Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mental age: 5

I got this dress a while ago... the one superfluous maternity clothing item. I had been wanting to wear it for so long, but I looked like a big potato sack. And now, finally it fits. I was so happy twirling around on Christmas Eve. Hope you had a fun one too.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas spirit

Fer's pretty handmade log

We finally set up a few Christmas decorations around the house. Not all of them, though, as we are both not really feeling *it*. Or more like, we are looking forward to some chill and calm. Actually, by christmas decorations I mean we put down the box of cookies, chocolate, nougat and other treats (thanks so much Fer!) that we had hidden in hopes that they would make it to the holidays. They are magically disappearing from the fruit bowl.

We have been doing some projects around the house (well that's the boy), we had a couple of friends over yesterday for a Thai take-away dinner, and I will be making Tiramisu and an interpretation of this Eggplant involtini recipe between today and tomorrow. We'll spend Christmas Eve at a friend's place, then go to mass on Christmas morning and later have dinner at a Greek restaurant with Mark's brother and his mom. That's about it.

 I guess all the energy and excitement is going to the little one, who we just got to see today. Even if I feel her move a lot these days (it's the best feeling ever), it still feels surreal and magic and we are grateful every single day. We had a growth ultrasound today (at exactly 30 weeks) and she's doing well... She is growing as expected, if a bit on the smaller side of the average graph, but still within normal range. I ate a bunch of cookies before our appointment, but the extra sugar rush did not get her moving, she was very calm. Sometimes I feel I am growing a cat, since she is so active at night. Since we are both home we were playing with the tripod and took some photos of the ever-growing bump. I really am feeling clumsi-er these days, but I am clumsy on a regular basis so I don't know how much of that feeling can be attributed to little hummus.

I wish you a very joyful Christmas / holiday period surrounded by your family, friends and loved ones, and really hope that magic will come to your lives. How are you planning to spend these days?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter, winter.

On Saturday we went to a couple of Christmas markets, where some friends had set up stands. It was the perfect chilly afternoon, complete with strings of decorative lights, hot chocolate, warm soup and oliebollen. But did I mention it was chilly? Yup, winter is here. Last night as I went to bed I felt I would be getting a cold (but prayed I wouldn't) and this morning my throat is aching and I just feel tired. I hope it goes away fast.

 There are candles everywhere... to fight the darkness that leaves late and starts early these days and this week I will finally be putting out the Christmas decorations. (In this household decorations are only allowed after the boys' birthday, but since that was this weekend I can officially start).

How was your weekend? Are you feeling the festive season already? The spirit is coming late this year, and I think we just might celebrate on a very low-key mode.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The world of Manga in Rotterdam

 Last Sunday we went to the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam (Willemskade 22-25) to visit the exposition called: "The world of Manga", which will be open until January 12, 2014.

Both my husband and brother-in-law are big fans of Manga and anime, so it was only a matter of deciding when we would go. Overall we really liked the exposition, particularly the first couple of halls where the exposition pinpoints the relationship between gods of Japanese folklore and Buddhist mythology and certain characters in popular culture / anime such as Dragon Ball Z or the game Street Fighter.

Later, the exposition explains briefly different types of Manga, such as mecha manga, which focuses on war and robots and its origins as it relates to the impact of the Second World War in the conscience of the artists.

Finally, the exposition gives examples of more fantasy and fairy-tale animations and of other movies that tend to reflect stories of everyday life, and how, consequently, the aesthetics of manga exert their influence over a whole generation of young people.

After the exposition, we watched 'Wolf Children', from director Mamoru Hosoda (who also directed 'The girl who leapt through time'). It is a really sweet movie, with absolutely beautiful landscapes, about a  girl who falls in love with the last man-wolf and has two children, who are half-wolf and half-human and how they struggle growing up in their mixed identities.

Monday, December 2, 2013

High tea with Elizabeth Gilbert

Last week I was lucky enough to win an online competition* and had the chance to attend an interview, book signing and reading with Elizabeth Gilbert, who's on a book tour promoting her newest book: "The Signature of all things".

The high-tea took place at the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam. The botanical garden is one of the oldest in the world, founded in 1638 by the city to serve as an herb garden for doctors and apothecaries. It contains more than six thousand tropical and indigenous trees and plants. Its initial collection was amassed during the 17th century through plants and seeds brought back by traders of the East India Company (VOC) for use as medicines and for their possibilities for commerce. A single coffee plant, Coffea arabica, in Hortus's collection served as the parent for the entire coffee culture in Central and South America (oh how I wish I could have a cup of coffee right now).

The book itself takes place in the midst of the 19th century botanical exploration and discoveries and tells the story of Alma, the daughter of an English pharmaceutical-plant merchant and a Dutch woman of an intellectual family. She's an independent, curious girl, fascinated by science and later, evolution, who will end up being pulled in a more spiritual direction, who'll struggle to reach out of her logical and material boundaries and discover there's more to the world than the rational (but I am just starting to reach that part, as I'm halfway through the book).

It was really nice to meet the person behind "Eat, Pray, Love" and "Committed". She seemed very kind and down to earth, talking about her love for travel, living and enjoying life (saying how even if we do not understand the purpose of it all, the journey 'is interesting'), and emphasizing how the hard spiritual 'work' (and joy) is found in connection, forgiveness, love.

*Thanks to Marcela for letting me know about the event :) and to for organizing it.

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