Monday, May 9, 2011

What I've learnt so far

Hello fellow blog readers, which probably isn't to many since I don't write too often.

I will start by reflecting a bit on this year. I saw the new year in, at a party in the Utrecht the Netherlands. It was great to be around friends at these times. Now lets leap forward a few months to the ski trip to Austria, Salbach. It's like most ski trips are; some white cold stuff, some powder, some partying, hit some skiers that were in the way, some jumps, more skiers in the way, more partying and a lot of fun. I guess it was not really what I expected since there were more slopes that you could possibly ride on in one day. The the runs lasted for a really really long time. All in all a big thumbs up for the ski trip. This is me in the photo by the way, hitting the powder run. We had some really fresh snow at the beginning of the trip.

Time flies and somehow the days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and when you look back at what you have done things sort of blur into each other. If you look back and say you should have worked more you are probably right, but if you look back and say you should have taken more time for yourself, then you are also probably right. Well I'm not perfect but I'm trying to have a balanced diet of activities.
One activity or adventure that I will remember for a long time to come is the ANZAC tour of Gallipoli in Turkey. I went with the Topdeck tour and spent four nights in Turkey, (Istanbul and Gallipoi). Here I was in a group of 45 Australians and Kiwis all in it for one reason, to remember the people who had fought in the war around ANZAC Cove. sleeping out under the stars at ANZAC Cove and listening to war stories is a chilling experience but one that is a keeper. Istanbul has its highlights all through the city and everyone will try and sell you everything you don't want everywhere. The trip had many things to see, but a trip is never really as special as the people who you are with and meet, and on this trip the whole group was cool. It made the trip so enjoyable.

This is me sleeping at ANZAC Cove with a few 1000 ANZAC

So what have I learnt so far?
Balance your life so you don't look back and say "I should have..."

Well Lots installed this Summer, Looking forward to it.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Where have I been

Norway. This is where I went for a summer holiday. It's funny because it was my second summer holiday and one of many this year. The trip started in the Netherlands (of course) and no the transportation was not a jet. It was a car so it took a while to get to Norway. The first and second night was spent in Lund Sweden. In Lund there was this wonderful water hole to swim in, best of all there were not many other people swimming in it. Was really one of the ones out of a film. Sweden was very nice, even got to spend some time in Malmo. The joys of freedom driving. After sweeden it was on to Goteborg and then over to Norway where the next night was spent in Tonsberg. One of the older cities in Norway. So nice to be back there and seeing friends. To bad it was so short but I will be back to Tonsberg sometime. The next day was again another long drive over to Bergen. But what a spectacular drive it is. It looks so much like NZ but different. The advice was to take road number 7. What road number 7 has to offer to to travelers is breath taking. The images in my mind will last a life time. In bergen the rain did not come down at all. The last time was perfect sun and this time also was perfect sun. Which is very nice since it may be one of the dampest cities in the world. Bergen is such a good place to visit and the people there just make the trip all so worth it. After Bergen the direction of the trip was to Stavanger. One night there and a good look around then back on the road to Kristiansand, with a short stop then a stones throw over the sea, the trip took a landing in Denmark. A night spent and an evening stroll. Kiel was the last night, in Germany before being back home.
What a great trip. Over the ten days over 3000 Km were clocked on the speedo and 26 was clocked on the number of friends visited. Traveling to see people is something you have to do, after all it the people you encounter on the way that make the trip a success.

The adventures continue, already there are cards on the table, places to be people to see.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Went to Spain in the weekend and it just happend to be the biggest festival in 100 years.

This is what the main street of Madrid looks like covered in Blue carpet. Later that day there thousands of people watching the shows that were scattered all down the street. I really mean hundreds of thousands of people. The locals had never seen someone as tall as me either. Turns out being tall has a great advantage when in crowds.

On the extra day we got in Spain since the flight was cancelled back to Holland, we went to a small city just out of Madrid which is also a world heritage city. Well this is a stork bird. They make nests on top of churches and towers. The nest is the size of hay bails. Sometimes they even fall down. They even fly back with snakes in the beaks to eat.

What is interesting in Spain is the way people eat, which we joined in on. The food is more or less snack form and is eaten rather late. For most of our meals we would order a few little bite size snacks. After a few of these you would be good.
Crazy Spanish. Met these guys in a bar that we got told was our home by the bar tender. Anyway they were really call to hang out with and learn some Spanish from. There English wasn't very good but good enough for us to have fun. We were pretty much speaking Spanish after that night.

