With less than 3 months to go I’m starting to think about our upcoming trip more and more – aided by the fact that my 10 year old is really looking forward to it and enthusiastically working on learning more Dutch words.  On the way to school today she was practicing the pronunciation of her numbers and hoping to wow her cousins this summer.  I am also helping a few different friends with their European summer plans which keeps everything in the forefront and gets me excited for the upcoming sights (and smells!) of Europe.

We have my husband’s 19 year old cousin staying with us for the next month and a half (he is from Amsterdam) so he is helping us with the language and chuckling at Jeff and I whenever we throw out a few Dutch sentences.  I’m so disappointed that the second level of Dutch that I was taking at the university was cancelled; I learned so much in the first class and was really hoping to build on that before our trip.  Now it’s just up to me (and self-motivation!) to learn some more so we’ll see how that goes… admittedly I work better when someone is standing over top of me telling me what to do!

I recently took a children’s book about Versailles out of the library hoping to read it to the kids and familiarize them a bit with the history.  A few years ago we took the train out to Versailles but arrived an hour before it closed and didn’t want to run around like crazy people trying to see everything before it closed.  We just snapped a few photos from the outside and found an outdoor café to fortify ourselves for the return trip back to the city.  Anyway, it turns out that the book was a little too complicated for them, but both Jeff and I read it and learned a lot more than we expected to.  The benefit of a children’s book is that it keeps it simple; this book gave just enough history and context and I gained more from it than I did from the entire unit we took in grade 8!  Granted, I’m more interested in the topic now than I was when I was 13 but I’m thinking that maybe we all need to head to the children’s section to brush up on history.  I was reminded that I certainly wouldn’t have loved Paris in the 1800’s (or before then for that matter) as I really enjoy flush toilets and have a fear of the guillotine.

Cheers to progress!


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