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In January 2019, Bill and I decided to spend MLK weekend in The Netherlands. It was the first time we’d been in that country since June 2015, when Bill had a conference in Apeldoorn. I was lucky enough to join Bill on that 2015 trip, after which we visited Amsterdam and Haarlem for the first time. I also got stoned for the first time– on my 43rd birthday! Count me among those who favor legalized pot!

We thought The Netherlands was so beautiful and we live fairly close now… significantly closer than we did when we lived in the Stuttgart area. I found us a little vacation home in Vijlen, a little hamlet near the Belgian, German, and Dutch borders, and not far from the beautiful city of Maastricht. When we visited Maastricht, we ran across a chain cheese store called Henri Willig. It offered a dizzying array of cheeses and other Dutch treats, like honey waffle cookies and chocolate, and condiments, like garlic mayonnaise and mustards. We went home with a couple of cheeses and some waffle cookies.

Last weekend, I decided to order from their store. I can’t travel right now… but I can keep enjoying products I love, right? So I chose a couple of cheeses for Bill (and for me if they aren’t too sharp or offensive), garlic mayonnaise, chocolate, mustard, waffle cookies, cheese and garlic waffles, and even some hand cream. Everything arrived last night, and I’m now sitting here having coffee from a roastery in Berlin and a waffle cookie. Yes, I know they have a Dutch name… Stroopwafel. Anyway, you get the idea. We always seem to get them when we fly on KLM, the official Dutch airline.

In other news, this week the restrictions got a little bit looser in Germany. My neighbors, who have been deprived of a proper wine stand for weeks now, decided to gather outside by the bank of trash cans with wine. I noticed they practiced proper social distancing as they drank wine and used trash cans as bar tables! Because Bill and I are in the military community, the restrictions are still tight for us; we are under General Order Number One, which until a couple of months ago, was a mystery to me. Now, it’s the law of my life, since I am a lowly “dependa”. In fact, I’m worse than a “dependa”. I’m a contractor’s wife. 😉

They were enjoying themselves.

I have heard that people in Landstuhl and Kaiserslautern are allowed slightly more freedom. They are under General Order Number Two. That means they can travel a bit further and participate in a few more activities.

I got a laugh out of this photo, which was taken down near Stuttgart. My German friend says it’s technically correct in German, but to English speakers, it’s pretty funny.

Other than that, it’s been a regular week here… nice weather that is harder to enjoy due to the stupid pandemic. But it could be worse by far for us. I’m glad that Bill and I still love each other. I also got a guitar yesterday, which I’m learning how to play courtesy of videos on the Internet. So maybe I’ll come out of this a better person. Or at least a more skilled one.

My Scottish friend, George, and I will also probably record more music. We’ve done some good collaborations in the past. This was the most recent one… I would love to someday be able to play guitar like he does.

And Bill has been brushing up on his German skills with Duolingo. When we first moved here in 2014, I used that application every day. I finished the whole thing twice, and finally quit using it, having learned a little bit of German. I still can’t speak it, but I can understand more than I once did. I think the lessons have now been expanded a lot more. Maybe I should get back on the Duolingo wagon myself. If this keeps up for much longer, I probably will.

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