There are many busker's in Spain. I think it reflects the social economic of the country. They were sort of interesting from a distance. This guy didn't even own his own act. Some other greasy guy that was watching him from far owned his act and this guy only gets paid a commission. The greasy guy owned about four acts in the main square from what I could see.

So we did much more and saw so much in Madrid. It was such a great weekend. Very warm too, about 30 degrees. One high light was the Egyptian temple and seeing some real tombs.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What a time

What a good time the past few weeks have been. Here is Paulien on the train heading for Utrecht. There we celebrated Queens day in the city center. Holland is full of crazy people and on these particular day the town closes the pubs open and everyone stands on the streets listening to the live bands all over the city.

This is the Giro Bike race which was on the 9th of May from Amsterdam to Utrecht. I was invited for lunch by work to watch the race. This was the front bunch that was 6 minutes infront of the group. There was one Dutch guy here who wanted to finish first but the others didn't want to help out so the pack ended up catching them.

Here is me at work. I put together and fix anything with bikes all types and sizes. Its a nice job to get me going and its a bit of fun too. I talk dutch to the customers and get to take home all the newest bikes to test them. At the moment I have a folding bike which you can take on the trains for free. I might buy it but still thinking about it. I even get hot chocolates brought to me at work by my boss.

Here is Queens day again. Also on this day is a free market, where anyone can sell anything. So the streets were filled with useless junk for sale.

Last week was Liberation day of Europe's greatest event. World War 2. We are watching the series Band of Brothers at the moment to remind us what this day means. I thinking about reading history books on this event so I can be in lightened a bit more of what happened. Then I will visit some of the places these big events took places.

Going to Spain this weekend. Woo Hoo.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Working and learning Dutch

Well I have a job now. Its not an engineering job yet but I've made a start in the Netherlands. I am a bike mechanic in Bilthoven. It's a nice job and easy going. I mainly assemble new bikes out of their boxes and sometimes fix the odd problem of peoples bikes, like needing air in the tires or a seat that is loose. Apart from work I go to university where I attend a Dutch course, its in the morning at 9 so work gives me the time to leave for it. In the class I think I'm the only person who is learning there second language. Everyone else is learning there third or forth. The course is a good way to learn, having it 4 times a week for 2 hours each. This week I have to speak only Nederlands. So the week is pretty busy. I'm still having interviews for engineering companies and its still going slow.
This weekend we have been out to Utrecht for dinner with Pauliens year club which was nice to catch up with everyone. We have Emma a friend from NZ staying with us and today we are going to Pauliens work to have a tour of KPMG. So another big week coming up. Will have to work hard and talk more Dutch.
Tot Ziens

Monday, April 12, 2010

Still here doing my thing


Hello everyone. Well there have been some pretty fun times here in the Netherlands. Ive been to Amsterdam a few times now and every time I go I see and do something new. There are so many bars and restaurants to choose from. Its very enjoyable to hang out and catch up with friends. Paulien and I were in Rotterdam just this weekend which was very nice, I even drove there and back. Anyway on this day the marathon was on so we got to see some of the worlds fastest marathon runners. there were not many dutch guys in the lead.

I've been looking for jobs still and have had a bit of luck as I have got my self a nice part time job fixing bicycles. The work is 13 Km away so I ride my bike. Its usually my mountain bike I ride but the owner of the store lent me a Nice light carbon fiber road bike so getting to and from work is quite fast. Not to mention it was fast anyway since the roads are all flat.

I have some opportunities coming up now. I am enrolled at the University of Utrecht for learning dutch. So will be talking more dutch. Its helpful at the bike shop since everyone is speaking dutch.

Pauliens birthday this Saturday so we are having a party. I have to make a cake and prepare some things but I can't say what. In fact I'm not really sure myself.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Looking for a Job

Looking for a job is like a full time job. There is so much you can and should do to get your ideal job. Just sending a CV to a company doesn't work anymore because thats what everyone does and taking no for an answer doesn't work either because that doesn't get you in the door, does it! What gets you in is being assertive and explaining why you fit the job description in a way they want to hear. That maybe the hard part, having to change what you say and write in order to sell similar experience from what the company does. For example, you could go on about how you worked at a burger factory for three years and explain all the details of bread, but the cheese factory you are applying for want to hear about your experience with cheese. So picking out your experiences to suit the company is important. Lucky for me there are a lot of people around to help. Being clear and tough is another point. This is done by setting times and dates, getting names of people you talked to and saying exactly what you want. If its a job you want and you want a meeting, well say that. To often its just your very interesting but we are not hiring at the moment. So more to do to day. People to talk to and hopefully people soon to see.