only to find that there were no cruises on New Year’s Day. And yes, the trash in the picture was trash from the night before. Wow.

We then visited the cathedral where Mr Esther had hoped to go on a guided tour only to find that the tour had been cancelled for the day. Oh well, we enjoyed looking around anyway and Mr Esther was able to photograph some coats of arms as well (his hobby is heraldry).

We walked through the Alte Römer area…

… but couldn’t find many cafés open for tea and cake. We finally did find the café at the Hauptwache open (closer to the modern part of town) to round off our afternoon. We had another little hotel rest after (mini-not-me is still not feeling great), then dinner at an Italian fastfood kind of place (cheap, compensating nicely for the evening before) and then went on another evening stroll around town.

Tomorrow we head back home again. Our son, who’s been at home working and celebrating New Year’s with friends, has also come down with the flu, poor thing! He’s never ill and I hate that we’re not near him while he’s feeling bad. He did go in to work today but left a bit early and is now crashed at home. Luckily he is free tomorrow and can hopefully recuperate a bit. And apparently I mind him being on his own more than he does. 🙂

Before we leave tomorrow (or really, later today – I see it’s 1 after am now!) we want to go up one of the towers for an overview over the city (also closed today). Despite stuff being closed it’s been a great few days and it was nice having mini-not-me to ourselves for a bit. She really liked Frankfurt, by the way, and says this will be a trip she will always remember fondly. That makes my heart very happy in this new year. We’ve started 2020 well (despite illnesses) and I hope you have too!