Or in English: A happy new year!
From today on, it is not only the year 2012, it is also the Year of the Dragon. According to the Chinese lunar calender, this starts from today (Monday, January 23rd). I hope the Year of the Dragon will bring peace, happiness and prosperity to all of you.
It has been a while since my last blog, so I'll give a short update on my last few months.
In the week during Christmas, we had some very special visitors: my brother, his wife and their two boys, Kilian (3) and Dorian (1). It was wonderful to have them over and to be able to spend more time together. We already expected a slight change in our daily rhythm, but didn't know exactly what to expect. But we found out children are the ones who'll decide your daily schedule... We did have a lot of fun though. Kilian is a smart kid who loves dancing. He especially likes dancing on the song "The Golden Age" by "The Asteroids Galaxy Tour". After the song was finished he demanded kindly but firmly "Again!!". Dorian is still in an age where he observes as much as possible and tries to utter a few words to let himself be understood. All I could understand is that he either wanted to eat, or sleep... And that he is a serious rival for my wife's attention... ;-)
The week was soon over and we all flew back to the Netherlands to celebrate New Years' eve in the Netherlands. But they are more than welcome to visit us again! I really felt proud seeing my little brother as a responsible and good father. He and his wife, Sylwia, are for sure doing a great job!
Writing about my nephews reminds me of a something I already saw numerous times in Denmark: a baby carriage standing outside a shop or restaurant unattended while their "owners" are inside doing some shopping or eating a lunch. Nothing special about that, you might say. But in some occasions, the baby was still lying inside the carriage. This is something I just don't understand.
Back in the Netherlands
A week after Christmas we flew back to the Netherlands for a few days to celebrate New Year's eve with my parents and some old friends. It was so nice being back again! Apart from seeing my parents, we did miss some typical Dutch things. So the first thing we did in The Hague was finding some fresh deep fried fish called "kibbeling" and eating fries with mayonnaise. In Amsterdam, our mission was to find some nice "bitterballen". I really started to appreciate some trivial things from my own country when I moved abroad.
It was nice again to walk around in Amsterdam. We do love the atmosphere over there. There's just something about Amsterdam I do miss over here in Copenhagen. Maybe it's just me being Dutch, but it does feel more lively. Even though it was raining all day when we were there...
Since we are crazy about cats, we also went to the "Kattenkabinet". A museum about cats, with cats. All the artworks in this small museum are inspired by cats. You can find advertisements, jewelry, statues, and paintings (amongst those also a Picasso). There are also seven cats walking around the museum. We bumped into a cat which I first thought was a statue. But she was just enjoying the warmth coming from a heater and nothing would distract her away from that spot.
After our short visit to the museum, we decided to go to the famous Tuchinski movie theater. Built in 1921 in a spectacular mix of styles (Amsterdam School, Jugendstil, Art Nouveau and Art Deco). It is considered as one of the most beautiful cinemas in the world. The perfect spot to spend a rainy afternoon in Amsterdam.
Chinese New Year
This year is our first year to celebrate Chinese New Year in Denmark. Today marks the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. The Dragon (traditional Chinese: 龍), is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac, and the only animal that is legendary. The Year of the Dragon is considered the luckiest year in the Chinese Zodiac. To celebrate Chinese New Year, it is quite a tradition to eat "Hot pot" with the whole family. For those who want to know what that is, I quoted Wikipedia:
Hot pot (traditional Chinese: 火鍋) refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood. Vegetables, fish, and meat should be fresh. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce.
Jennifer was busy whole afternoon preparing a delicious hot pot. That surely was a good start of the New Year! It was also the first day it started to snow. Until now the winter has been relatively mild, but it seems that winter is starting to kick in. The last nights were the first ones to be under 0°C. I'm hoping to be able to do some ice skating later this or next month!
Kilian, playing in the garden with Jennifer and a big dragon's egg.
Dorian, checking out the world around him.
Baby carriages left outside a restaurant, with the babies still inside. Must be a Danish thing I just don't understand....
This cat was really enjoying the heater, at one moment her head was even in between the heating elements...
Jennifer prepared a very tasty hot pot.
The first proper snowfall in Copenhagen, hoping for more! Always love it when you wake up and find out the world is covered in a beautiful white layer of snow. And that cracking sound when you are the first one to walk over it... Hate it when that all turns into a brown gooey mass...
Some lakes in Copenhagen are already covered with a thin layer of ice.