10-09-2012 om 12:41 by Leslie Sherriff
Approximately 50% of the land comprising The Netherlands is less than one meter above sea level. Accordingly, the history of the “low country” is filled with horror stories about floods and the necessary innovations required to live on and from the country’s limited land. It’s no wonder then that learning to swim is such an important part of childhood here.
Typically, swimming lessons begin in earnest at about the age of 4 and a half. And believe me, these are not lessons to be taken lightly. This is not doggie paddle and cannonballs. This is proper swimming and water safety. At a bare minimum, a child cannot swim in a pool or at the beach without a parent and armbands/floats until they have achieved their DIPLOMA A. (Capitals intended!) The entire swimming lesson experience includes... read more
27-08-2012 om 13:09 by Leslie Sherriff
Andy and I like to think that we are good, somewhat intrepid, travelers. However, since having Ian, we haven’t been overly adventurous. I think the prospect of sharing a hotel room with a baby/toddler that woke frequently at night, only napped well in his own bed, and still needs lots of room to move was not particularly pleasant. Fortunately, he’s growing up and thus we are able to be more comfortable when we travel. We are particularly interested in seeing more of The Netherlands, this place we call home. So, in July, we decided to take a trip to The Hague (more specifically, the suburb of Scheveningen). Why? Well, I’d been hearing about a park called Madurodam, and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Several of my neighbors said it was a place they visited with family as kids. ... read more
15-08-2012 om 10:18 by Leslie Sherriff
On Monday we returned from a 3-week holiday in Scotland. It was a wonderful, fun- and sun-filled time visiting with much of Andy’s family. We particularly enjoyed an amazing week celebrating a big birthday at Arisaig House, on the northwest coast. http://www.arisaighouse.co.uk/. I highly recommend a visit to Arisaig if you’re hoping to experience the Scottish highlands! Andy’s family and some Scotland-based friends were all very interested to hear about our lives in Maastricht. Thus, I spent a great deal of time trying to explain how it is possible to live without getting in my car every day, my experiences with Ian’s Dutch primary school, our social lives and the variety of friends we have, and, in essence, the wonderful quality of life we have here. I think many of these cousins, brothers-,... read more
16-07-2012 om 15:34 by Leslie Sherriff
Summer holidays are here and we’ve even had a few days of sun, though as I write it is grey and relatively cold for July. On one of our few sunny days so far this summer, I decided to take Ian and two of his friends to the barefoot path (blotevoetenpad) in the Belgian National Park Hoge Kempen. (http://www.lieteberg.be/blotevoetenpad/blotevoetenpad.htm) The Lieteberg area is only about 20 minutes away from Maastricht, outside Lanaken and Zutendaal. I was looking for something fun to do outdoors to burn some 4-year-old energy and enjoy a day off from normal routine. What I got was an adventure that included butterflies, bees, and 2 hours of barefoot hi-jinx.
The park is quite secluded and it took us several tries to find the right parking lot. For me, the drive out was a good... read more
26-06-2012 om 11:45 by Leslie Sherriff
What is nostalgia? The word is normally defined as a sentimental longing for the past, typically a happy time. It’s hard to imagine feeling nostalgia here in Maastricht when I’ve only lived here for four years. I’ve come to realize though that periods of time are quite short when one considers the lifetime of a 4-year-old boy. I think back fondly on the times when I walked Ian around the neighborhood in the baby carrier, watched him take immediately to his balance bike, and prepared for his first day of school.
Recently, I was overwhelmed by nostalgia and warm fuzzy feelings (me, really?) when I stopped by the Maastricht International Playgroup (MIP) to drop something off for a friend. The MIP is an all-volunteer group of mothers, and sometimes dads, who meet on Wednesday mornings to... read more